"Breastfeeding is oppressing women" (from The Guardian)

(558 Posts)
morningpaper Sat 18-Jul-09 09:38:37

Let the breastfeeding rebellion begin

"In the 70s, many women protested that they were shackled to domesticity by the unreasonably high bar set for housework. Now, some say, it's not the vacuum cleaner that's oppressing women, but another sucking sound ..."

But but but but

This is a depressing article.

A British academic wouldn't give her name "because she is concerned about attacks from the pro-breastfeeding lobby" hmm

I also fidn it really annoying when people say "I really tried to breastfeed for six days and it didn't work" - By six days lots of women will be in agony. The message that if you haven't got it cracked by six days then it hasn't worked - is just wrong.

And if there is such enormous pressure to exclusively breastfeed then why are only 3% of mothers still doing it at 5 months?

Yes women will feel guilty if they don't breastfeed. Women have the chance to feel guilty if they don't do a million things that are 'optimal' for their children's health and wellbeing. We can all agree that women need more support in the transition to motherhood, by setting up this monster of a pro-breastfeeding lobby is utterly unhelpful.

Having children BLOWS for women - your fanjo is shot to pieces, your career goes down the shitter, you piss yourself every time you sneeze, you lose your pension rights, your brain turns to mush, you have no social standing, boys stop grinning at your in the street - but BREASTFEEDING IS STILL THE OPTIMAL WAY TO FEED YOUR BABIES. You can't un-do that boring fact. And handing women a bottle isn't going to make everything better.

monkeytrousers Sat 18-Jul-09 09:48:48

"Having children BLOWS for women - your fanjo is shot to pieces, your career goes down the shitter, you piss yourself every time you sneeze, you lose your pension rights, your brain turns to mush, you have no social standing, boys stop grinning at your in the street"

This makes it sound like there areis nothing good about having kids.

morningpaper Sat 18-Jul-09 09:52:03

well there may be that whole personal fulfillment thing

OracleInaCoracle Sat 18-Jul-09 09:52:32

ffs, what did the "anonymous academic" (Viv Groskop?) think the pro-breatfeeding lobby would do? squirt her with milk as she walked down the street? pelt her house with cabbage leaves and nipple pads?

morningpaper Sat 18-Jul-09 09:53:10

but those are things that generally impact on WOMEN rather than MEN is what I mean

The root of oppression of parenting is not a woman's breasts

sarah293 Sat 18-Jul-09 09:54:13

Message withdrawn

CanterburySnails Sat 18-Jul-09 09:54:14

Well, I think the article is great smile.
Bf rates may be lower than we would like, but what we aren't reporting is levels of distress in women that tried and failed to bf. As the article says, it is support for bf women that is poor - and we are in a way setting women up to fail by heavily promoting bf but not having the support in place.

I think the article is spot on. Women are being made to feel bad becasue they find it hard (for many reasons) to bf, and despite all the information out there about bf, good support is still not there, and that needs to be addressed. I think that having a mother at ease with her decisions as to how to feed her baby is probably better for the baby than a stressed and sad but exclusively bfeeding mother.

I speak as someone who bfed her children to a year btw.

AitchTwoOh Sat 18-Jul-09 09:54:43

oh god GET OVER IT. if you couldn't bf, GET OVER IT. if you could, GET OVER IT. ffs five years later with two perfectly healthy children... get over it you silly woman.

sometimes life is shit. sometimes you want something and it doesn't happen, sometimes you want it and it does and you don't enjoy it, just fooking get over it.

i can't believe the guardian is publishing this flimsy shite.

I'm with Aitch on this.

This second-class citizen stuff is all in their heads, especially as bf are actually the minority. Who exactly is making these women feel bad about themselves?

OracleInaCoracle Sat 18-Jul-09 10:00:30

CanterburySnails, i disagree, as someone who felt incredibly guilty about not bf ds and for a long time blamed everyone else for that i think there has to be a time when you stop looking for someone to blame. its not the NCT's fault i felt guilty, just as it wasnt my fault i couldnt bf. its true that in the majority of cases the system lets women down when they want to bf. LLL didnt tell me i was a bad mother I told myself that i was a bad mother.

morningpaper Sat 18-Jul-09 10:01:40

CanterburySnails: Yes there is a good point that there is not enough support for women. But what positive suggestions does the article have? None. Instead it sets up this "pro breastfeeding lobby" - which doesn't exist btw - as though they are monstrous women rampaging through motherhood banging people over the head with guilt. The article is negative and does not offer a single constructive suggestion. It is just name-calling about a 'lobby' which frankly, as the statistics show, must be pretty bloody impotent.

CanterburySnails Sat 18-Jul-09 10:02:52

So should those with depression 'get over it'? What about those who experienced distress during childbirth? There is huge pressure on women to bf, as there is an expectation that they won't be depressed and will have a natural birth. Women who don't 'achieve' these things do feel bad - societal expectations make that happen.

I agree it shouldn't be an issue. However, it is one. That is what needs to change, and what the article was saying.

CanterburySnails Sat 18-Jul-09 10:02:55

So should those with depression 'get over it'? What about those who experienced distress during childbirth? There is huge pressure on women to bf, as there is an expectation that they won't be depressed and will have a natural birth. Women who don't 'achieve' these things do feel bad - societal expectations make that happen.

