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to feel bullied over breastfeeding

(451 Posts)
user1473451513 Fri 09-Sep-16 21:12:40

I'm posting a letter I'm sending to my government representatives and was interested to hear others' views on it. I'm in Scotland so no sure how pertinent it is for other parts of the UK or indeed around the world. I want to point out from the offset I am not anti breastfeeding, I am anti bullying.

I write to express my concern, disappointment and upset with regards to a government instigated bullying campaign. This is an issue which has been at the forefront for some time now and causes much angst for all affected. It is the issue of breastfeeding.
I can assure you that I fully understand all the health benefits of breastfeeding, both physical and emotional and there is no doubting that breastfeeding is the healthier option. However, those who do not breastfeed their children are made to feel inferior and I feel that this is a deliberate government policy to create stigma.
When I was pregnant with my son, I was fully intending to breastfeed, I had listened to and read about all the benefits and how it was the best choice for me and my baby. It wasn’t until much later on I realised just how little information I had been given about formula feeding. At the antenatal classes, there was very little discussion around formula feeding and the general information given was something along the lines of ‘make sure your bottles are sterilised’. I also began to realise just how little space in the ‘Ready, Steady, Baby’ book was dedicated to formula feeding versus the wealth of space given over to breastfeeding.
As good as my intentions were, it simply was not to be. I had been trying my absolute best and had completely exhausted myself trying to make it a success. Although I was making every effort to make it work, my son did not take to the breast at all. He got upset and distressed and through this I got upset and distressed. It began to affect my mental health and it was at this point we decided that the best option for us was to switch to formula feeding.
I could not believe it when my health visitor at my six week check demanded to know exactly when I stopped breast feeding – I had to tell her how old my son was when I stopped. To the very day. I was made to feel completely incompetent and was told that I should be getting myself along to the breastfeeding cafes or getting help from the breastfeeding support worker. I did not want this. I wanted to stop breastfeeding but this seemed to be deemed the worst decision ever.
I finally realised today that there is a government ploy to force women into breastfeeding and it was the most innocuous of discussions that made this clear to me. After discussion with a very kind sales assistant in Boots Chemists, I enquired as to why I wasn’t getting Advantage Card points for the baby milk and she told me that it was a government directive to ‘encourage’ women to breastfeed. I don’t feel encouraged to breastfeed – I feel like I am not good enough because I am not breastfeeding my son. I am made to feel that I am missing out and my son is missing out too.
I can assure you my son is healthy, happy and growing well. He gets all the nourishment he needs from his formula milk. I have formed a strong, close bond with him which has developed without breastfeeding.
I know many women feel this way and are victimised for making the correct choices for themselves and their babies. However, it seems that the government wants to tell us what the correct choices are and enforce them upon us. Because of this brainwashing, I find it very difficult to speak out about my feelings as so many people – mums and non-mums alike have been conditioned to believe that breastfeeding is the only way to go and if you’re not exclusively feeding your child yourself then you are the worst mum ever.
In closing, I would like to understand why the government are anti-choice when it comes to the matter of breastfeeding and why mothers who choose not to breastfeed their children are made to feel inadequate. I would like to know why a healthy balance of pros and cons of both formula and breast feeding is absent from any government pregnancy propaganda. I would like to know why I have been made to feel like it would be impossible to speak my mind about the topic and why my free speech is being stifled.
I look forward to reading your response.
Yours sincerely

Proud Formula Feeding Mum

HighwayDragon1 Fri 09-Sep-16 21:17:01


BIWI Fri 09-Sep-16 21:18:58

FFS. It's nothing to do with free speech.

Go and goad somewhere else.

ghostyslovesheep Fri 09-Sep-16 21:19:02

YABU and way over the top - I think you need to calm down

BIWI Fri 09-Sep-16 21:19:59

Oh, and

Welcome to Mumsnet
Interesting first post

blah, blah, blah

penguinpie Fri 09-Sep-16 21:20:09

This'll go well

AlpacaLypse Fri 09-Sep-16 21:22:29

I'm sorry you feel shit about not having been able to BF.

FWIW one of my dearest friends was driven to tears by an officious BF advocate. One is extremely hormonal in the first few weeks, and being nagged about giving a bottle to a tiny baby when one has had a double mastectomy counts as the single most tactless remark I've ever heard anyone make!

However, BF is the best way to feed a very young child if it's remotely possible. I do agree that the information service for those for whom it has proved to be genuinely impossible is poor though.

BewtySkoolDropowt Fri 09-Sep-16 21:22:52

It seems fairly obvious to have more information on breastfeeding than bottle feeding.

Breast feeding comes with all sorts of problems that should be covered in order to support a mum that wants to BF to find a way forward.

Bottle feeding doesn't have nearly as many issues attached.

To be honest though, I got to that part in your post and gave up. It's very long.

Waltermittythesequel Fri 09-Sep-16 21:23:01

If this is legit, you're about to have your arse handed to you.

