to wonder which formula company sponsored this article?

(316 Posts)
nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 19:49:41

yano.co.uk/2013/03/breast-is-best-or-is-it/

It just seems so anti-breastfeeding! Surely the health benefits of BFing are proven - there's nothing political about saying that it protects against disease, for example.I agree that of course you can form a close bond with your baby when FFing but the rest of the article seems determined to bat away all the 'supposed' benefits of BFing and focus on any perceived 'cons'.

Carolra Tue 12-Mar-13 20:55:37

Because its not true for every mum and every baby nitty. It just isn't, regardless of any studies or research and it can have very serious downsides for some people. So the unequivocal message that breast is best is actually damaging in some instances.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 20:57:06

What I love (not) about the advert you mention Moby, is how insidiously clever it is....the mum is BFing and it's raining outside....when she decides to move on from BFing it's suddenly sunny.
It's estimated the formula companies spend about £12m advertising their products in the UK.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 21:02:03

Actually, the message should be, breast is normal.

The reason that BFing is often so difficult for women in this country is because the formula companies with their huge marketing spends have successfully robbed us as a culture of a skill that used to be known and practiced by pretty much 100% of women. They convinced women that formula was better.Women don't know how to do it, or how to support others in doing it in the way they would have done 100 years ago.

In poor countries with no access to formula practically all women breastfeed. In the UK far fewer do. There is a reason for that.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 21:03:16

This is from another blog, but sums it up about right -
“breast is best” frames formula feeding as the norm and breastfeeding as a nice extra if you’re able to do it. The message that parents receive has become “breast is best, but formula is OK too”. “Breast is best” allows formula companies to say “We fully support breastfeeding. See – it says so on our website and products”. It allows the companies to give the appearance of caring about breastfeeding while they go about undermining it......formula companies use their supposed “support” of breastfeeding to make moms feel like while breastfeeding is the goal it’s a near impossible one and it’s okay to use the easy alternative (formula).

Chunderella Tue 12-Mar-13 21:06:34

Well she's right about the lack of randomised control trials. That would be ethically impossible, so inevitably that's always going to be a weakness in any research about the advantages of bf over ff. Not really any getting round that. So if you read the scientific literature, it usually says bf is associated with X positives, or sometimes correlates with- not the same as caused. Also, in the UK there's quite a close connection between bf and being otherwise socially advantaged: women who are educated are more likely to do it etc. That also makes it hard to pick out how much of the difference between BF babies and FF babies is down to the fact that BF babies usually have more going for them socially. Certainly, some studies try to control for this. But such a very tiny number of the most disadvantaged babies are EBF that we just don't know how babies in the most deprived circumstances would be doing if they were EBF'd. It inevitably falls into the realm of educated guesswork.

However, the stuff about loss of income is incongruous. The writer purports to be discussing the situation in the UK, a situation where we have months of paid maternity leave- ok not paid well, but enough that significant numbers of us can stay off work for as long as we'd like and long enough to follow NHS recommendations re EBF. In the US, they have much less. I believe it's only 12 weeks and that's if you qualify. So there are women who are having to choose between establishing BF properly and going back to work there. Yes, you can pump etc, but if you have to go back to work at, say, 8 weeks, there's obviously less chance of that working than if you go back at 12 months and pump then. The writer must have known that, so she undermines her case by including material from the US without the proper caveats.

motherinferior Tue 12-Mar-13 21:06:49

It's a perfectly good article. I've talked to both Kramer and Wolf for stuff I've written, and liked them both. The evidence for breastfeeding is good in some areas and pretty damn weak in others; it hasn't been proved to protect against all the things some people claim. It won't be a guaranteed weight-loser. It is - especially in the early stages - quite draining. If you work, you do have to sort out some way in which your baby will be fed while you do so.

Incidentally, I am very pro breastfeeding and breastfed both my babies, the second one exclusively to six months and then till around 18 months (if you count expressing, what with the fact I did have to earn a living at the same time).

MobyMistake Tue 12-Mar-13 21:08:22

the mum is BFing and it's raining outside..

It's actually Autumn and then Winter and then Spring.

The mum is in the same room the entire time.

Baby crawls outside at the end.

MobyMistake Tue 12-Mar-13 21:09:28

The seasons changing is showing how the baby is now growing up and how you might decide to change to follow on milk once your child is older.

MobyMistake Tue 12-Mar-13 21:11:34

breastfeeding to make moms feel like while breastfeeding is the goal it’s a near impossible one and it’s okay to use the easy alternative

What's wrong with that? confused

I think that's an awful thing to say - "easy alternative"

I'm not interested in another bf vs ff thread and for people to be judged for their own choices.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 21:12:49

Me neither Moby, I mentioned before that I have done both, I just thought this was a biased, unhelpful article which seemed to seek to undermine breastfeeding, as if it needed undermined any more than it already is.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 21:15:38

This, too, is deliberately disingenuous;
'In some ways, the heavy-handed promotion of breastfeeding, which extends as far as charity Save The Children’s suggestion that that formula milk should carry health warnings, could even be detrimental to bonding between a mother and her newborn child.'

