Advanced search

To think that it's a bit stupid to make breastfeeding compulsory?

(115 Posts)
puntasticusername Fri 31-Jan-14 09:38:47

I mean, really, WTAF?

Breastfeeding made compulsory by UAE

Though I do have to grudgingly admire Lenore Skenazy for coming up with the phrase "sucking the choice out of parenting" to describe these sorts of initiatives.

treaclesoda Fri 31-Jan-14 20:18:22

I had breast reduction surgery in my early 20s. Everything was left 'connected' in there but ultimately with my first child I produced very very little milk, and went through an agonising week of trying to bf, where dd sucked so hard that all she was getting was blood. In my hospital the preferred action was to feed her intravenously rather than let her drink formula, so I'm always stunned when I hear that people feel pressured into giving formula because it's so far removed from my experience. 2nd time round I produced not one drop of milk, I never even had the sensation of my milk coming in. But would I have wanted a wet nurse? No, I think psychologically it would have tipped me over the edge.

Incidentally, if I hadn't had surgery I most likely could have been physically capable of feeding, but psychologically I certainly couldn't. Pre-surgery I couldn't cope with touching my breasts, or with anyone else touching them. I couldn't let anyone see them, and I couldn't look in a mirror and see them myself. To say I was repulsed would be something of an understatement. In those circumstances I fear I would fall foul of such a law because there would have been no medical reason not to feed.

feesh Fri 31-Jan-14 20:17:48

Yes, good points, as usual in these countries it will be the migrant workers who actually suffer.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 31-Jan-14 19:53:24

Perhaps they wanted you out of the way for wife number 2 or maybe they wanted the child to themselves (as does happen in many situations- get the child, discard the mother)?

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 31-Jan-14 19:52:28

Ah but feesh might it scare you a little bit if you were in the UAE, had no other country to escape to (ie were from there), could not bf for whatever reason (bloody nipples sounds like reason enough- there has to be no reason frankly but let's say you had a great deal of difficulty) and you had a husband or ILs who wanted to create trouble for you?

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 19:38:25

As an example: ok, a vy someone,but illustrates some of the problems withthe usual approach to feeding problems.
If a baby is not gaining weight because they can't effectively move milk from the breast then (at least) two things will happen, the baby will not get enough milk and may not thrive and the milk supply will be diminished over time.
One way of addressing to is to give formula. The baby will grow because they are getting enough milk. But they will not be getting their mother's milk (which would be best for them) and the mother's milk will stop being produced because of the reduced stimulation.
The alternative would be to say "moth's milk is best" (which it is) and to supplement the bat feed with expressed milk deliver by bottle, cup or tube.
Two things will happen: the baby will thrive on receipt of an adequate supply of human milk and the mother's milk supply will remain adequately stimulated.
In the first example there is also the result that the mother loses confidence in h feeding and her own milk.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 19:30:20

I hear you cory
My own experience was very upsetting. DS had a severe tongue tie. I knew this. He couldn't feed. I had loa of milk. Nobody would snip the tongue tie until weeks later.
He was given formula. Even though i knew he didn't need it. I w pssured into giving it. I should have known better. I am still massively pissed off about it tbh.
They should have fixed his tongue tie. That was the problem.

There is still poor support for breastfeeding ithe uk and much of that comes for year's of influence from the formula companies.
Only recently are midwives and health visitors not permitted to accept freebies and lunches from Milupa et al during "updates" about their products.
The propaganda has had a significant effect.

TortillasAndChocolate Fri 31-Jan-14 19:28:20

This is a horrible piece of legislation.

I was unable to breastfeed for medical reasons - I did it for 2.5 weeks, didnt have enough milk and after 2.5 weeks I was rushed into hospital and put on morphine and other drugs, so was told I could no longer attempt breastfeeding.

I would not have wanted a wet nurse one tiny bit. That would have broken my heart. He was my baby for me to feed and I used to hold him so close when I fed him and make ff as close to bf as I could.

Surely they can't enforce this?

feesh Fri 31-Jan-14 19:15:48

By the way, as I have said further up the thread, I live in the GCC and this law doesn't scare me. I couldn't breast feed my baby for medical reasons. They won't be locking up women left, right and centre for using formula. The percentage of mothers who breastfeed here is very small indeed and they have a mountain to climb in terms of changing the culture. The reliance on maids to raise the children is the biggest issue.

