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there is way too much pressure to EBF?

(362 Posts)
ArtFine Sat 05-Apr-14 14:53:39

Just that really.

I've had a difficult journey with BF, and when I look back I know it would have been better and much more healthier for my baby (forget me) if I hadn't breastfed. She has CMPA and other allergies (and had awful silent reflux etc), and this would have been picked up very early on had she been bottle fed, and saved her a lot of pain and tears. hmm

Why is there so much pressure to EBF? Why is it always assumed that breast milk is THE best?

What's the harm for example in giving one bottle of formula per day so that babies get used to the bottle?

KL07 Thu 10-Apr-14 13:12:20

I do find it sad that around a quarter of babies don't even get the colostrum. Even if you've no intention of BF, I think all babies should get this unless there are truly extenuating circumstances. It's not much to ask given the benefits IMO. EBF for 6 months + is a different matter though.

TheRealAmandaClarke Thu 10-Apr-14 10:43:48

I'm not sure anyone was agreeing with the law enforcing bf retropear
And I still can't agree that that bf is really pushed tbh.
I definitely can't concurr with your view that ppl who ebf believe it negates the need to practice other healthy behaviours because he bf is some kind of "magic elixir"

I think it's such an emotive topic because of how we're conditioned to feel about our breasts.
There are pictures of "tits" everywhere. We don't own our own bodies really. Young teenagers are having boob jobs, sometimes on the nhs! It's ridiculous that we have this view of what our bodies are for.

Also, it takes a degree of commitment, to ebf to 6 mo and bf beyond that (and that can feel unfair)I've had to make some significant lifestyle considerations. I bloody love a drink I do. But that's obviously curbed when you're ebf, if not stopped altogether. Anecdotally, it would seem my DCs are more likely to have slept through earlier of theyd been ff or especially ff by someone else. my dcs are more "reliant" in many ways on me (dd still feeds)
I've postponed a dental procedure that I really want done, because I'm trying to let my dd have my milk as long as poss as per the who advice.
I have been lucky to actually like bf. but it hasn't been easy.
So I can see why it's an emotive topic.
I can see why ppl feel defensive
But I still don't think that equates to "pressure" I can't see that, objectively speaking, there is any.

TheScience Thu 10-Apr-14 09:51:18

I know lots of breastfeeders, including a few who breastfed til 1-3 years, but none were ebf at 6 months - all had had formula or food by then.

Laquila Thu 10-Apr-14 09:46:50

I'm amazed at the 1% ebf at 6 months - I wasn't expecting that to be sky-high but thought it'd perhaps be closer to 10%.

I'm not convinced about the breastfed at birth statistic, though - it apparently includes all babies who were put to the breast at all at first, even if it was just once. It took about 4 tries before my newborn got anything out at all, so personally that seems a bit misleading to me.

TheScience Thu 10-Apr-14 09:38:22

It is interesting - iirc about 1/3 of babies are still breastfed at 6 months, although only 1% are ebf. Not sure if they collect stats on bf after 6 months though.

Laquila Thu 10-Apr-14 09:29:40

Thanks Science

Fascinating - that's my productivity gone for the day!

TheScience Thu 10-Apr-14 09:20:29

The NHS keeps track - about 78% of babies are breastfed at birth/first feed iirc. You will probably find it if you google "Infant Feeding Survey"

Laquila Thu 10-Apr-14 09:14:46

Also, where is the evidence that says the majority of babies get colostrum, please?

Laquila Thu 10-Apr-14 09:12:36

Retropear what are the studies that point to the benefits of breastfeeding being over-inflated? Thanks

noblegiraffe Thu 10-Apr-14 08:48:42

I'd been on MN a long time, seen an awful lot of dubious parenting opinions expressed, but not once have I seen 'I don't need to feed my DC a healthy diet/make them exercise because they were bfed'.

So I don't know where you get this idea that 'soooo many' parents think that way.

Retropear Thu 10-Apr-14 07:26:30

A law pmsl.grin

We have far more need for laws re feeding kids a healthy diet,providing exercise and getting kids away from screens and onto books.Personally I don't see why if bfing needs to get pushed pre birth other parenting choices that benefit children far more shouldn't particularly when the outcomes can be directly linked(unlike a lot of research on bfing) and would have a far bigger impact on health as regards the nation as a whole.

Oh and re forcing mums to breast feed.It is a hideous experience for many.Providing a diet rich in fruit and veg for a baby/ child is far easier to do and doesn't involve forcing women to use their bodies to do something they don't want to do.

Women use formula in this country because we have a great safe alternative.We're very lucky to have the choice.

I actually think the pushing causes more damage than benefits. Sooo many parents think bm is some magic elixir of life and they have no need to follow other for more important health choices as regards their dc as they're covered by some kind of breast milk insurance. The message also infers bf is more important than any other parenting choice-it isn't. Sooo many studies point to the benefits of bfing being over inflated.Imvho and e after colostrum has been consumed(which the maj of babies get)switching to formula is one of the least important decisions I've made to date so far.

I worry far,far more re other things I don't always get right.We have priorities so wrong is this country.

TheRealAmandaClarke Thu 10-Apr-14 06:39:47

Yy writer and noble

Writerwannabe83 Wed 09-Apr-14 12:31:08

I agree noble

When I was in bits in hospital over the breast feeding, apart from one midwife who wouldn't give me a bottle of formula, the rest of the staff, including the doctors, were pushing formula on me. If anything I felt under more pressure to give formula than I'd ever felt pressure to BF.

