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Live webchat with Gabrielle Palmer, author of The Politics of Breastfeeding, this Friday (20 Nov, 1-2pm)

(179 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 16-Nov-09 22:07:07

Hello.

We're very pleased to have Gabrielle Palmer, author of the highly praised The Politics of Breastfeeding, as a guest for a live chat on Friday 20 Nov, 1-2pm.

Gabrielle Palmer is a nutritionist and a campaigner. She was a breastfeeding counsellor in the 70s and helped establish the UK pressure group Baby Milk Action. She has written, taught and campaigned on infant feeding issues, particularly the unethical marketing of baby foods.

In the 90s, she co-directed the International Breastfeeding: Practice and Policy course at The Institute of Child Health in London until she went to live in China for two years.

She has worked independently for various health and development agencies, including serving as HIV and Infant Feeding Officer for UNICEF New York.

As usual, if you can't join us on the day, please post your question here and Gabrielle will try to answer as many as possible on Friday.

fruitypuds Thu 26-Nov-09 10:39:07

Gelamum, thrush is REALLY common. We all have candida but it doesn't cause issues unless it begins to overgrow - common during pregnancy and when we're run down and not eating so well. Unfortunately many GPs still say it doesn't exist in the breast, yet I (as a BC) see it all the time. Poor positioning can lead to it - the breast doesn't get drained properly whch leads to blockages and potential infection, nipples can get cracked and let it in, and problems escalate quickly. Then you get women putting lanolin on to ease the pain and the thrush is sealed in. It beats me how women can go to 3 different HCPs and be told the latch is fine, get antibiotics for the infection and the thrush goes wild.

Last week I saw a mum who has been diagnosed with mastitis *via a mammogram* because they were treating persistent blocked ducts as suspect cancer, yet even she knew baby wasn't latching on properly. The doc told her not to feed her milk to baby as it was infected (worst advice ever). Another was told baby (who was gaining well) was lactose intolerant (wrong - just bf mismanagement again).

There is so much poor advice from the people whose job it is to help women breastfeed. I'm just a volunteer yet I am doing the job of a HCP (or putting right their errors). Unfortunately many women have given up before they find out about other support. Phone the LLL helpline and find your local group, whatever stage you're at.

As for people who are embarrassed about you BFing in front of them - think about whose feelings matter most - baby who is born to drink your milk or adults who can learn to live with it! You can pretty much guarantee they weren't breastfed for long, if at all.

AbricotsSecs Sun 22-Nov-09 21:22:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn

LeninGrad Sat 21-Nov-09 21:09:56

Thanks TanteRose, it's a shame they are bringing weaning forward too.

Boober, the worry about looking like/being a freak is terrible isn't it? Good on you for being on the telly.

I hear of other people's kids announcing they've had enough and self-weaning and I can't see DS1 ever doing that. I know rationally he will but I can't see it happening any time soon. Will put up a big announcement when he does!

Thanks to everyone who ever mentions extended/natural term feeding and how long their DCs fed for, it makes me feel much better about it.

Gelamum Sat 21-Nov-09 20:58:43

Oops sorry at going off on tangent,
but trying to say how we should encourage breastfeeding.... is by really training people properly. Those who are supposed to support mums to pick up common problems should know what they are doing!

If, me in a middle class area, with NCT classes and an excellent hopsital, did not get the right help, then I bet loads of the mums who say 'it didn't work for them' could have undiagnosed thrush as well.
??

Gelamum Sat 21-Nov-09 20:51:41

This chat and all BF info on Mumsnet is great, but unfortunately I didn't know about MN when mine were young, sad so I didn't get enough support.

I knew NOW that I had thrush of the breast and in babies mouth which made feeding v. painful. But this was never diagnosed angry.

I think we do need to remember that some mums, like me, are DESPERATE to carry on BF. And try so hard. I knew it wasn't supposed to hurt. I wanted help. I wanted to feed for ages ! But every feed was agonizing.

