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to wonder which formula company sponsored this article?

(316 Posts)
nittynittynora Tue 12-Mar-13 19:49:41

It just seems so anti-breastfeeding! Surely the health benefits of BFing are proven - there's nothing political about saying that it protects against disease, for example.I agree that of course you can form a close bond with your baby when FFing but the rest of the article seems determined to bat away all the 'supposed' benefits of BFing and focus on any perceived 'cons'.

BlackMaryJanes Wed 20-Mar-13 10:56:45

From the Guardian:

Breastfeeding problems rarely lead to serious illness study shows:

Thingiebob Sat 16-Mar-13 11:24:07

I agree with Satine I had zero support and hardly any assistance with breastfeeding after my DD. I was told not to bf at first due to recovery from surgery and blood transfusions. I had a midwife twiddle my nipple and inform me 'No, not happening' then wander off. I had my baby taken away from me to be bottlefed for the first few days and finally when I did try breastfeeding I was constantly discouraged.

updatedme Sat 16-Mar-13 11:19:54

myrubberduck, I agree (as I said before) that many of the claims are overstated.

PROBIT is a fantastically important study and makes an important contribution to our understanding of this area. It's just a shame we don't have more studies like this to compare it to, e.g. those set in different populations. It's important to remember that PROBIT does not claim to compare formula fed infants to breastfed infants - the intervention was breastfeeding promotion. None of the infants in the trial were formula fed from birth, and lots of the babies in the control group were breastfed (this is clearly acknowledged as a limitation by the authors and some of the analyses attempt to address this through sensitivity analyses). I know that lots of you on this thread are familiar with these points, but it might not be clear to others reading.

edam Sat 16-Mar-13 11:14:23

Just scanned the article and immediately spotted one glaring claim that is misleading, definitely for women in the UK. Right at the end they claim one of the reasons b/f is not as good as it's reckoned to be is because a study showed b/f mothers lost more income than ff. But it was an American study, where you get very little maternity leave - I'm not sure if there's a statutory minimum but loads of women have to go back after a very short time. Think I saw a stat that the average was three months.

So there's probably an association between b/f and giving up work (although you can express at work, I'm not sure how easy employers make it in the US, whether you have any rights the way you do here).

I'm prepared to guess that the rest of their claims are just as tendentious. Ellie Lee has a bee in her bonnet because, IIRC, she had a real problem - her baby ended up very under-nourished and in hospital despite her knowing something wasn't right and asking a variety of doctors and midwives for help, all of whom brushed her off and encouraged her to carry on b/f without actually doing anything to find out whether there was a problem.

That was clearly bad advice and crap healthcare but doesn't negate the health benefits of b/f - merely shows that b/f mothers and babies need good advice and support. (As do f/f mothers and babies of course - women should be free to make an informed choice about whatever suits them and their babies best.)

updatedme Sat 16-Mar-13 10:59:48

Just over 60% of mothers who give up BF say they would have liked to carry on for longer. That suggests to me that something is going wrong in terms of providing support.

Mylittlepuds Sat 16-Mar-13 10:39:45

Yep Satine - my experience too. The question on all of my friends and family's lips until BFing came to a natural end at 10 months was 'when are you going to give up,' as if it was some kind of weird obsession.

Good on you Satine smile - sorry to hear you didn't have more encouragement in the early days.

Satine5 Sat 16-Mar-13 09:06:46

It's funny that on one hand a lot of you think that 'breast is best' is repeated everywhere like a mantra. I had a different experience! On the 3rd home visit my midwife suggested topping up with formula because the weight gain was too slow (according to her, which was b*llocks).
I was repeatedly discouraged by HV to bfeed my DD 'so often' and was told there is nothing wrong with switching to ff which should help her sttn. Now I don't think there IS anything wrong with switching to ff, but (especially) passed 3 month mark, I was continually asked by family members when I am going to stop bf.
They have now learned to stop asking but I still get 2 headed monster looks when I admit feeding my 19 momth old!

ChairmanWow Sat 16-Mar-13 09:04:09

ICBINEG wasn't being serious, just horribly sarcastic and passive aggressive. Frankly I have found some of her posts preachy and I'm not sure I'd want that pressure from a peer supporter. I'm hoping she just vents on here and is much more laid back about it in RL.

FWIW I had amazing support from the community midwives, who came to my house every single day during that first month, until I took the decision to stop trying. I can't fault the NHS support I've had.

I hope you weren't being serious ICBINEG ? - and will continue being a peer supporter ? It helped me so much with BFing my two to have other women encouraging and supporting me.

oohlaalaa Sat 16-Mar-13 07:59:58

I bf SIL ff. we had babies the same time. Both thrived. Only benefit to bf I observed was DN suffered from excema, my DD didn't.

In all honesty though, I loved bf, but couldn't care less how anyone else chooses to feed their baby.

myrubberduck Sat 16-Mar-13 07:29:37

I am not saying observational studies are useless by any means : hovever surely one RCT is worth any number of observational studies. You are quite right that PROBIT did demonstrate some benefits CAUSED by bf ( it's randomised folks so no confounding) but these were the well established shorter term benefits such as protection from gastric and respitory infection . Most of the trumped medium to long term benefits ( eg allergy obesity diabetes ) have not shown up yet ( but its only been going for 11 years I guess!

Smoking HAS been the subject of RCT- just not on humans.

The PROBIT study was devised by arguably the worlds leading expert on infant feeding - yet it's results have been studiously ignored by the bf fraternity (sorority?). Many of the claims made in eg NHS literature have been disproved by the results.

