So today I learned that gorillas nurse their young until they are 3 or 4....

(332 Posts)
georgimama Sun 12-Oct-08 22:09:55

That's it really. Was at Bristol Zoo and the lovely keeper gave a talk about all their gorillas. They have a 23 month old baby and he is still nursing and apparently will continue to do so until he is about 3 or 4.

I just thought that was lovely. Seriously cute gorilla baby.



I bet their MiLs still heckle though grin

georgimama Sun 12-Oct-08 22:16:55

There's a gorilla island webcam on the Bristol zoo website now, I might load it up at work!

You know, it's mostly for the mummy gorilla's benefit, really.

wink

SuperBunny Mon 13-Oct-08 01:27:49

How self-indulgent of the mother. Goodness. The baby might still be doing it when it is 8 or something. Shocking. I bet they aren't even discreet.

wink

<off to find the webcam>

mawbroon Mon 13-Oct-08 07:52:10

Gosh, has nobody told that mother gorilla that there's no nutritional benefit after 6 months. winkwinkwinkgrin

LeonieD Mon 13-Oct-08 08:29:27

Oh dear, am i a gorilla? I nursed my first til she was 3.5, and intend to let this one go til she's through, too...

mawbroon Mon 13-Oct-08 08:59:08

LOL, I must be too! My ds is 3 next week and still feeding.

It's just not natural is it? wink

hanaflower Mon 13-Oct-08 09:03:34

Not sure how true it is, but we were told at the NCT antenatal breastfeeding session last week that the worldwide average age for weaning was 4. Cue lots of shock shock shock from the DPs, DHs, and most of the mums-to-be grin.

PuzzleRocks Mon 13-Oct-08 09:09:01

So that's why I call DD monkey.

And we are supposed to be more evolved!

Tangle Mon 13-Oct-08 12:27:54

Shocking, isn't it

Kathy Dettwyler has a sumary of a selection of research into a "natural" weaning age for humans - you can get up to 7 fairly easily!

lizzytee Mon 13-Oct-08 13:35:35

Does she know she's making a rod for her own back?

EnchantedWithEdwardCullen Mon 13-Oct-08 13:38:28

A gorillas life span is only 40 years too, which means by feeding till 4 years they breastfeed for the first 10% of their life expectancy.

Which means that naturally humans should feed, by the same rule till about 7 years old wink grin

Rhubarb Mon 13-Oct-08 13:40:08

We are not gorillas however. The reason they nurse for so long and in other underdeveloped countries, is that it is essential for them to get as many nutrients as they can because once they are weaned, nutricious food is scarce and irregular. Plus they can pick up diseases much easier from unclean food.

In this country, you can choose to feed your child up to that age, but it's not really necessary, our food is plentiful and hygiene is good.

Simplysally Mon 13-Oct-08 13:44:04

How often do gorillas have babies? Once every 4 years? Surely they don't feed older gorillas once they've got a new sprog hmm although I know it's quite common for humans to do this.

Or does the feeding have a contraceptive effect? Not trying to be clever, just wondering.

Tangle Mon 13-Oct-08 14:41:56

Simplysally - BF does have a contraceptive effect. IIRC, in countries where children self-weaning is the norm average child spacing tends to be around 4 years (that's back to humans btw, but I'm figuring it'll be similar for gorillas wink).

mabanana Mon 13-Oct-08 14:57:35

I have never seen a scrap of evidence that it is the norm anywhere for children to be breastfed until three or four. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it at all (I've breastfed up to two), just that this is a bit of a myth.

Dragonbutter Mon 13-Oct-08 14:59:27

i read somewhere that gorilla's also suffer from pnd.

Simplysally Mon 13-Oct-08 15:02:41

I was wondering as I believe (this may be wrong) that animals don't ovulate in the same way as women do but only when they are ready to get pg do they come into season.

mabanana Mon 13-Oct-08 15:04:43

Even Kathy Dettwyler admits the worldwide average weaning age stuff is made up

mabanana Mon 13-Oct-08 15:05:36

Primates have very widely spaced offspring.

InTheDollshouse Mon 13-Oct-08 18:12:08

mabanana, there's plenty of anthropological, archaeological and historical evidence of children in various cultures breastfeeding until age 3 or 4. For a good overview, have a look at Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives.

mabanana Mon 13-Oct-08 18:17:08

There may be, but that does not make the 'worldwide average age for weaning 4.5' - that's simply not true, but you hear it bandied about all the time.

mabanana Mon 13-Oct-08 18:21:47

Interesting evidence of how important breastfeeding is/was for children in medieval times - yet still two years was about the limit.

mabanana Mon 13-Oct-08 18:22:32
wannaBe Mon 13-Oct-08 18:25:00

lots of animals smack their young too (quick swipe with a paw is common in the animal kingdom) and yet I don't see many people saying that because animals do it it's alright for humans to.

In fact I suggested as much on an anti-smacking thread some years back and was hastily told that you cannot compare what animals do with what humans do because we are more civilized.

mabanana Mon 13-Oct-08 18:25:16

<scratches arse>
<hides hairy hands>

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 18:30:28

i learned there's a weed that can grow through concrete.

gorillas are soooo minging.

eewwwww.

i have a pathological hatred of primates and apes i can just barely stand.

What do you mean about a weed that can grow through concrete?

edam Mon 13-Oct-08 18:33:11

I'm just getting an error message from that link. Shame as it looks interesting.

edam Mon 13-Oct-08 18:33:59

But humans should arguably feed for longer than primates because our babies are born neonate i.e. far more vulnerable than infant gorillas or chimpanzees. missing fourth trimester of pregnancy and all that.

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 18:35:49

it's called 'superweed'.
knotweed

I didn't understand the relevance to the thread (not being argumentative, genuinely baffled ) Or did you just throw it in as an interesting fact?

for people like me to give you the inquisition about? wink

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 18:38:34

well, today the OP learned that horrid stinky gorillas nurse for ages.

today i learned that of a horrid weed that grows through concrete.

both need to be eliminated, IMHO.

Oh I see!
[lightbulb]

mabanana Mon 13-Oct-08 18:39:22

again iron age breastfeeding

Or google iron age breastfeeding!

tiktok Mon 13-Oct-08 18:43:21

mabanana, i have no idea of the maths behind the 'worldwide average' figure, but I can assure you that there are cultures now and in the past where weaning from the breast happens/happened above three and four....but infant feeding is always culturally mediated. It is a social act, and its acceptance, its frequency, the length of time it's done for, who it is done by may differ according to social context. It is a myth to assume that all non-industrial societies breastfeed/breastfed without a thought, for years and years - they didn't and they don't.

mabanana Mon 13-Oct-08 18:48:54

Yes, I do know that breastfeeding varies according to context, and I won't put the rolly eye person in here, even though I do feel a tad patronised! I'm all for breastfeeding and people can do it forever if they like, and I do know people breasfed for much longer in the past (as in the link I posted) but I would be interested if anyone can find a single society where weaning commonly happened/happens over the age of four. Even in the most rural parts of Africa today the highest figure I could find for breastfeeding at two was 61 per cent. And that is unusual. The 'worldwide average' thing is just so obviously wrong - given that the average in lots of Western countries is about five minutes!

edam Mon 13-Oct-08 18:52:15

Seem to remember in Romeo and Juliet there's a reference to Juliet having been nursed until she was three or four. FWIW.

MegBusset Mon 13-Oct-08 18:56:21

I have a friend from Mongolia who says that in her country it is common for children to be breastfed up to the age of five or six.

tiktok Mon 13-Oct-08 18:58:35

Gosh, mabanana, you're sensitive if you feel patronised by that!

Blimey.

It is going to be hard to get definite historical stats, for obvious reasons, but (for instance) breastfeeding was common up to puberty in the Chinese imperial court (see the film 'the Last Emporer' for an example). Often when things are normal, they are just not recorded in any way. Today's bf stats are not really interested in age of weaning beyond two - there is no public health imperative for this, especially, so it wouldn't be surprising if stats show us nothing much at all. You have to look at ethnographic studies like Dettwylers to really see what's happening.

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 18:59:38

yes, but didn't juliet's mother also mention that she was only 26 to juliet's 13 as well?

georgimama Mon 13-Oct-08 19:40:29

Honestly, I wasn't trying to start some big row about extended (or "natural term") Bfing, I was just telling you about the cute gorilla. Did anyone see me write "gorillas nurse until 3 or 4, obviously we all should too."

No? Thought not.

Jeez, this place sometimes.

SuperBunny Mon 13-Oct-08 19:50:44

shock at how this thread turned out. Thanks for sharing, georgi.

pointygravedogger Mon 13-Oct-08 19:56:18

well, you put it under breast and bottle feeding, georgie. I am very surprised that you are surprised by the reaction.

I wouldn't have expected anything less.

InTheDollshouse Mon 13-Oct-08 20:05:37

mabanana, I was responding to "I have never seen a scrap of evidence that it is the norm anywhere for children to be breastfed until three or four."

georgimama Mon 13-Oct-08 20:08:25

Well the gorilla was breast feeding.

Obviously even the most inane comment on this topic can start a fire fight. I shouldn't be surprised but I still am.

onwardandupward Mon 13-Oct-08 20:11:37

I was walking past a gorilla enclosure one day, where there was a gorilla nursing her baby, and I saw a mum of a baby (maybe 9 months old or so) stop and sit down on a bench and feed the human baby. now that was a lovely moment. I gave the human mother one of these smiles grin as I passed. But of course I treated the horrid stinky gorilla with the contempt that it deserved wink

mawbroon Mon 13-Oct-08 20:13:28

At least the keeper maybe knew what he was talking about georgiemama.

I remember once watching the goat being milked at the kids farm and wanting to heckle the woman.

She was telling everyone that they had to milk the goat often because she was making enough for twins.

I wanted to shout that it was because they were milking her that she was making so much milk.

But I didn't. smile

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 13-Oct-08 20:19:04

I'm not surprised gorillas get pnd, what with all that unnecessary breastfeeding they do in the developed zoos.

georgimama Mon 13-Oct-08 20:32:24

And his mother had PCOS, she couldn't conceive so they gave her drugs (Colmid or Metformin I presume, there were loads of cubs around so I didn't like to ask) and then she had him.

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 21:14:54

'I'm not surprised gorillas get pnd,'

all the more reason to send them the way of the dodo bird.

hunkermunker Mon 13-Oct-08 21:23:57

I've collected some links about natural term breastfeeding in humans here and written about my own experience.

I wonder whether those who think breastfeeding isn't "necessary" past whatever arbitary age their own taste allows do other things with their children that aren't strictly "necessary"?

georgimama Mon 13-Oct-08 21:35:13

Bless you Hunker, that is a lovely article on primates and a lovely page on your blog.

morocco Mon 13-Oct-08 21:39:52

gorillas don't let their babies self wean though, they decide they've had enough one day and then just push their babies/toddlers away for a few days and leave them crying

another factoid (well, so that Jane whatsername said, I seem to remember)

Rhubarb Mon 13-Oct-08 22:10:52

It isn't necessary because our children are not going to die once they are off the breast.

In developing countries, in medieval times, in the animal kingdom there is much more of a risk of the child eating or drinking dirty and contaminated food or water. Therefore the longer you bf the safer it is and as the child gets older their immunity gets stronger. Also you have to take into account the scarecity of food, another good reason to bf for as long as possible.

In this country food is plentiful. A child will not be lacking in nutrients and there is not such a risk of contamination.

Therefore it is not necessary to bf beyond the age of 1, it is a choice. Those who choose to bf beyond this age don't do it because of necessity.

(has no-one mentioned the Little Britain sketch yet? - "bitty!")

Caz10 Mon 13-Oct-08 22:16:30

Can't believe I'm going to get into this, when all I should really do is say U think gorillas are v v cute, but...
rhubarb - just because it is a choice rather than a necessity, why does that make it bad thing?
We make lots of choices for our dcs that are not necessities, but no-one gets all flustered about our other choices!

hunkermunker Mon 13-Oct-08 22:23:03

Rhubarb, I do lots of things that aren't necessary with the boys, because they enjoy them or because they would be miserable if I didn't.

I wasn't aware that the things you do as a parent ought to be strictly limited to "things you do because they'd die if you didn't", so I'm sure that's not what you're saying?

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 13-Oct-08 22:26:42

That only covers nutrition. THere are many positives to b/feeding and it isnt always about food and hygiene.

I dont think anyone has any comprehension just yet as to how much our increasing culture of detaching from our babies has an effect on them, and into adulthood.

hunkermunker Mon 13-Oct-08 22:28:59

You get your 2yo in fits of giggles over what Daddy milk might be, for a start - he finally decided "Daddy milk in a cup from the fridge" grin

ThingOne Mon 13-Oct-08 22:31:05

Somebody asked about the mummy gorilla still feeding at 23 months when there is a baby too. It's another gorilla's baby. One Big Daddy, two mummies, one toddler and a baby wink.

edam Mon 13-Oct-08 22:31:08

expat - yes, think you are right about Juliet and her mother. And Juliet is supposed to marry Paris at 13 too. So in those days, you married ten years after weaning... better start saving for ds's wedding in five year's time then!

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 13-Oct-08 22:31:42

Ah, see now DD asked her daddy why he had boobs grin

Aitch Mon 13-Oct-08 22:31:54

dh has convinced dd1 that hot chocolate comes from his right nip and coca cola from the left. grin but it's just for boys...

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 13-Oct-08 22:33:46

Does DH realise that one is going to come back and bit him in the arse? When DD starts receptiongrin

hunkermunker Mon 13-Oct-08 22:37:59

DH'll get a big shock if DS2 ever meets DD1, Aitch - he likes coke (he told me today [sigh]). And has been known to demand "a nice cuppa tea".

ilovemyghds Mon 13-Oct-08 22:41:18

Gorillas are so lovely - how can anyone think they are not gorgeous! OP - did not know they nursed for that long.

Not so keen on chimps though - or the ones with the red bottoms [ignorant of monkey breeds emoticon].

Simplysally Mon 13-Oct-08 22:43:28

Orangutans?

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 22:44:01

'Gorillas are so lovely - how can anyone think they are not gorgeous!'

Because they're not.

They're vile.

Chimps are even worse.

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 13-Oct-08 22:45:01

Baboons.....

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder expat.

Simplysally Mon 13-Oct-08 22:45:38

I'd rather see primates than snakes or reptiles.

Please don't tell me how long snakes feed their young for hmm.

Reallytired Mon 13-Oct-08 22:47:45

I haven't seen a gorilla nurse, but I have seen a chimpanese nurse a two year old.

They don't seem to worry about teeth like humnas do. I suppose the chimp is quite prepared to smack the child if it dares bites the nipple.

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 22:50:22

I'd especially love to see baboons annhilated, VVV.

Also monkey, particularly macaques.

edam Mon 13-Oct-08 22:52:08

What's with the hostility to our nearest relatives, expat, were you scared in your crib by Jane Goodall, or something?!

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 13-Oct-08 22:57:05

LOL! Expat, you are being apeist.

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 22:58:39

I don't know where it originated, edam, but I nourish an irrational hatred of most primates and great apes, although gibbons are sort of okay.

