NHS guidelines to be the same as WHO guidelines

(43 Posts)
SpiderRoaster Mon 28-Apr-14 21:04:12

This isn't to provoke a bun fight. I'm a huge supporter of parents making their own decisions when it comes to feeding (breast, formula or mixed) and have been a bf peer supporter for a number of years, helping online and in real life. I have supported friends, acquaintances and strangers with their own bf journey, be that 1 week or 2 years. I was previously under a different nickname but the security breach meant I changed my name completely - you normally found me on the feeding / weaning boards smile

The reason for this thread is to let you know of a petition I'd like you to read. It's aim is to change the wording / guidance provided by the NHS, to mirror that of the WHO.

In my opinion, this will support those that breastfeed their babies longer than the current "norm" and feel supported by government health advice when they chose to feed beyond 6 months.

Please read here for more information and decide if you support the petition to change the NHS guideline wording.

thanks and wine

stargirl1701 Mon 28-Apr-14 21:07:16

Signed.

Sunflower1985 Mon 28-Apr-14 21:09:53

Done

Pigginnora Mon 28-Apr-14 21:09:53

Signed !

SpiderRoaster Mon 28-Apr-14 21:16:12

Thanks. I only saw it in Facebook, so wanted to spread the word a bit more smile

speedyboots Tue 29-Apr-14 05:55:52

Signed!

PrincessChick Tue 29-Apr-14 07:42:09

Signed!

rosiedays Tue 29-Apr-14 08:56:50

Signed smile and shared on fb.

Question. . At what age is bf considered
extended? Dd is 9 months now and i don't consider this as extended however hcp at local children's centre are already hmm when do you plan to stop? ??
I don't plan to stop any time soon (personal goal is 2 atm) i have noticed a big shift in people's attitude since we passed the 6 month mark.

obladeeobladahla Tue 29-Apr-14 12:55:22

Bump

Monica101 Tue 29-Apr-14 15:55:01

Signed.

Breastfeeding DD who's 23 months. This doesn't even feel 'extended' but 6 months is ridiculous.

catellington Tue 29-Apr-14 19:47:05

Signed

SpiderRoaster Tue 29-Apr-14 21:46:05

Question. At what age is bf considered extended? Dd is 9 months now and i don't consider this as extended however hcp at local children's centre are already when do you plan to stop?

Good question Rosie. I personally don't consider 9 months as extended, but it was normal (ish) for me to see people feeding beyond 6 months. My Dsis, and DSil did, and I went to BF cafe's so saw many people feeding their older babies and toddlers too.

For many though, feeding a 9 month old is are. A quick google found this:

The initation rates are around 80% (so 80% of people who give birth, breastfeed from the beginning). This drops to just over 43% by 6-7 weeks old. See here

According to the Unicef summary here, only 1% are feeding by 6 months.

The 6 months wording comes from the NHS guidelines and gets confusing amongst many parents that they think they should stop at 6 months. If the WHO and NHS said the same thing, I believe it would make things much clearer for parents to decide what to do. Many parents I speak to believe there are two pieces of advice.

SpiderRoaster Tue 29-Apr-14 21:46:53

*rare, not are.... that just wouldn't make sense! blush

Monikita Wed 30-Apr-14 09:59:22

Signed!

tiktok Wed 30-Apr-14 10:57:36

Hmmmm....

I actually prefer the NHS wording. It has no upper age limit. The WHO statement mentions 'two years' and while it adds 'and beyond', I prefer there to be no stated limit at all. The NHS wording sensibly talks about 6 mths for exclusive breastfeeding, and thereafter there is no number mentioned, so nothing to give people ideas about what might be a 'long' time.

So sorry - not signing sad

tiktok Wed 30-Apr-14 11:04:35

That 1 per cent UK figure is exclusive breastfeeding, Spider.

It probably understates it. Plenty (well, more than 1 per cent) of mothers feed exclusively to 6 mths (or thereabouts) and then introduce solids. When the questionnaire on which that work was based posed the question 'when did you introduce solids?' they answered '6 mths' and they went down as not breastfeeding exclusively to six months....but if the question had been 'how long did you breastfeed without anything else?' the answer would have been '6 mths' just the same, and the figure would have been greater. The authors of the study say as much in their introduction, IIRC. Confusing wording, will prob be corrected in the next survey which will be in 2015 and published 1-2 years later.

I can't remember how many are bf at 9 mths (with other foods) but it's something like 15 per cent. The survey stops at that age, so we just don't know how many are bf their beyond-babyhood babies.

