AI and breastfeeding: What are we up against? -

AI and breastfeeding: What are we up against?

The use of AI generated content (text based or image based) seems to be exploding these days.

Even though AI content is good, it's not as good as human generated content. Many people think that it's just going to get better. However, I believe that AI generated content is never going to be as good as it is now. Think about it: the current versions of AI were trained on an internet that almost exclusively featured human generated content. As the internet gets swamped with more and more AI generated content, new generations of AI will train on a lot of AI generated content. I predict that AI performance is going deteriorate as a result. 

Future speculations aside, in this blog post I will explore what AI thinks about breastfeeding.

I used a text based AI (Bing chat) and an image based AI (Midjourney) and gave them breastfeeding related prompts. Below is what they had to say/ show. 

Text based AI (Bing chat):

Prompt: How do you feel about breastfeeding?

AI Response: 

As an AI, I don’t have feelings. However, I can tell you that breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses1.

Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one third during the second year of life1. Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers1.


Image based AI (Midjourney):

Prompt: Mother nursing baby (I couldn't say 'breastfeeding' because the word 'breast' is banned...)

AI Result:

AI generated images of women nursing their baby

My comment: Notice that in none of these images the baby is actually nursing... 


Text based AI (Bing chat):

Prompt: Describe a mother feeding her baby.

AI Response:

A mother feeding her baby is a beautiful sight. It’s an opportunity for the mother to bond with her baby and provide the baby with essential nutrients for growth and development. Breast milk is considered the best food for babies as it is custom-made by each mother for her own baby and has the perfect amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals1. Mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed their children for at least 1 year2.

During feeding, the mother can hold her baby close, look into their eyes and speak with a gentle voice. This helps build the baby’s sense of security, trust and comfort3 


Image based AI (Midjourney)

Prompt: Mother feeding her baby

AI Result: 

AI generated images of mothers feeding their babies

My comment: I find these images really disturbing! 


Text-based AI (Bing Chat)

Prompt: How do you breastfeed a baby?

AI response:

Breastfeeding is a natural process that provides many benefits for both the mother and baby. Here are some steps to help you get started with breastfeeding your baby:

  1. Look for baby’s hunger cues. According to the March of Dimes, when baby is hungry, they may show signs such as rooting, sucking on their hands or fingers, or smacking their lips1.
  2. Get baby into a breastfeeding position. You may feel best sitting up, or you may want to breastfeed in a side lying or laid-back position. Turn your baby’s whole body toward you, chest to chest2.
  3. Entice baby to nurse. Get baby to open wide by rubbing their cheek or gently pushing your nipple against their lips1.
  4. Encourage a good latch. To make sure baby gets a proper breastfeeding latch, make sure their mouth covers the entire areola (the dark area around the nipple), not just the nipple itself1.

It’s helpful to learn as much as you can in advance and talk to other people who have breastfed for support. You can also seek out a breastfeeding class either before or after your baby is born3.


Image based AI (Midjourney)

Prompt: How to feed a baby

AI Result:

AI generated images on how to feed a baby

My comment: This is terrifying! Breastfeeding is not even considered.


I need some more time to digest this but my first impression is that there is a big discrepancy between image based and text based AI... text based AI seems to be in favor of breastfeeding, maybe even a bit pushy, while image based AI makes breastfeeding look like a ghastly nightmare.

I believe that the lack of accurate visual representations of breastfeeding reflects a lack of 'normal' breastfeeding images online. Breastfeeding images have been censored on the internet for years, due to the fact that breasts are sexualized and shall not be depicted.

In summary, AI knows all about the benefits of breastfeeding and arguably puts pressure on moms to 'perform'. At the same time its vision of breastfeeding (and baby feeding in general) is horrific and deeply disturbing...



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