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 13-Oct-08 23:01:38

you are bonkers lady. but in a lovely way grin

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 23:03:38

i feel the same way about clowns.

Aitch Mon 13-Oct-08 23:11:37

rofl, you mentalist, expat. grin

must be getting near the time for you, little lady...

expatinscotland Mon 13-Oct-08 23:17:37

at least i don't have an irrational fear of
MAGGOTS or LOOFAHS .

StarfishandCoffee Mon 13-Oct-08 23:44:01

I feel the same way about clowns too. Bunch of creepy weirdos. Clown masks had to be hung facing the wall for me to enter my friend's house as a child.

onwardandupward Mon 13-Oct-08 23:59:40

splutter edam that Jane Goodall comment nearly compromised my pelvic floor beyond the ponit of no return. grin

I met her once. She was very interested in Jane Goodall.

Rhubarb Tue 14-Oct-08 12:48:42

Did I say it was a bad thing? I bf mine. No-one can argue that it is anything but beneficial for both child and mother up to the age of 1 at least, and then less so for the child in terms of health benefits perhaps.

Necessity for mean means doing something not through choice, but because you need to.

I thought that was quite clear. You are taking my argument as anti-breastfeeing.

Rhubarb Tue 14-Oct-08 12:52:04

It is necessary in developing worlds and in the animal kingdom because of nutrition. As I said. Because their lives depend upon it.

The argument was that bf beyond the age of 1 is NOT necessary. It may be beneficial and enjoyable and everything else, but in this country today, it is not necessary. It's not even strictly necessary to bf at all, now that there are other options available.

You misunderstand my use of the word necessary here and the context of the argument.

InTheDollshouse Tue 14-Oct-08 13:45:06

Speaking of Jane Goodall, this article has a mention of some of her observations (it's the last section, copied here).

'When reading a children's book about chimpanzees by Jane Goodall to my then five-year-old daughter, I learned that mother's milk remains a chimp's most important food until about three years of age. The book described Goodall's field observation of a chimpanzee mother named Fifi and her four-year-old daughter Flossi.

"Flossi starts to suckle. She will not be able to do this for many more months. Fifis milk is drying up and she often prevents Flossi from nursing these days. Then Flossi pouts and utters sad crying sounds until Fifi relents and lets her suckle for just a little while. In about a year Fifi will probably have another infant."

Of the hundreds of children's books I have borrowed from the library and read to my daughter, this is the only one that described nursing a four-year-old. As another nursing mother I found myself reassured by both Fifi's and Flossi's behavior. I identified with the mother's ambivalence, at first resistant and irritated at the youngster's demands and yet, in the face of her daughter's grief, relenting and giving in. Perhaps those experts who admonish mothers to be firm and consistent are out of touch with our nature as primates.'

InTheDollshouse Tue 14-Oct-08 13:46:35

Well, it's necessary unless you are willing to accept an elevated risk of a variety of childhood and adult diseases, Rhubarb.

Rhubarb Tue 14-Oct-08 14:13:13

Not past the age of 1. Sure enough, bfing protects you with your mother's immunity, but after about 1 when you are also weaned onto solids, the benefits are lowered. It's still much much better than drinking cow's milk, but the word here is necessary. We bf because we are lucky enough to have that choice. In other parts of the world, they bf because there is no other choice and if you want your child to live beyond the age of 5, it's necessary to protect them from contamination. They wean at a much later date because they simply don't have enough food, so it makes sense to keep them on the breast for longer.

We do not have to breastfeed in this country, but there are benefits if we choose to do so. Same as extended breastfeeding is for us, a choice and not a necessity.

InTheDollshouse Tue 14-Oct-08 14:42:41

Rhubarb, I was responding to your point about breastfeeding not being necessary at all.

PinkTulips Tue 14-Oct-08 14:42:58

i used to have some great links to info about primate feedings habits and gaps between their young but my pc seems to have eaten them... hmm

apparently they exclusively breastfeed for a year or 2 before any solid food is introduced at all and then continue to feed for another few years after that during which time the mother remains infertile so doesn't conceive any more infants.

as an aside, i thin my cat is a lentil weaving extended breastfeeder... she's feeding 13 weeks old kittens and is due to pop out a few more any day now! will be interesting to see if she contines to let the older one nurse when she has the new ones.

Rhubarb Tue 14-Oct-08 14:46:58

But drama, that IS my point. You may be taking the very low risk of them having childhood and adult diseases, but even IF that happens, the health service in this country is top notch and we have vaccines that protect them against most childhood diseases. It's not necessary to practice extended breastfeeding. It's a choice!

Tangle Tue 14-Oct-08 14:48:59

PinkTulips - she'll be doing it to help prevent sibling rivalry, you know wink. Flippancy aside, I'd be fascinated to hear what happens

PinkTulips Tue 14-Oct-08 14:55:35

lol.... she too much of a pushover, i've never seen her raise a paw to the kittens even when they've been tearing chunks out of her. the most she'll do is move across the room.

it does look quite daft when they feed though, she's tiny and they're big for their age so there's not much differance in size anymore grin

InTheDollshouse Tue 14-Oct-08 14:57:30

I wasn't talking about long-term breastfeeding Rhubarb, but any breastfeeding, since you seemed to be saying that any duration of breastfeeding is unnecessary. My point is that it depends on what you deem is necessary - if you're happy to accept an increased risk of gastroenteritis, respiratory illnesses, childhood cancers, type I diabetes, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease and so on (and the difference in risk isn't really low), then no, it's not necessary to breastfeed. Personally I'd hope to aim slightly higher than "baby didn't die".

Rhubarb Tue 14-Oct-08 16:42:33

My original post was in response to this assumption that because the animal kingdom and some mothers in Ethopia breastfeed their child until the age of 4, we should all do it because obviously they are more in touch with nature than we are.

They are indeed more in touch with nature. But my argument was that they breastfeed out of necessity in order to give their children a better chance of survival. We don't have that necessity.

We can be fairly confident that even if we bottle feed our children and wean at 3 months old, our child will still survive and grow up to be healthy.

My argument isn't about whether it is more beneficial, but whether breastfeeding is vital for that child's survival. In this country it is not.

welliemum Tue 14-Oct-08 17:35:00

Rhubarb, I'm guessing that you haven't been an extended bf-er and that this is why you're so sure and so insistent that it's not "necessary".

If you need to believe that for your own peace of mind, that's fine, but you need to be careful about what you say on a public website because it's not correct to say so categorically that bfing - extended or short-term - is no longer necessary in a developed country.

The truth is that no-one knows for sure, but current research suggest that bfing has profound, probably lifelong effects for some people.

This sort of stuff is upsetting for ff-ers to read and so l'll leave it at that, but there seems to be a strong dose-dependent effect of bf for a lot of risks. In other words, it's not just important whether you bf or not, but also how long you continue. So, how long should that be?

As far as I'm aware, there is no age where you can confidently say that bf stops being useful. But if you had to guess, it's quite likely that the physiological duration of bf - around 3 years for humans by many accounts - reflects the point where for most people the costs of bf (to the mother) would start to outweigh the health advantages (to the baby).

By then, of course, the advantages could be quite small and are probably related to maturing the immune system rather than nutrition - but as we can't for obvious reasons study this in developed countries, I don't think it's something we can make confident pronouncements about, either way.

(I don't have a personal axe to grind about extended bf by the way - mine both self weaned when I was pregnant, at 19 months and 25 months, so clearly I'm not up to gorilla standards here.)

"They're vile.

Chimps are even worse. "

expat, you should read what they're saying about you on chimpnet!

cthea Tue 14-Oct-08 17:40:00

Sorry to jump from post 1 to posting myself - but what of it? I saw some primates doing some pretty ... ... can't find the words, stuff, at Newquay Zoo this August. (Male jumping on female, wham, bam, thank you mam, then sniffing it too. My DCs watched it with mirth and STILL want to rbing it up in conversation.)

Maybe it was a 2nd date?
You are being very judgemental

welliemum Tue 14-Oct-08 17:45:38

I remember (pre-children) many times PMSL in Bristol Zoo in front of the gorilla enclosure, eavesdropping on the other conversations:

- "Daddy, what is that gorilla doing to that other gorilla?"
- "Em, em.... don't you want to go and see Wendy the Elephant now?"

etc

They had a gorilla breeding programme and someone had obviously explained to the gorillas how Very Important the breeding programme was grin

cthea Tue 14-Oct-08 17:55:45

"Maybe it was a 2nd date?
You are being very judgemental"

Years ago DH's workmate was going to Moscow for a few days with work. He asked how he could meet girls. He got the usual replies: bars, discos etc. He seemed wounded: "But you don't understand. I'll be there for a few days. I want a relationship."

Pruners Tue 14-Oct-08 17:55:47

Message withdrawn

cthea Tue 14-Oct-08 18:00:05

at Pruners' bedroom antics

PuzzleRocks Tue 14-Oct-08 18:01:30

Are you suggesting Pruners goes in for chimp fingering? shock

PuzzleRocks Tue 14-Oct-08 18:01:55

Are you suggesting Pruners goes in for chimp fingering? shock

cthea Tue 14-Oct-08 18:03:13

No, no chimps involved.

Pruners Tue 14-Oct-08 18:13:20

Message withdrawn

PuzzleRocks Tue 14-Oct-08 18:22:19

So you say wink. We call ours the master bedroom.

VeniVidiVickiQV Tue 14-Oct-08 18:42:15

grin

expatinscotland Tue 14-Oct-08 18:46:09

I actually saw Jane Goodall giving a talk when I was a university.

Brilliant lecture!

Too bad it was about those nasty chimps.

pointygravedogger Tue 14-Oct-08 19:03:59

I saw a chimp at the zoo eating a piece of its own faeces.

mawbroon Tue 14-Oct-08 19:30:03

DS pretends to be all different animals when we cuddle up in bed for his bedtime breastmilk.

He says, "I am the baby mouse and you are the mummy mouse"

I will have to tell him to be a baby gorilla and then report how we get on. winkgrin

welliemum Tue 14-Oct-08 20:19:10

envy expat - I'd love to hear Jane Goodall talk, she's had an interesting life.

grin at your anti-primate stance - although as a primate myself, I am of course deeply, deeply hurt by your comments.

expatinscotland Tue 14-Oct-08 20:21:12

she's an amazing speaker!

she almost made me care about those putrid chimps.

see, i quantified my hatred of primates - it excludes humans and some great ape species, gibbons, for example.

but truly no gorilla, baboon, chimp or macaques should be spared.

welliemum Tue 14-Oct-08 20:42:07

grin

Now, I'm with you on the macaques, totally.

When I am Empress of the Known Universe, they will be first to the wall, along with Barney the dinosaur.

Tangle Tue 14-Oct-08 20:49:44

Ah, now if your chimps are putrid that explains a lot - I doubt many people could find those endearing

Aww mawbroon that is soooo cute!

PuzzleRocks Tue 14-Oct-08 21:15:14

Tis very cute Mawbroon. smile DD does the milky dance when she wants some. I also love how she says "and that one there now!" when she switches boob.

wastingmyeducation Wed 15-Oct-08 09:51:04

But Rhubarb, by your argument, brushing teeth isn't necessary, as we have blenders in this country, and false teeth if we choose. I'd rather have my own teeth and bite apples. In the same way I'd rather DS had a lower risk of X, Y and Z.
And breastmilk isn't substitute babyfood because the 'normal' babyfood is contaminated in developing countries.
Just because we have a choice doesn't make the options equal.

xx

Rhubarb Wed 15-Oct-08 14:15:48

I think you are missing the argument somewhat.

I am not saying that bf is not beneficial, of course it is. This is not an argument against breastfeeding, extended or otherwise. Interesting that someone presumed I didn't do extended breastfeeding - at what age is extended breastfeeding?

Comparing it to brushing teeth is not a fair analogy. If you don't brush your teeth then your teeth fall out admist lots of pain and you then have to incur the huge cost of false ones. Not to mention gum rot.

But you can choose to ff babies and still be fairly sure that the baby will survive being given a bottle. Whereas in developing countries this is not so because of dirty and contaminated water and bottles. And of course many mothers cannot afford the huge cost of formula milk. So for them it really is a case of you breastfeed or the baby risks death.

At no point in this country do babies risk death if we choose to bottlefeed them.

Yes you may argue about the increased health benefits of breastfeeding and the increased health risks of not doing so. But the risks involved in bottle feeding are still small, you are not condemning your baby to a lifetime of asthma or allergies if you bottle feed, the risk is increased, but not substantially so.

If you do breastfeed of course you are giving the baby a better chance of fighting off these allergies and ailments. But it's not a question of life or death for us.

So when people point to countries such as Ethopia and say they breastfeed the child until the child is 5, they fail to mention that the only reason they do that is because there is a substantial risk the child might catch a fatal disease if they didn't.

I'm not trying to turn this into a bottle versus breast debate, merely pointing out the differences between choice and necessity.

Tangle Wed 15-Oct-08 14:21:04

Rhubarb - I'm very interested in the background data you have, as you seem very sure that health is the ONLY reason that people in developing coutries breastfeed for longer periods. Do you have the details of any anthropological studies to back that up? My understanding was that why women breastfeed and what duration they breastfeed for was a very complex and multilayered issue, whatever culture they came from. I'd like to read up on it if that understanding is wrong as its a subject I find very interesting

Rhubarb Wed 15-Oct-08 14:26:06

Simple Tangle - it has become culturally acceptable because where do the women in developing countries get their formula from? How do they pay for it? It is common knowledge that water is often dirty and unsanitised, so how do they get clean water to mix up the milk? Where do the bottles come from? How do they pay for those? How do they keep them clean? What do they do when food is sparse? How do they keep their children's hunger at bay then?

It is culturally the norm to practise extended breastfeeding in developing countries - and that is the reason why. You'd have to be fairly rich to be able to bottle feed.

Tangle Wed 15-Oct-08 14:32:52

Rhubarb - I completely take the point for newborn infants (which is why I'm boycotting Nestle at the moment), and up to a year or so old. But beyond that, from what I have read, most cultures would have started to introduce solids to a greater or lesser degree. As children eat more solids so milk, of whatever type, becomes less critical from a nutritional standpoint.

If I'm reading what you've written correctly, you're argument is that women in developing countries breast feed because they can't afford to bottle feed. But that doesn't answer the question of why they continue to breast feed for 3, 4, 5, or more years rather than stopping at 1 or 2. Why is it culturally the norm? That's what I'd be interested in knowing

FlabbyTumSquashyBum Wed 15-Oct-08 14:34:08

Bit of an aside, but dolphins also nurse their young for at least 3 years, and nursing up to the age of 10 has been reported. smile

Rhubarb Wed 15-Oct-08 14:46:57

Contraception. They continue to breastfeed until they are ready for another child.

"In rural areas family planning is not common due to religious reasons and couples normally have children soon after marriage. Contraceptive use is more common in metropolitan areas. Breastfeeding often serves as a natural form of birth control. For married couples in urban areas, the most common methods of birth control are oral contraceptives, IUDs, and condoms."