I asked EVERY single person I could think of for help. I was in Queen Charlotte's, supposedly a great hospital, and has a pro-BF poilcy. BUT I got no help of any use.

Thrush of babies mouth and nipple is very common but may not be picked up.

I trid GP and even a BF counsellor !!, but our thrush was not picked up, only advice was yes my latch was fine, and it should stop hurting. BUT no-one picked up the thrush in bubs mouth....

So I fed, even VERY PAINFUL STILL ( feeding with thrush is v painful) up to 3 months exclusively then could stand no more. sad

OOPs sorry to moan on
I feel very strongly about this !!
I feel sad I never had a pleasant feeding experience with DD1.
I did feed my twins for 5 months three years later, despite having thrush exactly the same as before, but THIS TIME it WAS diagnosed.

ArthurPewty Sat 21-Nov-09 20:32:26

IIRC, HappySeven, his milk teeth will have formed in utero, now in the first 6 weeks. I say this because i have BF both of mine, and both have hypoplastic enamel on their milk teeth - which means we have to be extra diligent about brushing, something i didnt know with DD1, who had decay on her top 4 teeth and never had a bottle in her life. She fed for 3.5 years. DD2 is faring better with her dodgy teeth, but i have overly fastidious this time about brushing. She is still feeding, 14 months so far (will let her wean just like i did DD1).

I have supportive relatives, though some of my yankee family are prudish and backward about it, despite knowing full well i am doing the best for my children. My mom agrees it is best but freaks all the hell out if a man, ANY man, is present while i feed a child in her presence. She thinks others should be equally uncomfortable with me feeding, and helpfully hmm suggests i feed in private. Which isnt exactly always convenient, or indeed possible!! But, i was bottlefed as was my brother. Me for no suck reflex, my brother for 'her milk drying up at 6 weeks.'

I havent the heart to tell her it was the famous 6w growth spurt and if she'd stuck with it, my little brother couldn've possibly avoided the walking/double pneumonia he had 6 times in his life, the obesity he deals with today, and more. And i darent blame her for the health problems i suffer from being fed soya [eyeroll]...

Gabrielle, you are amazing, and your work even moreso. Thank you, thank you for this thread and all your lovely responses. I hope i continue (as long as DD2 wants to) carrying the flag for extended/natural term BFing in public for a long time to come - i enjoy it more than anything else i've ever done in my life.

(i bf'ed DD2 today in the middle of the memorial service for great-grandmother, in a C of E church today, with nary an acknowledgement, and no tutting from anyone, old or young. yay us!)

HappySeven Sat 21-Nov-09 19:54:45

I missed this yesterday and reading it makes me sad. I tried REALLY hard to breastfeed my son (now 3). At 8 weeks he was still only 7lb and very unhappy. He never came off on his own and was on the breast for 1.5 hours at a time every 3 hours. When his teeth came through he was missing the enamel on them because he was malnourished in the 1st 6 weeks and I was so ashamed. I know breastfeeding mothers get a hard time but so do bottle-feeding mothers when I really think we should just support eachother. I'm expecting again and I'm scared as to whether to try again as I didn't bond with my son until I stopped breastfeeding - the lack of sleep because he cried from hunger followed by my belief that I had failed as a mother because breastfeeding hadn't worked for me meant I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. Sometimes we bottle-feeders DO understand the benefits of breastfeeding and are just jealous of those it works for. BTW I did see a breastfeeding counsellor and ask for lots of help.

ArizonaBarker Sat 21-Nov-09 14:31:29

"You can do so much good for this issue just by being you"

>purrs like cat with bucket of organic cream<

I vote this as the blueprint for all webchats.

pistachio Sat 21-Nov-09 14:23:38

i really enjoyed reading this, my question was answered and has given me lots to think about. Thanks.

TanteRose Sat 21-Nov-09 02:41:26

LeninGrad sorry missed you question...re: up to what age do they bf in Japan..

well, actually, most people do stop at around 1 year sad because that's what they doctors tell them.