I'm not sure why you think MN is a safe place for breastfeeding fugitives, but it's not.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Fri 09-Sep-16 21:23:45

That letter is ridiculous.

Your hv probably assumed that, because you started breast feeding, you wanted to breast feed and was offering additional support.

You can choose to feed your child however you like but bf mums do often need a lot more support to continue.

You don't sound like you are proud to ff, you are coming across as very resentful tbh.

Don't send the letter, it's embarrassing.

But welcome to mn anyway.

AlpacaLypse Fri 09-Sep-16 21:24:12

BTW I did report this thread before I even posted on it, so hopefully any GFs or trolls won't waste too much effort... smile

TheWeeBabySeamus1 Fri 09-Sep-16 21:25:00

I formula fed my son, and while there was a lot of emphasis put on breastfeeding I never felt like anyone thought of me as inferior when I said I was using formula.

The bf rates in the uk are very low, and as you said we all know breast milk is the best thing, so I can understand why the NHS promote it.

OhTheRoses Fri 09-Sep-16 21:25:04

I completely agree with you. Women should be empowered to make choices based on the facts AND their experience.

My HV said "breastfeeding mothers put their babies first, bottle feeding mothers put themselves first." the midwives said "all women can breastfeed it's natural".

So, I breast fed. Through infective mastitis and a breast abscess until my baby was 8 weeks old. He ingested antibiotics, paracetamol and my tears. They were almost the most distressing weeks of my life. I developed PND, which interestingly I didn't after our second son died at 27 weeks.

Breastfeeding and childbirth are very small parts of being a mother. Neither, in the 21st century are the "natural" be all and end all.

Midwives and HVs are supposed to be parts of caring vocations. They need to care a little more in my opinion.

ghostyslovesheep Fri 09-Sep-16 21:25:15

Oh and I mix fed all 3 from day one and the longest I managed to BF for was 8 weeks before you start throwing around insults about BF mums

Boundaries Fri 09-Sep-16 21:25:22

The instructions for bottle feeding a baby come printed on the side of the formula can.

Last time I checked, my boobs didn't come with that.


Julju Fri 09-Sep-16 21:25:32

Consider that your experience with (lack of) support when you chose to formula feeding is the same experience many women have with lack of support when they want to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is on a backfoot when it comes to advertising, facilities and acceptance when feeding in public and a sadly most people don't have the experience of watching parents/siblings/aunts, etc. breastfeeding when they are growing up and in their teens which means it feel to many people like it's a mystical, magical quest and not something that's seen as the norm.

Of course formula shouldn't be incentivised through Boots advantage card points. That would be so unethical.

yorkshapudding Fri 09-Sep-16 21:26:16

This won't end well.

jbee1979 Fri 09-Sep-16 21:27:57

It wasn’t until much later on I realised just how little information I had been given about formula feeding. At the antenatal classes, there was very little discussion around formula feeding and the general information given was something along the lines of ‘make sure your bottles are sterilised’. I also began to realise just how little space in the ‘Ready, Steady, Baby’ book was dedicated to formula feeding versus the wealth of space given over to breastfeeding.**

Er... read the instructions on the tin? FF isn't rocket science...

WhisperingLoudly Fri 09-Sep-16 21:28:10

If you insist on sending a letter cut it down to two short paragraphs. No one cares enough to read you ramblings as they are currently drafted

camtt Fri 09-Sep-16 21:28:32

well when I had my DCs I found all the breast feeding posters and information were just lip service - what the hospital midwives actually wanted was for everyone to bottle feed as that meant they could measure the amount the baby was taking. I was there a while - my dear, yours is a very big baby, she might just need a bit of a top up; my dear, yours is a rather small baby, she needs to be topped up, my goodness, what a hungry baby --- yes, everyone's baby at the slightest hint of an issue, was going to be better off being bottle fed. Despite the posters.

Sleepybunny Fri 09-Sep-16 21:28:34

Why on earth are you bothered? If you are proud, who cares!

I get bullshit weekly from in laws and parents who think it's weird and crazy to still be breast feeding my 9 month old.

Friends, family, 'government brainwashing' I couldn't give a shiny shit. My babies are fed, warm and loved. End of.

NovemberInDailyFailLand Fri 09-Sep-16 21:28:34

Alpaca - I'd love to know what their argument was. If anyone knows a magic way to bf after a double mastectomy, it'd be interesting to hear it.

user1473451513 Fri 09-Sep-16 21:30:44

ghosty at which point have I insulted BF mums? I support the decisions of all. Any mother is free to feed their child as they wish.

SharingMichelle Fri 09-Sep-16 21:30:50

If you had had better information and support, chances are you would have been able to breastfeed as you wanted to. Put your energies into campaigning for accurate and useful breastfeeding support.

avocadosweet Fri 09-Sep-16 21:31:50

You know breastfeeding doesn't earn Advantage points, right?

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