To be shocked at the price of formula milk?

(257 Posts)
Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 18:35:41

It's been 9 years since I was last pregnant and this time round I'm not going to attempt breast feeding because for my previous pregnancies I produced no milk and wasn't able to feed them. So I'm not stressing out I'm going straight in for the formula. I have medical reasons for doing so.

I get that they've put the price up to deter formula feeding. I know why. I agree breast is best. But from what I saw today it's now a sneeze under £10 a tin.

I'm lucky we can afford it, but what if you're on the threshold of not receiving help and find yourself, as I did, unable to bf even with the full intentions of bfing and being unable to afford this price.

Is there a reason it's doubled in price in the last decade? Have production techniques changed that much?

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 18:40:24

Btw wasn't looking to buy any (I'm only 5 weeks!) just saw it as I walked down the aisle.

DS1 is 14. A box of Aptamil in 1999 was about £5.50 and that was from the Doctor's. Blimey.

SpooMoo Sun 07-Jul-13 18:41:46

If you're on no/low income I thought there were vouchers?

CheeseFondueRocks Sun 07-Jul-13 18:42:08

I believe you get voucher for formula when you're on a low income. Might be wrong.

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 18:43:01

It's the ones who don't qualify for the vouchers but are cutting it fine on the finances I'm wondering about

soverylucky Sun 07-Jul-13 18:43:05

I used to pay £4.70 from the clinic and that was 8 years ago.

spangledboots Sun 07-Jul-13 18:43:57

How long on average does one tin last? (sorry - I'm a non-mum!)

Queen0fFeckingEverything Sun 07-Jul-13 18:44:05

Something like half the cost of every tin of formula goes straight to the companies advertising budget.

That might have something to do with it!

Gigondas Sun 07-Jul-13 18:44:05

It has gone up even in 4 years between my dd- there was an issue a year or so back regarding demand from china for european formula (following safety scares related to Chinese formula) but not sure whether that hit price.

Most things have doubled in price over the last decade.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Sun 07-Jul-13 18:45:12

perhaps the manufacturers should consider not spending quite so much on prime time advertising slots. That might reduce the cost.

And I don't think you're correct that 'they' put up prices to deter formula feeding

HumphreyCobbler Sun 07-Jul-13 18:45:29

They haven't put the price up to deter formula feeding! They have put the price up to make money.

'They' are formula producers - they are going to charge as much as they can get away with. Nothing to do with breastfeeding.

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 18:45:47

madame everything other than salaries that is

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 18:46:14

In which case it's even more bloody ridiculous

Fakebook Sun 07-Jul-13 18:46:14

I used to pay £5.98 in 2008. I think the average price is about £7.00 now.

ArabellaBeaumaris Sun 07-Jul-13 18:46:23

'They' price it to make as much of a profit as they can. It's capitalism.

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 18:46:27

Hmm, i had ds1 8 years ago and i remember a tin being around £8/9 then. Doesnt sound like they've increased much in cost.

I THINK you get vouchers towards the cost of it from the docs if you're on low income...but it's crazy money regardless!

As is, may I say, the cost of cheese....that always surprises me.... (Realises she's missed the point of the thread)

NatashaBee Sun 07-Jul-13 18:46:48

What brand is that? Have you checked out Costco to see if they sell it in bulk? You'd need to get a member to take you but they might sell it cheaper than the supermarket.

vinisque Sun 07-Jul-13 18:46:49

Yabvu - everything has gone up not just formula. The companies exist to make profit

Queen0fFeckingEverything Sun 07-Jul-13 18:47:39
PeachActiviaMinge Sun 07-Jul-13 18:48:29

You get 6.40 in vouchers weekly a tin costs 7.99+ DS goes through a tin every 5 days at 10 weeks old. You cope somehow when its the best you can do.

ruledbyheart Sun 07-Jul-13 18:49:10

I think its disgusting the price keeps going up, babies who aren't breastfed need formula, a baby can't stay hungry and it can't have anything else.
I'm planning on BFing but with previous experience I have had to move on to formula and its going to be tight on our budget as not entitled to any help as DP working but that is a low paid job to support an entire family.

sleepyhead Sun 07-Jul-13 18:49:30

Formula is expensive because they've got babies over a barrel. They charge that much because they can.

It's easy to make (the "formula" isn't a secret) and the ingredients are cheap and readily available. I'd like to see the government making formula (I think they used to didn't they? Called National Milk or something?) and selling it at cost price plus a little towards infant milk research.

No need for multinationals to be making vast profits from an essential foodstuff.

We were recently buying it through DPs work for £3 per tub. The same costs £8 in a shop.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 07-Jul-13 18:50:17

No need for multinationals to be making vast profits from an essential foodstuff.

yy to this

Puffykins Sun 07-Jul-13 18:50:36

I too am unable to breastfeed, at least unable to breastfeed for very long. I did the maths though and child benefit pretty much covered formula, nappies, and baby wipes - I think.

Congratulations OP smile
I think it's a valid point, and the way things are going I suspect desperate people will start to use the 6m+ milk earlier, or use other substitutes sad

That's interesting Puffy. That said, that will only apply for the first child- I don't think you get much extra CB for the second? And you're screwed if you have twins!

itchyandscratchy26 Sun 07-Jul-13 18:54:42

I have twins. Aptamil first milk is costing me £20 per week.

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 18:54:45

The bottom line is babies health is what is going to suffer if people start switching early or start finding other alternatives.

<overly dramatic 'wont someone think of the children'>

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 18:55:38

If you have twins do you only get cb for 1?

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 18:56:20

Children that arrive after your first get cb at a lower rate

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 07-Jul-13 18:56:30

Well in Europe (France anyway) they put babies on cow's milk from 6 months. They did when dd was 6 months (14.5 years ago anyway). >>whispers<< and dons flameproof jacket "I put dd on doorstep at 6 months; and at 12 months I put her on semi skimmed" because she was a fat knacker. At 15 she's totally and utterly healthy and beautiful and as intelligent as one would hope for hmm.

mouseymummy Sun 07-Jul-13 18:57:16

The vouchers are the healthy start, you get an allowance of 620 a week. In my local shop (nearest supermarket is around an hours walk away) a tin of c&g is 10.75 and a small tub is 540.

The vouchers only cover 'from birth' milk so once you switch to 6m+ milk you have to find that money. One of the main reasons I've not switched dd2 over.

I will attempt to bf with this baby but if he is anything like his sister, ill be ff by day 2!

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 18:57:24

You get £20 for child one and £13 for all children after that.

I agree- i think there should be a non- profit supplier of baby milk.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 07-Jul-13 18:57:42

The formula companies have done a really good promotional job if the promotion of breastfeeding can be blamed for expensive formula.

Parker231 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:00:55

The formula manufacturers are the same as any company - they are in business to make a profit and baby formula is a marketing managers dream product as they know we have to buy lots of it.

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 19:02:28

Surely it's a regulated industry though? Or if its not shouldn't it be?
The price is ridiculous. How do mums of multiples cope? Is it not something that the government can step in and produce a standard product?

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Sun 07-Jul-13 19:04:14

I don't believe the price is put up to make people bf why would they want to do that?

Queen0fFeckingEverything Sun 07-Jul-13 19:06:12

You don't have to switch from first milk at all though mouseymummy

You can keep using it til 12 months then switch to cows milk smile

MooseBeTimeForSpring Sun 07-Jul-13 19:07:12

A 663g tub of Enfamil powder is $34.99 here in Canada.

That's £22!

XiCi Sun 07-Jul-13 19:11:13

Get yourself to Home Bargains. SMA is 5.99 a tin

MairyHoles Sun 07-Jul-13 19:11:55

I was led to believe that they can't advertise the first stages milk, only follow on, as they can't advertise encouraging people against bfing. You don't get clubcard points for first stage formula, nor can it be on offer, which I believe is government rules, not individual shops.

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 07-Jul-13 19:13:08

dons flak jacket a second time: If you can't afford the formula milk, why have a baby in the first place? Get yourselves jolly well organised.

MairyHoles Sun 07-Jul-13 19:15:19

Oh, and my youngest 2 could only have aptamil, which is almost 11 pounds in my local shop. HV told me it was closest to breastmilk when other kinds gave them tummyache. You are right, it is expensive.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 07-Jul-13 19:15:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bakingtins Sun 07-Jul-13 19:16:58

If you really want to be disgusted about it, in the third world they dish out free formula samples until mum's milk has dried up, then a tin of formula is often most of a family's weekly income, so baby gets it watered down with dirty water. If they don't give a shit about thousands of babies dying directly as a result of their actions, what makes you think they care about your weekly budget?

But £7 for 5 days doesn't sound a huge amount to me. How much do you think the child will cost to feed when they are a bit older confused

iamadoozermum Sun 07-Jul-13 19:18:33

We've noticed the increase in price since DS3 was born in 2010 and DD who is now 6 months old.

MairyHoles Sun 07-Jul-13 19:19:21

I can afford it. But I do think it is overpriced, much like I think tampons are overpriced as well as being necessary.

MigGril Sun 07-Jul-13 19:19:35

The nhs guid lines only recommend using first milk until 12 months then switching to cows milk. There is no proven benefit in using any of the other milks on the market. And why HV still go round suggesting trying anything else is beyond me.

Formula manufactures are only interested in one thing your money. Nothing else.

I agree with the poster who said it would be good if the government made a cost only product.

There is more breastfeeding support out there through mainly voluntary organisations but you often have to look for it. BfN and NCT are both great. And many mums on medication are told they can't breastfeed when actually they can doctors just don't know enough.

coney77 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:22:11

There's not many members of the family you can feed for so little £'s a week. If they struggle with buying formula how are they going to manage when the baby is eating real food?

SuffolkNWhat Sun 07-Jul-13 19:23:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Sun 07-Jul-13 19:24:17

Yy indeed. If you're balking at £10 a week for milk what about when they move onto food? That'll cost more

Plus the myriad other costs involved in raising a child. The cost of 6 months formula is but a drop in the ocean

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Sun 07-Jul-13 19:26:20

And everything has increased in cost over the years. A loaf of head was 60 pence a few years ago, now it's twice that. That's the way of the world

noblegiraffe Sun 07-Jul-13 19:27:32

Mums usually go back to work by the time their child is eating a reasonable amount of food.

Crunchymunchyhoneycakes Sun 07-Jul-13 19:28:10

Aptamil and the cow&gate are made in the same factory, aptamil has just been very successfully marketed as a 'premium' brand hence the higher price. All formula are pretty much identical as there are legal requirements as to what they contain. It's depressing that HV are passing on bullshit marketing guff to parents as if it is the truth.

I bfed with the occasional carton of ready made formula after 6 months, I refused to buy aptamil because they are such overpriced liars, taking advantage of parents desire to do the best by their children to skin more money out of them at a massively inflated cost.

RobotBananas Sun 07-Jul-13 19:31:17

Smells just beat me to it. Its £8-10 for a tin of formula. I don't think that's much really.

I was expecting that it would have really increased in price,but comparing the £6-8 I paid 6 years ago I don't think its that much of a mark up.

Aptamil is more expensive though isn't it? I thought all formula was essentially the same, so I don't understand why some cost more money. I guess lots of people think more expensive = better

RobotBananas Sun 07-Jul-13 19:32:19

Heh, xposts

I agree. Cow &Gate here. Don't understand paying a premium for aptamil.

Puffykins Sun 07-Jul-13 19:32:39

You're right, number 2's Child Benefit didn't cover the costs, but then it's not as if we didn't know what they were going to be before I had her. I think it's more that I was quite surprised - happily surprised - to discover that Child Benefit covered formula (even Aptamil), nappies and baby wipes.

laura20 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:33:09

I work full time but only earn 15k a year and due my first baby on Halloween!

I'm not entitled to any help with formula milk as I work full time, but if breast feeding doesn't go to plan will struggle to pay £10 a tub!

I know you can't earn points or put offers on formula because they don't want to promote it, apparently women who want to breastfeed are going to see an offer and think, 'well fuck, it's 2-for-1 on formula, guess I won't be breastfeeding now.' hmm

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:38:06

Laura20 you will get child benefit. Are you a lone parent? Also, what had you planned to do after the first year when your dc will be eating proper food and requiring bigger clothes eery couple of months?

