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You Don’t Have To: The Duty Mistake, The Justification Trap and Perceived Pressure to Breastfeed

by Fiona Woollard, PhD, Associate Professor in Philosophy
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 E-CERP
  • Handout: No
  • Origin: goldlearning.com
Abstract:

Anecdotal evidence of the perception of pressure surrounding infant feeding decisions is easy to acquire simply by talking to new mothers. Several sociological studies report an association between decisions to formula feed and feelings of guilt, blame and failure. I connect perceived pressure regarding infant feeding decisions to a mistaken assumption that if breastfeeding benefits the child, the mother must have a defeasible duty to breastfeed. I call this the Duty Mistake. I show how the Duty Mistake contributes to guilt and shame surrounding the use of formula. It also produces what I call “the Justification Trap”: in a moralized context, requests for information or offers of support are perceived as calls for justification. This makes it much harder to ensure that women are given the support and information they need to meet their feeding goals. This presentation provides an overview of the issues and looks at how they impact the ethical responsibility of lactation professionals to promote and support breastfeeding.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Participants will be able to describe the evidence of a perceived pressure to breastfeed that persists despite efforts at individual and organizational level;

Objective 2: Participants will be able to explain the concept of a defeasible duty and how defeasible duties are connected to guilt, blame, and requirements to provide justification;

Objective 3: Participants will be able to explain what the Duty Mistake and the Justification Trap are and how they contribute to guilt and shame surrounding the use of formula and make it harder to ensure that women are given the support and information they need to meet their feeding goal;

Objective 4: Participants will be able to discuss the practical implications of these challenges at an individual and institutional level: how should our practice and policy reflect the fact that the Duty Mistake and the Justification Trap raise barriers to fruitful conversations about infant feeding decisions?


Presentations: 5  |  Hours / CE Credits: 5  |  Viewing Time: 6 Weeks