Also, because breastfeeding is a useful top-up for when food is scarce.

A lot of emphasis is put on the cultural norm in countries we consider to be more attuned to nature. But in Ethopia they also wean at around 4-6 months using this method "The majority of the mothers used "swallow or suffocate" method in feeding their children, though cups and bottles were also mentioned as important feeding methods."

VeniVidiVickiQV Wed 15-Oct-08 18:39:11

In many developing countries formula feeding is considered something to 'aspire' to, because 'richer' folk do it, and because of the marketing that indicates that it is 'better' than giving b/milk (speaking of Nestle, Tangle wink)

Natural term breastfeeding is also about comfort, and affection. That's the case in both developed and developing countries. Its not just about nutrition. That's just how the breastfeeding relationship starts. It develops into something more than that which is why ending it prematurely isnt just about increased risk of allergies and obesity. (Although we've all heard the term "Comfort eating" havent we? wink)

expatinscotland Wed 15-Oct-08 18:40:11

then let's permanently contracept all gorillas, chimps, baboons and monkey.

kill 'em all! let God sort 'em out .

VeniVidiVickiQV Wed 15-Oct-08 18:45:59

expat shock

even these???

expatinscotland Wed 15-Oct-08 18:47:00

yes, even those.

picture that creature baring its teeth at you.

VeniVidiVickiQV Wed 15-Oct-08 18:47:49

<orangutan's response to expat....here>

expatinscotland Wed 15-Oct-08 19:14:00

cool! he's showing me right where to site my rifle scope!

hunkermunker Wed 15-Oct-08 20:43:31

"At no point in this country do babies risk death if we choose to bottlefeed them."

Not true. It's far less likely than in developing countries, granted, but babies fed formula in this country are at greater risk of all sorts of things - death being one of them.

Rhubarb Wed 15-Oct-08 20:52:17

That's a fairly hard statement you make there, do you have evidence to support that?

hunkermunker Wed 15-Oct-08 20:55:42
BabiesEverywhere Wed 15-Oct-08 21:01:03

Tangle Wed 15-Oct-08 22:17:32

Rhubarb - is your quote of 14:46 in response to my questions? If so, I'm a little unclear as to where its from and what its refering to.

Thinking about it some more, if we want to get some concept of what "natural" term breast feeding is for humans, isn't the availability of bottles and formula irrelevant? If there are cultures that BF for >5 years as the norm, aren't they more likely to do that because that is the way things have always been done in their society? Intuitively, I would expect this cultural norm to persist back for a few 100 (if not 1000) years - well before formula would have been available.

Hunker - that is tragic

tiktok Wed 15-Oct-08 22:37:41

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15121986?dopt=Abstract is a study that estimates the risk in terms of excess infant mortality of formula feeding in the USA (I don't think we have a UK study).

hunkermunker Wed 15-Oct-08 22:55:35

I feel kinda vomity about playing "I'm right and you're not" about infant deaths sad I'm really not doing that - but I can't agree with stuff I know not to be true, not when it's so important.

tiktok Wed 15-Oct-08 22:58:13

I feel the same, Hunker...it's uncomfortable and horrible for anyone who feels the issue might touch them personally.

hunkermunker Wed 15-Oct-08 22:59:38

I thought you might. It's like playing utterly sick Top Trumps sad

I would be interested to hear what you think though, Rhubarb.

welliemum Thu 16-Oct-08 04:03:26

I agree.

This is hard. What is the right thing to do, when someone posts "there's no difference between breastfeeding and formula feeding" or words to that effect?

I can see only 3 options:

1) Say nothing. That'll mean that the hundreds or even thousands of people who read the thread at the time or in the future will assume that it's probably true, since no-one is arguing. They might then make a decision about feeding their baby that they'll later deeply regret.

2) Say "no, that's not true" but leave it at that. As you haven't backed up what you say, it looks like just your own personal opinion, and why would anyone base an important decision on the personal opinion of a random person on the internet? I wouldn't.

3) Say "no, that's not true" and explain the known risks of formula with links to the evidence.

If you do it honestly and accurately, your post will be a devastating read for anyone who wanted to bf but couldn't. Many, many people will be upset. Someone on the brink of pnd might be tipped over the edge by feelings of having failed their baby. Many people will view the post as a direct attack on formula feeders. And many will see it as evidence of militant scaremongering by pro-bf nazis.

All 3 options are horrible, basically. sad And the most truthful and honest option is also the most horrible. sad

I just don't know.

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 07:35:02

<<claps>> for welliemum

tiktok Thu 16-Oct-08 09:19:48

Good post, wm.

Th other complication is that it's only in very unusual cases - like the link hunker posted to the devastating effect of contaminated formula - that anyone can say formula feeding is a direct cause of an individual infant death.

On a population level, no one sensible argues against the facts that formula feeding increases ill health, and (see the US study I linked to)infant mortality, even in developed countries. But predicting, or explaining, the effects on one individual baby's health is usually impossible.

None of that stops parents taking it all personally...understandably.

Upwind Thu 16-Oct-08 09:25:35

Great post WM

InTheDollshouse Thu 16-Oct-08 09:41:37

Good post welliemum.

It's also the case that formula-fed babies are at a 50% increased risk of SIDS.

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 09:49:41

Fab post, welliemum. My answer to this one is that we have to do 3, really, while making sure to put it in the context of risk, as tiktok says, not being an absolute predictor of what happens to any one baby (an argument we also need in the case of all those 'I was ff/weaned at 3 weeks and I was fine while so-and-so who was exbf for a year has asthma and eczema, so there' posts) and of the fact that bf support in our culture is lamentable still, that a lot of factors conspire against bf and so an unhappy or curtailed bf experience is not at all an indicator of how hard someone tried or didn't try or how much they wanted to do the best for the baby. In other words, we need to be as sensitive as we can, but as honest and accurate as we must.

When I was struggling with ds1's feeding in his early weeks and mixed feeding him, I was DEVASTATED to read a post of - I think it was you, tiktok - saying 'Formula feeding ass risks'. It really really upset me and I wished she hadn't posted it. But it stuck in my mind and added to my determination to get bf right. And here I am, 3.5 years down the line, tandem feeding. So the long term has made me very glad for her honesty.

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Thu 16-Oct-08 09:50:36

I knew the risks of SIDs was higher in non-breastfed babies. Didn't realise that in a country supposedly so medically advanced that it made much differencesad

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 09:50:45

ROFL! Has risks, not ass risks! Sorry tiktok grin

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 09:51:41

x posts VS - my ROFL looks a bit odd and misplaced there blush

(anything happening on the calendar?)

FioFio Thu 16-Oct-08 09:52:44

Message deleted

AnarchyAunt Thu 16-Oct-08 09:55:27

Baby guinea pigs are born fully formed though - they pop out and run round the cage squeaking and eating lettuce immediately.

Different.

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 09:55:38

drama, is that figure from one study, and were socio-economic factors controlled for? I know ff increases SIDS risk, but the 50% figure surprises me a little too.

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Thu 16-Oct-08 09:57:17

Oh, and I meant to say about weaning. From what I have researched for my blog it seems that formula milk is the main cause of people weaning their child off the breast earlier and earlier.

IT started back in the late 1800s when the first formula milk was introduced although formula was not widespread until the early-mid 1900s, at which point women were beginning to enter the workforce, both thanks to the acceptance of women in employment and the need for it during the war when our menfolk were out fighting.

It meant women were not as able to stay home and breastfeed their babies so formula milk was more and more widely used. However, formula milk was not to the standard it is today so the babies were missing vital nutrition and many got scurvy or rickets.

The way to counteract this was to start weaning on to solid foods earlier and earlier.

Those who were breastfeeding followed suit as the suggested age for weaning on to solid foods was around 3-4 months, which then changed to 4months and in 2001(WHO)/2003(DoH) changed to 6 months.

InTheDollshouse Thu 16-Oct-08 10:04:10

berolina, the figure is from FSID.

(Note they report it as breastfeeding reducing the risk of SIDS by 33.3%; that is the same as formula feeding increasing the risk by 50%).

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 10:05:35

thanks drama <gets head round maths>

InTheDollshouse Thu 16-Oct-08 10:09:34

Diane Wiessinger explains the maths in Watch Your Language, but here's my attempt:

Say 30 non-breastfed babies die from SIDS (completely arbitrary number I picked just for this example). If breastfeeding reduces the risk by 1/3, then 20 BF babies die from SIDS. Looking at it the other way round, starting with 20, then 30 is a 50% increase from 20. So non-breastfed babies are 50% more likely to die from SIDS than BF babies.

Upwind Thu 16-Oct-08 10:35:16

From drama's link - for the nerds amoung us:

"Several published studies have found that breastfeeding protects against the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). One meta-analysis of 23 reports (i) concluded that formula fed infants were more than twice as likely to die from SIDS than breast fed infants with an adjusted odds ratio of 2.11 (95% CI 1.66-2.68).

Recently the USA Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) performed a more stringent meta-analysis (ii) incorporating 6 studies in which SIDS was rigorously defined and the duration of breastfeeding specified. They found that ever breastfeeding reduced the risk of SIDS compared with never breastfeeding, with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.64 (95% CI 0.51-0.81). It is therefore clear that breastfeeding should be recommended as a protective measure against SIDS, in addition to the other well known reasons for promoting the practice.

i) McVea KL, Turner PD, Peppler DK. The role of breastfeeding in sudden infant death syndrome. J Hum Lact. 2000; 16: 13-20.

(ii) Ip S, Chung M, Raman G, Chew P, Magula N, DeVine D, et al. Breastfeeding and maternal and infant health outcomes in developed countries. Evidence report/technology assessment No. 153 (prepared by Tufts-New England Medical Center Evidence-based Practice Center, under contract No. 290-02-0022) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2007. p. 1-186. www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/brfouttp.htm

FioFio Thu 16-Oct-08 10:36:03

Message deleted

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Thu 16-Oct-08 10:37:51

Fio, I actually started googling to see what percentage of a guinea pig's life a week was to see a human in comparison. Then I decided I couldn't be arsed with the mathgrin

FioFio Thu 16-Oct-08 10:38:36

Message deleted

AnarchyAunt Thu 16-Oct-08 10:45:27

grin I know...

Was just trying to work similar out re. guinea pigs [obsessed]

But they are v v different in maturity at birth, I have always thought they were strange as they are born fully fledged really. Just, well, smaller. Not like most rodents that are born all pink and ugly.

FioFio Thu 16-Oct-08 10:46:51

Message deleted

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Thu 16-Oct-08 10:49:58

LOL Fio!
Aren't humans one of the only species born at that stage of pregnancy or did I remember that wrong? I'm sure I read somewhere that humans would be born later if we travelled on all fours.

FioFio Thu 16-Oct-08 10:50:39

Message deleted

tiktok Thu 16-Oct-08 12:26:22

Yes, 'tis true, according to those who know about these things.

We have large heads, and we have to stop growing and be born before our heads get too big for the female pelvis...so there is a trade-off, because we are born big-bonced, but still very, very dependent for care and protection on our parents.

Nature could have evolved us so our heads kept growing and growing, and our nervous systems developed so that our legs worked straight away and our digestive processes were ready to go straight onto Big Macs and fries after an hour of breastmilk.

We would, however, have the most gi-normous arses and would certainly not be able to wear designer jeans, in order to give birth to our off spring.

noolia Thu 16-Oct-08 12:40:11

I've got a weird picture in my head of a dolphin with boobies.
What about big animals, like elephants, how long do they feed their young? Is their a difference between predators and prey?

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 13:14:15

What about kangaroos/joeys? they remain very dependent for some time. Although the joey does a pretty amazing breastcrawl in the first instance up to the pouch and to safety shock

<irrelevant fact> Did you know a blue whale's milk is thick, like toothpaste, instead of being liquid?

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 13:16:56

You say you don't want to play top trumps or start using baby death statistics to make a point, yet you'd still like my opinion? Why? So I can dig myself into a hole?

Contaminated baby milk is a horrible thing, just as contaminated baby food is.

Sure it would be lovely if, in an ideal world, everyone would bf and then wean onto natural products that don't come out of jars. But it's not and for those mothers who failed to bf, this evidence doesn't help them. Linking ff to cot death is really not on. Talk about hitting mothers where it hurts!

You could also say, as one midwife said to me when I had given birth to dd, that if I had given birth in the dark ages and failed to bf, my baby would die. I found that comment very upsetting and sick and it certainly didn't help me to carry on bfing. In fact a woman in the next bed overhead and then proceeded to encourage me to ff instead. But I did bf, both of mine.

However my original point was not to get into an argument of which is best - that is simply not the point and I've tried to say that time and time again. It was to pick up on something other posters said about the animal kingdom and developing countries having the right idea because they are closer to nature, less westernised, more culturally correct.

However their reason for bfing is largely because they don't have a choice. So in rural Ethopia, presumably if a woman cannot bf for whatever reason, that baby dies. They use it as contraception and also because it's a good source of nutrition in an area where nutritious food is hard to come by.

Let's not start making this thread anti-ff.

I didn't know that Kathy but I suppose it would have to be or it'd just spread through the water
OK stupid question time - where are a whales nipples?

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 13:24:00

"This is hard. What is the right thing to do, when someone posts "there's no difference between breastfeeding and formula feeding" or words to that effect?"

I take it that was aimed at me? I don't know how many times I have to say that I breastfed both of my children, I think breastfeeding is A VERY GOOD THING, I think it is more beneficial than ff. In fact if you read my posts, just count the times I have said that. The reason I've had to repeat myself over and over is because people are not reading my posts, they are jumping to conclusions and getting their maths wrong.

You cannot compare developing countries to this country, you cannot compare the animal kingdom to this country. Their reasons for doing things are different to our reasons. I hate the argument that because gorillas bf until the baby is 4 or 5, we should do the same - well gorillas wipe their arses with their hands too, should we do that?
In rural Ethopia too they breastfeed because there really is no choice, which is another good thing (apart from Nestlé). But if they had the choice, many would choose to ff because they see it as the healthiest and richest thing to do. They also wean by the "swallow or suffocate" method - does that mean we should do that too?

You cannot compare 2 completely different cultures. Or indeed species.

Am I understood now?

LittleMyDancingWithTheDevil Thu 16-Oct-08 13:36:45

I can't believe that a thread about gorillas has turned into yet ANOTHER breastfeeding formula feeding debate.

<<sigh>>

Last time we went to Bristol Zoo, the new young male lion weed all over my nieces. Right their faces shock

InTheDollshouse Thu 16-Oct-08 13:43:19

Rhubarb - "Linking ff to cot death is really not on." I'm not sure what you mean by this. The link exists. Are you suggesting that I made it up? I mentioned it because in an earlier post you said you didn't believe that FF increased the risk of mortality in developed countries.

Where has anyone on this thread suggested that women in developing countries are "closer to nature"? (What a horribly racist view!) The only person I've seen put forward that view is you - you're putting forward spurious arguments in order to have something to rail against.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 13:48:38

There isn't any one cause of cot death. No-one really knows what causes it. Saying that it is linked to formula is horrible. Yes that article does say that, but I'm sure there are many other studies that say differently. After all, putting babies on their fronts used to be good for them, now we have to put them on their backs.