I cloth nappy my DD because it was a choice between formula, when my milk dried up, or nappies.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 07-Jul-13 19:38:37

Hipp is the cheapest at about £7.50-£8 a box. Cheapest in Superdrug.

Formula companies are not charities.

They want to make as much money as possible which is why they use stealth advertising to make people think that FF is almost as good as BF or even better than after 6 months even though how can fake milk be better than the real thing

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:42:45

If i were pregnant now i would be checking out the cost of formula every week in all my local shops and seeing which was the lowest cost week after week. So that i wasnt in a flap about it if bfing didnt work out or if baby was born early or whatever. I'd make sure i had a good idea of the prices before i needed to know so i could plan for the cost. Tbh i'd be planning for that cost before i'd be budgetting for prams and carseats and cots and clothes. Formula is far more important than that stuff really and cant be borrowed whereas all that stuff can if need be.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Sun 07-Jul-13 19:43:43

Mums usually go back to work by the time their child is eating a reasonable amount of food.

In that case they'll not know whether to laugh or cry when they think back to when it seemed formula was expensive when paying each months childcare fees

laura20 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:45:47

Imnotbloody14, No but my partner is out of work at the moment. Hopefully will just have r meals we have now but processed so won't be at much extra cost.

But hopefully my partner should be back in work once he needs bigger clothes.

McNewPants2013 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:49:52

If formula milk make you shocked, then dinner money for a week is £10.

Children cost and the formula I would say is cheap meal IMO

maja00 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:50:44

I get that they've put the price up to deter formula feeding

grin that formula companies want to deter formula feeding!

The ban on points/temporary reductions on first milk isn't about deterring ffing or promoting bfing either by the way - it's to ensure that formula is sold at a steady price so parents can budget. There is nothing to stop formula companies permanently offering price reductions. Otherwise they will just use the same tactic they use in developing countries - getting people in with cheap prices and then putting prices up because you can't stop using formula once you've started.

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 19:52:05

Well maybe your partner will be back in work by the time baby is born. If not, you will just have to find the ££ by cutting back elsewhere. Im sure if you had a look at finances and spending you will be able to smile

CrazyOldCatLady Sun 07-Jul-13 20:00:21

The worst formula price I've come across was SMA High Energy - it was only available in 250ml cartons (no powder) and they were €5 each. We went though a minimum of 4 a day for DS for 8 months.

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 20:01:12

So because kids get more expensive as they get older I'm not allowed to be cross at the price of formula hmm there are many things I am angry at the price at so I simply don't buy them. Not so simple with formula

BackforGood Sun 07-Jul-13 20:02:22

My eldest was born in 1996. Child Benefit was about £10/£12 then for your eldest, and you could buy enough nappies (about £5) and a tin of formula (about £6) for a week, for the same amount as you were getting in CB.
If benefit for the eldest is not £20, then it would seems about right that a tin of formula has gone up quite a bit too.

BridgetBidet Sun 07-Jul-13 20:05:06

I'mNotBloody14, do you have any idea how fucking horrible and hard it is to get by on one low income? On 15k she's going to be getting less than a grand a month to house, clothe and feed two adults and travel to and from work. She probably only gets a pittance in housing benefit which will be cut back even further if she has bedroom for the baby which isn't being used. And she probably won't get tax credits until the baby is born.

On an income like that you can't 'cut back elsewhere' because all you have is spent on essentials. On 15k you're not going to be frittering away your money on holidays and booze. It's more likely to be a choice between eating and paying your council tax this month.

Never read such patronizing nonsense in my life, you've clearly never lived on a low income.

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:10:43

Also, the cb for the eldest is still £20 even when they are out of nappies so if you are planning a second child it's worth considering the age gap.

But really, kids cost money, from birth . and whether pregnancy was planned or unplanned i think you should expect to be paying out a good whack of money to keep them alive and comfortable. I get that formula is necessary but so is proper food after weaning and that has shot up in price too over the last few years. At £10 a tin over 5 days i dont think it is very expensive. £14 a week to feed your child- how much do you spend on food for yourself for a week?

LondonMan Sun 07-Jul-13 20:13:17

There are waves of buying from China that mean there's a shortage of supply. Several times in the past year or two all supermarkets near us have been sold out of Cow & Gate (which is what we use.) The nursery we use have a notice up about how they are having difficulty buying because there's rationing by suppliers to prevent bulk buying.

Given this, it's a surprise the price hasn't gone up in the last three years. Was £7.50 three years ago, seems to be £8 now. (If they have any.)

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:13:32

As the lone parent of 2 children earning £8k a year yes i have a bit of an idea bridget thanks hmm

Ive done the cloth nappies, bfing, borrowed buggies, selling my furniture to eat - i know how hard it is- im still doing it.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 07-Jul-13 20:14:12

In countries where more promotion of formula is allowed (such as bogof deals etc) prices are higher.

Formula prices are not determined by some big breastfeeding conspiracies. They are set to maximise formula companies profits.

mrsjay Sun 07-Jul-13 20:15:58

a tin of sma was £6 odds in 1998 so I guess it is inflation shock though we were on low income in 93 so got milk free for dd1

PeachActiviaMinge Sun 07-Jul-13 20:17:23

£10 per person per week if we can afford that much if not it regularly dips to £5 like right now when we are on a sanction from benefits and DH needs to be able to attend a4e and job interviews.

ShowOfHands Sun 07-Jul-13 20:19:42

15k a year isn't that low an income is it? DH was earning less than this when we had our first and I became a SAHM. I remained a SAHM too and have been for a few years now. It's tough, I don't deny it, of course it is. But it's manageable if you're savvy.

I think the behaviour of formula companies is atrocious. They're sneaky, underhand gits and of course, driven entirely by profit. I do also appreciate that £10pw to feed a baby is relatively little. These two things are mutually exclusive. They require much more food once they're older and otherwise, you'd be spending the £10pw on bfing essential cake (this is a fact, an absolute fact and nobody, but nobody is to tell dh otherwise).

willowisp Sun 07-Jul-13 20:21:50

I don't get the fuss...? Don't buy formula, breast feed (& really give it ago rather than giving up by day 2) & save the money.

And don't buy prcocessed food either, buy the ingredients & cook from first principles, while I'm at it, buy cloth nappies too.

No brainer.

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 20:26:02

Lovely idea. Not helpful when you don't make milk though.

Maryann1975 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:27:29

OP, how naive you are to believe that a formula company wants to deter you from using their product. Have you seen any advertising for formula milk, I don't think I have seen any that promote breast feeding in a positive way. All they care about is profit, unfortunately not so much about the babies they are feeding. There is big money to be made from selling formula milk and they have realised this. I am sorry that you will be filling their pockets because of a medical condition, it is really unfair and that makes me more cross with formula companies.

Parker231 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:28:30

Willowisp - you're not being very realistic - some of us don't want to bf at all and need convience food and disposable nappies as we work full time and would rather spend what free time we have with the family rather than in the kitchen or sorting out cloth nappies - get into the real world !

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:32:51

Why do you need to be in the kichen to breastfeed? confused Surely youd spend more time in the kitchen if ffeeding?

SmallSherryforMedicinal Sun 07-Jul-13 20:34:14

The percentage of women in the Nordic countries that have milk production problems is tiny.
Are we so different? Doubt it.
They just get proper help to bf, everyone does it, it's the normal thing to do.
Cows milk formula has a place of course but it's madness to think that the producers don't do it but for big profit.

RobotBananas Sun 07-Jul-13 20:36:42

What should formula cost then?

I do think formula should be banned from advertising as all, and these daft loopholes about follow on milks annoy me. But then I don't suppose that would result in a cheaper product due to lack of advertising costs, would it.

I found it v strange that people looked down their nose at me for using cow&gate, while banging on about how much better aptamil was.

LynetteScavo Sun 07-Jul-13 20:37:00

I'm shocked at the price of a lot of things these days.

Petrol, food....

InsanelyBrainDeprived Sun 07-Jul-13 20:37:13

I breastfed my first, my second was low birth weight and I breastfed him but from day one the midwives at the hospital pushed formula top ups... Needless to say he ended up a ff baby through no lack of trying. We went through approximatly one and a half tubs a week at 9.97 a tub. Definately expensive considering how much it costs to feed a small child from scratch.

There should be some provision for babies that need to be ff in my opinion.

AlbertaCampion Sun 07-Jul-13 20:40:25

Parker231 ah, I see now. When I breastfed, cooked and put my baby in cloth nappies, despite working full-time, it wasn't for financial reasons at all. It was because I'd rather have done those things than spend time with my family. hmm

InsanelyBrainDeprived Sun 07-Jul-13 20:40:41

I also looked into cloth nappies and they are expensive too! Liners, appropriate size nappies, detergent and tumble drying during wet/cold weather can all add up.

Parker231 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:40:59

Imnotbloody14 - we use a proportion of convience food to save time. To us the advantage of ff as oppose to bf was that we could both do the feedings (and anyone else who was around) and take turns at night. My job is very full on and broken sleep each night would have been a nightmare. The cost of the formula was factored into our budget when deciding to start a family.

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:45:34

Well yes parker there are nice advantages to ff- however if the cost of ff is something you object to ( which is what willowisp was responding to) then it isnt unrealistic to sugget bfing

VivaLeBeaver Sun 07-Jul-13 20:46:51

I wonder if some people who are skint don't bother with formula and use normal milk?

I remember years ago a baby died as it was been weaned on Smash rather than baby food due to costs.

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:49:51

Id say there are some who feel forced to reduce the amount of baby milk they are giving due to cost sad

freemanbatch Sun 07-Jul-13 20:51:14

DD2 needed formula top ups to catch her up after she lost a lot of weight in the first few weeks and we got in on prescription, didn't cost a penny. I breastfed and she only had one formula feed a day but there are arrangements for babies who are found to need some formula.

Formula is expensive but I can't say the cost was something I took into account when I chose to breastfeed.

Parker231 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:52:10

I agree formula is expensive but as i never considered bf we knew that we would be paying for formula for 12 months - although twins wasn't part of the master plan !

KingRollo Sun 07-Jul-13 20:52:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

girliefriend Sun 07-Jul-13 20:55:36

It was partly the cost of formula that made me persevere with bf!! I used to think when I was knackered and tired and wanted my body back - at least this is free!! grin So if that is their reason - it worked for me!!

Agree with all the posters who point out that babies in comparison to children are cheap though. However now dd is 7yo I spend less on clothes as the clothes she wears last longer, obv no nappies, wipes, baby essentials, food wise I don't notice a massive difference apart from having to buy a few extra bits for pack lunches etc. So in some ways it feels like I spend less on her that I did when she was a baby.

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:57:14

Babies/ pregnancies rarely do stick to any sort of plan grin

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 07-Jul-13 21:03:53

I dont think its expensive, even high end brands at £10 last nearly a week and you cant feed anybody but a baby on that low amount a week. Wait until they are at school or teens if you bulk at paying £10 a week for food.

It always suprises me when people moan about the cost of having chidren or say the state dont pay them enough in CB, benefits etc. Its not like its unknown that childrn cost money, most sensible people ensure they have savings to cover the early years and ensure the houseshold income can take the exoense of another person/s.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 07-Jul-13 21:06:32

Reusable nappies are only prohibitivly expensive if you fall for the hype about brands. In 20 years I've spent about £100 on nappies as well as being given £50 worth of trendy nappies as a gift and they have done so far more than 10 kids.

Formula has always been about the same price taking into account food costs in general and its often one of the reasons given for breast feeding along with the many health related reasons.

Souredstones Sun 07-Jul-13 21:07:49

I'm not going into this blindly. I have junior school age children I know how much children cost.

It's not about state help. It's about the affordability of a product that is for some a medical essential and needs input from some governing body or other to knock it back to a sensible price

Talkinpeace Sun 07-Jul-13 21:09:34

Having just done a quick check, I am depressed that the Supermarkets no longer do "own brand" milk as they did when my two were little

LookMaw Sun 07-Jul-13 21:10:54

The price of formula was pretty much my main motivation to BF. Well, that and DM's insistence that I would fail because she "didn't have any milk". (not saying you did OP, just that DM can be a toxic bitch sometimes).

I was a skint student so shelling out all this money for formula, bottles, energy to sterilise etc just wasn't an option.