Heavy-handed promotion of breastfeeding?It's the heavy handed, downright evil promotion of formula in developing countries that has led to the Save the Children campaign, which aims to highlight the dangers of formula without access to clean water in poor countries.

Scheherezade Tue 12-Mar-13 21:16:49

Yanbu, but its illegal to mention bf on MN, didn't you know? It's our dirty little secret.

Nancy66 Tue 12-Mar-13 21:16:54

I've been convinced for years that the benefits of BFing are massively over-stated.

Cuddlydragon Tue 12-Mar-13 21:18:32

I do think that breast isn't always best and formula is fine too. I also think that there is never a point to debating the merits on a forum like this. You get both extremes, neither of whom will concede points and the middle ground becomes a battlefield. The interpretation of the aptamil advert is kind of the case in point of personal beliefs interpreting information and pretty pictures. I bloody loved aptamil, it fed and nourished my baby. I'm not getting sucked into the usual coda to statements like that, it matters not a jot if a mother tries to breast feed and can't, her choice is no more valid or worthy than choosing not to breastfeed at all.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 21:25:05

This massive study done in 2007 found which of the benefits of BFing were invented and which were real. For example, it concedes that there is no evidence BF babies are more intelligent.
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK38337/

If BFing really isn't that great, why do governments worldwide spend a lot of money that could be spent elsewhere on promoting it? The American Academy of Pediatrics, the WHO, our own government....we live in austere times, I can't imagine they would want to waste their money promoting something that actually isn't really much better than formula....

Softlysoftly Tue 12-Mar-13 21:27:02

Argh see is messages like that "detrimental to the bond" that cause the issues.

It's just not fucking true and I've ff dd1 and am bf dd2 at 9 months.

Banging the evangelical drum had 1 of 2 reactions. It guilts those of a sensitive/perfectionist persuasion into a huge staye if they struggle to bf and that affects the bond far more than ff from the off.

Our it turns people deaf to or outright anti the message.

Has anyone ever converted to a religion because someone yelled they were going to burn from some Street corner somewhere? No.

The message should ignore ff completely, it should I agree be more breast is normal and assume a stance of that being the default position.

It does in essence need a bloody good marketing agency (not an nhs one) and for the evangelists to stfu as they do more damage than good.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 21:29:43

It's the author that's saying that a message on formula cans could be detrimental to the bond between mother and baby, though.

I don't think that health professionals pointing out the health benefits of BFing is evangelical, though, but it seems you're not allowed to promote or support BFing at times without being accused of being a member of the 'breastapo' or a 'breastfeeding Nazi' which is so offensive.

Chunderella Tue 12-Mar-13 21:32:04

Nitty you'll notice that the study you mention uses phrases like 'associated with' and 'relationship between'. The authors, rightly, aren't claiming that bf causes those benefits: the data doesn't show that, it shows that bf babies enjoy them but not why they do. So this study and the author of the article are actually saying the same thing in that respect, it's just difference in presentation.

Carolra Tue 12-Mar-13 21:35:08

I find it pretty offensive that anyone feels they need to promote breastfeeding at all. It's none of your business what anyone else chooses to do..... Read the research, choose what you want to do with your babies, but please don't tell me what's best for mine....

Pigsmummy Tue 12-Mar-13 21:35:11

Yawn, another thread about FF/BF.

Pigsmummy Tue 12-Mar-13 21:36:46

Btw You are BU in thinking that this blog will influence a woman either way.

ChairmanWow Tue 12-Mar-13 21:38:22

I think OP YABU to assume that anything which questions claims about the benefits of bf is automatically sponsored by a formula company. I also think that encouraging (not pressuring) women into bf is a good thing and we should be supported in trying it if we have made an informed choice to do so.

However there are multiple reasons as to why it simply doesn't work for some women and our feeding choices or necessities should be respected. Formula isn't poison and is a perfectly acceptable alternative - more so now than ever before due to advances in the last few years.

It would be great if this thread became a healthy debate into the pros and cons of the article and not another bunfight.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 21:38:44

I hear what you are saying Chunderella but I think once you take into account the fact that the studies were adjusted for potential confounders such as gender, number of siblings, family day care, nursery day care, number of children in the home, maternal age, parental race or ethnicity, parity, maternal marital status, and parental smoking, then look at the marked differences between the BF and non BF children it's reasonable to assume that BFing has played a part in the outcomes.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 21:41:34

'I find it pretty offensive that anyone feels they need to promote breastfeeding at all.'

Carolra,What a ridiculous statement!Should nobody promote things that are known to be healthy and good for you, then? Should we stop promoting healthy eating in schools, and exercise? In case it offends you?

It is other people's business, when babies are admitted to hospital with gastric problems and other illnesses they wouldn't have had if they had been breastfed....baby feeding is a public health issue.

nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 21:43:12

It's amazing that people get so offended and hot under the collar about the BFing message, saying it's rammed down their throats and heavy handed and oversold, yet no one yet seems to have any issues with the formula message, despite the fact that formula feeding costs the lives of thousands of babies each year due to their heavy handed and frankly disgusting marketing practices.

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