'closer to nature' - is that racist? Only in your mind. They are not Westernised, that is the point.

I'm sorry my points don't make sense to you, perhaps I should type slower?

I illustrated my point very well in my last post. That you cannot look at developing countries or Apes and say that because they do something, we should do it.

I think that linking ff to infant mortality is a dangerous thing to do.

AnarchyAunt Thu 16-Oct-08 13:49:32

We live in a culture where our perceptions of what is 'good, 'natural', etc, are completely and totally fucked up.

Years of advertising, pressures that never used to exist, advances in medical science and food technology that make formula safer than ever before... our expectations are very different now.

Surely its a good thing to recognise that we, as big brained primates born comparatively early, are meant to breastfeed for far far longer than it has become dangerous not to/normal/'necessary'/expected we will. Its not about saying, Everyone Must Do This, but about accepting that there are risks involved with losing sight of what we are physiologically meant to do.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 13:50:41

"Although the exact cause isn’t known, researchers think that a combination of factors play a role in SIDS. Some theories implicate breathing failures or problems with the heart not beating regularly. Recent research suggests that babies with SIDS have problems in a part of the brain called the medulla oblongata, which controls breathing. Other theories involve allergy, bacterial toxins, and genetic abnormalities, but none of these have been proven." on the SIDS website.

InTheDollshouse Thu 16-Oct-08 13:58:10

Rhubarb, the fact that FF is associated with an increased risk of SIDS is not the same thing as saying that it is the only cause of SIDS. As the passage you quote says, there are a number of risk factors for SIDS. One of those is FF.

If you think that linking FF to SIDS is "dangerous" and "horrible", perhaps you should tell FSID.

Iklboo Thu 16-Oct-08 14:02:03

Expat's idea of hell = gorilla dressed as a clown. Or vice versa

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Thu 16-Oct-08 14:04:06

TBH, I think rhubarb's original point seems to have got lost somewhere along the way.

She said that we didn't need to breastfeed as much as someone who lives in poor conditions, or animals.

Surely this is true? It isn't as important for me to BF my children as it is someone who has no access to clean water for formula, no access to decent health care and a huge amount of illnesses surrounding them.

That doesn't mean it isn't important to breastfeed our children, nor that using formula milk does not have more risks than not. Just that in comparison, it is safer for us not to than other people/species.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 14:06:30

Actually my quote says that there are theories for cot death but none have been proven. FF is not mentioned. It does say however that putting a baby to sleep with a dummy may help.

I'm sorry but if you want to win the argument so badly then fine, win it, because I feel very uncomfortable with the accusations about ff and cot death. I never intended to argue this point and would not willingly be dragged into such a debate.

I started off pointing out that you cannot compare the Western world to the Ape world. How it came to cot death I'm not sure. But I'm finishing it now before it starts getting into blame. I never thought some of the posters here would have such extreme views and it has changed my opinions of them.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 14:09:33

Thank you VS. Yes that was my original point. And I take yours that we do see bf as more important for other reasons. But we are lucky that we don't need to because we do have another option open to us that apes and some human communities do not. Whether that option is a healthy one or not is besides the point, many women do choose to ff, thereby making the statement that bf is not necessary for them. And the majority of ff babies grow up healthy and happy.

InTheDollshouse Thu 16-Oct-08 14:19:08

VS, I'd agree the stakes are higher in an environment of poorer nutrition and without clean water, as evidenced by the higher mortality rates in those communities.

Rhubarb, if that was your original point then I missed it; it seemed to me that you were arguing that BFing is unnecessary in developed countries, full stop, and I was trying to make the point that it's a matter of degree and I don't think you can dismiss it as unnecessary when there are many demonstrated risks of not breastfeeding.

I know you don't want to continue to discuss SIDS, but I must respond to your point: there is a difference between a theory and a risk factor. A theory is an attempt to explain the mechanism of what causes SIDS. A risk factor is something that has been observed. Not enough is known for any explanations of the causes of SIDS to be more than hypothetical, but studies have identified risk factors. One risk factor is tummy sleeping. Another risk factor is FF.

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Thu 16-Oct-08 14:19:24

I think it was the line "At no point in this country do babies risk death if we choose to bottlefeed them." that changed the tone of the whole thing.

I too believed that babies didn't die because of formula, sadly it seems some do, but nowhere near the extent that babies die in the third world.

The discussion became too emotive, obviously none of us wish to talk about babies dying and I'm sure rhubarb wasn't dismissing those deaths, but I can totally understand where she was coming from, although I can also understand why Tiktok and hunker felt the need to publicise those links.

I only hope someone who bottle fed their baby who later died doesn't read this. Yes FF has been attributed to SIDS but a little extra tact wouldn't go a miss sometimes.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 14:24:52

"It isn't necessary because our children are not going to die once they are off the breast.

In developing countries, in medieval times, in the animal kingdom there is much more of a risk of the child eating or drinking dirty and contaminated food or water. Therefore the longer you bf the safer it is and as the child gets older their immunity gets stronger. Also you have to take into account the scarecity of food, another good reason to bf for as long as possible.

In this country food is plentiful. A child will not be lacking in nutrients and there is not such a risk of contamination.

Therefore it is not necessary to bf beyond the age of 1, it is a choice. Those who choose to bf beyond this age don't do it because of necessity."

One of my original posts talking about *extended breastfeeding* not exclusive breastfeeding.

A risk factor is not the same as saying that ff babies are twice as likely to die from cot death as bf babies. I would want to know how many babies they studied, for how long and where from. Because it's very easy and dangerous to make such bold statements, but when you read the small print, one study isn't sufficient evidence for such a statement and it does kinda seem as though it's being used as a stick with which to beat mothers who ff.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 14:27:01

Yes VS, but that line has to be taken in context. I can understand now why they've picked up on that, but I was comparing the high mortality rate amongst ff babies in rural Ethopia with ff babies here and saying that mothers who choose to ff are not exposing their children to certain death.

I appreciate everything else you are saying. Thanks! smile

AnarchyAunt Thu 16-Oct-08 14:28:31

It depends on what you define as 'necessary'.

In this country it is not necessary to BF at all if you define 'necessary' as 'what you have to do to prevent your baby dying of malnutrition/illness from contaminated water'.

But if you wish to do all within your capability to ensure the best possible health of your baby, and avoid raising their risks of a number of well documented health concerns, then I'd say BF is a necessary part of that. If for whatever reason you cannot BF, then we are lucky to live in a country where formula is a relatively safe option.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 14:30:51

I defined my use of the word 'necessary' as per your definition AA.

Upwind Thu 16-Oct-08 14:47:48

Rhubarb "A risk factor is not the same as saying that ff babies are twice as likely to die from cot death as bf babies. I would want to know how many babies they studied, for how long and where from. Because it's very easy and dangerous to make such bold statements, but when you read the small print, one study isn't sufficient evidence for such a statement and it does kinda seem as though it's being used as a stick with which to beat mothers who ff."

It was not based on one study. If you really want to know, here is the reference to the meta-analysis which came to that conclusion:

McVea KL, Turner PD, Peppler DK. The role of breastfeeding in sudden infant death syndrome. J Hum Lact. 2000; 16: 13-20. jhl.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/1/13

The results of that were confirmed in another, more recent, meta-analysis:

Ip S, Chung M, Raman G, Chew P, Magula N, DeVine D, et al. Breastfeeding and maternal and infant health outcomes in developed countries. Evidence report/technology assessment No. 153 (prepared by Tufts-New England Medical Center Evidence-based Practice Center, under contract No. 290-02-0022) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2007. p. 1-186. www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/brfouttp.htm

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 14:50:37

In most developing countries, quality and quantities of food (to support breastfeeding in almost every instance bar places like Darfur at the moment)is plentiful, potable water is available, medical care for things like d&v, ear and chest infections available and many women breastfeed though it has for many years been and continues to be under threat from some of the same ideas and misrepresentation that destroyed breast feeding in the this UK, US etc.

I can't get my head around these 'developing countries' which Rhubarb and many posters who hold this idea that bf is more necessary in lesser developed countries than is the US, Uk etc.

Some parts of the US and the UK are positively third world in regard to nutrition, housing, medical care, etc. I think there is something inherently, probably culturally and institutionally racist to say that those people in the third world need breastfeeding more than babies in the West do.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 14:53:05

I can't get the first link. The second had 400 individual cases studied and concluded only that it lowered the risk.

Please start a different thread if you want to argue about SIDS and ff. So I can opt out.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 14:56:03

I don't get the racist accusation at all. I have used rural Ethopia in all my examples and have said that it is necessary because they can't afford ff, although they aspire to it because it's seen as the thing to do if you have the money. And as you say, it's wrongly advertised as the healthiest option.

Do lay off with the racist accusations ffs, because I can and will fight that particular accusation.

Upwind Thu 16-Oct-08 14:57:59

I thought that whether or not it lowers the risk was the point you were arguing?

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 14:59:52

No, I'm arguing that you cannot and should not even hint that ff is a contributory factor.
There simply is not enough evidence to conclusively support that.

But different thread, please!

FioFio Thu 16-Oct-08 15:03:12

Message deleted

Upwind Thu 16-Oct-08 15:07:03

Rhubarb, I did not want to read about this either, but can't help responding to your misinformation! There is clear evidence that FF is a risk factor. Like tummy sleeping is. If lives can be saved this should not be denied, however hurtful. It must be really horrible for parents whos babies died of SIDS to learn about any thing they did which may have put their babies at greater risk, not just FF. This does not mean that facts should be concealed and not even hinted at.

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Thu 16-Oct-08 15:09:40

Foxytocin, if a baby in a country with no access to clean water is fed formula it is at a much higher risk of dying either due to the dirty water, or malnutrition because the formula is watered down to last longer. I don't see how anyone could suggest that babies in the third world don't need to be breastfed more than a baby in the western world does.

People in different countries/cultures have different needs, there is nothing racist about that.

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 15:17:02

rhubarb, i wasn't accusing you of being a racist. a lot of people hold this idea about developing countries and extended breastfeeding. i think it is worth exploring where these ideas are rooted. i take it you don't want to explore why you hold those views and that is fine by me. i see it differently because i was born and raised in a 3rd world country.

i happen to believe that it is part of inherently racist ideas about who is 'allowed' to ext bf and why in the eyes of 'the west'.

how much food these people and their children have, etc are red herrings or at least, gross simplification of reality.

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 15:28:19

see, vs, me and all 5 bros and sis, all 40 odd cousins and heaven knows how may others in my extended family were all ff from early on - i and one cousin are the only 2 i know of who have bf past one year. my grand mum had 9 kids and she bottlefed in the sixties in the 3rd world too. all of us are these mythical 3rd world people. none of our 'tribe' have died due to the classic ff reasons.

to talk about 3rd world people as a faceless mass of humanity serves to undermine the complex character of their existence and what exactly is the 3rd world. this simplification is dehumanising (ie racist) and serves the other side, the nestle's of this world, to punch holes in the reasons why formula should not be promoted in the 3rd world or anywhere. just like it seves to justify why 3rd world bfing is necessary, but not 'necessary' here.

expatinscotland Thu 16-Oct-08 15:33:43

my dad and his siblings were BF'd for 2 years, but it was in the 30s and 40s and there was no formula then and they were poor.

and when they turned 2, well, let's just say my grandmother, a Mayan Indian, wasn't into self-weaning and she didn't live by a no-smacking policy wink.

Peachy Thu 16-Oct-08 15:52:40

although foxy, my dad was raised in 3rd world conditions if not countries, all 16 were ff, usually by the propping method hmm, and every one has suffered something related to ff, several (10 to be exact) died way before their time.

Its got to be down to genetics: if you're lucky to be striong then fab- if you're vulnerable then BF is essential, and you cant know which your baby is.

aitch- chocolate nipples- my ds's call one side KFC, the toehr Macdonalds hmm

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 16:02:25

Upwind - the debate about ff and cot death is not my argument. You can feel free to inform the whole of Mumsnet the dangers if you like, but I retain my right not to get involved. It did not form part of my original point and I do feel that statements such as "formula fed infants were more than twice as likely to die from SIDS than breast fed infants" are not at all tactful, they are hard hitting statements that have the power to hurt and damage mothers who have had 1st hand experience of cot death. It's this lack of tact that I strongly disagree with.

Foxy - "happen to believe that it is part of inherently racist ideas about who is 'allowed' to ext bf and why in the eyes of 'the west'." Did you read my posts? At all? The reason I chose articles about rural Ethopia is because I didn't like lumping together 'developing countries' but I could just as well have chosen China.

The articles I linked to in my earlier posts are written by medical sites working within Ethopia, so I believe it gave a clearer picture of who breastfed and why.

And just to define racism - "Racism, by its simplest definition, is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." I don't believe that linking to articles and voicing an opinion on breastfeeding in rural Ethopia means that I hold racist views.

All of this is by the by. My original point has now been lost in a black swirl of cot death and racism. If you can't answer the original argument then why bring others into the equation?

turquoise Thu 16-Oct-08 16:50:26

LOL at Fio going off on a guinea pig tangent while everyone else is getting het up, and guffaw at Gail Platt - quote of the week please.

definitely - ever seen that episode of the x files where all the people resemble animals? shed have fit right in!

tiktok Thu 16-Oct-08 18:26:09

Rhubarb, I don't think your posts or your thoughts are racist and I think it's clear you understand the value of breastfeeding.

You have developed the 'dilemma question' that both hunker and I touched on last night - there is a clear link between formula feeding and an increase in mortality and morbidity from several causes even in developed countries with good health care, clean water and so on. This does not mean direct cause and effect (except in rare instances).

This is not a single study, or an oddball researcher - we have very good, robust studies based on good methodology and large samples.

But saying it 'out loud' needs tact and sensitivity, as I said...I actually think this thread is as ok as it would get on mumsnet, because no one is really talking about their own personal situation or their own baby, but the risk - you used the word 'danger' and I think that's justified - is that other people will read it and find a personal link to the information, and feel desperately hurt

But staying silent, when asked to provide information about mortality and morbidity, is not really an option - if the question is raised (as it was, when you said babies in developed settings didn't die, and challenged more than once the evidence for this) then it has to be answered.

Tangle Thu 16-Oct-08 19:01:30

Rhubarb - I'm struggling to find the links you've posted at the moment. Please could you either post them again or tell me exactly which message to find them in? I'd be very interested in looking at the full articles .

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 19:05:33

Oh isnt it Fio. I never realised that the Joey made it's own way there at such an early stage. I thought they were born, fully formed and just hung out in there.

There are plenty of harsh realities of life. I think it is appropriate to mention poverty in developed countries. It certainly exists to a great extent in the UK - 1 in 3 children to be precise - thats a fair chunk of children. I therefore feel that it is particularly important to encourage natural term breastfeeding to be the cultural norm, rather than formula feeding and/or weaning early - considering children in poverty have less access to meat/fish/vegetarian alternative and fresh fruit and vegetables. (It's detailed in the latest House of Commons report on Child poverty). Children in poverty are more at risk of developing various health issues and illnessess. Breastfeeding to natural term would also reduce this risk as it continues to support the child's developing immune system.

