Here's the link
, and here's what I'm puzzling out.
The doctor who ran the study admitted that their was an inherent bias in the study, since you can't have a control group of mothers who don't bf and a control group of those who do (ethics, you see). Apparently the neglect isn't kept from happening if someone else feeds the baby with breastmilk. See, it *has* it *must* come from the mother and directly from her breast for neglect to be short-circuited.
I think there are assumptions being made here in the background.
A) that babies fed any other way aren't cared for as much as children who are breastfed
B) that mothers who give their babies formula, or who must use other methods of feeding their infants, even with expressed breast milk, are more likely to neglect their infants and children; this includes women who must work in order to support their families
C) and that other source-feeders of infants (fathers, grandparents, other caregivers) aren't going to make that connection with the infant that a breastfeeing mommy would
Have I covered everything here?
My bias? I tried bfing my first born, but had difficulties (thanks to bad advice given to me by male doctors and clueless nurses and a spasming back I needed medication for). For my second child, I managed to bf him for almost two years. And I homebirthed the second one in order to circumvent the clueless advice and indifferent treatment I got in the hospital. So, yes, I'm one of those women who agree with the doctor who ran that study that yes, it IS important and is *wonderful* for the baby and the mom to have that bfing connection. However. It's not necessary, and it's not all mom.
I think women who breastfeed in Western cultures (including Australia, where this study was conducted) are predisposed to want to go that extra mile for their babies and more likely to be, I don't know, crunchy granola types. Or not. Or they are simply smarter and of a higher economic class that is less likely to get child protective services and police called on them. Poorer women don't have the same choices as the middle class ones, and are more likely to have neighbors notice neglectful behavior and are more likely to have the authorities called on them. I don't think this factor was taken into account.
I'm not so sure that one (neglect) has to do with the other (not breastfeeding).