I agree it shouldn't be an issue. However, it is one. That is what needs to change, and what the article was saying.

morningpaper Sat 18-Jul-09 10:03:45

Absolutely Lissielou - I do lots of stuff that is not optimal for my children. I send them to childcare. I feed them crap. I let them watch too much telly. I shout at them. I stuff myself with drugs into order to get the feckers through my birth canal. But if I feel guilty about it, then do I need to pin the blame for it onto a 'lobby' who is making me feel bad?

morningpaper Sat 18-Jul-09 10:04:42

Canterbury snails: What constructive steps do you think should be taken?

morningpaper Sat 18-Jul-09 10:05:53

Also this annoyed me: "It has become common for mothers to refer to formula as "poison""

???

AitchTwoOh Sat 18-Jul-09 10:07:08

exactly lissie and libra, it's an internal pressure, not an external one. (or was in my case.)

we're not stupid, we KNOW instinctively that bm is best for our babies. in fact we could be the stupidest people in the whole world and we'd still know it, because it's primal.

other forces have combined to make this less apparent at a rational level (formula ads etc) but these feelings of disappointment and, if you will, guilt, take place at a completely instinctive level for women.

as someone who was one of the world's worst bfers (although i tried HARD) i am fed up to the back teeth of being patronised like this by people who should just draw a line under their experience and stop trying to take it out on people who were luckier in nature's lottery (or even, shock horror, just worked at it harder) than them. gah.

OracleInaCoracle Sat 18-Jul-09 10:09:24

notice to that there is no quote from a woman who successfully bf after a tough start due to recieving proper support! no quote from the woman who felt forced to stop bf (or never started) because of the way that the rest of her family/society made her feel about it.

AitchTwoOh Sat 18-Jul-09 10:10:10

"So should those with depression 'get over it'? What about those who experienced distress during childbirth? There is huge pressure on women to bf, as there is an expectation that they won't be depressed and will have a natural birth. Women who don't 'achieve' these things do feel bad - societal expectations make that happen."

trauma, depression, yes, they should get help and then get over it imo. i was on the line to sheila kitzinger's birth trauma people within days of giving birth to dd2, i didn't kvetch and moan about everyone else who didn't get pre-eclampsia and have a tiny baby yanked out of them by cs.

" There is huge pressure on women to bf, as there is an expectation that they won't be depressed and will have a natural birth."

The ONLY place I felt pressure to breastfeed was in hospital when I was surrounded by breast is best type posters and DS wouldn't latch on. There is no where else I felt pressure or expectation to breastfeed apart from in my own head. It's almost as soon as women find out they are pregnent they think oohh I must breastfeed, they are putting pressure on themselves and there isn't really anything that can be done about that.

OracleInaCoracle Sat 18-Jul-09 10:12:46

"i am fed up to the back teeth of being patronised like this by people who should just draw a line under their experience and stop trying to take it out on people who were luckier in nature's lottery" exactly. lifes not fair. i no longer sulk because im not 5'10" with long blonde hair, model looks and a trust fund. you do what you can with what you have.

squilly Sat 18-Jul-09 10:12:46

I couldn't bf past the first 14 weeks. My milk just dried up, despite dd sucking at my poor sore boobs for hours at a time. She was latching on correctly (according to the HV and the clinic) but my milk was crap! I believe it can happen.

My HV told me to go the bf clinic. My mother told me to give her a bottle. After weeks of to-ing and fro-ing between clinic, hv and home, and my daughter losing so much weight we were having to see the HV weekly, HV said give her a bottle.

I forgave myself for 'failing' and adjusted to the bottle feeding. DD blossomed, in weight terms, and we've had no major health issues.

IME women are so vulnerable after the birth of their first baby. They want everything to be perfect, and sadly, life isn't often so.

If we were less prescriptive about what a mum should or shouldn't do new mums and dads might feel less pressured by society.

I had an unnatural birth (not werewolf related, but I had an emergency c-section or dd and I wouldn't be here), I tried to bf as my baby was so longed for but it didn't happen. I didn't manage to bf for as long as I'd hoped. I did, however, manage to survive it, as did my dd.

LeninGrad Sat 18-Jul-09 10:12:53

"Breastfeeding has become so strongly tied to what it means to be a good mother. There is no space to say, 'It didn't work for me'."

I find this difficult to believe. Of course it's good to try but if it doesn't work out you have to be pragmatic and I can't believe many reasonable people would seriously judge you for that.

franke Sat 18-Jul-09 10:13:52

I was struck by the use of inflamatory and extreme rhetoric in this article. I don't think that the pro-bf lobby (whoever the hell they are hmm) see it as black and white. In fact those who know about bf (eg experts who post on here) are supportive and non-judgemental.

What comes across in the article is the bombardment of women with statistics and yet more scientific evidence that bf gives your baby the best start - WE KNOW!!!!! But what we don't know is how to do it; the support for the high % of women who want to try bf simply isn't there.

Re-reading that article it is very 21st century in that anything that takes time and effort and may inconvienence a person must be bad and another easier way must be found. It's the fast food culture. (in trying to be down with the lingo I might have got that wrong)

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now