It's pretty necessary, IMO.

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 19:09:57

And I dont think rhubarb is racist either - i think it's hard to convey a point sometimes without having to over-simplify in order to prevent writing a 10,000 essay to ensure no-one is offended.

Although, I have to say, the examples given were very parochial, IMO.

I think a thread on gorilla b/feeding (that is gorilla and not guerilla wink) is as an appropriate thread as you could get to discuss risk factors. Unless of course there are any b/feeding gorillas reading......wink

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 19:55:15

"My original point has now been lost in a black swirl of cot death and racism. If you can't answer the original argument then why bring others into the equation?"

i must have lost something early on. i read your early posts as saying that people in the 3rd world need to ext bf but peoplr in developed countries don't for reasons x and y.

no?

and no i was not reading all these posts for lots of reasons. the above issue is the only one i am addressing because it comes up on mn frequently and irks me.

repeating one last time, the idea is inherently racist. i am not calling anyone a racist. some of our ideas need examining in the social context in which we hold them.

hunkermunker Thu 16-Oct-08 20:58:32

Rhubarb, I wasn't asking you to dig a deeper hole, honest. It was as VS said later - you said no babies died in this country through being ff and I knew this wasn't the case. I was interested to hear whether you'd changed your opinion or whether you had anything to back up your assertion or if you'd meant something less definite in the first place. I wasn't trying to catch you out.

I agree with Tiktok's last post wholeheartedly. I have to post if I happen to see misinformation being stated so definitely - I've got myself in trouble by posting on antenatal/postnatal club threads before now for doing just that! But I'm not interested in a fight over it - I've too much else on in my life for flame wars these days [elderly]

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 21:15:16

The post that has been misunderstood here is this one:

"But you can choose to ff babies and still be fairly sure that the baby will survive being given a bottle. Whereas in developing countries this is not so because of dirty and contaminated water and bottles. And of course many mothers cannot afford the huge cost of formula milk. So for them it really is a case of you breastfeed or the baby risks death.

At no point in this country do babies risk death if we choose to bottlefeed them.

Yes you may argue about the increased health benefits of breastfeeding and the increased health risks of not doing so. But the risks involved in bottle feeding are still small, you are not condemning your baby to a lifetime of asthma or allergies if you bottle feed, the risk is increased, but not substantially so.

If you do breastfeed of course you are giving the baby a better chance of fighting off these allergies and ailments. But it's not a question of life or death for us.

So when people point to countries such as Ethopia and say they breastfeed the child until the child is 5, they fail to mention that the only reason they do that is because there is a substantial risk the child might catch a fatal disease if they didn't.

I'm not trying to turn this into a bottle versus breast debate, merely pointing out the differences between choice and necessity. "

I still don't think babies risk death if we choose to bottlefeed. There simply isn't enough evidence that points to a direct link between ff and cot death, it's all circumstantial. You say that it heightens the risk - under what circumstances? When a baby is put to sleep on it's stomach? Cot death has been blamed on dummies, now dummies are promoted, it's been blamed on fans, on smoking, on pets, on the type of mattress, on bacteria etc etc. I breastfed but I heard enough insults hurled at ff mothers to want to defend them and their choices and I do not agree with scaremongering. If the link was that proven to ff we would all know about it. But it's not 100% proven, nothing is, because they can only identify 'possible risks' and not direct causes. And yes you do run the risk of hurting and upsetting mothers. Just as you do when you tell them that by smoking they are killing their babies. It's not necessary to do that.

As for my posts on rural Ethopia, well you know, I can't be bothered any more. How can you say that a person's posts are parochial and their ideas are racist, but we're not calling them racist! Oh no, perish the thought!

Here is an article about the risks of ff in Ethopia

and here

Here is one about culture.

Make up your own minds. I'll leave you all to pick over the bones shall I? But just one thing - if you ever have anything to say about me, then say it, don't bloody hint it. If you think I'm racist just say it.

hunkermunker Thu 16-Oct-08 21:25:27

Rhubarb, my link wasn't about cot death.

Formula can be contaminated by enterobacter sakazakii. Breastmilk isn't. In particular, premature babies are at greater risk of death from ingesting milk contaminated in this way, although it can affect babies born at full term.

I don't think you're racist.

wastingmyeducation Thu 16-Oct-08 21:36:50

Rhubarb, you say it isn't necessary to voice the info that ff, or smoking may be associated with increased health risks as it might upset people. Are you serious that mothers shouldn't be warned about possible dangers? Things they may be able to avoid. And if it's something they can't avoid, at least they are aware of increased risks and can act with that knowledge. I am surprised that anyone would think that warning mothers of the danger of smoking was a bad thing in this day and age.
I for one would rather be upset than ignorant of the facts.

xx

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 21:39:37

have a re-read of your very first post as that is the one i have addressed. but now fail to acknowledge i never knew you later mentioned ethiopia which you have now drawn 2x to my attention.

like i said, i don't think you are a racist, though i know saying it again is not going to convince you of it. i won't waste my evening clarifying this statement either. my free time is too precious these days.

hunkermunker Thu 16-Oct-08 21:42:48

There are many women who are devastated to learn that they weren't told of the risks of ff before they made their decision not to bf. So they make that decision believing the two to be equal, then properly grieve that they weren't allowed to make an informed decision. This is even worse if there has been a problem with their baby.

So someone will be upset either way - why not go for the way that lets women be adults, not children who need to be shielded from horrid truth?

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 21:50:32

"One meta-analysis of 23 reports (i) concluded that formula fed infants were more than twice as likely to die from SIDS than breast fed infants" - tactful? Necessary? If I had personal experience of SIDS I would be very upset by this.

But I think I have pleaded time and time again without success, for you all to start a different thread and discuss it there because this was in no way related to my original points. Yet posters seem to have gleefully rammed this statistic down my throat for daring to question those sources.

As for contamination - I already said that contamination was a major risk factor in developing countries. Just look at China. But that in this country it is less of an issue as the formula milk here is produced in much more controlled circumstances subject to stringent checks. The only contamination risks are from unwashed bottles. But then dummies and other objects that babies put in their mouths are just as likely to be contaminated.

One last time. You cannot compare this country with a county such as Ethopia. They may practice extended breastfeeding but for different reasons. And I don't think it's fair to say that it's the norm in developing countries, because many mothers in developing countries aspire to bottle feed because of the crap advice given by Nestle paid midwives and because they see it as a priviledge of the upper classes.

But of course, me having an opinion on all of that makes my ideas parochial and racist. Not me of course, just my ideas!

Bugbear? Moi? Nah!

hunkermunker Thu 16-Oct-08 21:54:49

"As for contamination - I already said that contamination was a major risk factor in developing countries. Just look at China. But that in this country it is less of an issue as the formula milk here is produced in much more controlled circumstances subject to stringent checks. The only contamination risks are from unwashed bottles. But then dummies and other objects that babies put in their mouths are just as likely to be contaminated."

That's just not true, Rhubarb. Please research enterobacter sakazakii contamination of infant formula. Or salmonella. One piece of research found 14% of formula they tested was contaminated with it. This is why so many of us are so keen to put the message of "Use freshly boiled water to make bottles" across to people (which formula manufacturers aren't...). It's not on dummies.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 21:58:00

underdeveloped countries - I would include rural parts of China, Sudan and Ethopia. Are you saying that malnutrition and hygiene is NOT an issue in these countries? Perhaps not in the suburbs where the rich reside, but that's not the image that comes to mind when someone mentions underdeveloped countries.

welliemum Thu 16-Oct-08 22:00:43

Rhubarb, Hunker's link is solid proof that formula fed babies have a higher risk of death, all other things being equal. Yes, it's a small extra risk from a rare complication - but it's there, it exists, and to the parents of those babies, it happened 100%.

As to cot death: It's utterly clear that prone sleeping is a risk. But nobody knows why.

Formula fed babies are also at extra risk. But nobody knows why.

Those 2 risks are both "possible risks" by your definition. At the moment they have the same status of having been shown to increase the risk of cot death even after adjustment for other potential confounding factors, but the exact pathways are unknown.

I completely agree that it would be far preferable to understand the mechanism of the risk. However, there are real lives at stake.

The advice to put babies to sleep on their backs has saved many lives. Would you rather we all waited (and sacrificed a few lives) until the mechanisms of sleeping position were properly worked out? I'm sure that's not what you're saying.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 22:03:01

hunker,breast milk can also be contaminated.

This is not a breast versus bottle debate.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 22:04:18

welliemum, I will not debate anymore on cot death. Start a new bloody thread. It is NOT MY ARGUMENT.

It's point scoring over babies deaths. I'm not participating.

InTheDollshouse Thu 16-Oct-08 22:05:27

FSID is a charity which, among other things, supports families who have lost a baby to SIDS. I would imagine that as an organisation they would be very aware of the potential to pain bereaved parents. Nevertheless, they issued a press release (which I linked to) about breastfeeding and SIDS to highlight research which showed a link between not breastfeeding and SIDS. They cite and link to that research. Presumably they thought there was value in bringing it to public attention. Identifying risk factors isn't the same thing as knowing causation, but knowing what the risk factors could help parents avoid them.

Peachy Thu 16-Oct-08 22:05:46

Oh god vvvqv, did you have to put Guierilla feeding? I have this image of militant breastfeeders (sorry vs but the face is yours grin) sneaking up behind ff babies in Morrisons and shoviomng their norks into babies faces, mock- surreptitious style!

If I dream it tonight I blame you!


btw I have stats somewhere on homes with toilets in India- its way under 50% (the figure I recall is so stonkingly high I am doubting mself and I can't find last years culture exam paper). That's not racism, it's just a fact.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 22:06:52

Again, it's not a debate in which I want to get. I know about FSID, I raised money for them.

I'm off to bed. Have fun.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 22:07:15

Thank you peachy.

hunkermunker Thu 16-Oct-08 22:08:50

Rhubarb, yes, breastmilk can be contaminated (with drugs, environmental pollutants, etc). I didn't say it couldn't be.

Did you see my post about not infantalising women?

Peachy Thu 16-Oct-08 22:11:09

http://infochangeindia.org/index2.php?option=comcontent&dopdf=1&id=6109

no figures but we all now how many millions are in slum India I think:

'* As for the facilities of drinking water, toilets and electricity for lighting, about 15% of

the dwellings in urban slums and squatter settlements and 63% of dwelling units in
other urban areas, had all the three facilities within their premises. At the other
extreme, none of the three facilities were available within the premises of about 11% of
dwelling units in urban slums and squatter settlements, and 4% of dwelling units in
other urban areas of the country.
* About 99% of urban dwellings had drinking water within half a kilometre of their
premises.
* Residents of around 18% of urban dwellings did not have access to any sanitation
facility.'

Racist no. Fact.

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 22:13:07

and your point is, peachy? (only curious)

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 22:13:15

Dont misquote me rhubarb. It makes your constant defence of being misquoted a bit silly if you are going to do it yourself. I didnt say your posts were parochial at all. If we are going to stick to the bare bones of the posts - lets ALL do it, hey?

Poverty doesnt just exist in developing countries. THat is a fact. The health risks associated with poverty in developing and developed countries are similar/the same for a number of reasons. It may not be palatable to think that we might live alongside someone who has similar health risks as one from "rural Ethiopia", but those are the facts.

Contamination happens in formula - it's not just about poor infrastructures in countries - its about individuals hygiene - access to knowledge about safely making up bottles - being able to afford the right equipment etc etc. Formula is NOT sterile. Not even in this country. Breastmilk is. That's a fact that MUST be disseminated. A choice is not a choice when the facts arent known.

georgimama Thu 16-Oct-08 22:14:05

Oi!

You lot!!

Leave my gorilla thread ALONE!!!!!

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 22:15:19

top post vvvqv

Peachy Thu 16-Oct-08 22:15:29

The point Foxy is that in some countries the facillities required for aseptic formula prep are unlikely to exist

therefore bm is the best feeding strategy for the majority where possible

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 22:16:37

smile georgiemama. thought the same thing after about 10 posts when loads got obtuse.

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 22:17:33

ok. thanks for clarifying hmm

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 22:19:44

And anyway - since when has "parochial example" been an insult? FGS! Mind you, it's easy to see insult in anything if you want to. I've lived with my mother long enough to know that.......<wink at hunker>

grin peachy

I had a dream the other night that I was operated on, as a favour, by Connie Beauchamp from Holby City! It was totally bonkers!

hunkermunker Thu 16-Oct-08 22:22:24

<wink back - and lady, why are you not a bogginsing?>

welliemum Thu 16-Oct-08 22:22:48

Rhubarb, I truly believe I understand what you're saying about developing countries - I just don't agree.

How about if I put your argument in my own words - you can tell me if I've misunderstood - and then point out the bit I don't agree with.

Let's say we have 2 babies, Sam and Sally.

Baby Sam was born into an impoverished family who have no access to clean water, not enough food for the family, no access to sophisticated medical care.

Baby Sally was born into a relatively wealthy family who have clean tap water in their house, plentiful nutritious food, excellent medical care whenever they need it.

Both Sam and Sally are formula fed.

Now, if I've understood you correctly, you're saying that when it comes to formula risks, for various reasons baby Sam is much more at risk. I agree with that.

To take it to its logical conclusion, in an imaginary situation where you could choose for just one of them to be breastfed, the one that would benefit the most from breastfeeding is Sam. His odds of dying in infancy are far higher than Sally's.

Now, this is where, I think, our opinions start to separate. You seem to be saying that because Sally has clean water and medical care etc that it makes no difference whether she's formula fed or not. The clean water will stop her getting gastro infections, if she does become ill, she can go straight to hospital and be treated, etc.

I disagree. I think that it's too optimistic to believe that the advantages of a wealthy society can "mop up" all the excess risk. Take diabetes for example - this will have a big impact on a child's life no matter where they live. It's a horrible thing for a child to cope with.

So in summary: yes, Sam is running a big risk by being formula fed in his environment. That's why healthcare workers are putting a huge effort into promoting breastfeeding for the Sams in the world.

But Sally's risk isn't zero, and never will be. And Sally's mother has a right to know that. What decision she makes is up to her - but it must be an informed decision.

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 22:26:08

LOL! My network connection is bouncy grin

InTheDollshouse Thu 16-Oct-08 22:27:20

So Rhubarb, do you think FSID were wrong to release their press release?

Peachy Thu 16-Oct-08 22:27:53

ds2 manad to contract gastro on one sterilised bottle a day

it doesapen here sadly sad but is less common

Peachy Thu 16-Oct-08 22:28:45

shit typing

am bf (grin) as i type (he's over 6 months too. and not a monkey. et)

does happen

managed

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 22:30:38

PMSL @ peachy's "not a monkey"

hunkermunker Thu 16-Oct-08 22:30:49

sad Peachy.

Rhubarb, not sure why you've been trying to stifle debate here - it's crass and insensitive in the extreme to go onto a thread where a baby's had a gastric bug and say "This is because you ff, wouldn't have happened if you'd bf" - I can't think of a time it's happened on here and I would be vocal in condemning such a thing.