Protection against gastric etc infection is an excellent reason to encourage bf; it is not a good enough reason to scare and shame SOME women into starting or continuing with something they do not want to do by telling wrongly them they are risking their babies long term well being by not bf

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sat 16-Mar-13 06:07:53

What exactly is wrong with the meme that a happy mum is a happy baby?

chandellina Fri 15-Mar-13 23:27:48

I also gained from peer support, and it was never preachy. I certainly didn't want to hear about statistics, just get useful advice.

CommanderShepard Fri 15-Mar-13 23:11:09

ICBINEG, I am possibly misreading but did you mean that at the Baby Café you can't give advice? I got loads of advice from my local one - I think they got sick of the sight of me! grin

and for what it's worth I'm so grateful that mums give their time to help us; it made a huge difference to me, not because I struggled per se but because it was just nice to talk to experienced women when I was trying to process what was quite a traumatic birth. I truly believe they played a part in my mental recovery.

chandellina Fri 15-Mar-13 23:03:41

I think it was to me but thanks Kazoo for answering. That about sums up how I feel.

Kazooblue Fri 15-Mar-13 22:56:19

Is that to me?

I certainly don't have a problem with breast is best.

Thousands of things are best for our babies and children which I don't do and certainly don't mind being reminded of.Bfing is just one way down the bottom of a very long tedious list.My kids eat chorizo and salami which I suspect has a far bigger health risk but I don't object to the risks of processed meat being promoted-within reason(not a fan of hysteria).

I do however have a problem with stat twisting,scaremongering,lack of perspective and over inflation.

Mylittlepuds Fri 15-Mar-13 22:47:38

Your current position being? Breast is not always best?

Clearly it's not always best - your situation being a clear cut example - but generally if all works out for mothet and baby it is?

Why would anyone take offence at a general message highlighting that? Surely if it doesn't work out for whatever reason that's that?

Yes be angry at strange people who say you should have carried on regardless but not at a general breastfeeding is good message?

Kazooblue Fri 15-Mar-13 22:46:44


ICBINEG Fri 15-Mar-13 22:43:12

Hey all - I have had a think and a calm down and an epiphany.

See I do/did have a vested interest in believing in the data and the NHS, WHO and UNICEF message as I have devoted some serious time to training as a peer supporter. I chose to do that via unpaid leave from work because I wanted to help mothers I thought (and who constantly tell me) are currently being let down by the system. So I'm naturally somewhat resistant to the idea it was all a big fucking waste of time. To be honest it hurt more than a little to consider that possibility.

But at the end of the day those of you saying that there is no cast iron causal proof that FM is riskier to babies than BM may well be right. All the current medical evidence may yet be some cosmic coincidence/joke. Hell, maybe it IS better to listen to an ex-dailymail hack telling you something you want to hear than a HCP telling you some inconvenient "truths". Maybe feelings and anecdote ARE more important than the current state of the trial data.

Either way it is clearly stupidly stubborn to continue as a peer supporter in the absence of truly incontrovertible evidence that BFing makes any serious difference to babies health. The mere existence of peer supporters is surely piling even more guilt pressure on mum's who found them selves unable to BF and for no provable gain.

So go ahead...spread the meme that the evidence is shaky and happy mum is happy baby. I will pull my nose out of others business (although to be fair, sitting in a baby cafe and listening to anyone who chooses to come along with something they want to say isn't the ultimate in nose poking IMHO and we aren't allowed to give advice...only quote data - which I can no longer do with any certainty) and leave you all to it.

Kazooblue Fri 15-Mar-13 22:38:31

Surely some of the gastro risks must be down to sloppy bottle preparation and hygiene which is a choice.

updatedme Fri 15-Mar-13 22:34:49

The PROBIT trial – mentioned above – did find a reduction of gastroenteritis in BF babies. From what I’ve read, the evidence regarding the benefits of breastfeeding on some outcomes (gastroenteritis, resp infection, necrotising enterocolitis) seems pretty compelling. I agree though that some other benefits to BF have been oversold, and the results from PROBIT back this up.

Re. association and causation. RCTs are practically impossible to conduct in many cases, but that doesn’t mean we can’t seek alternative high quality evidence. For example, the association between smoking and lung cancer was never tested in an RCT (correct me if I’m wrong) – the evidence came from good quality observational studies. Causation is near impossible to prove without laboratory standard experiments, but after rigorously assessing evidence from multiple good quality studies, and taking various other factors into account (e.g. potential biological mechanisms), surely we can begin to think about causal relationships?

Kazooblue Fri 15-Mar-13 22:32:59

For the last time. I was answering Blackmary's post. Tis not that difficult to comprehend.hmm

chandellina Fri 15-Mar-13 22:29:04

Thanks juggling, and thanks chairman - your experience also sounds scary. My daughter was also literally saved by formula after losing 17 percent of her body weight in 11 days, so I have made it my business to be well informed on the debate. I do not reject breastfeeding as a fantastic and normal feeding method, and even after my daughter was on formula is continued to mix feed for six months, starting each feed with the breast. I breastfed her older brother for 18 months. (although he also had weight gain issues but not life threatening)

My sister in law is a LaLeche leader and I was breastfed myself. Every single one of my friends breastfed. Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing, and indeed I once thought it worth convincing women it was an imperative. Reading the research, talking to doctors, becoming aware of other forms of nutrition affecting children far more, plus my own experience and those of others, all brought me to my current position.

Mylittlepuds Fri 15-Mar-13 22:27:33

Oh well then - you've said it doesn't so therefore it doesn't hmm

I didn't say billions in the UK either. Billions globally.

Yes Juggler I thought that odd.

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