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Fiona Woollard, PhD, Associate Professor in Philosophy

  • Speaker Type: Ethics 2018
  • Country: GB

Fiona Woollard is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton.  She works in the Philosophy of Pregnancy, Birth and Early Motherhood, with a special interest in infant feeding.  She argues that identifying philosophical mistakes in the way we think about maternal behaviour can help improve conversations about infant feeding decisions.  Her work has been widely published in journals aimed at philosophers, medical professionals and peer supporters, and in venues aimed at a general audience.  To read more about her work on infant feeding, see

CE Library Presentation(s) Available Online:
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Note: Currently only available through a bundled series of lectures
You Don’t Have To: The Duty Mistake, The Justification Trap and Perceived Pressure to Breastfeed
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.
Lectures by Profession, Product Focus
Presentations: 5  |  Hours / CE Credits: 5  |  Viewing Time: 6 Weeks
Hours / CE Credits: 1 (details)  |  Categories: (IBCLC) Clinical Skills, Ethics for Lactation Professionals