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 19:14:07

But at least, upset as I was, I was not being sued by my husband.

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 19:13:25

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 19:07:31

"This is a country where there is a deeply rooted culture of breastfeeding where people will understand that some babies and mothers medically can't breastfeed. All the responses on this thread have been based on the assumption that clear medical realities - widely known ones - will be routinely ignored."

I may not have made myself clear. My problem (and I think that of another poster too) was that we had no medical diagnosis: there was no obvious medical reason why dd wasn't feeding effectively: she just wasn't. Her condition was diagnosed when she was 8, and it was only when she was in hospital aged 10 that somebody twigged that this migth have caused feeding problems earlier in life. So in a country where breastfeeding was compulsory I would just have come across as obstructive.

I can tell you I felt dreadful being looked after by health professionals who kept assuring me that it was simply a matter of feeding often enough and having the right latch and everything would simply sort itself out- and then it didn't. No sign of medical realities being understood here in the UK at one of the leading breastfeed-promoting hospitals in the country. Since there wasn't a diagnosis there couldn't be a cause.
(and fwiw I am Swedish so have grown up surrounded by breastfeeders)

feesh Fri 31-Jan-14 19:12:02

Wet nursing isn't an option in the Middle East by the way, due to complex Islamic laws about the relationships formed between babies who shared the same breast milk. I don't fully understand it, as it's hugely complex, but it's the same reason there are no official milk banks here (for now - there are people working with Muslim clerics to try and change this).

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 19:07:31

Cory - one would hope that there would be some involvement by the medical establishment in putting this law into action. This is a country where there is a deeply rooted culture of breastfeeding where people will understand that some babies and mothers medically can't breastfeed. All the responses on this thread have been based on the assumption that clear medical realities - widely known ones - will be routinely ignored. I'm not sure there is any information available about how this law is to be policed which suggests that this will be the case.

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 18:58:50

But Amanda, what this thread is actually about is a law making breastfeeding compulsory. ISBN is wondering why we are frothing about it.

I am frothing because I know from experience that there are babies who (for reasons that may not be understood at the time) are simply not able to take milk from the breast. Increasing supply has nothing to do with it- I was bursting with milk while dd was getting thinner and thinner, because I had been told that giving her milk out of a bottle would compromise the breastfeeding which I felt defined me as a good and caring mother.

Of course in the past, such babies would simply have died. But I have a bit of a thing about keeping my babies.

This doesn't mean that I am anti-breastfeeding in general. Just very, very anti-legally enforcing a one size fits all approach.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 18:53:09

Please excuse shit spelling.
I-padding and feeding don't always go together smoothly.

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 18:49:44

Well, I don't think that question can neccessarily be answered in a straightforward way that could be applied to all cases.
These things are complex. Each situation needs assessing on its own merits.
Some women are advised to give formula as a supplement when it's not actually necessary. A better out one might well be achieved by increasing supply (with post-feed expressing for example) and looking t frequency of feeds and reassessing growth against a thrive line in addition to the centile chart. that very rarely happens. Usually there's a bit of. Drop off and someone says the baby should have some formula.
Milk banking would mean that the baby could have human milk rather than modified cows milk.....
There are several options tbh.

Besides. I don't think anyone here is agreeing that no baby must ever have anything apart from its own mothers b milk via the breast no matter what the circumstances. Rather, I fwlt that Isbn was highlighting some of the issues around lack of bf( which is a problem if you are a baby aiming for optimum health) in the uk.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 31-Jan-14 18:47:06

isbn are you saying giving those messages are tantamount to making an act illegal??
That would be akin to saying that (a) the media bombards women with messages to not become engineers and (b) a law is passed that a woman cannot become an engineer, are one and the same.
There is a massive difference!

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 18:43:55

How will the authorities who recruit these wetnurses ensure that their own babies get adequately fed?