Being told the benefits of BF and the fact that it is best is not pressure, it's just providing the facts.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 09-Apr-14 12:26:45

TheRealAmandaClarke I wasn't talking about you anyway. I think you've been very fair and measured on this thread.

noblegiraffe Wed 09-Apr-14 12:19:45

But the NHS and health professionals have a duty to inform us if one of two choices has better health outcomes for the baby. So, SIDs advice, healthy eating advice, these things shouldn't be kept secret just in case people feel bad.

KL07 Wed 09-Apr-14 12:03:10

I can relate to your experience writer but our expectations of ourselves and what we need to do to do the best for our babies DO come from external sources IMO, at least they do with BF. I felt pressure because of all the 'breast is best' messages that the NHS and others direct at mothers. Even if it IS best, that is (unfortunately) pressure for those who want to BF but struggle or fail to do so.

Writerwannabe83 Wed 09-Apr-14 11:57:43

I completely see your point kl07 - and like you said, a mother who believes breast is best will do anything they can to breast feed - but is the pressure you talk sometimes just pressure that women put on themselves as opposed to pressure from HCP's?

I know when I hit my bad place after DS's birth and had an awful time with breast feeding and had a bit of an emotional breakdown when I agreed for him to have a bottle of formula, it wasn't that I was made to feel like a failure by the midwives, but I felt like a failure because I so wanted to breast feed and felt I'd let my son down by allowing him to have formula. For about a week I was really low about breast feeding, the whole process was a nightmare and everyday I was in tears over it - I wasn't bothered or concerned about what HCP's would think of me if I couldn't persevere, I was more upset by what I thought of myself. I wasn't being pressured by external factors, but by my own expectations of what I wanted to do for my baby.

KL07 Wed 09-Apr-14 11:26:55

I disagree. I wanted to breastfeed and did but with lots of difficulty. I felt pressure to continue regardless, because of the 'it's best' messages. What mother, believing breast is best, wouldn't do anything they could to BF their child and feel pressure if that proved difficult or not possible?

Writerwannabe83 Wed 09-Apr-14 09:50:43

I agree amandaclarke

If a woman wants to breast feed she sees information about the health benefits as important and educational, and she will see encouragement to feed as her being supported.

A woman who wants to FF will see the exact same information and encouragement as being pressure.

The problem doesn't lie with the information being given - it lies with the perception of the woman hearing it.

TheRealAmandaClarke Wed 09-Apr-14 09:28:15

Ok. (don't have to look over my shoulder now next time I go to baby clinic)
The thing is, that MW who helped me clearly felt it was important that mothers have confidence in their ability to feed. Many others would have said, (and did) that my baby needed a top up. He didn't. She was right and without her support and enthusiasm for bf I might never have been able to feed my ds, especially for so long. Another person might have considered that was pressure to ebf. But I think if you want to bf then it doesn't feel like that, it feels like support.
If you actually dont want to ebf then I guess any encouragement can be seen as pressure.
But I suppose they have to try because it's a good thing for babies and mums.
Thesore's very little criticism of formula companies for pushing their product. Ok, lots and lots babies will do fine with it, it isn't the "end of the world" most of us we probably ff.
But. There are problems with ff. and bf is better and I expect my MW and GP and HV to tell me that. As much as I expect them to encourage me to have my dcs vaccinated, or to have them sleep on their backs when they're little, or to give them vitamins or visit the dentist or not have sweets every day. It's easy to balk at any advice if it's contrary to your current practice at home, or your childhood experience.
When DH is told by the GP that he should eat less butter and Brie he can ever follow that advice or ignore it. I don't think it's fair to say there's too much pressure to eat better. Even though the poor GP mentions it with a concerned frown at every consultation.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 09-Apr-14 09:09:48

TheReal No, not from RL. I mean from these threads.

TheRealAmandaClarke Wed 09-Apr-14 09:08:01

candy are you suggesting that you recognise some of the posters from RL?
Obviously I'd want the thread deleted if that was in relation to my identity.

TheRealAmandaClarke Wed 09-Apr-14 09:06:00

I agree support is lacking and so important
My hospital experience was awful all round and from a bf POV felt like the ward was run by cow &gate tbh.
But one MW, in the middle of the night when I was derranged tired and tearful, just took my baby and popped him on. It was a bit ungainly tbh, but she helped me to have confidence in my milk. I didn't even know her name and never met her again but I will never forget her and her kindness and her skill. It actually still makes me feel emotional when I think about it blush
The whole "having babies" thing puts the onus on women. It is emotional and traumatic at times and we need support
But I still think ff is pushed more than bf, overall.

SaggyAndLucy Wed 09-Apr-14 06:27:21

I actually think HCPs are pretty much damned if they do and damned if they don't when it comes to bf.
Especially MWs. Whatever they do/suggest will be wrong for someone. And people only focus on the negatives.
I've had nothing but help. It might not always have been the best help or advice but the people giving it were doing the best they could with what they had available. I get regular visits from bf support who are nothing but gently encouraging. They've suggested several different approaches to encourage dd to try bf, have provided several pieces of expensive equipment free of charge and have never flinched from the suggestion that I give up and FF.
This is all from an NHS trust which is basically on the hospital version of 'special measures'.
BF is not always easy and everyone has a different expectation.

KL07 Tue 08-Apr-14 22:48:11

I agree another - BFing felt
utterly overwhelming and all consuming for me. That wasn't mentioned in the ante natal classes which just focused on how hassle free BF is, which it unfortunately wasn't for me.

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