To think that it's a bit stupid to make breastfeeding compulsory?

(115 Posts)
puntasticusername Fri 31-Jan-14 09:38:47

I mean, really, WTAF?

Breastfeeding made compulsory by UAE

Though I do have to grudgingly admire Lenore Skenazy for coming up with the phrase "sucking the choice out of parenting" to describe these sorts of initiatives.

KayHarker1 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:42:23

So men can sue their wives? A delightful example of something that should be all about freedom being turned into an opportunity for men to control women's bodies.

lilyaldrin Fri 31-Jan-14 09:42:32

Not surprising given the attitude to women in these countries. I assume the wet nurses will be low paid foreign maids separated from their own babies.

VoldysGoneMouldy Fri 31-Jan-14 09:44:25

I'm in with what you might term a lactavist crowd, and there has been an uproar about this.

In the end it has nothing to do with breastfeeding, and everything to do with controlling women. This is sexism through and through.

Hoppinggreen Fri 31-Jan-14 09:45:02

If it happened here I wouldn't have had my children. It's outrageous to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies ( within reason)

PeterParkerSays Fri 31-Jan-14 09:45:38

I was going to say UABU, but for 2 years? I presume that mothers in the UAE don't work then, as you would struggle to fit being a nurse, for example, with night shifts, around 2 years of feeding.

Good grief.

Pigeonhouse Fri 31-Jan-14 09:49:44

It's a characteristically mad piece of legislation, which (like several other short-term UAE laws I can think of from when we lived there ) will almost certainly be rescinded in due course.

Honestly, this is what happens in a dictatorship with a cosmetic National Assembly to make it look slightly more democratic. Sheikh Mo or the king gets up one day huffing about the appalling obesity rates in the UAE (40% of population and rising) and someone suggests this as a solution, and it gets run with...

badbride Fri 31-Jan-14 09:50:41

Ignoring the breathtaking misogyny of this legislation for a moment: I'm intrigued to know just how this "husband sues wife" business works. I expect that the majority of couples will pool their financial resources, so how will a husband gain anything by suing his wife, and given that couples are required to financially support each other, what will the wife have to lose? (Other than her respect for her husband)

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 10:02:30

UAE is the high Nazi state of sexism.

(thank Germaine Greer for that comment)

They have lots of insane, religion based legislation which impacts negatively on the lives of women.

PeterParker - actually breastfeeding to 2 years is perfectly possible for most women who work, once they get past the first 6 months. It's not like breastfeeding a newborn.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 10:05:34

Should add - most Muslim women I know who are devout want to breastfeed for a minimum of 2 years, because the Koran suggests that this is what they should do.

Thank god we live in a country where there is a separation between church and state.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Fri 31-Jan-14 10:41:13

Peterparker I went back to work when dd was 11 months. Bf her until she was 2.3. It's doable.

But a shocking piece of legislation.

Then again, this is a country that executes people for adultery.

NinjaPenguin Fri 31-Jan-14 10:49:53

What if you can't breast feed?

WooWooOwl Fri 31-Jan-14 10:54:22

In theory, I don't think it's that bad an idea because I agree that all babies deserve to be breast fed, but there are too many problems with the reality of it to be a good idea.

For starters, not all babies want to feed for that long, mine certainly didn't!

loopylouu Fri 31-Jan-14 10:56:44

Good god, how awful. Never mind what if you can't breastfeed, what if you simply don't want to?

MiaowTheCat Fri 31-Jan-14 10:57:16

In terms of viewing women as mere vessels to produce the next generation of people, and totally dependent upon men... it's absolutely terrifying. Dismayed there isn't more of an outcry against it - but then I guess people are too scared of doing ANYTHING that might be seen as questioning the breastfeeding movement really.

Umlauf Fri 31-Jan-14 11:00:35

But they only get 45 calendar days' maternity leave in the UAE, so peterparker has a point.

ReallyTired Fri 31-Jan-14 11:00:48

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

squoosh Fri 31-Jan-14 11:07:52

It amazes me that Western people, especially Western women, choose to live in these countries.

lilyaldrin Fri 31-Jan-14 11:19:29

I don't think this has anything to do with "the breastfeeding movement" Miaow - it's about how a deeply misogynistic state views women's bodies.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 11:29:42

"Dismayed there isn't more of an outcry against it - but then I guess people are too scared of doing ANYTHING that might be seen as questioning the breastfeeding movement really."

This law will have absolutely NOTHING to do with the 'breastfeeding movement'. It will have everything to do with a religious court (made up predominantly middle aged men who know fuck all about breastfeeding) deciding to create a piece of secular legislation on the basis of a religious edict.