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 21:12:44

Well food is medically essential op, baby milk is just one item of food and for those on low income there are vouchers towards the cost of it.

tapdancingelephant Sun 07-Jul-13 21:13:53

agree with sockreturningpixie re: nappies.

I have spent a total of £200 (am impressed by your total, sock grin), and they have so far done 4 children, and are on their fifth and showing no signs of letting me down at all.

Obviously there has been washing costs over the years, but I have never tumble dried nappies, so no extra cost there.

I think it is very easy to fall into doing as expected to by large sections of society (namely large scale manufacturers who want to part you from your hard earned cash!), and go along with it without realising full cost implications (am talking about things like nappies/wipes here, not ff vs bf).

we are comfortably off, but I would hate to have to find an extra £10-£15/week for things that I would just be throwing in the bin.

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 21:16:52

Cloth nappies can also be resold to get back a bit of the cost. I gave mine to a MNer when done so they didnt cost her anything to buy and she can sell them on once done.

ImNotBloody14 Sun 07-Jul-13 21:18:54

I agree that it is very easy to just buy lots of stuff because its what we are being told we need. Like those lists they put in emma's sodding diary of what equipment you need to buy. We can do with far less if we want to or if we have no choice but to.

GoshAnneGorilla Sun 07-Jul-13 21:19:01

I do wish we could have a discussion relating to ff-Ing without someone saying "Just breastfeed then".

Some women ff. Get over it.

OP I do agree there should be gov't funded formula. Cue howls of outrage.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 07-Jul-13 21:32:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

parkin2010 Sun 07-Jul-13 21:36:16

Willowisp how patronising is that?

PixelAteMyFace Sun 07-Jul-13 21:37:50

In the country where I live, formula costs the equivalent of 13 pounds per tin. At four months old my DGS was getting through two and a half tins per week.

This is a country where the average salary is 600 pounds per month and the minimum wage is just under 300 pounds.

There are many babies here who are never given formula because their parents can`t afford it, so they are given normal cows` milk, sometimes from a very young age if the mother has difficulty breastfeeding.

Shellywelly1973 Sun 07-Jul-13 22:38:40

I was just thinking if formula is so expensive, do some parents end up using cows milk earlier then the recommended 12 months?

Im ancient but my mum put all of us on cows milk & sugar at 3 months!!

SignoraStronza Mon 08-Jul-13 00:09:32

Cow & Gate and Aptimil are the same btw. Both owned by Dannone - responsible for some pretty heinous marketing activity in countries where there is little access to clean water supplies and a tin of formula costs most of a weekly salary.

Formula is so much cheaper here than elsewhere in Europe. Where I used to live, people used to go over the border to Switzerland to buy it at a (slightly) reduced price.

Wasn't an option for me (tightwad ex and no-one to leave dc1 with to give me a 'break' anyway) and thankfully bf worked out ok.

Wbdn28 Mon 08-Jul-13 00:42:38

YANBU. It's pretty unfair on those such as yourself who'd have loved to have breastfed and are having to pay a premium on being unable to do so.

WestieMamma Mon 08-Jul-13 00:54:51

while I'm at it, buy cloth nappies too.

Why?

Cravingdairy Mon 08-Jul-13 00:57:26

Cloth nappies involve an extra wash every couple of days. If you have two in nappies obviously it would be more. But it's hardly a massive time commitment.

WestieMamma Mon 08-Jul-13 00:57:42

The percentage of women in the Nordic countries that have milk production problems is tiny.
Are we so different? Doubt it.
They just get proper help to bf, everyone does it, it's the normal thing to do.

No everyone doesn't do it. I'm in a Nordic country. Only 1 mum from my ante-natal group is breastfeeding.

AudrinaAdare Mon 08-Jul-13 01:28:26
KingRollo Mon 08-Jul-13 08:04:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Crowler Mon 08-Jul-13 09:23:22

Formula companies exist to make money. Why should it be specifically regulated? Food is already regulated.

There is some small percentage of women who are physically unable to produce milk at all or in sufficient quantity (like 5%) and it makes sense, given the fact that we do live in a welfare state, to subsidize formula for these mothers.

WestieMamma Mon 08-Jul-13 09:42:05

What about those who are unable to breastfeed for other reasons?

SaucyJack Mon 08-Jul-13 09:50:26

YABU. All commercially produced food is extortionate these days. I don't see why babies would get a free meal ticket.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Mon 08-Jul-13 09:50:28

LOL at the idea that it's expensive to 'encourage breast feeding'. grin

That's the last thing formula manufacturers want to encourage...!

They want you to formula feed and they want you spend as much as they can possibly get away with wringing out of you, so as to line their big fat pockets to kingdom come and back.

MiaowTheCat Mon 08-Jul-13 10:10:30

It's so expensive because they have to crush baby fairies and make small puppies cry to put the tears in there... or because their extensive brainwashing programme of not having biohazard flashing signs on the boxes costs a fortune. Oh and the cost should be raised to £100 a tin because that will teach those who claim they can't breastfeed won't it?! (Have I covered all the bases here - although certain posters aren't here yet but will be magnetically attracted to this thread when they log on and spend ten hours informing us all of the evil of formula)

It costs what it costs. None of it - formula, clothes, nappies, toys - all the potential (key word here) "running costs" of a baby are actually as eyewateringly scary when you're just there and getting on with life as they look when you're standing back before you have the baby adding up the numbers. You're looking at a really expensive patch with formula around the 6 month mark when they're on large feeds and before milk intake starts to taper off as weaning progresses and probably a carton and a bit a week then... before that point and after that point getting toward the year mark things are nowhere near as bad and you're likely to get over a week out of a carton. Possibly add in a little bit extra if you're ending up buying ready to use cartons for going out and about (I used them to minimise faff and fussing with DD1 - they're about 65p each or so now - they were 62p when we were buying them regularly)

For what it's worth - I'd take having the formula bill over having the monthly fight with our GP to get DD2's specialist formula prescribed - that whole process has put us through such hell my mental health is shredded and I've got a fairly stinking case of depression as a result (I currently finally have a repeat - but battle will have to resume next month on that front and I feel sick at the prospect!)... at one point I was sobbing to the HV begging her to find SOME bloody solution I could buy myself rather than have to beg the GP for the ability to feed my child (I will not be justifying the reasons breastfeeding failed - and it was the process as a whole that failed, not me, not the baby, hence that choice of terminology - here before anyone starts)

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 08-Jul-13 10:19:34

parkin2010 Sun 07-Jul-13 21:36:16
Willowisp how patronising is that?

Precisely what I thought.

I also failed to bf as I didn't produce any milk. Even the midwives at the breast feeding clinic admitted that DS 'stripped me of milk' then fell asleep as he had no reason to feed as there wasn't anything there. Turns out I had an under active thyroid but didn't get diagnosed until a year later. DS is allergic to dairy and on prescription formula now anyway.

I resent anyone that thinks they have the right to tell someone they should have tried harder. Piss off.

maternitart Mon 08-Jul-13 10:22:48

Audrina you made me do a LOL. That baby's so young I can still see a thin sheen of vernix on its head.

I BF and think I probably spend almost as much on cake as I would on formula. Cake for me, not baby, that is. I need those extra calories! So not sure it is much cheaper (although I am slim and eat cake so woo).

Eskino Mon 08-Jul-13 10:36:58

Yep, I can really see this capitalist Tory government funding cheap formula for the families on low incomes to help feed their babies.

AudrinaAdare Mon 08-Jul-13 10:42:36

Ha at vernix grin

When I was feeding DS who wouldn't touch any other milk for a year, I kept KitKats in my bedside drawer and inhaled them at night, I was so hungry. Stayed slim but that will end up costing a fortune in dental fees. And they are made by Nestle. I'm a crap BF nazi blush

sheeplikessleep Mon 08-Jul-13 10:43:08

YANBU to be shocked at the cost.
It is a disgrace, but as others have said, they charge the highest price they can pay, to sell the maximum number of packs, to generate the most profit.
The marketing spend / budget for the likes of Danone is astronomical.

Kendodd Mon 08-Jul-13 10:49:35

I think FM is only available on prescription in Sweden (I may be wrong) maybe that's the way to go and then nobody would have to pay for it.

Anyway is £10/£12 a week really a lot to feed your child? It'll cost you a lot more when they start eating real food.

StinkyElfCheese Mon 08-Jul-13 11:01:37

when the twins were born I assumed I would bf them as I had with my DD, and had no idea about the cost of fomula .... both dt's had very bad toungue tie and we had zero support in trying to help them feed. In the hospital there was a bf support worker but she spent 2 hours with the woman in the bed oppersite us ignoring us and our plees for help despite me and the babies trying and failing to get them feeding.

The hospital insisted they went onto 'top up' fomula .. even at BF clinics and we went to quite a few we were told they wont feed and we should just ff.

we spent £80 - £100 a month just on fomula for the first year, and every time I bought a tin I always felt I had failed my boys as I really wanted to feed them sad

Wbdn28 Mon 08-Jul-13 11:13:20

Applauds MiaowTheCat

WestieMamma Mon 08-Jul-13 11:15:43

I think FM is only available on prescription in Sweden (I may be wrong) maybe that's the way to go and then nobody would have to pay for it.

It's available in the supermarket, just like in the UK.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 08-Jul-13 11:22:43

WestieMamma - I am rather enjoying your posts, as the Nordic countries are always touted on here as magical havens filled with breastfeeding mothers. Very interesting to hear this isn't quite the case.

PeachActiviaMinge Mon 08-Jul-13 11:39:44

Are the people saying it will cost more when they eat real food ignoring my post about feeding 3 people on £15 a week right now? I had to cut back on our food as we just don't have the money for more but it costs that to feed baby alone.

WestieMamma Mon 08-Jul-13 11:44:36

I still watch UK tv and see the Nordic countries being touted as some sort of heaven on earth. It makes me laugh as the reality is often very, very different.

Like the tories at the moment aspiring to have an education system like the Swedish one which is apparently so much better, what with all the privately run state schools and the top grades children get. What they don't seem to notice, or choose to ignore, is that children are graded by their teachers not by national exams. There are only national exams in maths, Swedish and English but even then teachers have the discretion to adjust the grades if they don't match with what they think the child should have got. The Daily Mail would implode if they tried to bring that in in the UK. grin

Although to be fair, I do see a lot more breastfeeding mothers when out and about here than I did in the UK. But it really isn't everyone.

fairimum Mon 08-Jul-13 12:01:17

I would have loved to have BF, but I had pre-eclampsia with each pregnancy, resulting in organ failure, emergency c-sections, premature babies and then blood pressure that gave me postnatal pre-eclampsia and required medication that wasn't safe to breast feed on to save my life... so despite weeks of expressing I still couldn't breast feed...

Justfornowitwilldo Mon 08-Jul-13 12:07:10

It's pretty amazing that anyone could believe that 'they've put the price up to deter formula feeding'.

The companies are in it for profit. The profit margins on formula are huge.

The price is high because it has to fund all the promotion / wooing of HCP's / marketing. It's not high because of any kind of anti-ff tax. hmm

Wallison Mon 08-Jul-13 12:09:34

All food is expensive these days, not just formula. The price of everything has gone up. Should the govt also make govt-produced bread and sell it cheaper than supermarkets? After all, there aren't many ingredients and it isn't hard to make.

Justfornowitwilldo Mon 08-Jul-13 12:16:19

Ok. Take your example of bread. Imagine that the bread manufacturers got together and decided that they would set their price at between £6 and £7 a loaf. Even though the cost of making it was 15p.

MiaowTheCat Mon 08-Jul-13 12:17:45

I did actually sob to DH when breastfeeding failed with DD1 that I was sorry I was going to cost the family a fortune. Few weeks down the line - we honestly didn't notice the formula cost in with everything else in the shopping trolley anyway. Similar with nappies - I remember metaphorically shitting my pants when I started to look at the cost of nappies and baby food when pregnant - you really just don't notice it once they're here and you're onto something that's working for you.

If you really want to be shocked - start adding up the costs of SHOES!

Justfornowitwilldo Mon 08-Jul-13 12:21:47

I can only imagine that the OP got confused about the 'no promotion' rule for formula made for babies under 6 months. That only means they can't discount it from it's usual price, offer BOGOFs or give reward vouchers (Tesco clubcard points, nectar points, Boots points). It has nothing to do with that usual price that the manufacturers choose to sell it at.