But this isn't a support thread. Unless some of you are gorillas? [peers suspiciously]

welliemum Thu 16-Oct-08 22:32:23

Nooooo, not me.

< Rummages in left armpit, removes flea, eats flea >

InTheDollshouse Thu 16-Oct-08 22:33:58

hey welliemum - anything you find, you share.

LadyLaGore Thu 16-Oct-08 22:34:35

whys this thread been in active convos for days? whats happening here? quick scan ha s not revealed much...
one line answer will do... ta!

mabanana Thu 16-Oct-08 22:34:43

Er, didn't Rhubarb say onlhy breastfeeding was no longer 'necessary' after a year in the developed world? In that case cot death isn't really an issue as it's so vanishingly rare after a year that - at most - a possibly slightly increased risk isn't going to make a huge difference. As for the idea that it is racist to point out that bottlefeeding is more dangerous in places where clean water and sterilisation of equipment is impossible or at least more difficult, oh please! Are Oxfam and Action on Baby Milk racist organisations? Because that's exactly what they say, and it's true.

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 22:43:35

welliemum, excellent post, again.

Rhubarb, I don't think anyone here is 'point-scoring over babies' deaths'. God forbid. People who support and advocate bf are aware of how carefully they need to tread and how much potential for hurt there is around discussing the risks of formula. But I do think that we do need to talk about these risks, both to inform individual women and because he more that is known about the risks, the more likely we are to be able in the mid- to long term to challenge the ff culture we have whereby formula is 'almost as good as bm these days', bf is 'only important for babies in the 3rd world' and hence bf is just not seen as important enough to really support and promote in any thought-out way, instead continuing to be viewed almost as a luxury and beyond a certain age of the baby as self-indulgent.

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 22:46:56

Thank you mabanana.

And FSID have been heavily criticised over their research methods involving babies.

Wow, some of you have very strong opinions about ff don't you? Did I hit a nerve?

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 22:47:32

<scurries off to hide profile>

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 22:48:28

<whooooooooooosh>

Was that a boomerang?

Rhubarb Thu 16-Oct-08 22:49:38

berolina, yes we do. I have advocated the benefits myself. But beware of charities who strive just a little too far to prove the implications of ff. It's not always that black and white.

mabanana Thu 16-Oct-08 22:51:05

I breastfed for over a year with one child and over two years with another - I find it really horrible the way people are demonised over breastfeeding issues, and tucked neatly away in boxes labelled 'nasty formula person' no matter what their personal experience if they dare to say something that in the real world would be completely uncontroversial - ie breastfeeding past a year or two is more important if the family live in poverty. All I said, much earlier on, is that a NCT teacher saying 'the worldwide average age of weaning is 4.5' is utterly mistaken and that it isn't, which it isn't. But apparently that's enough to file me as 'demon formula fan'!

hunkermunker Thu 16-Oct-08 22:51:46

Rhubarb, can you post without insinuations, please?

What nerves do you think are being touched here? I have no problem with formula - so not sure if that was aimed at me?

And what do you mean about the charities, please? Can you elaborate?

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 22:51:54

Can you give a bit more detail about this criticism of FSID?

Just interested. I've had issues with them relating to their dummy advice.

hunkermunker Thu 16-Oct-08 22:54:08

Do you just mean FSID?

I'#m not a huge fan of them

berolina Thu 16-Oct-08 22:55:48

mabanana, I really haven't seen anyone demonising either formula (our issue is with its marketing and distribution, nt the stuff itself) or any other posters. I can confirm that being demonised - e.g. as a 'bf Nazi', as has happened many a time on MN - is not pleasant.

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 22:59:11

I think "apparently" is the key word there.

I think that encouraging mothers to breastfeed for as long as their children want can only be a good thing. I'm becoming increasingly concerned at how our society is keen (and encouraged by various tv parenting gurus) to detach parents from babies, toddlers and children either with sleeping, eating, discipline etc.

THere are NO proven, or theoretical studies that indicate breastfeeding for as long as a baby or child wants has any detrimental effect. All studies or evidence point towards 'benefits' to it. It'd be bonkers not to encourage it.

All this speak of spoiling children, them not needing it, that they need to learn to comfort themselves is hyperbole.

foxytocin Thu 16-Oct-08 23:31:29

are you suggesting that this statement:

"Some parts of the US and the UK are positively third world in regard to nutrition, housing, medical care, etc. I think there is something inherently, probably culturally and institutionally racist to say that those people in the third world need breastfeeding more than babies in the West do."

and this one:

"it is racist to point out that bottlefeeding is more dangerous in places where clean water and sterilisation of equipment is impossible or at least more difficult"

are saying the same things?

tiktok Thu 16-Oct-08 23:42:23

Rhubarb, this is a perfectly good thread for debating these issues prob the 'safest' type, as no one is asking for support and it is about gorillas I don't understand why you want a new thread - or why if you think it would be better, you don't start one

When and how would you think it would be appropriate to raise the issue of excess morbidity and mortality linked with formula?

I think (for what it's worth) that it can and should be done, not in a blaming or accusatory way, and with an awareness that there is a price to be paid for fuller information, and for treating people like adults and sharing knowledge. FSID, as has been said, publicise the link, after all.

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 16-Oct-08 23:47:41

tiktok - I dont think rhubarb really cares about having a debate about it, which is why she hasnt started another thread.

Rhubarb, please stay to debate.

When you said "At no point in this country do babies risk death if we choose to bottlefeed them."

..you were opening a debate on this subject. It would be poor form to make such a pronouncement and then try to stifle response to it.

If you are prepared to accept your statement may be contradicted by the evidence, then why not retract?

If you stand by your statement, then stay to justify it. But your swift dismissal of the evidence to the contrary seems cursory rather than considered. It implies you don't want to believe it. Which is understandable, but doesn't render it unreliable evidence, all the same.

I doubt you would have made a similar statement about front sleeping; "At no point in this country do babies risk death if we choose to put them on their tummies to sleep.", and then closed your ears to the responses.

Are you so sure that the evidence for the one topic is sound, but the evidence for the other is unsound?

InTheDollshouse Fri 17-Oct-08 09:25:21

mabanana, where were you labelled a "demon formula fan" (!) because you disputed the "world-wide average age of weaning is 4" thing? On the contrary, at least one person agreed with you, and FWIW, I do too - that statement is a load of crap. However a few people posted info about human societies where children are commonly breastfed until age 3 or 4, simply to illustrate that it's not a complete myth (which you seemed to be suggesting, as you said you hadn't seen "a scrap of evidence" to support it). That's all. Please don't take it personally.

wastingmyeducation Fri 17-Oct-08 09:47:34

Rhubarb, I don't believe you have replied to those of us who question whether you think we should not discuss risk factors when it comes to childcare decisions.

xx

Peachy Fri 17-Oct-08 11:13:12

'When you said "At no point in this country do babies risk death if we choose to bottlefeed them."'

That's actually untrue althougyh obviously its exceedingly rare! DS1's weight dropped off to 4 piounds post birth and the meds (the few about- millenium baby syndrome) couldn't find a eason: if I adn't used my own instinct and taken him off formula I strngly suspect I wouldn't have ds1 here now; turned ut to be a severe casein intolerance. But I'm not anti-formula- the fabulous, wonderful soya formula mio saved his little life!. This ds4 is the only esxclusiv bf one and i've had to fight to do that: I beleive its better to BF on the whole but also that most mothers, when given the right information, will make the best choice for their family. Sometimes that is ff.

I don't get the racist bit. My understanding of racism is that it must involve negative connotations to human beings based on their race, colour or creed. All the poeple here are saying in effect is that people with less access to the sterilising facillities, clean water source, etc required for proper prep of formula are likely to have lower risk factors for their baby if they BF: these conditions are more prevalent in countriess where people have very little materially on the whole (I dont like the phrase 3rd world or undeveloped- it implies that all that matters is financial wealth, when in fact many countries people owould class as this have lots spiritually, socially etc- just aren't populated with wealthy people (not sure that makes sense)).

That doesn't excluse the fact that people in the richest of contries living a subsistent existence differ in terms of risk factor, but this is less common because famillies here in social housing do at least have access to clean water, bathrooms etc

I fail to see how that is controversial.

TinkerBellesMum Fri 17-Oct-08 11:21:09

I seem to remember commenting the other day that a subject that’s not really anything to do with how children are fed will always get turned into a BF v FF debate by FFers taking offence at something. Well done, I’m not let down by this one.

Aitch a friends little girl was convinced I had OJ and milk, one from each side.

SimplySally, snakes aren’t mammals, they don’t feed their young - in fact often they eat them.

Rhubarb, I’m interested to know what makes you think the nutritional content changes at the first birthday. Does this include premature babies who have premature baby milk (especially made by mum) until they’re closer to term? I’m also interested to know what food can equal breastmilk because as far as I was aware it’s the most complete good there is. I’ve seen charts that suggest the majority of benefits for both mother and child are from feeding a child until the age of two, are they all wrong?

“it has become culturally acceptable because where do the women in developing countries get their formula from?”

Nestle? But I’m unsure of why you keep coming back to developing countries; it’s not just developing countries that nurse their young for longer than is normal here. I’ve spoken to many people who have come from countries that believe in NTBF, I’ve also asked about weaning onto solids and have always had a description of BLW. The sad thing is many of their friends have changed their normal parenting behaviour in this country because what we do is seen to be far more superior because they look up to us for some strange reason.

“Contraception. They continue to breastfeed until they are ready for another child.”

Proudly pregnant and nursing a 2 year old here! I know plenty of people who are tandeming and I’ve known people have children incredibly close together even with breastfeeding. Contraception isn’t as simple an issue as just breastfeeding.

“Interesting that someone presumed I didn't do extended breastfeeding - at what age is extended breastfeeding?”

If you did you wouldn’t ask the question.

“Aren't humans one of the only species born at that stage of pregnancy or did I remember that wrong? I'm sure I read somewhere that humans would be born later if we travelled on all fours.”

That’s right VS, the only mammals that are born anywhere near as prematurely as humans are marsupials. Interesting that in more traditional cultures (and I’m sure a lot of posters on here) they try to replicate how marsupials raise their young - baby wearing for example - without realising that’s what they do. (I love TikTok’s answer!)

“Although the joey does a pretty amazing breastcrawl in the first instance up to the pouch and to safety”

So do human babies given the chance.

“OK stupid question time - where are a whales nipples?”

Humans do, but some mammals do not. The Australian Echidna and Duck-Billed Platypus produce breastmilk in spite of the fact that they have no breasts or nipples. The mammary glands rest underneath the mother's chest; the young suck milk from pores in the chest wall, skimming milk off of the skin and hairs (it should be called chest-feeding). Whale mothers have breasts and nipples, but baby whales cannot move their lips and so cannot suckle. When it is feeding time, the mother ejects her milk (which is the consistency of sour cream), the baby then drinks it out of the water.

“It does say however that putting a baby to sleep with a dummy may help.”

It also says that sleeping a cot helps, but 90% of SIDS happens in another bed to the parents. But we won’t let the fact they’re sponsored by a bed manufacturer or MAM dummies jade our view. You also need to look into the full study to understand the dummies thing which actually turns it around.

“Necessary? If I had personal experience of SIDS I would be very upset by this.”

I do, I’m not. Facts are facts.

Peachy Fri 17-Oct-08 11:28:34

well they would tinksmum because they are evil and the wor of satan (no, not ceationist LOL- just severely phboic)

crumpet Fri 17-Oct-08 11:53:01

Rhubarb, there have been some posts of your in the past that I haven't agreed with, but think you are spot on with your original posts on this thread - but they seem to have been extrapolated out of recognition!

By the way, just in case anyone missed one of Rhubarb's original points, she was not necessarily talking about breastfeeding at any age, but for bf after 1 year : "Therefore it is not necessary to bf beyond the age of 1, it is a choice. Those who choose to bf beyond this age don't do it because of necessity"

WinkyWinkola Fri 17-Oct-08 11:56:42

What do you mean by necessity, Rhubarb and Crumpet? Life and death?

BFing is thought to protect against certain cancers in both mother and child but you have to do it for 1 year+ for this to have any real effect.

Is this necessary enough?

I love all these sweeping statements about when women should stop breastfeeding their children because it's not necessary.

We don't even know what breast milk is entirely made up of yet so how do we know to stipulate when it is necessary to stop?

WinkyWinkola Fri 17-Oct-08 12:00:10

Very intelligent post, Tinkerbellesmum.

crumpet Fri 17-Oct-08 12:07:36

Winkywinkola, Rhubarb has already said what she means, I agree with what she said earlier.

At no point has Rhubarb said (unless I missed it) when anyone should stop bf

InTheDollshouse Fri 17-Oct-08 12:20:20

Crumpet, the thing is, Rhubarb has made a few fairly strong assertions about the necessity of breastfeeding. If you look earlier in the thread, there was a discussion about the "necessity" of breastfeeding past 12 months. Then the direction of the thread changed to discuss the point about whether a lack of breastfeeding was associated with mortality in the developing world, because Rhubarb had made a separate statement about that. I can't see that anyone extrapolated anything; her statement was very clear.

InTheDollshouse Fri 17-Oct-08 12:25:11

Re FSID - I didn't mention them as purveyors of perfect advice. My point was that posters on this thread, including myself, have been accused of raising the issue of SIDS in order to "win" an argument (whatever that would mean in this context!) or score points. Presumably FSID cannot be accused of such motives, and yet they publicised the research on breastfeeding and SIDS by issuing a press release, i.e. they intended for the story to be picked up and published by the media.

foxytocin Fri 17-Oct-08 12:32:06

back to kangaroos and their very premature babies who do an amazing breastcrawl to the pouch where a nipple is located.

don't kangaroos also can be pg, have a tiny one in the pouch and also still be feeding an older joey? i heard that roos are baby making machines.

TinkerBellesMum Fri 17-Oct-08 12:46:08

Complete good??? hmm I think I meant complete food.

I think you're right foxytocin, I'm pretty sure they can have several babies in their pouch at one time, you only ever see the older ones poking their head out though. All this talk of primates is interesting, but if we're going to look to the animal kingdom for parenting advice, the kangaroo and her other marsupial cousins are probably our best example to be looking to as they're closer to us when it comes to their young.

TinkerBellesMum Fri 17-Oct-08 12:57:41

Newborn Joey

As with all marsupials, the young are born at a very early stage of development – after a gestation of 31–36 days. At this stage, only the forelimbs are somewhat developed, to allow the newborn to climb to the pouch and attach to a teat. When the joey is born, it is about the size of a lima bean. The joey will usually stay in the pouch for about nine months (180–320 days for the Western Grey) before starting to leave the pouch for small periods of time. It is usually fed by its mother until reaching 18 months.

The female kangaroo is usually pregnant in permanence, except on the day she gives birth.

"The female kangaroo is usually pregnant in permanence, except on the day she gives birth. "
shockshock
No wonder they don't have kangaroosnet, when would they find the time?