Nobody is 'scared' of questioning the breastfeeding movement, because the breastfeeding movement worldwide has no real power, precious little money and very little success in persuading most women to breastfeed for more than a few weeks. The vast majority of those involved in this movement who have any influence at all at a policy level are actually health professionals - doctors and epidemiologists - not shadowy pressure groups.

knew someone was going to come on to this thread bleating about how awful lactivists are

WilsonFrickett Fri 31-Jan-14 11:30:34

Miaow that's out of order - this isn't a 'breastfeeding movement' issue. This is pure and simply sexism at its worst. As well the worst kind of cultural imperialism - because you can bet all those wet nurses won't be UAE citizens.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 11:31:54

"What if you can't breast feed?"

Allayh has decided that its time for your newborn to enter baby paradise."

hmm

Theodorous Fri 31-Jan-14 11:38:00

Yay, another Muslim bashing, Arab bashing thread. For fucks sake who gives a shit?

squoosh Fri 31-Jan-14 11:39:34

I'd imagine the women being forced by law to breastfeed for two years may well give a shit.

WilsonFrickett Fri 31-Jan-14 11:41:05

I really do give a shit about this Theo. And I don't see it as Muslim or Arab bashing, it's not Muslims or Arabs who are doing this, it is a political and ruling male elite who are concerned with stripping women of their rights to bodily autonomy.

TalisaMaegyr Fri 31-Jan-14 11:41:34

What do you mean who gives a shit? It's nothing to do with Muslim-bashing. It's everything to do with controlling women hmm

Booboostoo Fri 31-Jan-14 11:42:40

All women should give a shit at legislative attempts to control what happens to their bodies. Bf is a choice, one which I personally have made, but I would never dream on imposing it on other women.

If a particular religion or culture has a track record of oppressing women it's not surprising that it gets its fair share of criticism. This is not a recommendation, or a public policy campaign, this is a law which will make women legally liable for chosing not to bf!

IndigoTea Fri 31-Jan-14 11:45:21

This is ridiculous and has nothing to do with Islam, in fact it goes contrary to Islamic teachings, so please give the Islam bashing a rest please.

It is clearly mentioned in the Quran that it is up to a woman is she wants to breastfeed or not. If she doesn't want to (she doesn't need a reason not to want to), then the spouse can't force her and must pay for a wet nurse. The Prophet and most of his companions were not breastfed by their own mothers, they were breastfed by wet nurses.

KayHarker1 Fri 31-Jan-14 11:51:01

Indigo, so, in modern parlance, a wet nurse could = formula?

Sallyingforth Fri 31-Jan-14 12:01:39

This is shocking. If I was a Muslim I would be very angry at the men who were perverting my faith in order to apply yet more control over me.

IndigoTea Fri 31-Jan-14 12:18:52

KayHarker, yes exactly!

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 12:24:01

I suspect you'll find more women in the West angry about this issue, than are angry about women in the UAE being prosecuted for being raped.

Because women in the UK mostly don't breastfeed for more than a few weeks and seem to have developed en-masse a thoroughly entrenched neurosis/defensiveness about the whole issue.

Ev1lEdna Fri 31-Jan-14 12:25:11

Well now isn't that yet another interesting way for men to control women in the United Arab Emirates? Just what the women there need, less choice over their lives and more control over them by men. Super.

Ev1lEdna Fri 31-Jan-14 12:27:16

I suspect you'll find more women in the West angry about this issue, than are angry about women in the UAE being prosecuted for being raped.

Not more angry about this than that but more angry in general about the level of control that is exercised over women in ALL areas there. They really are less than second class citizens, every aspect of the control is a disgrace but none more so than being punished for being raped.

squoosh Fri 31-Jan-14 12:27:22

'I suspect you'll find more women in the West angry about this issue, than are angry about women in the UAE being prosecuted for being raped.

Because women in the UK mostly don't breastfeed for more than a few weeks and seem to have developed en-masse a thoroughly entrenched neurosis/defensiveness about the whole issue.

With all due respect I think that's nonsense.

sashh Fri 31-Jan-14 12:29:01

What if you can't breast feed?

What if you have HIV?

What if you take medication that can be passed on through breast milk?

StarlightMcKingsThree Fri 31-Jan-14 12:30:20

Legislation and penalties for ensuring a woman's rights to breastfeed for two years, are protected with properly funded support and an economic system adapted to enable this to happen without discriminating against women for that, are IMO GOOD policies.

That would be the way to increase bfing rates ffs.

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 12:35:07

What if the mother can breastfeed but the baby can't suckle? Can't see a wetnurse helping much with that.

"I suspect you'll find more women in the West angry about this issue, than are angry about women in the UAE being prosecuted for being raped.

Because women in the UK mostly don't breastfeed for more than a few weeks and seem to have developed en-masse a thoroughly entrenched neurosis/defensiveness about the whole issue."

Yes, I probably am. Having watched a child losing weight until her ribs stood out I can't imagine anything worse than having to go through with that process until she died because some stupid law said so. And for the record I breastfed my firstborn for nearly a year and my second child for 4 months until forced to stop for medical reasons.

Yay, another Muslim bashing, Arab bashing thread. For fucks sake who gives a shit?