Wallison Mon 08-Jul-13 12:24:12

I just can't get aerated about it when a) 95% of babies don't need it so for the majority who buy it it's a discretionary spend; b) people on low incomes get help towards the cost of it and everyone else earning less than £50k gets child benefit as an income top-up anyway; and c) that's how capitalism works. I don't much like it but there are other things about capitalism that I absolutely despise that actually cause massive inequality and hardship, and no-one seems to give a damn about them.

Chunderella Mon 08-Jul-13 12:24:15

Quite right GoshAnneGorilla. No doubt the more unhelpful contributors to this thread would be spitting venom if someone posted about problems they have with bf and was advised to switch to formula instead. Which is exactly the same thing.

Anyway OP yanbu. A huge percentage of the cost of a tub of formula goes towards marketing costs, which is why MN ought to get behind a campaign to ban advertising. The vast majority of British parents feed some formula at some point, nearly all, so it would benefit virtually all the parenting population as a whole. Those few who never use formula with any child are often very opposed to formula marketing anyway, so many of them would support it too. The posts telling you that you should have budgeted for this are missing the point. I can easily afford formula and could do so at three times the price, but it doesn't stop me from objecting to the fact that prices are hiked up to cover marketing costs- particularly those which are not exactly uber-ethical. It absolutely baffles me that some posters will, in the same train of thought, complain about predatory marketing tactics in the developing world and tell you you're BU for being annoyed about the inflated costs in the developed world that go towards funding these campaigns.

The posts about the cost of other foodstuffs are also entirely missing the point. Babies young enough to consume all or mainly formula are a captive market. If bread went up to a fiver a loaf, most of us would be able to seek alternative sources of food. Not so with formula. And the fact is that some people do manage to feed an older child or adult for less than the cost of formula, as posters who have actually read the thread properly will understand. There is simply no comparison to be made between a baby and an older child or adult in this regard.

Justfornowitwilldo Mon 08-Jul-13 12:24:48

In some countries the cost of formula for a month is half an average monthly wage. The pricing and profit levels and the fact that once you start using it you have no choice but to keep using it to feed your baby is why the rules exist.

Wallison Mon 08-Jul-13 12:28:11

I agree that the price in developing countries is a scandal, btw.

Crowler Mon 08-Jul-13 13:05:40

The posts about the cost of other foodstuffs are also entirely missing the point. Babies young enough to consume all or mainly formula are a captive market. If bread went up to a fiver a loaf, most of us would be able to seek alternative sources of food. Not so with formula.

What about the other formula companies? Are you suggesting that there's collusion going on?

Chunderella Mon 08-Jul-13 13:36:31

Really interesting question crowler. I think the first point to be made here is that there aren't a lot of formula companies operating in the UK. You have Dannone with Aptamil and Cow and Gate, then Nestle with SMA, and Earthcare for Hipp Organic. I don't think there are any other mainstream ones? The specialised medicated ones are obviously a different kettle of fish. So that's only three anyway, and it's always easier to control a market when you're one of a couple of big providers instead of there being lots of smaller ones. I don't think there's a price fixing cartel as such, as there's such a variation in prices, but would imagine they all keep an eye on what each other charge and what increases they can get away with. But even if they don't do this at all, they're in competition with each other wrt marketing. If SMA launches a big campaign and that results in a 5% market share increase, the others have to look at spending more on advertising too, no?

Crowler Mon 08-Jul-13 13:46:02

I will admit to not having ever been a big formula user. That being said, the cans of formula I have bought were generic, in the US, and about 10 years ago.

Is there not a generic formula market in the UK? If not, this is indeed interesting to the point that it's lurking in the back of my head as a business opportunity.

DontmindifIdo Mon 08-Jul-13 14:41:07

I'm always surprised by the idea that Aptimel is 'premium' milk, I think they do seem to have a 'heritage' reputation from when formula milk was very different between the different brands but I believe EU legislation has pretty much standardised it now so there's little difference in what you are getting for your money - is that right or is there a big difference in quality?

I am currently bfing DD but with some formula top ups now, I've compared Aptimel and SMA prices, and while the price per tin seems very different, when you compare the price per 100grams the price difference was 1p, which isn't a lot over a large tin, do they just make up different tin sizes to give the impression of being 'cheap' formula? (when the actual formula milk is pretty much the same per bottle).

But yes, a tenner a week is expensive compared to cows milk, but a drop in the ocean when looking at the cost of raising a child.

DontmindifIdo Mon 08-Jul-13 14:46:48

Chunder - the bit about advertising is interesting, I remember reading previously about the banning of tobacco advertising, you'd think that the big brands were against it, and while they made a 'show' of being against the ban, in actual fact they found it beneficial to them, it didn't have a massive impact on customer demand, but it meant they saved a fortune in comparassion, plus it meant that it became far harder for new brands to enter the UK market. Previously, if someone else increased their advertising budget, they had to match it to keep market share. Now that had gone. In a similar way, they aren't all that upset by having to cover fags for sale, because you can't be tempted by seeing an alternative, or seeing htat it's cheaper - some people might ask for all the prices, most smokers will ask for whatever brand they normally smoke, whereas if they can see them all for sale and see the prices clearly, they might notice another brand is cheaper.

Formula companies were rather happy with the advertising ban, but then once one company did follow on milk, they all had to do the same to keep market share. If that was banned, they'd probably be happier than most people would expect.

Minifingers Mon 08-Jul-13 14:50:17

OP - the cost of formula is disgusting.

Of course though, it has NOTHING to do with breastfeeding promotion. It has everything to do with the huge marketing costs of a company which has to sell a product, the main competitor to which is superior, and free. No wonder they have to saturate the media with advertising in order to persuade mothers that their product is worth using. As Gabriella Palmer points out - markets are not made by god.

I despise the formula companies, and not ever having to buy their products was a big factor in me fully breastfeeding my children for over a year.

Would ask OP - did you ever have any help with your previous babies from someone medically trained in lactation support? Like a lactation consultant? If the answer to that is 'no' and you were reliant on the advice of non-specialist midwives, GP's and health visitors, then I'd say it might be worth seeing one to confirm that you will definitely be unable to breastfeed. Only about 2% of women can't make milk at all, and probably a further 10% might need to supplement with formula. But the vast majority of women can make milk for their babies, if they're given the right help.

Chunderella Mon 08-Jul-13 14:50:57

Me too dontmindifido, I'd never heard that idea at all until coming on MN. Mind you, I'd never actually heard of Aptamil at all before having DD. The only ones I knew about were Cow and Gate and SMA, but when I asked for formula in the hospital they didn't have either. I actually suspect it's the NHS usage more than the marketing that leads Aptamil to be seen as better by some. Hipp Organic is the most expensive, so presumably if the cost was seen as being proportionate to the quality, more people would use that?

Crowler I'm sure there's a market. Someone upthread mentioned own brand formula existing in the past, I think?

Chunderella Mon 08-Jul-13 14:52:30

Interesting points re advertising bans.

ReallyTired Mon 08-Jul-13 14:59:54

The cost of formula has nothing to do with campaigns to get mothers to breastfeed anymore than the cost of chocolate, beans, cars, diseal etc. Formula companies know that they have the mothers and babies literally over a barrel: if you don't buy baby formula then your baby dies! Baby milk is priced as high as the parents can pay.

The issue is the cartel and anti competition between formula companies. I feel the governant needs to open up competition by encouraging supermarkets to have own brand baby formula. Prehaps some of the big food companies need to be broken up just like the banks are being broken up.

To be honest, I don't think the governant should get involved with parenting decisions. (Provided that parents know where to seek support and have good ante natal classes.) Although breastmilk is the gold standard of feeding a baby there are many excellent reasons for using formula. Feeding a baby formula is not child abuse.

Minifingers Mon 08-Jul-13 22:36:39

Reallytired - a baby wouldn't die without commercial formula. Over half of all Americans were raised on homemade formula in the 1950's, and I can't imagine that they died in droves or suffered from very obvious ill-health. The recipes are all out there online still! grin

As for the government getting involved in parenting decisions - I think children's nutrition is too important an issue to be left to the vagaries of the market and to trends in lifestyle choices, choices which are primarily about the needs of adults and not children.

M0naLisa Mon 08-Jul-13 22:56:13

You only get the Healthy start vouchers at £6,20 per week if you dont receive Working Tax Credit. We find it hard and out tin is £7.99, we changed from aptamil to C&G because of the price when we started receiving WTC.

M0naLisa Mon 08-Jul-13 22:58:18

What makes me mad is that the price is high due to trying to deter parents from formula feeding but yet the companies are not allowed to advertise forumlas 1 or 2 because of promoting breast feeding. Surely if they cannot advertise those ones then the price shouldnt be so high.
They do deals on formula 3 so why not on the other ones.

maja00 Mon 08-Jul-13 23:00:08

The price isn't high to deter formula feeding - why would formula companies want to deter formula feeding?

SuffolkNWhat Mon 08-Jul-13 23:14:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ReallyTired Mon 08-Jul-13 23:22:09

formula companies WANT to make money and don't want people to breastfeed. In fact formula companies have in the past diliberately sabbortaged breastfeeding by giving women in the third world just enough baby milk to dry up their natural supply so that they are forced to use formula. (See the politics of breastfeeding by Gabrielle Palmer)

"Over half of all Americans were raised on homemade formula in the 1950's, and I can't imagine that they died in droves or suffered from very obvious ill-health"

Infant mortality is higher than it is now. There is also evidence that people in 2013 are a lot brighter than the 1950s and maybe this is due to better formula. (Ie grade inflation, more people capable of university education.)

Minifingers Tue 09-Jul-13 06:10:10

Yes - I read something about average IQ levelling off or going down when mothers switched to formula en-masse in the 1950's.

Not a life or death issue though is it?

Chunderella Tue 09-Jul-13 08:09:17

IQ scores have actually generally increased since formula consumption became widespread. Wouldn't pay too much attention to that, though, they're not exactly a failsafe predictor of intelligence and indeed are biased towards white males. Certainly people did used to use some very unsafe breast milk substitutes prior to the advent of modern formula, so I can see how the introduction would have helped. But if we are indeed smarter than we used to be, probably there are lots of reasons not just one.

Oh and regarding the OP, I assumed she meant she thought the government had set the price that high? Perhaps I read that one wrong.

skintandfedup Tue 09-Jul-13 08:38:50

... Because the formula manufacturers are milking it. Excuse the pun!

So glad I am able to bf & have never spent a penny on the stuff.

Vouchers should not be available to low income families. If you can't bf it should be available at cost price on prescription. Formula should not be marketed my multinational companies to increase profit. Breast pumps, breast pads & nursing bras should also be available at cost price.

It's not only bad for the socio-economics (of any country) but also harmful to the environment. The presidence of FF is also a major contributor to infant mortality in the developing world and childhood obesity in the west.

Rant over.

ReallyTired Tue 09-Jul-13 14:03:15

"Vouchers should not be available to low income families. If you can't bf it should be available at cost price on prescription. Formula should not be marketed my multinational companies to increase profit. Breast pumps, breast pads & nursing bras should also be available at cost price. "

Do you not think that comment is a bit extreme. Some women just don't fancy breastfeeding and that should be a perfectly acceptable reason to bottlefeed.

There are already anti competition laws that have been applied to other areas of life like banking or petrol to prevent price fixing. The inflated price of formula has nothing to do with breastfeeding.

I am quite happy for formula to be provided for free to low income families. A baby cannot choose whether it has breastmilk or formula. If a baby is going to be formula fed then it should be given the best possible formula.

Reducing the price of formula for all babies in the will not decrease breastfeeding rates. It might mean that some bottlefeeding mothers eat better and enjoy a couple of minor luxuries. (like chocolate!!)

Wallison Tue 09-Jul-13 17:15:00

^Some women just don't fancy breastfeeding and that should be a perfectly acceptable reason to bottlefeed.

Sure. But you can't then bitch and moan about the price if you're bottle-feeding because you want to. Well, you can - people can bitch and moan about whatever they want. Doesn't mean it's justified though.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 09-Jul-13 17:17:45

Very interesting that I'm sure quite a few people on here would describe themselves as pro-choice and that a woman's body is her business - except when it comes to breastfeeding.