Rhubarb Fri 17-Oct-08 13:26:57

Where are your pitchforks?

Right, let's approach this sensibly shall we? FSID was criticised about 2 years ago for research methods involving suffocating babies to study their breathing patterns. I can't find it now but it was all over the news back then.

Now relating to my statement that no baby has died in this country because of formula feeding. If you take that statement solely, it's true because there is no death certificate that states a baby died in this country because of it was fed on formula. The formula milk may be contaminated, in 14% of tins studies (how many were in the study?) they found traces of a bacteria Enterobacter Sakazakii, resulting illnesses, it states, is rare but it is "linked" to meningitis.

However if you look here you will see that breast milk has a very high number of toxins which can build up in the body over time and cause cancer and it's also infected with so called "gender bending" chemicals.

So I'd call that an even score.

Cot death.

"Bacteria linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) seem to thrive in vomit-soaked polyurethane foam, especially if the babies drink formula, rather than breast milk, it is revealed." BBC.

Now the words I'm picking up here are "linked". All the stuff I've read about cot death and formula feeding are still not proven. It's not the same as saying that smoking causes serious birth defects. We know this, it's a fact. But the cot death links to formula feeding are not facts, they cannot be proven without a doubt. Therefore I am uncomfortable with people blaming ff for cot deaths, I think that's unfair and extreme.

As for the racist thing, well if developing countries such as Sudan and Ethopia aren't experiencing malnutrition and poor hygiene then someone should tell Oxfam!

I believe I did give links as asked on the cultural differences to extended bf in Ethopia and here. My point was that they are different, I illustrated that with those links.

"Rhubarb, I don't believe you have replied to those of us who question whether you think we should not discuss risk factors when it comes to childcare decisions." Does it matter what I think? What a preposterous question! I said that I was unwilling to discuss links between ff and cot death because it remains, as yet, an unproven fact. You may discuss whatever you like, so long as you don't include me in it.

PhDiva Fri 17-Oct-08 14:07:21

erm, yes, I would say that WAS an even score Rhubarb, as the article goes on to say :

'The issue of environmental pollutants is not simply one for breast milk but potentially affects all foods, including cow's milk from which many infant formulae are derived."

Also, why is physical health the only 'necessity' you consider? It has been shown that babies can die due to lack of touch, so the comfort aspect of breastfeeding may be even more important than we currently think. I think it is the Attachment Parenting people who say on their website that they suspect many behavioural problems documented in kindergarten-age children may be connected in some way to forced early weening from the breast. Whether this is true or not, I guess a lot more research needs to be done on this, but you do really need to define what you mean by 'necessary'.

Rhubarb Fri 17-Oct-08 14:19:05

True Diva - the pollutants affect everything pretty much. But I just wanted to expell the myth that only formula milk is contaminated.

And I don't want to go onto touch. I feel formula feeding has had enough bashing as it is.

PhDiva Fri 17-Oct-08 14:27:03

Fair enough. But your post has just made me think about how we label these things 'breast feeding' and 'formula feeding'. (Of course, we are not feeding the babies breasts, per se, nor are we feeding them bottles....). I guess our own labelling skews our views of what is happening when a mother holds her child and nourishes it, whether with love, attention, milk, water or carrots. hmm

Rhubarb Fri 17-Oct-08 14:33:41

smile

First time I've smiled on this thread so far!

fabsmum Fri 17-Oct-08 14:36:20

Rhubarb,
According to the Informed Choice booklet 'Breast or Bottlefeeding' I've got sitting in front of me, (produced by the Midwives Information Service), 100 preterm babies die every year from necrotising enterocolitis who would not have died if they'd had breastmilk. NEC is up to 7 times more common in a/f babies.

So, though there won't be any certificates with 'bottlefeeding' as a cause of death, health professionals who care for preterm babies know that a lack of breastmilk can and is sometimes fatal.

I'd also like to point out that many of the problems caused by bottlefeeding manifest themselves as severe illness only once the child has entered adulthood. Diabetes is one, hypertension is another - both these things are more common in adults a/f as babies.

And lets not forget those mothers in the UK who die every year from breastcancer, who wouldn't have died had they breastfed their babies. Again - according to the midwives information service several hundred women die every year who wouldn't have died if we'd had the same rates of bf as Norway.

fabsmum Fri 17-Oct-08 14:42:48

"Therefore it is not necessary to bf beyond the age of 1, it is a choice. Those who choose to bf beyond this age don't do it because of necessity"

Honestly - how depressing to see someone reduce bf to simply being about nothing more than putting calories into a baby.

Rhubarb Fri 17-Oct-08 14:45:57

I'd be careful with those statistics. You cannot say those women would not have died had they breastfed, breast cancer commonly runs in the family.

Also adult cases of the conditions you mentioned, again I'd be careful because adults who had been breastfed were also diagnosed with them.

There is evidence that breastfeeding can lower the risks, but it cannot, alone, prevent these illnesses. It's not a cure.

Rhubarb Fri 17-Oct-08 14:50:24

I think I'm going to put an end to my contributions there.

If you don't like what I've said, that's tough. It's an opinion and it's also research from validated sources.

I appreciate what hunker and tiktok are saying, but I think that their views are a little extreme regarding cot death. However they are entitled to those views as I am to mine.

I've outlined my posts in the last big post I did. I've no inclination to spend my weekend debating it further. I'd only end up repeating myself over and over again as new people join in. The main points have been covered, we've all debated, all said our piece and none of us have changed our standpoints. Typical of Mumsnet!

I bid you all good day!

TinkerBellesMum Fri 17-Oct-08 15:02:01

Interesting thought, AIDS and cancer don't kill anyone.

fabsmum Fri 17-Oct-08 17:40:56

"I'd be careful with those statistics. You cannot say those women would not have died had they breastfed, breast cancer commonly runs in the family."

Umm, Rhubarb, don't you think that the dozens of people with PHDs in epidemiology who have been involved in research into this subject for many, many years might have - gasp - controlled for familial susceptibility to breast cancer when they did designed the studies?

DOH!

"Also adult cases of the conditions you mentioned, again I'd be careful because adults who had been breastfed were also diagnosed with them."

And again!

DOH!

"There is evidence that breastfeeding can lower the risks, but it cannot, alone, prevent these illnesses. It's not a cure."

Weeelllllllll.... that's a bit of a specious point because (raises voice and speaks very slowly)

NOBODY HAS IMPLIED OR SAID THAT BREASTFEEDING ALONE CAN PREVENT OR CURE BREASTCANCER

And therefore your argument is complete tosh.

Rhubarb Fri 17-Oct-08 17:51:36

"Umm, Rhubarb, don't you think that the dozens of people with PHDs in epidemiology who have been involved in research into this subject for many, many years might have - gasp - controlled for familial susceptibility to breast cancer when they did designed the studies?"

Don't insult my intelligence. Just don't.

You quotes didn't mention that they'd taken anything into consideration so I can only presume they are looking at death rates for breastcancer and trying to find a correlation between those rates and breastfeeding.

We all know that breastfeeding lowers the risk of cancer. But I'm not here to debate the mother's health so do me a favour and don't try and drag me into an irrelevant debate ok? Everytime I make a point, someone then produces another that is a complete irrelevance to the original debate.

Keep it polite ok? I've managed to so why can't you?

tiktok Fri 17-Oct-08 17:55:23

Rhubarb, I don't have 'views', extreme or otherwise. I am reporting uncontroversial, long-standing and robustly evidence-based links between ff and cot death. I may have views on how this should or should not be disseminated, but I can't have 'views' on whether the links exist or not, unless I decide for some daft reason to report what I think, rather than what I read.

Like smoking and lung cancer, which is also not proven as a direct cause and effect, we can never run a blind randomised controlled trial on breastfeeding, which would be the only way to prove a cause - just as you can't take two identical cohorts and order one lot to smoke for 30 years and the other lot not to, without either cohort knowing which group they were in, you can't 'test' ff and bf by ordering two identical cohorts to ff or bf. You can only use epidemiological data, and observation with case control studies, and conclude or not that there is an association, which we can translate into individual risk - in just the same way as the 'back to sleep' research did, not with an RCT but with epidemiology and case controlled studies.

There is masses of data on breastfeeding and breast cancer - mothers who do not breastfeed increase their risk of breast cancer both before and after the menopause. Why is this something not to share? There is also data to show that baby girls who were not breastfed have an increased risk of breast cancer themselves but these studies are fewer than the other ones.

Again, this is not my 'view'. It just is the case.

TinkerBellesMum Fri 17-Oct-08 17:55:44

'Cause clever researchers don't automatically do all the control groups and factor in other things.

tiktok Fri 17-Oct-08 18:25:11

I have to assume Rhubarb is not actually reading any of the links posted here, or she would not be responding with a 'yes, but....' post every time.

And BTW, Rhubarb, smoking and birth defects are not proven cause and effect, either - they have a powerful association, but there is no proof. The association is powerful enough for the public health message to be pretty clear - smoking when pregnant is a risk to infant health (and life, too, as neonatal death is liked with smoking in pg, as well). Why are you ok about informing mothers of this, and also (presumably) ok about the message that smoking with babies and children around risks their health, too, and not ok about pointing out the link between ff and cot death?

mabanana Fri 17-Oct-08 18:25:48

It is not true to say there is a proven, cut and dried relationship between SIDS and formula feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not agree, for a start.
see here
Even the positive Scandinavian studies describe any link as 'weak'. So there may be a link, but it is weak and unproven, and pretty irrelevant to babies over a year old, when SIDS is extremely rare anyway.

mabanana Fri 17-Oct-08 18:25:50

It is not true to say there is a proven, cut and dried relationship between SIDS and formula feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not agree, for a start.
see here
Even the positive Scandinavian studies describe any link as 'weak'. So there may be a link, but it is weak and unproven, and pretty irrelevant to babies over a year old, when SIDS is extremely rare anyway.

TinkerBellesMum Fri 17-Oct-08 18:48:37

mabanana, no one said there is, read TikTok's last post.

PhDiva Fri 17-Oct-08 18:50:51

I think Rhubarb's back is up against the wall, and she is just trying to swat away the random (and sometimes unnecessarily rude) attacks coming her way.

I think we can all see where she is coming from, and she has not yet made a FACTUALLY incorrect statement, now has she? Of course we all want to breast (milk) feed our children until they are seven years old hmm but as she said originally, it is not considered (physically, medically or ethically) necessary in our culture to do so. That's all. This debate has been had umpteen times already, and we all know where it will end.

Now can we return to finding out why certain MNers have a pathological fear of primates, please?

mabanana Fri 17-Oct-08 18:52:16

Er this is what Tikok said: "I am reporting uncontroversial, long-standing and robustly evidence-based links between ff and cot death." And that's simply not true. There are a lot of conflicting studies, some of which show a risk from formula feeding (as I believe is the approved terminology) and others absolutely don't, including a large 2005 study in Chicago, which showed that once confounding factors were removed, breastfeeding was not protective. The American Academy of Pediatrics says there is not enough evidence to say there is a link. So this is a controversial area with many conflicting studies, and at best, even in the studies which suggest a risk from formula, the association is described as 'weak'.

TinkerBellesMum Fri 17-Oct-08 18:57:12

Yes, LINK! That's totally different to what you said.

tiktok Sat 18-Oct-08 09:37:55

mawbroon, you're misinterpreting the function of the AAP statement, which was to assess what US physicians should tell their patients (and the government) about reducing the risks of SIDS. It was not primarily to discover causes of SIDS.

They found, as you say, that despite many studies showing a link between not breastfeeding and SIDS, other studies found no link if confounding factors were taken into account: 'These results suggest that factors associated with breastfeeding, rather than breastfeeding itself, are protective.'

They felt this meant that they could not list 'breastfeed' as a separate recommendation to patients and government. I think based on that evidence, this may well be a respectable position to hold (though I would argue it's them being controversial, not me!).

They are aware that not bf is associated (as a separate factor) with other forms of infant mortality, as they say, but not SIDS.

Interestingly, despite this, what they say to mothers direct is different:

http://www.aap.org/new/sids/reduceth.htm

On that 'direct to parents' leaflet, breastfeeding is listed separately as a way mothers can reduce risk of SIDS, so I am not sure why they are inconsistent there.

VeniVidiVickiQV Sat 18-Oct-08 10:11:01

LOL at "keep it polite" after adding in provocative "Where are your pitchforks?" "Did I hit a nerve?" and "has anyone mentioned "bitty" yet"

[loses all respect]

Upwind Sat 18-Oct-08 11:09:42

Rhubarb "I'd be careful with those statistics. You cannot say those women would not have died had they breastfed, breast cancer commonly runs in the family."

With respect, that statement just shows that you don't have much of a grasp of statistics. Of course you cannot take a handful of women and say that they would not have died from cancer had they breastfed. But you can say that the research indicates that an increased rate of breastfeeding would reduce the incidence of breastcancer and hence the deaths associated with it. It is the same for the research on babies - we can never suggest that any given individual's life could have been saved if they had been cared for in a different way, whether back-to-sleep or breastfed. But we can say that these things are associated with lower risks.

I am very glad this research has been done and it will inform the choices I make in caring for the baby I will soon have. More importantly, on a population level, it may save many lives. It really worries me that you seem to think that it should be suppressed.

mabanana Sat 18-Oct-08 12:03:13

Sorry, but I'm really not misinterpreting anything. I know perfectly well the AAP statement was just that, a position statement and not a study. It is however, clearly the Academy's view that current studies do NOT show "uncontroversial, long-standing and robustly evidence-based links between ff and cot death." There may be a link, but certainly so far, there is not enough evidence to prove this, and even if there is a link, it is clearly not a very strong one, unlike, say, the link between tummy sleeping and SIDS.
I do think that when talking about something as potentially frightening and guilt-inducing as the deaths of babies, it is important to be as accurate and unsensational as possible.
Nobody here is arguing that breastfeeding is a not a good thing - quite the contrary, I think in an ideal world everyone would be able to breastfeed their babies. But some claims made for breastfeeding, that it is very important for preventing allergy or preventing cot death for example, have not been proved, and in the case of allergy, have turned out to be wrong.
It is safe to say formula feeding increases the risk of various infections in babies, that it appears to reduce the risk of diabetes and even leukaemia in children. Also breastfeeding can provide some protection against breast cancer, which I certainly think is worthwhile, but it's not a massive effect.

THis is what Breakthrough Breast Cancer has to say about it:
The protection against breast cancer from breastfeeding is relatively
small. We’ll try to explain this by describing what happens in 1,000
women who did not breastfeed and 1,000 women who breastfed for
a year during their lifetime.
First think of the 1,000 women who did not breastfeed. By the
age of 70 we would expect, on average, that about 63 of them
would have been diagnosed with breast cancer at some time
during their lives.
Now think of the 1,000 women who breastfed their child or children
for about one year in total. By age 70 we would expect, on average,
that about 60 of them would have been diagnosed with breast
cancer at some time during their lives. So the benefit or protection
due to breastfeeding for about one year is to prevent about 3 out of
1,000 women from developing breast cancer.
We say ‘on average’ because it’s not possible to predict exactly who
will end up getting breast cancer. But we do know that, on average,
women who breastfeed have a slightly lower risk of developing
breast cancer than women who do not.

tiktok Sat 18-Oct-08 12:34:52

mawbroon, no one on this thread has even hinted that feeding method is 'very important' in cot death or in allergies for that matter (I think with allergies, the evidence is growing that it is a factor, but effective bf protection will probably turn out to be only if bf is exclusive for the first several months. But I will watch the research on this).