Really Theodorous, really? How fucking short sighted can you be? shock If someone came on complaining about the IRA would you say they were Catholic bashing? Of course you wouldn't, FFS! hmm

Oh and I think you'll find lots of people give a shit! I'm getting more and more appalled by the day by the reports of the sickening things that re happening to women in Asia, it's absolutely fucking outrageous and inhumane!

MiaowTheCat Fri 31-Jan-14 12:44:39

Like I say - someone's already now proven it and twisted the outrage around into a "oh you all hate breastfeeding anyway" chip on shoulder spurt of indignation.

Point proved.

I also, incidentally raised a shit storm at school in our "this is all the contraception you can use but the Pope says you're not allowed to use any of it" RE and sex ed lessons arguing the toss on that one and women's freedom to plan their families... I operate a non-discriminatory policy when calling out religious bollocks.

WilsonFrickett Fri 31-Jan-14 12:57:19

ISBN bullhickey. I honestly couldn't give a shiny shit how other women chose to feed their babies.

But chose is the operative word here. I am really struggling to get my head round state-mandated BF.

I also manage to be equally furious about women being prosecuted for being raped, because I can hold more than one thought in my head at he same time.

Sallyingforth Fri 31-Jan-14 13:02:04

And not forgetting places where a woman isn't allowed to drive.

Theodorous Fri 31-Jan-14 13:02:35

Mojitomadness, why don't you go and do something about it? I have lived in many Asian countries and actually got off my boring little suburban arse and actually worked and lived among people who are affected by things Western mothers couldn't even imagine. I am off to Bangkok and Pattaya in 2 weeks for an annual charity trip. Still, Bashing a tiny little, insignificant but rich country is a great way to act like you are worldly and clever.

grimbletart Fri 31-Jan-14 13:09:01

* Still, Bashing a tiny little, insignificant but rich country is a great way to act like you are worldly and clever.*

Personally I'd say it's more about women being angry at every new attempt to remove their bodily autonomy and the right to make their own decisions, wherever in the world it occurs.

NotActuallyAMum Fri 31-Jan-14 13:15:29

I can't help wondering how on earth they're going to enforce this, will they have the Tit Police visiting every house with a baby?

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 13:20:59

"ISBN bullhickey. I honestly couldn't give a shiny shit how other women chose to feed their babies"

Thanks for proving my point with your simultaneously aggressive and defensive post. wink

"I can't imagine anything worse than having to go through with that process until she died because some stupid law said so"

Working on the assumption that the citizens and legislators of this country are so stupid and zealous that they would rather see a baby die in front of them than a mother stop breastfeeding. hmm

It's interesting how people on this thread will extrapolate in relation to this issue. It sort of goes - if you're unreasonable enough to try to compel women into breastfeeding using legislation, it goes without saying that you're also stoopid enough to insist on following this law to the letter even when it's clearly resulting in severe medical problems or even death in a mum or a baby.

I think this law is completely wrong. I don't think that those who are responsible for seeing it's adhered to will, on the whole, want to see babies dying or ending up in hospital as a result. Because you know, most people, even hard-line Muslims, don't hate babies.

"oh you all hate breastfeeding anyway" chip on shoulder"

Not a chip on shoulder. Women in the UK don't want to, and don't, breastfeed (90% of UK babies are fully formula fed by 12 months) on the whole, despite being subject to a lot of health information encouraging them to do so. And the fall-out from this situation is high levels of social angst about it - as evidenced by the regular outpourings of said angst on this board and others.

hiddenhome Fri 31-Jan-14 13:22:03

What are they going to do about visitors then? confused

Misogynistic, paternalistic shite.

squoosh Fri 31-Jan-14 13:24:18

I don't know anyone in real life who suffers angst over their or other people's feeding choices. Amongst my friends most BF, some FF, but it isn't something that warrants much discussion, I just don't think people are that interested. Maybe we're unusual.

Theodorous Fri 31-Jan-14 13:27:21

My sister gave birth in Dorset last year. She had a serious psychosis and was waiting for a bed in a special unit. Because she couldnt bf and my mum refused to allow them to express against her will, mum had to take the baby outside to feed him, behind the bins where the smokers went because they wouldn't allow formula in the unit. The choice offered to us involved having to take legal action, discharge her and pay ten of thousands for private medical care that allowed her baby to be fed and her body to remain unviolated.
No amount of compensation will make up for what they did to her and believe me she was awarded a lot but only because we could afford to support and protect her.

kali110 Fri 31-Jan-14 13:35:32

You cant ff in dorset?

Theodorous Fri 31-Jan-14 13:39:40

The hospital my sister was in would not allow it in the unit. It was also taken too far by the midwives in the unit (one was sacked)

justmethanks Fri 31-Jan-14 13:39:59

Theo. That is truly shocking and disgusting. I'm speechless.

wtf theo, that is astonishing and outrageous! You mention a legal case - was the order to starve the baby part of the legal case? Was any action taken against the trust?

squoosh Fri 31-Jan-14 13:49:14

They wouldn't allow formula in the unit? How the fuck are they allowed to impose that rule?

pointythings Fri 31-Jan-14 13:53:35

Theodorous that is appalling and just as bad as this proposed legislation. I think we should be more generally up in arms about anything that takes self-determination away from women, no matter where it happens.