Then, short of having her boobs bitten off by a dingo a woman has no excuse for not breastfeeding, is to not be believed if she says she couldn't breastfeed and is to be despised and condemned if (gasp) she didn't want to breastfeed.

Skint - if breastfeeding is so marvellous, women shouldn't need to be coerced into doing it.

Wallison Tue 09-Jul-13 17:27:15

I hope you're not including me in that; women can do whatever they want - no skin off my nose. But comments about formula companies having mothers over a barrel because their babies would die otherwise are a bit extreme given that the vast vast majority of mothers and babies can breastfeed. They don't have to, but it's more than a possibility and opting for formula instead is a personal and in most cases unnecessary choice. In a similar way, I chose to use disposables for my ds, even though they cost a lot more overall than cloth nappies. I didn't have to but I weighed up the pros and cons and made my decision, largely because it was more convenient, so I paid for that convenience. It was just my choice and I had to own it.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 09-Jul-13 17:31:07

Its a fact of life that some choices cost more than other options. If cost is an issue then its one of the things you need to consider when making a choice.

ReallyTired Tue 09-Jul-13 17:36:18

"
Sure. But you can't then bitch and moan about the price if you're bottle-feeding because you want to. Well, you can - people can bitch and moan about whatever they want. Doesn't mean it's justified though."

I breastfed both my children for roughly two years (first six months exclusive). (ds 33 months and dd 22 months) I have only ever bought about two tubs of formula in my life.

You know what I REALISE that I am lucky to have been able to breastfed my children for as long as I wanted to. Not every woman has the support of family and good health professionals that I had.

It is possible to have empathy for those who make different parenting choices. I have no axe to grind against mothers who don't fancy breastfeeding. I have nothing to gain from over priced formula.

The baby formula companies are criminal in their behaviour in much of the world. However mothers who either have to (or SHOCK HORROR CHOOSE to) use formula are not criminal.

BOTTLEFEEDING DOES NOT MAKE SOMEONE A BAD MOTHER!!!!

Wallison Tue 09-Jul-13 17:39:37

Never said it did. No need to shout.

I just can't get worked up about it. What happens in developing countries re formula is atrocious and should be campaigned against and I am glad there are people who are doing it. What happens here ie charging people money to buy a product while subsidising that purchase for the poorest and with everyone on less than £50k given £20/£13 a week per child from the govt ... isn't quite the same issue.

Chunderella Tue 09-Jul-13 18:17:19

It is truly incomprehensible that anyone who claims to be opposed to formula companies is ok with them making fat profits from charging exorbitant sums. There is a great big fuckoff contradiction in that attitude.

Wallison I think the over a barrel comments refer to the position women are in once their milk has dried up. The vast majority of women who have just given birth are able to do at least some breastfeeding, there is no evidence that eg women who are 3 months postpartum and have never or barely breastfed would be able to do the same. WHO guidance on relactation states that it's more likely to be possible the more breastfeeding a mother has done.

Skintandfedup actually the evidence regarding obesity is not particularly convincing. I don't know if you've seen the recent WHO review?

http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/breastfeeding_long_term_effects/en/

They found about a 10% reduction in obesity and being overweight was associated with bf, but couldn't rule out confounders. It's interesting because some countries show quite different outcomes to Britain, where there's a strong correlation between bf and social class and also an association between ff and obesity. In Brazil, on the other hand, breastfeeding isn't linked to social class and bf children don't have a reduced likelihood of obesity either. It seems to vary a lot depending on how much bf and social class are linked. In Kuwait, bf children were more likely to be obese, so I don't know what happened there. Obviously Brazil is a developing country and in any case I don't think you can make direct comparisons between different societies. But the paper is a worthwhile read if you have an interest. Especially as there's some really shit research out there too.

Just my opinion, but if bf were going to have a protective effect against anything, it would seem odd for that to be obesity. Simply because the ability to maintain your fat has been and still is an advantage in most of the world for most of human history. As a species, we've experienced more starvation than abundance, so you'd expect a certain amount of selection in favour of people who get fatter more easily. It would be odd for us to have evolved a feeding method that protected against something that's actually being advantageous for most of human history.

Chunderella Tue 09-Jul-13 18:18:55

Been advantageous, even. Like, I could see how bf might have evolved to protect against the plague or malaria or whatever, or even against starvation in reduced times. Obesity seems a bit counter-intuitive.

Wallison Tue 09-Jul-13 18:21:08

[shrug] Companies making money out of a discretionary purchase just isn't a big deal.

Souredstones Tue 09-Jul-13 18:30:03

To those advocating putting formula on prescription would that be on the parent or the child prescription - bearing in mind current prescription charges

Chunderella Tue 09-Jul-13 18:30:45

Yes it is. Additionally, once your milk has dried up this is not a discretionary purchase. It is therefore factually incorrect to characterise formula purchasing as discretionary- all but a small minority is not.

ReallyTired Tue 09-Jul-13 18:30:48

follow on milk is a fraction of the price of first stage formula. Yet follow on milk is almost the same and there is less demand for it.

I would like bottlefeeding mums to get their formula as cheaply as possible so that they have money to buy stuff like books or toys for their babies.

^ Companies making money out of a discretionary purchase just isn't a big deal.^

Come on, are you really that ignorant. Even if you feel that bottlefeeding is optional there are many women who feel forced into bottlefeeding by their cirucumstances. The babies get no say in how they are fed and surely would benefit from their family being able to afford a few luxuries.

Unfair cartels are an issue in lots of areas of life. Price fixing and formula should be investiaged.

Chunderella Tue 09-Jul-13 18:44:14

Souredstones I'm not one of those advocates, but aren't all prescriptions for mother free for a year post partum anyway? If so, it wouldn't make any difference.

Souredstones Tue 09-Jul-13 18:48:03

Ah good point. Told you it's been a while since I last did this!

Wallison Tue 09-Jul-13 19:17:56

Yes, I really am that ignorant. Poor old me.

chill13 Tue 09-Jul-13 21:47:06

I still can't get my head round the idea that formulae is a discretionary purchase. It is not. I really wanted to breastfeed my 1st child. But following a crash sectionwith ga both myself and dd were wiped out. I tried and tried with virtually no support. I was than bullied by a midwife to give dd formulae as she was apparantly jaundiced although notest was done and I was apparently starving her. No one suggested that I perservere with feeding ie mixed feeding.. At that time nine years ago formulae was £5.88 and it was quite affordable.
2 years later I sucessfully breastfed dd2.
Now have my 3rd and had to do formulae top ups at the start. No way was it discretionary. Dd was back in hospital on a drip as she was so dehydrated. The good news though id thst dispite this terrible startt breastffeding is now fully established. So op don't give up hope of breastfeeding. It could work.

TarkaTheOtter Tue 09-Jul-13 22:06:25

really the problem is that tacit collusion isn't illegal in itself (unless you believe the companies have been explicitly communicating with each other to fix prices).

I agree that competition seems limited though. I think more needs to be done to promote the information that price does not necessarily equal quality. I don't believe there is a market for generic formula in the UK as parents want to feel like they are doing the best for their children. The commonly held belief that Aptamil is "better" than C&G shows this.
I think the govt needs to realise that the current situation is that most parents ff (at least past the first few weeks) and give better information to counteract the misinformation spread/implied by formula companies.

I think what makes this politically a difficult issue is that any regulation of formula (companies) is seen as "judging" ff parents. See the comments on banning bogof deals/points/promotion which actually makes the market more competitive but is seen as punishing ff parents.

MiaowTheCat Tue 09-Jul-13 22:14:11

If we're wanting to bewail companies making a profit - let's also bewail companies making a profit from nipple shields, breast pumps, supplemental nursing systems and assorted other paraphernalia (including bottles and teats - for not everything in bottles is formula) being bought by desperate women trying to make breastfeeding work by the way... oh and paid-for lactation consultants. There's a nice little industry growing a nice little nest egg on the back of breastfeeding as well - but that's the elephant in the room that never gets spoken about.

Hell that little lot probably had as much out of me in my darkest most desperate hours than Mister Cow and Mister Gate ever did* and arguably much less of a "choice" when you're pumping around the clock desperately trying to get things to work out for weeks on end.

(*In case anyone actually assumes I am THAT stupid - I don't believe there's a Mr Cow and Mr Gate - wording chosen for my simple amusement)

ReallyTired Tue 09-Jul-13 22:19:31

I think that we need more formula companies. Prehaps Tesco, Sainsbury et al need to be encouraged to produce their own baby milk.

Big formula companies have been accused of price fixing in China.

www.euronews.com/business-newswires/2021748-danone-biostime-cut-china-infant-milk-prices-amid-probe/

Its perfectly possible that they price fix in the rest of the world.

Breastfeeding is really a red herring. This is an issue for the Office of Fair trading.

KobayashiMaru Tue 09-Jul-13 22:23:33

nappies are pricey too. As are cots and prams. Deal with it, kids cost money, and we choose to have them.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 09-Jul-13 22:48:39

If your breasts do not produce milk or enough of it then a doctor will prescribe your baby formula. This is obviously only done when a doctor is absolutely satisfied that you are physically incapable of supporting a baby (or you are taking essential medication incompatible with safe feeding). You should go to your GP after your baby is born and seek prescribed formula. Don't worry, your baby will not starve.

TarkaTheOtter Tue 09-Jul-13 22:56:07

MiaowTheCat I couldn't give a fuck about formula companies (or breast pump manufacturers) making a profit, that is oversimplifying it. I was talking about supra normal profits they receive from oligopoly, because they promote their products in a way which prevents new entrants from entering the market because brand is so important. Like with every other product for sale it would be better for society as a whole (producer and consumer surplus combined) if the market was more competitive.

The market for breastpads is actually reasonably competitive as far as I recall. Consumers understand it is a reasonably homogeneous product and competition is mainly on price rather than spurious characteristics.

Should all lactation consultants work for free then?

<kills thread with economics>

Clockers Tue 09-Jul-13 23:10:17

I have 9 month old twins who were ebf to 6 months - I have moved them over to formula for most feeds now as it was becoming increasingly difficult to feed them when out and about. A tub lasts us about 6 days - I dread to think how much it it would have cost to formula feed in the early months when they were feeding around the clock.
I have a friend who has triplets and the milk costs are huge!

Wallison Tue 09-Jul-13 23:30:24

How do the formula companies prevent new entrants from entering the market? Genuine question. Is it really impossible for someone else to start making formula and selling it for less than C&G etc do? How do they ensure that "brand is so important"? Seems rather nebulous to me.

mynameismskane Tue 09-Jul-13 23:33:15

It's right that formula is high priced. In my opinion, Women should always do their best to breast feed than choose an inferior choice such as powdered milk, a lot of the time it's abouterseverance.

mynameismskane Tue 09-Jul-13 23:33:31

*about perseverance.

Wallison Tue 09-Jul-13 23:36:20

Oh come on now, that's just nonsense. Or are you trying (unsuccessfully and without any semblance of grace, accuracy or humour) to pillory what you perceive to be other posters' opinions?

Sunnysummer Tue 09-Jul-13 23:39:27

Wallison - the barrier is that it's not easy to produce and sell something like formula. The ingredients are not the main problem, it's the research & development, manufacturing and quality control, then the ability to build a brand name that mothers trust, in an environment where you're not allowed to advertise. All of these require a lot of up front investment, and the big players are so multinational that you simply couldn't beat them on input costs unless you were also operating on a massive scale (hard to do at the start) or cutting corners (not recommended in the production of any product, but especially baby food!).

The formula companies are not actually the main ones making the brand so important, it's more about the consumers - would you trust a 'no name' brand to provide the main source of nutrition for your newborn? Especially after the scandals overseas? Naturally, most parents choose brands that they feel safer with - and this is the key barrier to entry.

TarkaTheOtter Tue 09-Jul-13 23:41:15

Wallinson By spending massive amounts on promoting the "quality" of their brand. By insinuating that by using their brand parents are giving their children the best start. If it wasn't so powerful nobody would buy aptamil over c&g. Do you think anyone would really want to buy "tesco value formula".
The big brands have years of brand recognition behind them and it's a product where consumers are very risk averse.

DuelingFanjo Tue 09-Jul-13 23:44:28

This is why they should make it prescription only and provide more support for breastfeeding mothers, then people like theop who have a genuine medical reason for to breastfeeding will be provided for and everyone else can breastfeed without problems.