Nor has anyone suggested there is a 'massive' effect with breast cancer.

This aspect of the debate came about when Rhubarb challenged the notion that any deaths resulted from ff in the developed world. And some of us posted research links to show she was wrong.

There has been no 'sensationalism' with this.

I find it enormously frustrating to continue to try to debate like an adult when I'm told that I am making 'important' or 'massive' or 'senstionalist' claims when I am always careful not to!

mawbroon Sat 18-Oct-08 16:48:45

Hey tiktok, I don't think you mean me shock

mabanana Sat 18-Oct-08 16:54:32

Well, I'm afraid in my opinion you did make an exaggerated claim regarding possible links between SIDS and giving formula. You did say the link was proven, and, I quote again (so please don't try to suggest that I misquote you) was "uncontroversial, long-standing and robustly evidence-based", which I think you will agree is not true. It is controversial, unproven, and the evidence on the issue is extremely mixed. I think when making claims about dead babies it pays to be cautious and accurate. I think women who have lost babies to SIDS and gave formula need to know that there is really no solid evidence that this was the cause.
I also think it is valid to point out that the protective effect of breastfeeding in breast cancer, while real and backed up by a great deal of solid evidence, is quite small.
I also think you really must stop assuming that every single thing I say is somehow aimed at you personally. When I said that "some claims made for breastfeeding, that it is very important for preventing allergy or preventing cot death for example, have not been proved, and in the case of allergy, have turned out to be wrong." and when I said that the effect of breastfeeding on cancer was 'not massive'. I was merely making a true statement. I was not referring to you, or quoting you and I cannot really understand why you think I was. This debate is really not all about you.

Rhubarb Sat 18-Oct-08 17:18:30

Tiktok, I have every respect for you, you have given me great advice in the past and it pains me to have this kind of debate with you. I hope that we can have differing views and still remain friendly.

The reason I took my original standpoint is because I strongly disagree with people looking at other nations and saying "well they do it so that proves it must be good". As someone said early on in the thread, the developed world and the developing world have very different cultures. Reasons for bf in the developing world DO differ from reasons here. I don't think anyone can argue that it is much easier to ff in this country. If you are on a low income you get your formula for half the price or less. Our tap water is clean and sanitation generally good - i.e. we do all have access to flushing toilets.

In fact many people in the poorer areas of developing countries aspire to bottle feed their babies, believing it to be healthier thanks to companies such as Nestlé and because it's a symbol of how wealthy you are.

I don't see those assertations as racist, in fact I think that believing that developing countries breastfeed more and for longer is ignorant. In fact according to WHO, just 39% of infants from 94 developing countries were exclusively breastfed for up to 6 months. Much more than in the UK, but still not as huge a percentage as some people might think.

I used the sanitation and water hygiene statistics for these poorer areas when I made my assertation that ff babies don't die because they have been ff in this country. In developing countries such as Ethopia and Sudan, children are more likely to die because of the poor formula mix, because of the high contamination factors (see China) and because of the mix of dirty water and poor sanitation facilities, making diseases easier to catch. In this country, we don't have the same sanitation problems and we have access to clean water. But as hunker pointed out, our formula is just as likely to be contaminated. However our breastmilk is likely to be more contaminated than the breastmilk of mothers in developing countries because of our lifestyles. Uses of toxic cleaning products, paints etc etc have all found their way into our bodies and alarmingly, come out through the breastmilk.

It is rare that a baby in this country would die as a direct result of contamination of formula milk. It would be a huge scandal if it did. The formula may contribute due to the contamination, but the links are not proven.

The cot death debate runs along the same lines, that a bacteria present in formula milk may contribute to cot death. But again evidence is scarce and atm it's all hypothesis. Yes we should be aware of this, but my opinion is that ff mothers are bashed enough as it is. There are many reasons mothers choose to bf, for some it may not even be a choice and so I think that banding around statements like "your baby is twice as likely to die from cot death if it is formula fed" to be callous and insensitive.

As PhDiva said, I feel I am batting away random attacks that have nothing to do with my original argument.

I hope this can end on a friendly note. Even though I am naturally devastated to have lost the respect of vvqv!

Rhubarb Sat 18-Oct-08 17:21:07

Sorry, that should read "formula may contribute to an illness through contamination"

tiktok Sat 18-Oct-08 17:37:04

whoops, sorry, mawbroon

tiktok Sat 18-Oct-08 17:59:59

Mabanana - I have never said anything about 'proven' or 'unproven'. I have explained what I meant, and I stand by these links being based on strong evidence. I don't know how anyone can say a link is proven anyway - so telling me not to say it because you have shown it to be unproven makes no sense. I resent very much your accusation, mabanana, that I said ff was a cause of SIDS - I don't know how I could have been more clear that I was not saying it was a cause. You may say 'I didn't mean you, I meant other people, and it's not all about you, tiktok'....but it's clear which side of the debate you are targetting your posts at, so I make no apology for assuming I was 'in' with the others

Rhubarb - I haven't taken any part in the debate about other countries on this thread. I can't respond to that part of your post, even though you direct it at me. I think that part of the debate is confused and not very well-informed so I am staying out of it!

However, I have to ask you again to do some reading. You say, "The cot death debate runs along the same lines, that a bacteria present in formula milk may contribute to cot death" - there may be some speculation somewhere that formula milk contributes to SIDS via bacteria (and I think I do recall some discussion some years ago - pure hypothesising, and in any case if the baby died of an identifiable bacterial infection it is not SIDS). The 'cot death and formula' debate centres on the epidemiological links between formula feeding and SIDS, and how strong they are. I don;t think anyone on this thread has ventured to suggest why the link would be there - the speculation that does exist about the link that I think is worth taking seriously would be the way ff babies tend to sleep longer and more deeply which is not physiological, and which may mean that a vulnerable/sick baby may not rouse sufficiently to alert his carer. But this is speculation.

Rhubarb Sat 18-Oct-08 18:15:53

Sorry tiktok didn't mean to aim the whole developing countries debate at you.

I've tried to find article using your quote as a search term in Google, I can only find this that mentions bottlefeeding and it states that the findings are inconsistent.

But then I suppose whatever links there are that support your view, there will be other links that discredit them. Therefore we appear to be circling each other!

Sorry, have to go, roast duck ready!

mabanana Sun 19-Oct-08 08:38:04

Tiktok, I think it is very sad that you see something as important as SIDS in terms of 'sides'. It's just this sort of inappropriately polarised thinking that causes a lot of people's problems with breastfeeding promotion. I am not taking 'sides' - I am, if anything, a facts pedant. I don't like it when people say things that are not backed up by good evidence be that 'the worldwide average age of weaning is 4.5years' or "I am reporting uncontroversial, long-standing and robustly evidence-based links between ff and cot death" when those any possible links are indeed controversial, and the the evidence is far from robust, and is indeed very mixed and contradictory. At best, the studies which do show a link say it is 'weak'.
While I'm sure you are usually extremely well informed, on this single point you made a mistake and perhaps inadvertently exaggerated the strength of the research, and that's fine. We all make mistakes. What I think is less fine is to pretend that to challenge it to take 'sides' (I'm not even sure what 'side' I am supposed to be on, actually)
As for my pointing out that the protective effect of breastfeeding on breast cancer is quite small, why are you so annoyed that I pointed that out, and why do you assume it's about 'sides' again? I felt as some people were saying that 'hundreds (thousands?) of mothers were dying because they didn't breastfeed', this might be scary or guilt-provoking for some women, and it would be interesting for everyone to see that the effect may well be smaller than you might think, and it is very unlikely indeed that not breastfeeding will mean you will die of breast cancer at at age when you will leave your children motherless. I really don't see why this is a bad thing that needs challenging. It's simply true.

she was talking about sides of a debate, which this is. I don't think she meant any more than that.

hunkermunker Sun 19-Oct-08 10:32:10

"I appreciate what hunker and tiktok are saying, but I think that their views are a little extreme regarding cot death."

Have I said anything about cot death? That's a genuine query - I can't be arsed to search the thread, but I don't recall saying anything, extreme or otherwise. My point was and continues to be that you cannot say that no babies in this country die because they're ff.

tiktok Sun 19-Oct-08 11:53:31

mabananaa, the disingenuous, faux concern you express about me supposedly taking 'sides' on baby deaths is actually quite unpleasant. The sides I was referring to were related to the debate about whether it was ok to even mention links or not - as you well know.

I have never said anywhere what I think of the strength of the links between ff and SIDS - I entered the discussion to point out that many robust studies have found the link exists, and that is still the case.

Fine for you to report that the link between not bf and br cancer is small - my objection was that you pointed it out, you said, in order to counteract suggestions that the link was 'massive' - and no one, least of all me, had made that suggestion.

tiktok Sun 19-Oct-08 12:09:54

And just for the record, not all sources agree the links between infant feeding and breast cancer mean the effect is 'small' .

The Lancet paper that published the results of the most extensive study to date on this had a different view. Cancer Research reported it as 'breastfeeding provides major protection against breast cancer' - here is the full report [[http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/pressreleases/2002/july/40356

There are 2 ways of looking at this issue -
i) the public health view, which calculates the effect on a population level : " If women breastfed each of their children for an extra six months, it could prevent over 1,000 cases of the disease in Britain each year."

ii) the effect on an indivdual woman, which is impossible to calculate and for whom the increase in protection/risk is bound to be smaller

mabanana Sun 19-Oct-08 12:22:08

Goodness me, Tiktok, how much can you misquote me? Are you going for a record? I most emphatically did NOT say that anyone had said the protective effect was "massive". You cannot find where I said this, because I did not. I merely said that at least one poster (no, not you) had raised the issue and talked about hundreds of mothers dying, and I merely wanted to put that in perspective and give more information from a highly reputable source.
You say, "The sides I was referring to were related to the debate about whether it was ok to even mention links or not - as you well know." Nope, you didn't give that impression at all, but of course, as your comment was rather obscure, and I felt, snide, it was hard to tell, hence my genuine bafflement as to what 'side' I was supposed to be on. As it happens, I thought, though was unsure, that you meant being pro or aginst breastfeeding. I still think the use of the word 'sides' - as in 'we know what side you are on' during a debate about babies dying is in poor taste.
I am hardly against giving information, am I? All I disputed was your description of the links between formula feeding and SIDS being (here we go again) 'robust' and 'uncontroversial' where 'possible' 'controversial' or 'unproven' might have been more appropriate and accurate words to use.

mabanana Sun 19-Oct-08 12:24:17

Tiktok, you actually said, "but it's clear which side of the debate you are targetting your posts at, so I make no apology for assuming I was 'in' with the others" - I don't know how was supposed to guess your apparently very specific meaning from this! And you know, putting a smiley doesn't really make it any nicer.

mabanana Sun 19-Oct-08 12:25:56

And I reiterate, I'm not on any 'side', whatever it is supposed to mean. I find the whole concept of it when discussing cancer, and the deaths of women and babies really so inappropriate.

ghosty Sun 19-Oct-08 12:32:41

WE ARE TIRED OF BEING 2ND CLASS MN CITIZENS

WE WANT COMPS!

<issued by the ORIFIcE>

OverseasmumsnetteRsunIteForfaIrtrEatment

tiktok Sun 19-Oct-08 12:35:55

I said 'side of the debate' - couldn't be clearer. The debate was whether it was ok to mention links or not - I am surprise that this was not clear but there you go. On Sat 12.03, you said the effect on feeding on br cancer was 'not massive' - this was in a post which countered previous posts, so if you did not mean to imply someone/people had implied it was massive, then I have misunderstood, sorry.

mabanana Sun 19-Oct-08 13:11:24

Well it obviously could have been a bit clearer! Especially as I had no idea which 'debate' you were referring to. This has been a long and wide ranging thread (or debate) covering many different issues. It has not in any way been confined to whether you exaggerated the strength of any links between formula feeding and SIDS. Even in the post in which you mentioned 'sides' you covered different issues, and implied that there were two (to me mysterious) 'sides' involving many people of whom you were just one. I simply do not see myself on any 'side' on this issue. It's too important for that.
I saw one poster (not you) suggest this thread was all about 'formula feeders having issues', and I found that tediously reductive and inaccurate, but as it is a theme that tends to recur on these threads, it did occur to me that I was being lumped in with a so-called 'anti-breastfeeding 'side'. So maybe I should point out here that I've spent around three and a half years breastfeeding, loved it and felt I was doing the right thing for my babies and for me. I would love it if that cut my risk of breast cancer massively. I could do with something to counteract the grim possible effects of my wine habit, and my tubby tummy.

mabanana Sun 19-Oct-08 13:27:36

And I'm very bored and tired of fighting about it and I'm sure you are too!!

sweetgrapes Sun 19-Oct-08 14:50:54

<<Tiptoes in>>
<<Tiptoes out again, looking for the cute gorilla>>

mabanana Sun 19-Oct-08 15:17:51
onwardandupward Sun 19-Oct-08 15:53:29

Great picture. I like the MIL gorilla in the background, clearly gearing herself up to shout "BITTY!" in the bf gorilla's ear wink

Rhubarb Sun 19-Oct-08 16:19:27

Don't say "bitty" onward! That's rude dontcha know!

Hunker, I believe I addressed the points about ff babies in this country. I've no wish to go over them again.

Glad this has ended peacefully!

onwardandupward Sun 19-Oct-08 16:28:31

Do you know, I think that is the first time I had ever said or typed the b word in any context. shock

Don't worry. I won't do it again. Actually, I do find the bitty concept pretty offensive, as an extended bf-er and in general as a wearer of breasts, but that MIL gorilla hovering is so clearly just itching to say "give the baby some formula and give yourself a break dearie" that I coudln't resist.

Rhubarb Sun 19-Oct-08 17:30:18

Yes but the Little Britain sketch is funny! grin
Where did the "bitty" thing originate anyway?

tiktok Sun 19-Oct-08 18:12:34

LOL at the MIL gorilla

She could, of course, be a nice hands-off breastfeeding counsellor gorilla, checking the attachment 'cos mamma says it's hurting.

hunkermunker Sun 19-Oct-08 19:48:54

I wasn't asking you to go over anything, Rhubarb, simply saying I didn't say anything about cot death.

Sheesh!

It's much more likely she's about to start picking fleas of baby gorilla and saying he should be wearing a hat in this weather

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Mon 20-Oct-08 09:32:31

"Oh god vvvqv, did you have to put Guierilla feeding? I have this image of militant breastfeeders (sorry vs but the face is yours grin) sneaking up behind ff babies in Morrisons and shoviomng their norks into babies faces, mock- surreptitious style!"

Thanks Peachy!!!shock

Hunker, do you ever pick up your mail!

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