The only way you'll get breastfeeding rates up is by properly supporting women. The majority want to bf but give up because it is actually not easy. The pro-bf propaganda paints far too rosy a picture. Women deserve help to make it work, and to be left the hell alone if they can't.

And I say this as someone who only had a couple of tough weeks with DD1 plus a bout or two of mastitis, otherwise found it a doddle and bf for 13 months each time. I found it hard and was lucky to have a brilliant clued-up community midwife to help me. I can only imagine how much harder many other women have found it.

GoldiChops Fri 31-Jan-14 14:01:41

Well I wouldn't be alive we're this the law here in the 80s. My mum physically couldn't have bf me, she's still upset about it now.

This law is sickening, reducing a human being to a mere reproduction and feeding machine.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:08:45

"because they wouldn't allow formula in the unit"

What - despite the fact that at least 2 in 10 women who give birth in that hospital will not initiate breastfeeding?

So women who have chosen not to breastfeed are forced to breastfeed, or to starve their babies?

Can you name the hospital please?

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:11:48

"Well I wouldn't be alive we're this the law here in the 80s."

Working on the assumption that mothers who can't breastfeed in the UAE and who are unwilling to use a wet nurse will have to watch their babies starve to death?

brettgirl2 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:14:07

I thinkits interesting that miaow mentions the catholic contraception nonsense. What is more controlling to women than preaching they must 'honour their husband' without being allowed to use contraception? Now I realise in reality few people actually agree/ take any notice but the principle of it is appalling.

anothernumberone Fri 31-Jan-14 14:21:03

PMSL at the breat feeding movement. Up to 100, 000 years of years of breastfeeding knocked out in 100 years and it is breastfeeding that is a movement. The law is nonsense though.

kali110 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:21:40

Wow theo that has shocked me. Your poor poor sister. Thank god for her and her baby she had you and her you and family there.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:23:24

"The only way you'll get breastfeeding rates up is by properly supporting women. The majority want to bf but give up because it is actually not easy. The pro-bf propaganda paints far too rosy a picture. Women deserve help to make it work, and to be left the hell alone if they can't."

IMO, in an economically pinched UK where there's still a healthy market for ready peeled and chopped carrots costing 10 times as much as unchopped carrots, nobody will ever make breastfeeding easy and convenient enough to make formula a less attractive option to UK mothers.

CakePunch Fri 31-Jan-14 14:25:43

Can women in the UAE breastfeed in public?

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:26:28

"Wow theo that has shocked me"

It's shocked me because I think it's bollocks.

There is no maternity unit in the UK where formula is 'banned'.

There are many maternity units where they're not supposed to hand it out free to women who have never had any intention of breastfeeding (they are supposed to bring their own formula in). But even in these units formula is kept in stock to give to the small percentage of babies who need early supplementation because of issues surrounding low blood sugar, or when a mother is too ill to breastfeed or express.

Maybe Theo could come back and tell us the name of the unit.

ouryve Fri 31-Jan-14 14:30:47

I was going to say, whoa, the thread title is rather strong, isn't it? I have, however, been "lucky" enough to read a report from the UAE as a precursor to this which says that breastfeeding is important in prevention of autism. All I can say is, I must have been doing it wrong, with my boys, for a whole 4 years, between them.

It's pure control. Breastfeeding is great for mothers and babies. Breastmilk is pretty fabulous stuff. This law has nothing to do with what's best for mothers and babies, though.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:32:35

"Up to 100, 000 years of years of breastfeeding knocked out in 100 years"

Yes - the baby-milk industry has been the single most commercially successful and radical development in the history of human nutrition. The saturation of the media and women's consciousness with sophisticated marketing, the invisibility of public breastfeeding. And yet people will bloody well bleat on about lactivism and how oppressed bottle-feeding mums are. It gives total life to the concept that 'fish can't see the water'.

WitchWay Fri 31-Jan-14 14:36:49

I do wish more women would at least try breastfeeding, even if for just the few days of colostrum. I'm a GP & have heard young women say things like "Well that's not really what breasts are for these days" confused when I discuss feeding the baby during pregnancy & at the postnatal check. Making it compulsory is just daft however.

Catsize Fri 31-Jan-14 14:39:22

I am very pro-breast feeding, but my son stopped of his own accord at ten months. There must be a lot of children like that.

Theodorous Fri 31-Jan-14 14:39:54

Yes after a court case and settlement, I am really going to name it. As I said, a midwife was sacked for "taking things too far". Luckily I have a thick skin and donn't care about being called a liar on such a deeply personal thing. I also think that quite a lot of the declarations on this thread are bollocks, especially the Alpha Parent "defensiveness" utter bullshit.