Wallison Tue 09-Jul-13 23:47:18

But they do advertise. Ok, they call it 'follow-on milk' but come on every parent knows what's behind it. And I can't remember seeing any adverts for Sainsbury's or Tesco's or Aldi's etc nappies but people still buy them. So why are parents en masse trusting their babies' newborn skin to such johnny-come-latelys? Surely if there was some kind of major gouging to be done with formula, other massive players like them would be jumping onto it?

Also, you mention the scandals overseas. Isn't that all the more reason for an ethical-thinking parent in the UK not to go for one of the main formula companies and maybe try out a smaller competitor instead? To my mind it makes even more sense for parents to choose a company without a history of criminal exploitation of babies in the developing world hanging over its head.

HaroldLloyd Tue 09-Jul-13 23:52:05

I get free prescriptions. So if I wanted to formula feed then I could potentially get free milk? How would the NHS bear that cost?

How do you define "medically unable" would you have to prove it?

That's just not tenable in my opinion.

foreverondiet Wed 10-Jul-13 00:13:59

I know someone who is a doctor and she gave cows milk from a few months old. Seemed odd at the time but was before I had kids and obv never said anything. £10 a week isn't much compared to cost of feeding a child - school lunch alone costs that.

WestieMamma Wed 10-Jul-13 00:17:21

I'm intrigued by the definition of 'medically unable' too. I breastfed for 2 weeks before switching to formula. I'm autistic and have problems with hypersensitivity but I wanted to try and breastfeed. Being in Sweden I got lots of support to do it but ultimately it proved too much for me. I was reaching the point where I was dreading the baby waking up and was on the path to resenting him because of it. I agonised over the decision to stop but once I'd made it I could relax, enjoy being a mum and bond better with my baby. Would I fit the definition of 'medically unable'?

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 07:33:17

No - 'medically unable to breastfeed' only refers to physical issues.

I would like doctors and psychiatrists to take emotional trauma around breastfeeding as seriously as they would if it was disrupting any other normal physiological function, like sex, eating or going to the toilet. It won't happen though as babies getting their mothers milk isn't seen by society as something important.

Bakingtins Wed 10-Jul-13 07:41:00

I think the "scandals overseas" mentioned was referring to the formula contamination scares. Many Chinese families are now buying imported Western formula rather than chinese stuff and this has probably contributed to price rises here.

MiaowTheCat Wed 10-Jul-13 07:48:28

Aaah we've now essentially got onto breastfeeding by coercion (this stupid prescription idea)... I've got my bingo dobber here - any tired old cliche arguments we HAVEN'T had trotted out yet?

I don't believe we've quite got onto formula being Satan's nipple juice yet.

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 07:57:38

I don't think 'more support' will cut it on the breastfeeding front. It hasn't made much difference yet has it? Women in the UK still abandon breastfeeding in droves after the first few weeks.

Water will always flow downhill. Most women will do what they find easiest in relation to parenting choices, and ff babies FEED LESS, and their feeds are more easily controlled by the mother.

All the formula companies have to do is saturate the media with advertising, to create a climate where bottle feeding feels ubiquitous so it seems like the natural choice for parents.

And babies have no voice when it comes to decisions about their nutrition. Where else is there a model of success where the rights of those with no voice are up against the vested commercial interests of large multinationals, especially when those who would advocate for babies in this matter (parents) are themselves quite conflicted over the whole issue?

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 08:08:07

No miaow - talk about the inadequacies of formula should be forbidden in any discussion of how babies are fed, and the massively profitable and huge industries selling human milk substitutes. hmm

Please give over with the emotive 'devils juice' or references to people believing formula is 'evil'. T'is a childish and manipulative way to try to suppress reasonable comment on the issue.

ReallyTired Wed 10-Jul-13 09:05:50

If someone had to be prescribed formula then that would be wasting the time of health professionals. The biggest cost of a prescription is the GP's time in assessing the right medication. Many GPs would be quite happy to prescribe formula on pychological grounds. ie. Happy mother = happy baby.

A GP prescribing formula would cost £30 for ten minutes of GP time as well as the cost of formula. Frankly I think that a child with a perforated ear drum or an elderly person with bad shingles needs the GP more than a mother who needs "permission" to give up breastfeeding. (Unless ofcourse the mother needs anti depressants because she has had such a wretched time with breastfeeding!)

As I have said previously, using formula is a legitamate parenting decision. I see no point in judging someone's reasons for using formula.

The fact that formula is completely over priced is not a breastfeeding issue. I would like our governant to take action on this matter just as the Chinese govenant has.

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 09:22:05

"I see no point in judging someone's reasons for using formula."

If it is legal - it is - then parents have a right to make this choice without interference from health professionals.

Parents will continue to make suboptimal choices for their babies and children. You can't legislate against these, even those which put children at real risk of harm, like smoking in pregnancy. Not unless you want to live in a police state that is.

Chunderella Wed 10-Jul-13 09:27:53

Assuming DuelingFanjo isn't taking the piss...

I shan't bother pointing out the active immorality of attempting to force women into breastfeeding, as it would clearly be wasted on you, so let's just walk through the reasons why prescription only formula is a bad idea:

1. Formula companies would try even harder than they do now to influence healthcare professionals. If you think the NHS is weak at feeding advice now, just wait until the companies have no other UK market.

2. There would inevitably be people who got hold of formula who didn't use it to feed the baby, perhaps those few who managed to satisfy a GP that they couldn't bf. Some of them would flog it, as there would doubtless be parents who wanted formula and couldn't get it. You'd create a black market.

3. Some babies would end up being fed less suitable substitutes. There will be, and always have been, women who just don't want to bf. Particularly in a culture where some people (wrongly) find it actively disgusting. This is happening already, actually, in very low income families. We know what happens when women who want formula find it impossible to come by. Your way will take this pilot study we already have going on, and apply it across a much bigger population.

Let's also look at why the claim that everyone could and would just breastfeed if there were no formula on the market is bollocks. Throughout recorded history, there have been women who didn't want to breastfeed. This is not surprising. There are good reasons for this. For most women it is painful at least initially, for some it is never not painful (even extended bfers like Mayim Bialik). It ties a woman to her baby, in a way that some women inevitably will find unacceptable. It requires the mother to be the one doing all the night time feeds. Someone will no doubt come along to tell us bf mums get more sleep than ff mums on average, which may well be true, but it isn't for ff mums who have partners that actually help. Minifingers got it right- ff is just plain easier sometimes, it offers some advantages that bf doesn't, and of course some women will always wish to access these. Also bf is something you and baby both have to learn, which after a long and painful labour is simply too much for some. Bear in mind that we are now more likely to emerge from a long and traumatic labour holding a live baby than has ever been the case in the past. Ultimately, there were women utilising artificial feeding methods on a grand scale even pre formula (read a bit of urban C19 history) so of course there are going to be plenty who do it when there's an improved option.

Oh and lastly, talk about the inadequacies of formula ought to be based on actual scientific evidence and what it says. Which for a start, would mean honesty about the difference between association and causation, and would also require admittance that inequality affects health in a myriad of ways. We are certain that ff babies do less well than bf babies generally, we are not remotely certain why.

Crowler Wed 10-Jul-13 10:03:41

I agree with Minifingers for the most part.

It is the aim of formula companies is indeed to make formula ubiquitous. That's obvious. The fact that it's so commonly used and it so inferior to mother's milk is a victory of marketing; I must admit I find it strange when people agonize over things like when they should turn their baby's car seat around to be forward facing and also give their baby formula (electively). Where is the consistency in that?

There's only a small percentage of women who are physically unable to breastfeed; it's obviously over-reported, which quite likely leads to the animosity you see on threads like this from women who are frustrated by being accused of just not trying hard enough. Likewise, there are women who have ultimately breastfed successfully through great pain, strife and inconvenience and quite possibly resent the implication that they're just lucky.

Crowler Wed 10-Jul-13 10:04:05

Making formula available by prescription only is madness, IMO.

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 10:05:16

"Which for a start, would mean honesty about the difference between association and causation, and would also require admittance that inequality affects health in a myriad of ways. We are certain that ff babies do less well than bf babies generally, we are not remotely certain why."

I think Chunderella it's a bit unfair to imply that current medical views on the risks associated with using non-human milk for babies are by and large unreliable because research doesn't control for social disadvantage (which at least in the UK tends to go hand in hand with formula feeding from birth). All the studies NHS recommendations on infant feeding are based on control for parental income/education/social class and smoking.

I also don't think it's rocket science to work out why babies who get no breast milk on the whole do worse than babies who get breast milk. Babies are born with immature immune systems, and human milk is 'designed' to help ameliorate the risks of this by providing the baby with additional immunity. It's not a 'boost' - it's what babies are intended by nature to have. Young babies who don't have access to the anti-infective properties of breast milk are more likely to contract infections.

But I will agree that there are some problems in much of the research done in the last two decades, the main one being the failure of most of it to rigorously control for formula use in breastfeeding mothers. I suspect that the categorisation of mainly formula fed babies as breastfed in so much of the literature is part of what accounts for these studies not finding more striking differences between health outcomes for breast and formula fed babies.

And do we really need complex research to explain why exclusively ff babies suffer massively more from constipation, vomiting, thrush and stomach upsets than exclusively breastfed babies? Unlike health problems like chest infections and ear infections (also significantly higher in ff babies) poor housing and parental smoking are not really significant factors in these illnesses are they?

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 10-Jul-13 10:20:06

Reducing it to formula on prescription only for those physically unable to breastfeed is anti-feminist, surely? Removing a woman's choice over what to do with her body at a basic level, and potentially harming her emotional and mental health. No one would argue that breastmilk isn't better. It is, fundamentally, better for the baby. I've read all the arguments about why it is better, and I do believe it offers many many things that formula doesn't. But that is just one part of a bigger picture surely? I know, from a personal point of view, that when weighed up against the damage breastfeeding was doing to my relationship with my son and with my own body, breastmilk might have been better for my son, but it wasn't so good as to out weigh the negatives. Combined with a happier less unstable me, formula was good enough. And that's what is comes down to. Are the benefits to the baby > than the damage to the mother? Unless you happen to be the mother in that situation, then your opinion means jack shit.

Souredstones Wed 10-Jul-13 10:28:25

Wow we are already talking about 'suboptimal' and 'inferior' way to make women like me feel good about our decisions!

The fact remains that these companies have cornered the market and have a 'name your price' over us. That is the issue that isn't right. Not the issue of more support (that won't make me produce milk, trust me) that's a red herring

Chunderella Wed 10-Jul-13 10:28:52

Minifingers basically poverty and inequality are huge factors in poor health, and we don't know how big. The latter, in particular, is only just beginning to be looked at really. The new thinking is that it isn't merely being poor that makes people more likely to be ill, but also being at the bottom end of an unequal society. With this in mind, in a very unequal country like Britain and one where the bf rates amongst the very poorest are spectacularly low, yes does indeed mean that we need much more than we have now to be able to ascribe the problems to formula use. Association and causation are not the same thing. Additionally, we also know that education around proper formula preparation is poor. The number of posters on here who think it's safe to use cool boiled water is horrifying. There seems a fair chance that this is responsible for at least some of the stomach issues (obviously parents lie so it may be that we can't know how much).

I agree that recall bias is a problem in research done, but probably not as big an issue as the poverty and inequality factors, and the small size of the ebf group. In the millennium cohort survey (bit out of date now though) of the parents in manual occupations group, if you extrapolate their results across the population, only a few hundred babies were ebf at 6 months. Out of over 600,000 born that year. And they didn't even consider the long term unemployed, whose rates are probably even lower. So of course such a tiny sample size makes any conclusions less reliable. For which I don't blame the researchers, they could hardly force working class women to bf at gunpoint.

Bf advocates are on stronger ground with regards to benefits to the mother. For example, the risk of ovarian cancer is reduced the more you bf. The less you ovulate, the lower your risk, so obviously anything you engage in that reduces your number of ovulations- like bf- is going to reduce the risk. So we can show causation here, not just association. Breastfeeding lowers rates of ovarian cancer and we would have less of it if more of us breastfed for longer.

HaroldLloyd Wed 10-Jul-13 11:24:42

Crowler I agree with your post in the main but having decided to use formula which could be for a myriad of reasons I don't agree it's odd that you should take the usual care over other decisions.