That used to be a huge problem in Europe in the days of wetnurses that unless women had a very good milk supply and employers were tolerant of it being shared, it meant sacrificing breasfeeding your own child for that of your employer,

feesh Fri 31-Jan-14 18:40:59

I live in a GCC country which is more conservative than the UAE and I would definitely say that breastfeeding in public is more acceptable here than it is even in England. You won't get hassled for doing it, at least not by the locals. Also, there are more places for women to breastfeed (every mall etc has a women's prayer room where even non-Muslims can go and do a feed), there are nursing rooms in all the baby shops, and there isn't a problem with feeding in cafes etc as long as you are reasonably discreet.

This all boils down to the fact that the Qu'uran states that it is the RIGHT of all infants to be breastfed until they are two, or earlier if they naturally wean before then.

But, one of the big problems health professionals are facing here is that breastfeeding rates are incredibly low, especially among the local population. This has a lot to do with the fact that everyone has a maid (local families nearly always have one maid per child) and the maid does all the feeding, so most kids nowadays here are raised on formula.

There is a lot of chin-scratching going on about how to change this, and I guess this law has come about as a result. It's not the ideal way to do it (understatement!), and it will get largely ignored and won't be enforced I am sure, but that's the nature of life here, they often come up with daft rules to try and tackle social problems unsuccessfully.

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 18:35:51

And refusing to answer other points that are being made, Amanda- like what would you do with babies who despite being breastfed on demand with a carefully monitored latch still fail to thrive?

TheRealAmandaClarke Fri 31-Jan-14 18:31:26

Well UAE has it's issues. No argument there.

But overall, I think Isbn is making some excellent points.

elliejjtiny Fri 31-Jan-14 18:18:56

Me too cory. I bf DS2 for 18 months and supplemented with high calorie formula after 6 months. I did expressing, NG feeding and all sorts and it was a complete nightmare. I had so many professionals involved and the HV kept telling me I should be feeding him more. I know now that his suck was weak because of hypotonia in his mouth but at the time nobody knew what was wrong.

DS4 has a cleft lip and palate. He can't breastfeed from source at all and no wetnurse would have made a difference. He was fed expressed milk until 5 months and mostly formula with a bit of ebm since then.

ISBN1966 Fri 31-Jan-14 17:54:03

CakePunch - a quick look round t'interweb suggests that culturally the UAE is supportive of public breastfeeding. Probably more than you generally find in the US.


Artandco Fri 31-Jan-14 17:52:16

I think statistics in the uk are a bit swayed. Personally I don't know anyone who bottlefed their babies and I know a lot of people so surely it must be quite a high ratio breast feeding? I'm assuming in comparison it means no one bf in other areas? Why is this?

I am super lazy, hence bf as would find the whole cleaning/ prepping/ buying formula such a faff. I also worked full time fairly early, dh did night wakings ( settled without feeds after 12 weeks), and had evenings out

cory Fri 31-Jan-14 17:52:14

For me it was the opposite, ISBN. The enthusiasm and encouragement (not to say pressure) for breastfeeding at my local hospital was such that I found it even harder to accept that my dd was being breastfed on demand, from my overflowing breasts, and still starving. I just couldn't get my head round that this could happen: it wasn't like anything I had been told either at antenatal course or in the hospital.

Even when dd was visibly growing weaker and increasingly lethargic, nobody looked me in the eye and said "this isn't working, there is some reason this isn't working". I was encouraged to go on a regime of pumping and syringe feeding that exhausted me: I still can't think about that time without feeling ill.

When I was in the postnatal ward a nurse went round the ward first thing and asked the new mothers how they intended to feed; if you said "breast" she beamed at you, if you said "bottle" she shook her head and looked serious. I don't think that can be taken as ubiquitous coercion to bottlefeed.

I am not saying I'm not happy my hospital supported breastfeeding. On the whole I think it was good thing to do. But I do wish somebody could have said "sometimes things go wrong that are nothing to do with you as a woman, or with the support given to you".

cannotfuckingbelievethis Fri 31-Jan-14 17:46:20

CakePunch - as you've said, I'm really, really interested to see how they can actually enforce this and if bf will be allowed in public. Having spent a fair amount of time in the UAE and having been "lucky" enough to have had numerous sexual advances made on me (men rubbing themselves behind me in shops, offered money for sex, followed from behind by cars driving slowly and shouting) I cannot begin to imagine how any woman will be able to bf in public.

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