LurcioLovesFrankie Fri 31-Jan-14 14:40:38

ISBN - you wrote "

It's interesting how people on this thread will extrapolate in relation to this issue. It sort of goes - if you're unreasonable enough to try to compel women into breastfeeding using legislation, it goes without saying that you're also stoopid enough to insist on following this law to the letter even when it's clearly resulting in severe medical problems or even death in a mum or a baby.

I think this law is completely wrong. I don't think that those who are responsible for seeing it's adhered to will, on the whole, want to see babies dying or ending up in hospital as a result. Because you know, most people, even hard-line Muslims, don't hate babies."

Touching as your faith in the underlying good nature of the men who rule extreme theocracies is, unfortunately it is not borne out by the evidence from other parts of the world. To make an analogy with another extreme attempt to control women's bodily autonomy, namely Nicaragua's complete ban on abortion, there have been documented cases of women being refused treatment for ectopic pregnancy:
news article

The sort of evil bastards who put this sort of law on the statute books don't care about the collateral damage.

StarlightMcKingsThree Fri 31-Jan-14 14:42:02

I reckon you gave the first feed from the wrong breast ouryve.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:42:27

But nationally nearly 80% of women do try to breastfeed.

Most have stopped within about 2 to 3 weeks.

Theodorous Fri 31-Jan-14 14:42:27

The midwife also said to my mum that "people who are a bit mental should be sterilised". She admitted saying that in court explaining that if people are not prepared to bf they shouldn't get pregnant.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:45:00

Lurcio - you don't need to go as far as Nicaragua. Last year a woman died in Ireland after being refused an abortion. sad

So yes - there will be cases where utter thick-headedness will result in a tragedy. But these cases are very rare - which is why they make headlines around the world.

pointythings Fri 31-Jan-14 14:45:27

I don't think it's at all implausible that there could have been a midwife who was completely unfit to practice who took it upon herself to bully and coerce a vulnerable new mother. Not at all. My experience of midwives and HV's has been uniformly positive, but that has very much not been so for many of my friends.

shock at 'that isn't what breasts are for these days'. Well, we'll soon see them evolve away just like wisdom teeth then, won't we? Shame about the lingerie industry of the future.

brettgirl2 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:46:04

but its ok for people who are a bit mental to be midwives shock.

pointythings Fri 31-Jan-14 14:48:25

ISBN I absolutely take your point about people valuing convenience more than doing the best for their children, but if women had proper support, they would not on the whole find bf so challenging. I loved it because it was not a faff - baby wakes up at night, latch on, feed baby, wind baby, settle baby. Out and about? No faff with heating bottles, just sit down and feed baby as above. I'm lazy, me.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:49:28

Theo - you have said that the unit banned formula.

This suggests that it was the policy of the hospital not to allow women to bring formula in.

I don't believe that there can have been any formal or informal policy banning formula in the maternity unit your sister was cared for in. Namely because at least 1 woman in 5 who would have given birth in that hospital would not be breastfeeding at all.

If a midwife behaved inappropriately towards your sister in trying to compel her to breastfeed then that is a different issue - that's malpractice. But you are suggesting that there was a formal policy not to allow women to use formula in the unit she was in.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 14:53:54

"but if women had proper support, they would not on the whole find bf so challenging. I loved it because it was not a faff"

Sadly, no amount of skilled support will stop breastfeeding being something that you can't get someone else to do for you, something that sometimes takes a long time, something that can involve transient soreness, something that involves you having to use your body in an intimate way.

It's the basic nature of breastfeeding that a lot of people struggle with.
(I'm not dismissing the existence of severe breastfeeding problems by the way, but common sense and a knowledge of history tells me that overwhelming and intractable breastfeeding difficulties are not the norm, except in cultures where formula feeding is embraced with enthusiasm, as in the UK).

anothernumberone Fri 31-Jan-14 14:55:42

ISBN I absolutely take your point about people valuing convenience more than doing the best for their children, but if women had proper support, they would not on the whole find bf so challenging.

^^this

Breastfeeding is made way more challenging by the constant propagation of seriously detrimental bf 'advice'. That and a formula culture that has totally skewed expectations of what is normal for a baby and I say that as someone who ff my first 2 children.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 31-Jan-14 14:57:18

Unbelievable. Un-fucking-believable

I don't know anyone who didn't breast feed because they couldn't, or because they felt their breasts were inherently sexual. The main reason, as selfish as it sounds was wanting to have time off!

Not having to do all the night feeds, being able to socialise and drink (to slight excess!), going back to work very early because they want to, being able to have time away from the baby/their children in general for a good few hours at a time. Mostly MC yummy mummy types in pretty equal relationships in terms of who takes care of the DC - BF doesn't really fit with that sort of equality ime.

In societies where this sort of equality isn't expected I imagine this law wouldn't sound quite so extreme as it does to our western ears.