Especially car safety. You don't hear many people saying well I decided to use formula so I thought fuck it just as well put the baby on the roof rack.

Wbdn28 Wed 10-Jul-13 12:03:07

So you need formula today as for whatever genuine reason breastfeeding isn't working out. Ring the doctor for an appointment. "You can come in 2 weeks, we're busy until then". Completely unworkable.

ReallyTired Wed 10-Jul-13 12:14:34

I think its pointless talking about bottlefeeding being sub optimal or inferior. A baby lives in a family and everyone's needs to be taken into consideration. If breastfeeding issues are causing postnatal depression then it may well better to switch to formula as severe depression affects the quality of parenting.

I don't want a GP deciding who has a geniune reason for using formula as it would damage the GP relationship.

DontmindifIdo Wed 10-Jul-13 12:47:20

This is interesting as I'm currently trying to make a choice about continuing to breast feed, DD is 5 weeks old and while it's not hurting anymore, I am far from enjoying breast feeding. I've introduced a couple of bottles of formula and already the relief is clear, I have a couple of 'breaks' a day. Honestly I think I'll stop completely at some point in the next month, but perhaps using formula for a couple of feeds will be enough to help me keep going. I breast fed DS for 5 months so know I can do it, but for some reason, I found it nicer feeding him - perhaps it was that he fed for longer with larger gaps in between than DD does, or that as he was my first born I didn't have another DC to worry about and could just feed when it suited him(and yes, if i go onto formula, DH will do some night feeds, so even if it takes more time than breast feeding, it's not me who'll have to do it all).

However if I had to go to the doctor and had to say I couldn't breast feed, the temptation would be to give up all together sooner, rather than just do top ups. Having to get a prescription forces it to be an 'all or nothing' discussion - and so many woman I know had to start their DCs on formula and then get BFing established, but currently those combination feeders are a private issue, you don't have to announce your feeding choices to a medical professional and make it official.

And this is all rather assuming that all woman can be and want to be SAHMs for a full year until their DC is old enough to go on cows milk. A lot of woman who are perfectly capable of breast feeding stop and move to formula when they return to work. You only get SMP for 8 months, assume you take a few weeks off before your baby's born then it's perfectly normal to be returning to work when your baby is 7 months old, far too young to go the whole day without either breast milk or formula. I know many woman who've returned to work at 4-5 months, and that trend may increase now fathers can take some of the maternity leave. What about those babies?

I know that this is slightly off topic OP, but I just wanted to point out that it IS 9 years since you were last pregnant and you may find that breastfeeding is actually a viable option for you this time round. Your body may well react differently this time round. That doesn't mean that you SHOULD try it again, just that you COULD.
With regards to the cost of formula milk, I just think that it's a cost that would be parents need to factor into their equations, along with everything else that their DCs are going to need over the next 18 years.

Crowler Wed 10-Jul-13 14:29:49

HaroldLloyd, I thought it was obvious I wasn't talking about strapping a baby to the roof of a car.

I think it's strange when new parents (as most do) agonize over every baby protocol imaginable such as when can a baby sleep on its stomach, when can the carseat be turned facing forward, can the baby have a bumper on its crib, etc - whilst feeding this same baby formula. This strikes me as a marketing triumph.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 10-Jul-13 14:34:14

Unless they agonised over that decision too, as quite a lot of women do.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 10-Jul-13 14:38:15

How do you know it was a choice? You are making a big assumption.

maternitart Wed 10-Jul-13 14:39:20

dontmind I will be returning to work and plan to express. Usually by 4/5 months feeding has settled into a routine so it's fairly easy to predict how many feeds they'll have.

Also, I would love a "break" but given I'm solely responsible for DS during his waking hours minus maybe 30 minutes, I'm not sure how formula would help! Having a break depends much more on having supportive people around than on feeding bottle or breast. I know quite a few FFing mums who do every feed plus all bottle washing etc.

Crowler Wed 10-Jul-13 14:42:50

Pobble, in my earlier post, I did say "electively".

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 14:57:31

"And this is all rather assuming that all woman can be and want to be SAHMs for a full year until their DC is old enough to go on cows milk."

I went back to work when dd was 5 weeks old, and was still breastfeeding 17 months later.

Most women around the world breastfeed - they have no choice. Most women work. They have no choice. It's only in countries where women have paid maternity leave that you see astonishingly high rates of ff. Because those are the women who can afford to buy formula. And even in the UK the women who are most likely to breastfeed are also those most likely to return to work. Those women who are least likely to breastfeed are the least likely to work after having children, or indeed to ever have worked.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 10-Jul-13 14:58:13

I suppose I would look at the word 'elective' like 'elective c-sections'. Choices are all about weighing up the pros and cons. If you've got all the info and decide not to bf, or not to carry on bf even though you have had good support, then that is your choice and not my place to give a shiny shit about.

If you have chosen not to bf because of mis-information (either about bfing or about formula), or have given up bfing because of a lack of support, then those are issues that are worth getting worked up about.

I only know one person who has not even contemplated the idea of breastfeeding, and if I'm honest that is indicative of her general personality, upbringing and social group.

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 15:06:41

"I think its pointless talking about bottlefeeding being sub optimal or inferior. A baby lives in a family and everyone's needs to be taken into consideration. If breastfeeding issues are causing postnatal depression then it may well better to switch to formula as severe depression affects the quality of parenting."

If a mother's pnd is simply caused by bf and cured by switching to ff then I should imagine it is better on the whole for him or her to be bottlefed (though of course it's hard to say this categorically, as some ff babies will experience illness they might have dodged by being breastfed. Depressed or not depressed, it's never a good experience looking after a poorly baby, particularly if the illness is recurrent).

However, I doubt it's often as cut and dried as that.

On balance I suppose there are many people who feel that an increased likelihood of urinary infections, SIDS, vomiting, constipation or respiratory illness in one's baby may be a price worth paying for the feelings of pleasure, freedom and relief that can come with being able to hand your baby over to someone else to feed. Hence the success of formula.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 10-Jul-13 15:16:47

On balance I suppose there are many people who feel that an increased likelihood of urinary infections, SIDS, vomiting, constipation or respiratory illness in one's baby may be a price worth paying for the feelings of pleasure, freedom and relief that can come with being able to hand your baby over to someone else to feed. Hence the success of formula.

Wow.

Because that is exactly why women give up feeding. So that someone else can do it? Not because of the myriad complex emotions we feel about our bodies, the exhaustion, the time consuming nature of breastfeeding, physical pain, complex feelings about bonding and attachment etc... how utterly utterly judgemental and horrible you have come across there.

And I didn't feel pleasure at giving my baby to someone else to feed. Actually no one but my husband or I fed him when he was little. So do fuck off.

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 16:01:45

Sorry Hopalong, because you've been so kind to me on another thread. sad

But 'so someone else can feed the baby' was the biggest single reason given for choosing to formula feed in the 2005 Infant Feeding Survey (which is done every 5 years - it involves about 8000 mothers and is carried out by the department of health).

And wanting some space from your baby in the sense of not wanting to have to do every feed, when you're feeling overwhelmed with the demands of parenting in the first few weeks and months of your baby's life IS a very significant factor in women's choice to introduce formula or switch to it altogether.

I think that it's very hard to acknowledge that for some babies this can involve paying a price in health terms - it's hard to accept that this may be true, hence the fiery debates on mumsnet about whether breastfeeding actually really makes any difference to babies. It's a bizarre situation when parents are generally willing to accept NHS advice and recommendations on every single other aspect of child health, but are so resistant to the message on this particular issue - maybe because there is such a powerful conflict between what they feel emotionally compelled to do, and what they would want to do for their baby under different circumstances.

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 16:12:29

And it's also worth acknowledging that if the primary determinant in the UK of whether a baby will be breastfed for more than a few weeks is the social class of its mum (it is), then we have to accept there is much more to this than meets the eye. It's about more than just universal individual experiences of mothering. Why should young and working class women find breastfeeding emotionally so much more unacceptable than older women and educated women? Educated, older mothers tend to have far more autonomy before they have their children, so why should it be easier for them to adjust to the exhaustion and relentless demands of being a new parent? And yet in relation to breastfeeding it appears they are more likely to persist, even when things are difficult. And even though they tend to have more difficult births. And why are women who are recent immigrants to the UK (who may be living in circumstances which are much more challenging in terms of work, housing and social support and who tend to have larger families) so much more likely to breastfeed and to breastfeed for longer? This is a deeply cultural subject - it's not just about the intrinsic nature of breastfeeding. We have got to the point in the UK where we're very, very resistant to seeing infant feeding choices as being primarily about the emotional and social needs of adults. And I think the formula companies want us to see it this way. It suits them for us to push to one side the issue of infant health in relation to feeding, or to trivialise it, as so often happens. I don't think this is right. I think you can acknowledge the needs of adults without diminishing the importance of breastfeeding to babies.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 10-Jul-13 16:13:24

Sorry, didn't connect the username.

There may be a price, but there doesn't seem to be good evidence about exactly how likely those consequences might be. I look at DS, who is thriving and see that I made the best possibly choice for us. I resented the non stop feeding, non stop access to my body, resented the way he puked up every other feed all over me (I made that f*cking milk myself!) and then fed for hours again and I hated the way I was feeling about it and him.

I didn't have PND, but I was utterly miserable. So I put my own happiness first. I'm probably going to get blasted as selfish, but that's the crux of it. The cons of breastfeeding far outweighed the potential risks (for an otherwise healthy, happy baby with loving, involved, middle class parents).

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 16:14:08

Whoops - should read: We have got to the point in the UK where we're very, very resistant to seeing infant feeding choices as being primarily about anything other than the emotional and social needs of adults.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 10-Jul-13 16:19:14

x post.

Maybe it's because the evidence about the benefits of breastfeeding isn't presented in the right way? I'm not really sure. There are a lot of issues around body image and sexualisation of breasts, as well as the power balance in relationships between younger people etc. Maybe (horrible generalisation) younger lower class women just don't really care that much about using formula because they don't know what the exact risks are (though it's hard to determine what the risks are).

I really don't know the answer. I do think that if we want more women to breastfeed (which I do) then basically saying that by not breastfeeding you are being selfish, probably isn't going to help. All our decisions with our children are based on balancing their needs against our own.

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 16:23:14

"There may be a price, but there doesn't seem to be good evidence about exactly how likely those consequences might be"

The information is out there, but you have to make a concerted effort to look for it and read it, then try and make sense of the statistic in regard to how they might relate to you. I think that's very difficult and in my experience people don't want to read it, particularly if they've made a decision not to breastfeed or to stop breastfeeding.

If you can't emotionally cope with breastfeeding you have no other choice than to stop. My point is that as a society we should take this issue more seriously, to try and understand why a normal physiological process, which the majority of mothers have done without angst for hundreds of thousands of years has become so intolerable for MOST UK mothers. I mean - there have always been a proportion of women who haven't been able to cope with the physical and emotional intensity of breastfeeding. But it's completely disproportionate the number of mothers in the UK who now experience this - there is definitely something going on which is making what should be an OK experience of most people intolerable or untenable for so many.

But as a society formula is so much the normal way to feed babies now that there's a sort of casual acceptance that breastfeeding is something that only a minority of mothers can do - 'can do' in physical and emotional terms. This, in my view, is very fucked up and not fair on babies.

DontmindifIdo Wed 10-Jul-13 16:33:18

maternitart - by breaks, I meant in my case, DD bfs for 30 - 40 minutes, and then needs to feed again in about an hour max. When I've given her a bottle, it's taken 10 minute for her to drink a full feed and she's not needed more milk for 3 - 4 hours. That's a huge difference and a couple of bottles is a break - even more so if my DH gives her the bottle. Right now I've been using that for a feed around 10pm just so I can get some sleep.

While some FFing mums will have to do all the feeds, most partners or parents will help out, there is the option of a break/time away from the DC, there's not option of a break if you breast feed, either you do it directly or you pump.

Not saying it's not worth the extra hassle, but pretending it's not easier in many ways to formula feed is a bad habit of pro-breast feeding people, because mums can see the reality for themselves and are just lead to believe they've got a difficult baby, or not enough milk if their baby is hungry again so quickly, or just aren't prepared mentally for having to feed for long periods of time and frequently in the first 2-3 months.