My guess is that in areas with a lot of breastfeeding anyway, probably 10 per cent of babies are still bf at a year.

squizita Wed 30-Apr-14 13:23:19

It probably understates it. Plenty (well, more than 1 per cent) of mothers feed exclusively to 6 mths (or thereabouts) and then introduce solids. When the questionnaire on which that work was based posed the question 'when did you introduce solids?' they answered '6 mths' and they went down as not breastfeeding exclusively to six months....but if the question had been 'how long did you breastfeed without anything else?' the answer would have been '6 mths' just the same, and the figure would have been greater.

Wow, I never knew that. Fascinating! I'm a survey geek (impact of question phrasing, correlation/causation etc') and had long wondered, but any conversations about surveys and baby/woman's health are emotive topics.

catellington Wed 30-Apr-14 14:52:19

tiktok that's really interesting I did not know that about that survey. It will be interesting to see the difference in the next survey. Is the data collected from the forms in the red books, if so then do you think that is reliable anyway? I don't recall ever having discussed feeding at any of the regular checks but somehow the boxes get ticked...

I personally think that although I agree the precise wording of the NHS guidelines is more open, many people do not read closely and the information is frequently misstated in the press. In my experience people who aren't themselves feeding an infant or haven't done so recently can recall there's a timeframe of 6 months but misquote the NHS thinking that this is the recommended amount of time for breastfeeding. They don't understand the distinction between exclusive or partial breastfeeding or have any idea when solids are introduced.

I do think it is important to educate the general public about extended / natural term bf (I think these have different meanings). If the stigma around feeding older babies and children could be reduced then breastfeeding would be more acceptable in general, people would see it as part of everyday life, and new mothers would at least have second hand experience of breastfeeding on day one. Unfortunately at the moment it is the media that takes information such as the NHS guidelines and disseminates it incorrectly (Dr Christian etc).

tiktok Wed 30-Apr-14 15:00:39

The survey is not based on red book data - that would be the worst way of getting it smile

It's based on a large survey held every 5 years, mix of face to face interview and questionnaire, very respectable and sound, many 1000s of women, carefully selected....check out Infant Feeding Survey Uk on the web for more details.

The WHO say 6 mths exclusive as well. So anyone not understanding the diff between exclusive and 'any' breastfeeding would be still in error if they went with what WHO say.,

catellington Wed 30-Apr-14 15:04:49

I agree, it's just that rather than reading the actual words in full sentences, I think many people just pick out the timeframe - so they will remember 6 months from NHS but remember 2 years from WHO (which at least is an improvement).

I agree the '2 years and beyond' is pretty vague and unhelpful. That can also be misconstrued or the 'and beyond' ignored...including by the bfc who has taught me in my peer support course who said she thinks bf past the age of 2 is wrong and is just for the mother's benefit hmm.

HavannaSlife Wed 30-Apr-14 15:08:15

I agree with tiktoc, I like the wording of the nhs and the fact it has no upper age limit.

I don't know anyone in rl who has bf as long as me and I'm only on 15 months! I always took extended bf to mean after 12 months when they can be given cows milk instead. But that's just in my head

tiktok Wed 30-Apr-14 15:33:57

'Extended" breastfeeding or 'natural term' breastfeeding are social and cultural constructs. Neither mean anything, biologically.

Given that breastfeeding women can lactate forever, or rather as long as their milk is used, 'natural term' is especially meaningless, because 'continuously, until I am 80 or thereabouts' is definitely not what is meant when people use the phrase smile

It's also a phrase that sounds a bit too pleased with itself - and is likely to piss people off who stop breastfeeding at some arbitrary earlier date.

'Extended' is even worse, though, IMO. That one presupposes a 'normal' baseline, beyond which anything is 'extended'.

It should be simple. The word is 'breastfeeding' and the phrase is 'for as long as the mother and the child want to continue.'

smile

tiktok Wed 30-Apr-14 15:35:05

catellington - who on earth trained you?! That's a really awful thing for the trainer to say sad

OhHowILoveMyPuppies Wed 30-Apr-14 15:39:50

Signed.

nickelbabe Wed 30-Apr-14 15:51:05

I think.the who wording better than the nhs one.
wgenever I make comments about bfing I always say the who recommends to at least 2 years. thatms gow interpret 2 years and beyond..yes, the nhs gives no upper age limit, but it also never mentions bfing again after 6 months. it doesn't mention it as main nutrition until a year and it doesnmt mention it as supplementary beyond that.

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