{feel the burn!}

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 16:42:24

Inevitably there will be HUGE, frothing outrage at the thought of someone being forced to breastfeed, seeing it as a massive infringement of a woman's human rights and akin to torture. The fact that hundreds of thousands of women have been forced to bottle-feed in the UK over the past few years by dint of casual and endemic formula supplementation of breastfed babies in UK maternity units and as a result of shit breastfeeding advice by health professionals is on the other hand seen as unfortunate but certainly not as awful as women being forced to breastfeeding.

Forced breastfeeding = torture and cruelty
Forced bottlefeeding = bit of a shame but no big deal really

squoosh Fri 31-Jan-14 16:44:39

Not the same things at all.

anothernumberone Fri 31-Jan-14 17:07:06

Hi babydubs <waves> I ff after 2 bad breastfeeding starts because I couldn't continue, so now you know at least one person. I really wanted to bf and subsequently I bf a third child for over 2 years and worked and socialised at the same time but serious latch issues on all 3 and an absolutely clueless team of health care professionals who had no idea what was causing the feeding problems meant I could not keep going on the other 2. Loving breastfeeding as much as I do, I still would not have gone through what I did on my last child 3 times but had I got proper bf advice on my first who knows what might have happened.

anothernumberone Fri 31-Jan-14 17:11:14

Forced breastfeeding = torture and cruelty Totally wrong
Forced bottlefeeding = bit of a shame but no big deal really Totally wrong

Support bf, stop allowing the media to spout bf myths a la Dr Christian and have a bf ad paid for by the formula industry but developed by the NHS before and after every formula ad, stop allowing the forumal industry to make claims of health benefits of virtually untested health additions to their products. Then don't force anybody to do anything IMO.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 31-Jan-14 17:15:45

ISBN lack of support does not equal forcing.

grin anothernumberone I will now amend my statement,

"I don't know anyone [other than one lovely mumsnetter] who didn't breast feed because..."

grin

(of course I do know there are lots of lovely mumsnetters who couldn't rather than didn't want to, I was just referring to my social circle, who DH has just reminded me are actually a bunch of winos... which explains a lot!)

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 17:32:48

I had huge support over breastfeeding with dd and was as committed to breastfeeding as anyone could be. She was 10 years old when I finally got the explanation of why she was unable to suckle effectively (genetic condition), so I couldn't have got away with it under some special dispensation for disabled children either.

I am certainly prepared to froth at the thought that a child would her would be condemned to die because of some stupid law.

And while I'm at it, I shall also do a little quiet frothing at the quiet assumption that someone like me can't possibly have been dedicated to breastfeeding.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 17:39:26

"ISBN lack of support does not equal forcing"

If you strongly encourage a mother to do something or give her misleading information which will seriously damage her ability to breastfeed, at a time when she is at her most vulnerable (ie in the 48 hours after birth) it is reasonable to interpret that as coercion to ff.

The misuse of formula supplements for healthy full-term supposedly babies that is happening in hospitals around the world is sabotaging many women's attempts to breastfeed.

cannotfuckingbelievethis Fri 31-Jan-14 17:46:20

CakePunch - as you've said, I'm really, really interested to see how they can actually enforce this and if bf will be allowed in public. Having spent a fair amount of time in the UAE and having been "lucky" enough to have had numerous sexual advances made on me (men rubbing themselves behind me in shops, offered money for sex, followed from behind by cars driving slowly and shouting) I cannot begin to imagine how any woman will be able to bf in public.

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 17:52:14

For me it was the opposite, ISBN. The enthusiasm and encouragement (not to say pressure) for breastfeeding at my local hospital was such that I found it even harder to accept that my dd was being breastfed on demand, from my overflowing breasts, and still starving. I just couldn't get my head round that this could happen: it wasn't like anything I had been told either at antenatal course or in the hospital.

Even when dd was visibly growing weaker and increasingly lethargic, nobody looked me in the eye and said "this isn't working, there is some reason this isn't working". I was encouraged to go on a regime of pumping and syringe feeding that exhausted me: I still can't think about that time without feeling ill.

When I was in the postnatal ward a nurse went round the ward first thing and asked the new mothers how they intended to feed; if you said "breast" she beamed at you, if you said "bottle" she shook her head and looked serious. I don't think that can be taken as ubiquitous coercion to bottlefeed.

I am not saying I'm not happy my hospital supported breastfeeding. On the whole I think it was good thing to do. But I do wish somebody could have said "sometimes things go wrong that are nothing to do with you as a woman, or with the support given to you".

Artandco Fri 31-Jan-14 17:52:16

I think statistics in the uk are a bit swayed. Personally I don't know anyone who bottlefed their babies and I know a lot of people so surely it must be quite a high ratio breast feeding? I'm assuming in comparison it means no one bf in other areas? Why is this?