(arguments about having to wash bottles and sterlise being a hassle, miss that sticking them in the dishwasher then into the sterliser is an extra 2 minutes of work a day if that, making up bottles is quite straight forward, even more so now you can buy 1lr bottles of ready made formula and just pour it out - mind you if we're stressing about £10 tins of formula, that's really going to seem an expensive way to feed a child).

TheCrackFox Wed 10-Jul-13 16:33:50

Formula is expensive (but is £1.75 a day really that much to feed your child?) but if you were to breastfeed you will need to eat more which will cost you roughly the same.

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 16:34:44

"All our decisions with our children are based on balancing their needs against our own."

Yes, and sometimes you have to be selfish as a parent to survive. You know - the old 'put your own oxygen mask on first or you can't help save others' analogy. My point is that something has gone very awry in the UK and other western countries, that the fall out from breastfeeding in the first few weeks is SO huge.

"Maybe (horrible generalisation) younger lower class women just don't really care that much about using formula because they don't know what the exact risks are"

Just under 40% of mothers under 20 who planned to ff couldn't name one benefit of breastfeeding according to the 2005 Infant Feeding Survey. Only about half of women who had never worked before having children were able to give an example of a benefit of breastfeeding. There clearly is an information gap there.

Souredstones Wed 10-Jul-13 17:31:51

You know, I consider myself to be an educated and intelligent woman. I know the benefits of breast feeding, as do many other women who formula feed, we don't need the statistics throwing down our throats about how evil formula is and how we are killing our children, exposing them to all kinds of who knows what and all that jazz. We don't need to hear it. I don't need to hear it.

I feel guilty enough as it is. Many ffers feels guilty about making that choice.

I don't get why mothers can't support other mothers, why there has to be all this bullying and belittling.

parkin2010 Wed 10-Jul-13 17:31:55

I only know one person who has not even contemplated the idea of breastfeeding, and if I'm honest that is indicative of her general personality, upbringing and social group.- just this. Wow.
Well if it's okay for that patronising ittle dig I am going to have mine.

For me FF worked. It meant I could go out, go the gym after two weeks, have decent nights out with my partner, have an immaculate house and have a lot of energy and be a great mum. All this bottle prep stuff is alien to me- it's no harder than preparing a cup of tea. I didn't feel strapped to the sofa like most of my BF friends who have also admitted to me they don't go out, need boob jobs, don't want to get intimate with their partner and feel resentful.

Show me an adult on the street you can te was bottle fed and then I might start worrying.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 10-Jul-13 17:49:25

Um, I ff. It wasn't a dig, it was a comment on the fact that she is the only person who wouldn't even entertain the idea because she thought it was gross and weird. Everyone else I know has looked at the pros and cons and made a decision about what to do. This is a person who just thinks it's gross and not cool.

TheCrackFox Wed 10-Jul-13 17:50:35

If you can afford to go to the gym you can afford to pay for formula.

Souredstones Wed 10-Jul-13 17:51:27

No but there are digs throughout the thread that are wholly unnecessary

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 10-Jul-13 17:53:02

Read my previous posts?

Chunderella Wed 10-Jul-13 18:12:59

Minifingers posted I think that it's very hard to acknowledge that for some babies this can involve paying a price in health terms - it's hard to accept that this may be true, hence the fiery debates on mumsnet about whether breastfeeding actually really makes any difference to babies. It's a bizarre situation when parents are generally willing to accept NHS advice and recommendations on every single other aspect of child health, but are so resistant to the message on this particular issue - maybe because there is such a powerful conflict between what they feel emotionally compelled to do, and what they would want to do for their baby under different circumstances.

The thing is, some of us read the literature on the topic before deciding whether to bf or not. I can speak only for myself, but I certainly don't accept NHS recommendations without doing research on every issue- some, but not all. Without wishing to have a dig at anyone, it actually takes considerable engagement with and understanding of the research to, for example, recognise that the tiny size of the ebf group amongst the poorest renders it impossible to do anything other than guess at how the poorest ff babies would be if bf. More so than it does to simply accept the claims of some researchers that they've controlled for social class, for example, and quote an NHS leaflet.

And I'm sure there are women who ff who would be resistant to any suggestion that they didn't do the best for their babies, as you suggest. I'm equally sure that there are women who bf who have sufficient investment in the idea that their choices conferred XYZ benefits that they're resistant to the idea that actually, their DC might have acquired those benefits simply because they're middle class. Particularly if they made sacrifices to bf. I mean no offence to anyone here. But let's not pretend only ff mothers have any emotional investment here, or even that they're more biased than those who bf.

My point is that as a society we should take this issue more seriously, to try and understand why a normal physiological process, which the majority of mothers have done without angst for hundreds of thousands of years

That's a fairly big assumption, without a great deal of evidence to back it up. Obviously we don't know what went on before recorded history, but we do know that since ancient times there is evidence of artificial feeding. We also know that wet nursing is one of the world's oldest professions, and we know that it wasn't particularly uncommon for babies to starve even in the rich West until quite recently. How do you know that a dislike of bf by some mothers doesn't explain X percent of infant mortality in particular historical societies? You don't. You might be right, of course, but there's no evidence. I think it's fairly clear that the current British model doesn't reflect the norm throughout human history, but that doesn't make your claim right either. It's a guess.

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 18:48:09

I take it then Chunderella, you're not happy to accept the assurances of formula manufacturers that their product is safe in the medium and long term, particularly in relation to novel ingredients which have only been added in the past 10 years and have been tested on tiny numbers of babies over a short period of time?

Breastfeeding has nothing to prove. It's the physiological norm and has proved itself the safest and best form of nutrition for most babies over hundreds of thousands of years. The almost wholesale switch to feeding human infants solely on chemically altered cows milk on the other hand is the single most revolutionary change to the way people are fed, in the history of human nutrition. In essence it's the biggest uncontrolled experiment with human nutrition imaginable.

I'm amazed how people will pick over the research looking for evidence that contradicts the common sense view that human milk is most appropriate for human babies, who seem not to need to apply the same standards of care to examining the evidence on formula. I think people accept the assurances of formula companies that formula is a completely healthy product in the short, medium and long term because of a peculiar trust in big brands.

Formula manufacturers actually have no idea whether feeding a baby on non-human milk as its sole food during its period of fastest growth might have health consequences much further down the line and even into adulthood, because they haven't done the research. The research that has been done into long term issues connected with infant feeding has flagged a range of concerns from higher rates of arterial stiffness to increased risk of some cancers in adults fed on formula as babies. Should we automatically disregard all of this and simply ASSUME safety because it's impossible to control for all confounding factors in the research? Why is an innate belief in the safety of formula the default mode? Because it suits us to believe that formula is completely safe?

We do not know what we do not know and that thought is worth keeping in mind whenever we make a decision to depart from the physiological norm when it comes to feeding our babies.

TarkaTheOtter Wed 10-Jul-13 18:49:50

But chunderella you don't need to have much data on the outcomes of the poorest bf babies to isolate the effects of breastfeeding from social class more generally. Suppose researchers only looked at the outcomes for middle class babies. There would be no variation in social class so it could not be that which was explaining variation in outcomes. If within class, bf babies have better health outcomes (or whatever) then it would be reasonable to assume that for those social classes where there is sufficient data that social class is not what is driving the variation in outcomes.
I haven't read the literature on breastfeeding, but it does amaze me that they would be able to publish papers with such obvious flaws. Wouldn't happen in my discipline (social science).

Minifingers Wed 10-Jul-13 18:55:22

I said 'the majority of women fed without problems. In the padst babies were primarily bottle fed because their mother was dead or too ill to breastfeed. And in most instances bottle fed babies died in droves. Rich women who didn't want to breastfeed employed wet nurses. In other word - breastfeeding was the norm for all young babies because those that weren't breastfeed died fairly swiftly.

Chunderella Wed 10-Jul-13 19:14:12

But chunderella you don't need to have much data on the outcomes of the poorest bf babies to isolate the effects of breastfeeding from social class more generally.

Why not?

Suppose researchers only looked at the outcomes for middle class babies. There would be no variation in social class so it could not be that which was explaining variation in outcomes. If within class, bf babies have better health outcomes (or whatever) then it would be reasonable to assume that for those social classes where there is sufficient data that social class is not what is driving the variation in outcomes.

It wouldn't, because of the way that poverty and inequality influence health. There've been a lot of claims that the poorest babies would be healthier if they were bf not ff. Nobody knows this, because virtually none of them are. An educated guess is all that one can do. You can do the analysis you're talking about on middle class babies, you can't automatically extrapolate it to the poorest.

I haven't read the literature on breastfeeding, but it does amaze me that they would be able to publish papers with such obvious flaws. Wouldn't happen in my discipline (social science).

Trust me, there's some crud out there! There was a study a couple of weeks ago that looked at whether bf and ff babies were more likely to be obese aged about 5, I think it was, and didn't even attempt to consider let alone control for what they'd been eating since. Equally, there was a study a few weeks back about how supplementing supposedly helps bf and that had massive flaws too.

Wbdn28 Wed 10-Jul-13 19:16:43

> I don't want a GP deciding who has a geniune reason for using formula

Totally agree. It's the woman's body, so it's her decision, not the GP's, the government's or anyone else's.

Chunderella Wed 10-Jul-13 19:34:00

I take it then Chunderella, you're not happy to accept the assurances of formula manufacturers that their product is safe in the medium and long term, particularly in relation to novel ingredients which have only been added in the past 10 years and have been tested on tiny numbers of babies over a short period of time?

Yes I agree. Which is why if all else were equal I personally would have continued to bf as it represents the safer option in that regard. It wasn't though (I find it difficult to have my breasts touched, though probably would have been able to tolerate it to some extent if there were no other food source available). While we do know that millions of babies have been formula fed and enjoyed good health, it's true that ingredients have changed and though educated opinion is that formula has improved, it's possible that isn't the case.

I'm amazed how people will pick over the research looking for evidence that contradicts the common sense view that human milk is most appropriate for human babies, who seem not to need to apply the same standards of care to examining the evidence on formula.

Ah yes, the old common sense again. Always gets dragged out in this argument, even though there are boatloads of ways in which humans have improved upon nature, and departure from the diet we evolved to eat is the only way to stop billions of us from starving. I don't suggest formula is superior to breastmilk btw. But it's stupid to look at anything and assume that what we've evolved must be better than what we've invented just because of common sense.

Should we automatically disregard all of this and simply ASSUME safety because it's impossible to control for all confounding factors in the research? Why is an innate belief in the safety of formula the default mode? Because it suits us to believe that formula is completely safe?

No, and neither should we pretend correlation and causation are the same thing or that we can actually control for all confounding factors when we absolutely can't. There are lots of things we ought not to do.

I said 'the majority of women fed without problems. In the padst babies were primarily bottle fed because their mother was dead or too ill to breastfeed. And in most instances bottle fed babies died in droves. Rich women who didn't want to breastfeed employed wet nurses. In other word - breastfeeding was the norm for all young babies because those that weren't breastfeed died fairly swiftly.

Actually you said the majority for hundreds of thousands of years fed without angst, which is clearly a ridiculous statement to make. for one, most human history is unrecorded and we've no idea what prehistoric women felt about nursing. For all you know, most of them hated it and would have been delighted to use formula had it been available. I agree that bottle fed babies died in droves before formula, and that starvation was common. That absolutely doesn't mean mothers were bfing without angst and with success: the superiority or not of bf and how women felt about it are two totally different things. Indeed, the fact that some women still didn't want to bf despite the risks seems fairly good evidence of 'angst' and problems, no?

Additionally, in hunter gatherer societies women often communally bf children. Even some lactivists- Mayim Bialik says this in her book- acknowledge that there have always been women who weren't skilled at or disliked nursing and got other women to do it for them. And wet nursing has of course not been limited to the richest. Actually history is replete with examples of poor women having to go and work and leaving their babies with others soon after birth (not that this has anything to do with how women felt about bf, but as you mentioned rich women using wet nurses it was worth redressing the balance a bit).

TarkaTheOtter Wed 10-Jul-13 20:28:22

Completely agree that you couldn't extrapolate to the poorest (or for that matter the richest).

But it is often implied that all these studies are picking up is the social class of the mother (social class being the confounder) and it should be able to prove/disprove that.

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