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To think attitudes to BF have changed on MN?

(58 Posts)
paperlace Sat 15-Nov-14 09:59:37

Been a MNetter for about 6/7 years (namechanger).

In the first few years I was struck by how incredibly rigid the majority was about breastfeeding being the only option - was on several threads where posters would not in any circumstances see FF was a legit choice.

In fact posters were scared shitless to admit to FF and would always preface it with medical reasons about why they couldn't bf.

I didn't bf and was once treated in a very patronising and offensive fashion by a breast feeding support nurse and told that when she saw a bottle teat in a baby's mouth it made her feel physcially ill.

Now I see many threads where posters encourage and advocate FF especially when bfing has become untenable and/or proving detrimental to mental health or marriage etc. There's one on here now.

Anyone else notice this? Why do you think it is? Is it a reflection of RL attitudes (I'd prefer to see it as supporting parents' choices rather than anti breast feeding - I'm in the first camp and certainly not in the second).

gamerchick Sat 15-Nov-14 10:04:51

I'm not reading that thread like that. I'm seeing people banging in and on and on despite the OP has stated she wants to carry on breastfeeding and hasn't even been back to the thread for pages.

Absolutely no respect for the OPs choice at all. At least there are people trying to help out with the bf issue rather than sound like a 100 HVs trying to make her give up hmm

Velomapetite Sat 15-Nov-14 10:08:39

Oh this sounds interesting, would you mind linking to that thread? Tia.

divingoffthebalcony Sat 15-Nov-14 10:11:50

If attitudes have changed - and I'm not entirely sure they have - then that can only be a good thing. But I still see countless threads on here with women beating themselves up for considering formula, or mixed feeding, because the feeling that formula is so substandard in comparison to breastmilk runs so deep.

antarctic Sat 15-Nov-14 10:14:53

OP, I've been on MN for a few years (not as long as you) and I think I agree with you. Not sure what it reflects though. I think sometimes on MN you get a small number of very opinionated active posters who can really affect the advice given on a certain topic.

CountingThePennies Sat 15-Nov-14 10:19:51

I only see people who are adamant on breastfeeding on mumsnet.

I dont know anyone who breastfeeds in real life, i havent seen anyone breastfeeding in public for a very long time. Everytime i see a young baby being fed its always with a bottle.

HedgehogsDontBite Sat 15-Nov-14 10:19:53

Nope, I've seen no change. DS is just 18 months. I tried to bf but in the end had to stop because I was starting to resent DS. This was because of the sensory issues I have as a result of being autistic. I was told on this forum that I was selfish, that I didn't try hard enough, and that my disability was just an excuse for not putting my baby first.

pictish Sat 15-Nov-14 10:22:45

Honestly? Trends.
We've probably moved on to something else to get sanctimonious about these days.

My babies were born at a time when not bfing was akin to social suicide. There was a lot of social and media pressure to perform.
I breastfed my first two, but formula fed my third.
I didn't enjoy breastfeeding a bit. That surprised (and at the time saddened) me because I always assumed I'd be totally au fait with it.
Turns out I wasn't. I found it painful, and an exhausting bind. I wasn't good at it, and my babies cried and lost weight. I dreaded every feed.

Luckily, I'm not fussed of what people think of me to my detriment, so by the time number three came along, I showed breastfeeding the hand. Gladly. Formula feeding was a breeze compared. The whole family benefited from the flexibility of it. My dh could chip in, I got sleep, and dd thrived.

Honestly, I think formula feeders are probably fed up of being vilified, and like me, will happily step forward now and say "it worked for us!".

rallytog1 Sat 15-Nov-14 10:23:04

About 18 months ago I got pretty beaten and patronised on here when I failed to bf. For genuine medical reasons. So don't think it's changed much, unless the bulk of the change has been in the last year or so...

Aeroflotgirl Sat 15-Nov-14 10:23:29

Gosh paperlace what is that woman doing in a job like that then. I have noticed that a bit, but I think that posters do suggest after natives when it is clear tge op is struggling and has other issues to deal with. It seems as though formula is more accepted than it was when I joined mumsnet 7 years ago. I am seeing less breastfeeding militancy on feeding threads, than I did 7 years ago, the fact that a baby is fed far outweighs the feeding method.

wigglesrock Sat 15-Nov-14 10:27:55

I ff my 3 children and just used to avoid ff/bf threads because I just couldn't be arsed with the "oh I feel so sorry when I see a baby not being breastfed" hyperbole but now I couldn't give two shiny shites and have no compunction about saying that formula feeding worked out really well for me and my family and I think there are more posters saying the same.

waceystills Sat 15-Nov-14 10:31:34

I still remember the moment I read a thread about BF (read a lot of them in the early hours when feeding PFB) and some one said that moving to mixed feeding was a real turning point for their family and things got much better after struggling with BF.

I decided to do the same at 3 months and I thought I was a BF advocate through and through, couldn't understand why any one wouldn't want to try.

Boy did it help, massively! Even though research says FF babies don't sleep more, mine certainly did!

Now pregnant with DC2 I shall try to BF as long as I can but will introduce FF if I want to and it is nobodies business but mine.

It is MN that I have to thank for my change in attitude, mainly the brilliant feeding topic.