I am super lazy, hence bf as would find the whole cleaning/ prepping/ buying formula such a faff. I also worked full time fairly early, dh did night wakings ( settled without feeds after 12 weeks), and had evenings out

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 17:54:03

CakePunch - a quick look round t'interweb suggests that culturally the UAE is supportive of public breastfeeding. Probably more than you generally find in the US.

here

elliejjtiny Fri 31-Jan-14 18:18:56

Me too cory. I bf DS2 for 18 months and supplemented with high calorie formula after 6 months. I did expressing, NG feeding and all sorts and it was a complete nightmare. I had so many professionals involved and the HV kept telling me I should be feeding him more. I know now that his suck was weak because of hypotonia in his mouth but at the time nobody knew what was wrong.

DS4 has a cleft lip and palate. He can't breastfeed from source at all and no wetnurse would have made a difference. He was fed expressed milk until 5 months and mostly formula with a bit of ebm since then.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 18:31:26

Well UAE has it's issues. No argument there.

But overall, I think Isbn is making some excellent points.

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 18:35:51

And refusing to answer other points that are being made, Amanda- like what would you do with babies who despite being breastfed on demand with a carefully monitored latch still fail to thrive?

feesh Fri 31-Jan-14 18:40:59

I live in a GCC country which is more conservative than the UAE and I would definitely say that breastfeeding in public is more acceptable here than it is even in England. You won't get hassled for doing it, at least not by the locals. Also, there are more places for women to breastfeed (every mall etc has a women's prayer room where even non-Muslims can go and do a feed), there are nursing rooms in all the baby shops, and there isn't a problem with feeding in cafes etc as long as you are reasonably discreet.

This all boils down to the fact that the Qu'uran states that it is the RIGHT of all infants to be breastfed until they are two, or earlier if they naturally wean before then.

But, one of the big problems health professionals are facing here is that breastfeeding rates are incredibly low, especially among the local population. This has a lot to do with the fact that everyone has a maid (local families nearly always have one maid per child) and the maid does all the feeding, so most kids nowadays here are raised on formula.

There is a lot of chin-scratching going on about how to change this, and I guess this law has come about as a result. It's not the ideal way to do it (understatement!), and it will get largely ignored and won't be enforced I am sure, but that's the nature of life here, they often come up with daft rules to try and tackle social problems unsuccessfully.

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 18:43:55

How will the authorities who recruit these wetnurses ensure that their own babies get adequately fed?

That used to be a huge problem in Europe in the days of wetnurses that unless women had a very good milk supply and employers were tolerant of it being shared, it meant sacrificing breasfeeding your own child for that of your employer,

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 31-Jan-14 18:47:06

isbn are you saying giving those messages are tantamount to making an act illegal??
That would be akin to saying that (a) the media bombards women with messages to not become engineers and (b) a law is passed that a woman cannot become an engineer, are one and the same.
There is a massive difference!

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 18:49:44

Well, I don't think that question can neccessarily be answered in a straightforward way that could be applied to all cases.
These things are complex. Each situation needs assessing on its own merits.
Some women are advised to give formula as a supplement when it's not actually necessary. A better out one might well be achieved by increasing supply (with post-feed expressing for example) and looking t frequency of feeds and reassessing growth against a thrive line in addition to the centile chart. that very rarely happens. Usually there's a bit of. Drop off and someone says the baby should have some formula.
Milk banking would mean that the baby could have human milk rather than modified cows milk.....
There are several options tbh.

Besides. I don't think anyone here is agreeing that no baby must ever have anything apart from its own mothers b milk via the breast no matter what the circumstances. Rather, I fwlt that Isbn was highlighting some of the issues around lack of bf( which is a problem if you are a baby aiming for optimum health) in the uk.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 18:53:09

Please excuse shit spelling.
I-padding and feeding don't always go together smoothly.

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 18:58:50

But Amanda, what this thread is actually about is a law making breastfeeding compulsory. ISBN is wondering why we are frothing about it.

I am frothing because I know from experience that there are babies who (for reasons that may not be understood at the time) are simply not able to take milk from the breast. Increasing supply has nothing to do with it- I was bursting with milk while dd was getting thinner and thinner, because I had been told that giving her milk out of a bottle would compromise the breastfeeding which I felt defined me as a good and caring mother.

Of course in the past, such babies would simply have died. But I have a bit of a thing about keeping my babies.

This doesn't mean that I am anti-breastfeeding in general. Just very, very anti-legally enforcing a one size fits all approach.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 19:07:31

Cory - one would hope that there would be some involvement by the medical establishment in putting this law into action. This is a country where there is a deeply rooted culture of breastfeeding where people will understand that some babies and mothers medically can't breastfeed. All the responses on this thread have been based on the assumption that clear medical realities - widely known ones - will be routinely ignored. I'm not sure there is any information available about how this law is to be policed which suggests that this will be the case.

feesh Fri 31-Jan-14 19:12:02

Wet nursing isn't an option in the Middle East by the way, due to complex Islamic laws about the relationships formed between babies who shared the same breast milk. I don't fully understand it, as it's hugely complex, but it's the same reason there are no official milk banks here (for now - there are people working with Muslim clerics to try and change this).

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 19:13:25

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 19:07:31

"This is a country where there is a deeply rooted culture of breastfeeding where people will understand that some babies and mothers medically can't breastfeed. All the responses on this thread have been based on the assumption that clear medical realities - widely known ones - will be routinely ignored."

