University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Biological Anthropology Seminar Series > Is that really helping? Critical analysis of breastfeeding support in the UK from an evolutionary perspective

Is that really helping? Critical analysis of breastfeeding support in the UK from an evolutionary perspective

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While the public health literature demonstrates a positive association between social support and breastfeeding, it has broadly overlooked the different types of support (such as informational, emotional and practical) and the different sources of support (partners, parents, friends, professionals). However, breastfeeding in developed populations are no longer obligate maternal investment behaviour: it can be replaced/supplemented by formula, introducing opportunities for allomothers to substitute infant feeding. With this, following an evolutionary anthropological perspective, I theorise that different types of support may not necessarily improve breastfeeding outcomes. In some instances, what is conceptualised as supportive in the public health sphere may not actually be supportive for mothers. To test these ideas, I provide evidence from the UK Millennium Cohort Study and present preliminary findings from an online survey of UK mothers.

This talk is part of the Biological Anthropology Seminar Series series.

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