However, there is no real social taboo about bf a toddler.

My DH was bf until he was nearly 4, and I bf DS until he was 3.

moondog Sat 21-Nov-09 01:59:43

What an absolute honour and privilege to have GP grace us with her presence and wisdom.
MN, you have excelled yourselves.
Thank you so much.

BoobBuffet Sat 21-Nov-09 01:33:01

Brilliant! GP likes my name <puffs out chest>

I'm thinking we could have the start of the first MN-produced documentary? grin

Boober Fri 20-Nov-09 22:48:19

Just had to say that this was FANTASTIC. I love GP and love her book.

<<<LENINGRAD>>>

The Scottish campaign is www.feedgoodfactor.org.uk. I was at the launch and on the scottish news talking about BF my boys <preens>.

Sympathise with you - my oldest DS is 3.4 and more of a milk monster than his brother 12 months! I was seriously considering TANDEM FEEDING on TV but decided in the end that it might have been a bridge too far grin

me too wuglet

wuglet Fri 20-Nov-09 16:34:28

Fantastic webchat even though she never answered my question.

Even more amazing as it was a first effort

JaMmRocks Fri 20-Nov-09 15:34:33

I'm sad I missed this, but have found it inspirational to read through and am going to buy and read this book. Thank you Mumsnet! (again)

thank you

llareggub Fri 20-Nov-09 15:02:10

I'd like to express my thanks to Gabrielle for a fantastic webchat. I'd also like to give a collective pat on the back to all those who give support on the breastfeeding folder of mumsnet. When I started out here when pregnant with DS1 in 2006 I had vague plans to breastfeed for 6 months and then stop. I had no idea that you could feed for longer. Mumsnet's members changed all that and I fed DS1 until he was 2 years and 9 months when he decided breastfeeding was something he'd rather leave to his baby brother. So thanks everyone.

Am off to Amazon now to buy the book.

OmicronPersei8 Fri 20-Nov-09 14:57:20

I managed to miss the webchat due to both DC waking early from their sick-bed naps, but it's been great to catch up. Very interesting.

MrsMotMot Fri 20-Nov-09 14:50:12

Similarly I have been following but not posting as everyone else's questions were so good!

Thank you so much for coming on and for writing the book- you have completely inspired me as a bf mother and as a midwife. I will be giving my doctor sister a copy for Christmas!

TheCrackFox Fri 20-Nov-09 14:44:32

Thank you for a great webchat. smile

dawntigga Fri 20-Nov-09 14:41:10

A bleated thanks to GP - sorry I couldn't have been on live but dp came home for lunchangry

IThinkIMayBeALittleInLoveTiggaxx

elkiedee Fri 20-Nov-09 14:37:07

Please could you pass on my thanks to GP as well for the book and for the webchat, and thanks to all who thought up good discussion questions too.

As for formula feeding guilt, it is an issue for me, as DS1 ended up being ff. Reading the book in May/June when DS2 was 3/4 months old actually helped me get my head round why bf went terribly wrong for me the first time and why I struggled the second time (fortunately with much more success).

LeninGrad Fri 20-Nov-09 14:35:28

I don't resent it as such, although it is a bit irritating sometimes in the same way reading a story 10 times is irritating. Sometimes I just tell him I've had enough off you pop and he does.

What I resent is being made to feel that I am wrong to do this. And it is audible disapproval, to DP more than me, don't think people would tell me to my face. I've said she needs to let them know it's not up for discussion. It does makes us feel bad which is a shame, I feel sorry for DS1 more than anyone that anyone should think there is a problem with him feeding and getting comfort like this.

Absolutely do not ever expect a sympathetic listening ear if you go against the grain wrt parenting. It's advice and judgemental attitudes all the way unless you're chatting to similarly-minded folk. I'm prob guilty of this in reverse too. smile

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