I may not have made myself clear. My problem (and I think that of another poster too) was that we had no medical diagnosis: there was no obvious medical reason why dd wasn't feeding effectively: she just wasn't. Her condition was diagnosed when she was 8, and it was only when she was in hospital aged 10 that somebody twigged that this migth have caused feeding problems earlier in life. So in a country where breastfeeding was compulsory I would just have come across as obstructive.

I can tell you I felt dreadful being looked after by health professionals who kept assuring me that it was simply a matter of feeding often enough and having the right latch and everything would simply sort itself out- and then it didn't. No sign of medical realities being understood here in the UK at one of the leading breastfeed-promoting hospitals in the country. Since there wasn't a diagnosis there couldn't be a cause.
(and fwiw I am Swedish so have grown up surrounded by breastfeeders)

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 19:14:07

But at least, upset as I was, I was not being sued by my husband.

feesh Fri 31-Jan-14 19:15:48

By the way, as I have said further up the thread, I live in the GCC and this law doesn't scare me. I couldn't breast feed my baby for medical reasons. They won't be locking up women left, right and centre for using formula. The percentage of mothers who breastfeed here is very small indeed and they have a mountain to climb in terms of changing the culture. The reliance on maids to raise the children is the biggest issue.

TortillasAndChocolate Fri 31-Jan-14 19:28:20

This is a horrible piece of legislation.

I was unable to breastfeed for medical reasons - I did it for 2.5 weeks, didnt have enough milk and after 2.5 weeks I was rushed into hospital and put on morphine and other drugs, so was told I could no longer attempt breastfeeding.

I would not have wanted a wet nurse one tiny bit. That would have broken my heart. He was my baby for me to feed and I used to hold him so close when I fed him and make ff as close to bf as I could.

Surely they can't enforce this?

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 19:30:20

I hear you cory
My own experience was very upsetting. DS had a severe tongue tie. I knew this. He couldn't feed. I had loa of milk. Nobody would snip the tongue tie until weeks later.
He was given formula. Even though i knew he didn't need it. I w pssured into giving it. I should have known better. I am still massively pissed off about it tbh.
They should have fixed his tongue tie. That was the problem.

There is still poor support for breastfeeding ithe uk and much of that comes for year's of influence from the formula companies.
Only recently are midwives and health visitors not permitted to accept freebies and lunches from Milupa et al during "updates" about their products.
The propaganda has had a significant effect.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 19:38:25

As an example: ok, a vy someone,but illustrates some of the problems withthe usual approach to feeding problems.
If a baby is not gaining weight because they can't effectively move milk from the breast then (at least) two things will happen, the baby will not get enough milk and may not thrive and the milk supply will be diminished over time.
One way of addressing to is to give formula. The baby will grow because they are getting enough milk. But they will not be getting their mother's milk (which would be best for them) and the mother's milk will stop being produced because of the reduced stimulation.
The alternative would be to say "moth's milk is best" (which it is) and to supplement the bat feed with expressed milk deliver by bottle, cup or tube.
Two things will happen: the baby will thrive on receipt of an adequate supply of human milk and the mother's milk supply will remain adequately stimulated.
In the first example there is also the result that the mother loses confidence in h feeding and her own milk.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 31-Jan-14 19:52:28

Ah but feesh might it scare you a little bit if you were in the UAE, had no other country to escape to (ie were from there), could not bf for whatever reason (bloody nipples sounds like reason enough- there has to be no reason frankly but let's say you had a great deal of difficulty) and you had a husband or ILs who wanted to create trouble for you?

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 31-Jan-14 19:53:24

Perhaps they wanted you out of the way for wife number 2 or maybe they wanted the child to themselves (as does happen in many situations- get the child, discard the mother)?

feesh Fri 31-Jan-14 20:17:48

Yes, good points, as usual in these countries it will be the migrant workers who actually suffer.

treaclesoda Fri 31-Jan-14 20:18:22

I had breast reduction surgery in my early 20s. Everything was left 'connected' in there but ultimately with my first child I produced very very little milk, and went through an agonising week of trying to bf, where dd sucked so hard that all she was getting was blood. In my hospital the preferred action was to feed her intravenously rather than let her drink formula, so I'm always stunned when I hear that people feel pressured into giving formula because it's so far removed from my experience. 2nd time round I produced not one drop of milk, I never even had the sensation of my milk coming in. But would I have wanted a wet nurse? No, I think psychologically it would have tipped me over the edge.

Incidentally, if I hadn't had surgery I most likely could have been physically capable of feeding, but psychologically I certainly couldn't. Pre-surgery I couldn't cope with touching my breasts, or with anyone else touching them. I couldn't let anyone see them, and I couldn't look in a mirror and see them myself. To say I was repulsed would be something of an understatement. In those circumstances I fear I would fall foul of such a law because there would have been no medical reason not to feed.

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