And now I never judge some ones choice of feeding, also thanks to MN.

Aeroflotgirl Sat 15-Nov-14 10:31:58

Alternatives doh

dannydyerismydad Sat 15-Nov-14 10:39:04

I'm a breastfeeding peer supporter and our courses are very much about helping and supporting those who WANT to breastfeed and helping those who aren't sure to make an informed choice. We are also trained in safe formula preparation and formula choices to enable us to help women whatever their feeding choices. Perhaps this more gentle approach instead of "breast is best, you must do it" is filtering through.

I think it's tragic that women feel they need to justify or defend their choices. Every mother and every baby is different. We should accept and support each other.

Aeroflotgirl Sat 15-Nov-14 10:40:59

I agree Danny and that is the right way to do it, I feel.

elmo2014 Sat 15-Nov-14 10:46:22

I had my first 2 children 7-9 years ago. Then, it was very much "you must breastfeed, whatever it takes". Accompanied by minimal support apart from "keep trying". I drove myself into depression trying to bf.

This time, the attitude of health professionals has been much more along the lines of "do whatever is best for you and your family", with lots of support if I needed it.

I'm not sure about mumsnet. I think opinions here will always be strong one way or the other.

raffle Sat 15-Nov-14 10:47:46

I was always going to breast feed, it was going to be so natural and easy. I never considered ff, I didn't even have any bottles in reserve, no steriliser etc. So convinced was I of my innate ability to provide milk for my baby.

So I was shocked, truly truly shocked to find breast feeding horrific. Baby was never off the breast, screamed when I tried to putt him down, and slept for about an hour only at a time. My nipples bled. And baby lost so much weight we were sent back to hospital.

At hospital the midwives immediately told me to give him a bottle. He guzzled its and slept for 3 hours. The relief was indescribable.

TarkaTheOtter Sat 15-Nov-14 10:48:21

I think when someone states over and over again that they want to bf or ff it's pretty off for people to keep coming on and telling them that they are a martyr/selfish. I think the thread the OP is referring to is completely unsupportive and struggle to see it as a "positive" change. In fact, I would go as far as saying that some of the posts getting cross at the OP for continuing to bf even though it is hard are more about justifying those posters own decision to stop. She has made it clear that it is important to her to continue, people should respect that decision. In the same way, nobody should question a woman's decision not to bf.

FayKorgasm Sat 15-Nov-14 10:54:55

As I said on the other thread I was very much in the you must breastfeed camp many moons ago and what a twat I was. I think the whole approach that formula is fine too will ease the pressure on vulnerable new mothers. There are options and choices and sometimes if things don't work out there is an alternative. A bit of compassion and knowledge that breastfeeding is not the be all and end all is what it is.

pictish Sat 15-Nov-14 10:56:17

raffle - that is true of me also. I genuinely believed in, and looked forward to breastfeeding. I went into it with a positive attitude, and sought advice and help when it all went pear shaped. I was into it you know?
It just resolutely stayed horrible for us.

It was my mum that stepped in eventually after six months - my HV was concerned about weight loss (his) and my mum was worried about mental state (mine).
She said "Pictish my love, give that baby a bottle."

I did. And lo it was good.

I attempted again with ds2 - five months that time. It was the same story, sadly, with the added element of recurring thrush of the nipples, and mouth (ds2).

By the time dd came along when ds2 was just 14 months, I was done with bf, and went straight on to formula. No regrets.

FayKorgasm Sat 15-Nov-14 10:56:19

Tarka I never used formula so there was no justification from me.

pictish Sat 15-Nov-14 10:58:27

I haven't seen the thread this refers to (if it does). I agree that the choice shouldn't really be up for debate, either way. Not on here anyway.

Booboostoo Sat 15-Nov-14 11:00:23

I haven't been on here long enough to have on opinion on whether MN has changed but I find anyone who is evangelical about bf to be a bit weird and off-putting. I was on an extended bf group on FB and I had to leave because despite the good advice people gave, there were a lot of annoying posts, e.g. "My friend is ff her little baby and every time I see her I want to cry. I am so sad this poor baby is denied the benefits of bf"...boak!

Aeroflotgirl Sat 15-Nov-14 11:05:47

Tarka with that thread op has other issues, not just feeding. I think people were trying to get her to prioritise her mental health, and to address that first. I think posters were not forcing her to use formula, but saying hey it's ok to use it, give yourself and baby a break. Mixed feeding is perfectly fine. I mixed fed for 9 months before my supply just stopped.

extremepie Sat 15-Nov-14 11:05:50

I always find myself a little bit hmm on ff vs bf! I don't see what the big problem is!

Feed your baby.
In a way that makes both of you happy.
Try bf if you can but if you can't, ff.

It's that simple pretty much smile There is so much variation between mothers and babies that people may have any number of reasons for bf or not bf. I personally couldn't get worked up about it either way, what other people choose to do with their own children is up to them (as long as it's not abusive etc of course).

We live in a world where we are very fortunate to have alternatives, if for whatever reason bf isn't possible. Yes, breast is best and all that but in the end we are all trying to do the best we can for our children and that is what counts. The way they started off being fed in life is such a small part of that.

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