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Nature of the Research
The author of this article primarily conducted a review of the previous data collected by National Longitudinal Survey of Children & Youth (NLSCY) and Labour Force Survey. Essentially, the research in this article was based on the Canadian child population aging between four to five years through the use of cycles 6-8 of the NLSCY. Conducting quantitative research, the author employed a T-test to explore the cognitive score gaps between the children from rich and poor families. Since many previous studies have been done to explore the cognitive skill disparities between the children from poor and rich families, the author of this article sought to focus on the impact of breastfeeding on children living in poverty and those living in rich families.
Summary of the Key findings
The findings in this article evidenced that, an educationally rich home environment is more significant to the development of cognitive skills in children than breastfeeding. Though breastfeeding is statistically significant as a key factor influencing the development of cognitive skills among the children; educationally rich home environment was found to be more significant. This implies that promoting breastfeeding alone can be considered as an insufficient policy recommendation to address the issue of childhood poverty. The author of this article proposes that, besides breastfeeding their children, there is need for poor mothers to enrich their children with cognitive skills development with concrete learning skills like reading with them, helping them solve problems and also taking them to higher levels of education. Through this strategy, the author of this article believes that cognitive skills gap between children from rich and poor families would be reduced.
How the article fits in the field of sociology
Despite that sociologists have largely focused on the factors affecting cognitive development in children, very little has been done on how breastfeeding relates to cognitive skill adoption. With this article focusing on whether breastfeeding can solve cognitive skills inequalities that are usually common among children from poor and rich families, the findings of this study are quite useful for explaining some social problems that less privileged children from poor families face. Besides breastfeeding alone, this research seeks to explore whether the socioeconomic class-based gaps and resource disparities between children from poor and rich families affect the cognitive levels. This article seems to conform to chapter two of the book ‘American Individualism – Child Rearing and Social Class in three Neighbourhoods’ which is based on American individualism and social class revisited. In both the book and the article, the role of resource gaps between children from poor and rich families is explored.
Refutations and Similarities with non-scholarly periodicals
The findings of this article seem to differ from a study conducted by the Public Health Agency of Canada (2009) which advocates that breastfeeding is the fundamental source of cognitive development; though some other factors play their roles as well. On the other hand, Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition (2006) agrees with the author of this article in the sense that, despite breastfeeding being an important factor that determines intelligence skills development among the children, socioeconomic factors also play a very crucial role. From these analyses, it is clear that poverty cannot be ultimately explained based on either socioeconomic or breastfeeding factors alone, and thus the mechanism underpinning the poverty gap ought to be developed.
Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition. (2006). Study on breastfeeding and intelligence flawed. Web.
Rippeyoung, P.L. (2013). Can breastfeeding solve inequality? The relative mediating impact of breastfeeding and home environment on poverty gaps in Canadian child cognitive skills. Canadian Journal of Sociology, 38(1), 65-85.
Public Health Agency of Canada. (2009). 10 great reasons to breastfeed your baby. Web.