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Breast milk is the best thing for your baby...

(303 Posts)
Starwhisperer Fri 03-Nov-17 12:25:25

Please hear me out on this one.

I know that advertising regulations are in line with the WHO advice that breast milk is the best thing for a baby until at least 6 months of age.

My issue is with the specifics in what we see and read as soon to be and new mothers.

I combi fed my first child for 18m as my supply never seemed to be where I needed it to be. The first 2 months were a hellish cycle of pumping and formula milk. I firmly believe the failure to feed as I'd wanted led to my PND. I met other mothers struggling at the time who felt the same way and there has been research done which has confirmed this.

Everytime I formula fed my baby there in front of me was the message "breast milk is the best thing for your baby". Am I being unreasonable to think that this would do more harm than good. I know it made me feel rotten. I'd have thought that by the time a mother is preparing and giving formula feeds it's generally too late to be converted to the idea of BFing. The message is either going to women entirely happy with their decision to FF or women like me who see it as a kick in the teeth because they tried their hardest and didn't get the hang of it.

I feel that instead more effort should be put in before birth to get the facts out there, all i had was ony little leaflet with no opportunity promoted to ask aboit tjings in more detail. Perhaps a blanket ban on formula advertising. They use babies as close to 6m as possible for the pictures which does far more in the way of promoting FF than a little message promoting BF on a box.

Perhaps I'm getting my knickers in a twist over nothing bit I feel the formula manufacturers are doing way more harm than good here.

NamesNamesAndMoreNames Fri 03-Nov-17 12:34:04

I agree with you. I struggled with breastfeeding my DS. I did so for 4 months and actually it turned out that medically, formula was better for him. He was able to out weight on and keep it down. Once he was on formula we all relaxed and my mental health definitely improved. Right up until his first drop of formula I felt guilty, like it was a huge failure on my part. It wasn't. For my baby, breast was not best. Simple as that. And anyone who argued otherwise simply didn't understand it. In theory, yes breast milk is the ideal source of food for infants. Of course it is. But I firmly believe that the 'breast is best' is misleading, because for some children, it genuinely isn't. Plenty of prem babies are given formula. They need it, they genuinely do. For them, breast isn't best! For children with allergies, breast also may not be best. For children with severe reflux, breast may not be best. So I agree with you smile

I'm due DC2 and I'm taking formula to the hospital with me this time. I will breastfeed initially and if it works, it works. I'll carry on. If, for any reason it's not working for DC or I then we'll stop and I will not feel at all guilty this time.

gammaraystar Fri 03-Nov-17 12:45:43

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

kali110 Fri 03-Nov-17 12:51:39

This thread isnt going to make you feel better unfortunately.
I think the most important thing is happy mom and baby being fed ( though obv some posters wont)
You should be proud of ypurself that you managed to do it for 18 months, even if it was combi.
I do completely understand your view point.

Starwhisperer Fri 03-Nov-17 12:57:56

You've missed my point I'm not saying breast isn't best I'm asking where's the benefit on printing that on a tub of formula?
Is a mother going to notice it at 6 weeks and have a sudden epiphany? I doubt it and even if she does it would be phenomenally hard to start BF at that point.
The only women that message will have an effect on is the women already feeling rubbish about not Bfing who've likely already gone beyond the realms of sanity trying to make it work.
Why not put more effort In to promoting BFing positively rather than trying to guilt trip women when it's already too late?

NamesNamesAndMoreNames Fri 03-Nov-17 12:59:30

gammaraystar it is the best thing for most babies. Not all. Is breast milk actually best for a premature baby who cannot breastfeed because they are too young to suck?

I agree that in theory, yes of course it is. But the reality can be different.

Bubblebubblepop Fri 03-Nov-17 13:00:33

Why did you feel so strongly about it though? It's a massive reaction you. Describe, over something very minor (a good label)

I agree that breastfeeding education needs to be better but it is out there. Many women don't seem to really think about it until the baby is there and just expect it to latch on and start feeding.

NamesNamesAndMoreNames Fri 03-Nov-17 13:01:52

kali you are right that this thread won't end well though. I'm going to step away, and confidently formula feed my children when/if I want to, and not judge anyone either way!

Bubblebubblepop Fri 03-Nov-17 13:02:58

Food label not good label!!

disahsterdahling Fri 03-Nov-17 13:02:59

It's all a nonsense. Yes it's best for baby (at least until the powers that be change their mind) but so are a lot of things yet people don't get nearly as emotional about them.

And the advertising rules are sanctimonious and patronising. Women do not choose to ff because they see adverts for formula. They do it because it suits them (and their baby in many cases) better. It's the same sort of mentality that makes bar staff refuse to sell a pregnant woman a glass of wine. Poor little mums don't have the brain power to make their own decisions.

Starwhisperer Fri 03-Nov-17 13:03:08

I'd also argue that a mother with severe PND has a far more negative effect on a baby than drinking formula milk.
I'm not making my point very eloquently as I'm currently BF 9 week old twins and knackered but I noticed the offending comment on my reserve formula tub when checking the date and I was reminded of how I felt last time round.

Hmmalittlefishy Fri 03-Nov-17 13:03:23

Alot of money is/has been put into promoting breastfeeding but with no where near anything like the budget the big formula companies have. Follow on milk was invented purely to get around the advertising restrictions and to get brands known.
Changing culture takes a long long time too

IHeartDodo Fri 03-Nov-17 13:04:08

This reminds me of the "do not drink while pregnant" labels on bottled drinks... by the time you have the drink in your hand surely it's either too late or you don't care??

ConciseandNice Fri 03-Nov-17 13:04:22

I agree. The NHS has a paltry sum to spend on marketing. The formula companies spend billions (literally). It is not a fair fight and hence the advertising and education of breastfeeding is down to brass tacks, I.e. It's best for you both. The best way of counteracting it is to not allow formula advertising. It's banned for newborn formula, but not for the follow-on stuff. It should be a blanket ban. Countries where they have a blanket ban have seen a marked increase in breastfeeding. It can't be a coincidence.

Bubblebubblepop Fri 03-Nov-17 13:04:50

They'd be better off banning the advertising of formula altogether

Starwhisperer Fri 03-Nov-17 13:05:17

@Bubble I over reacted because I had horrendous PND which I strongly believe in my case was contributed to by not being able to feed as I wanted. Something which has been corroborated by various studies brought to my attention by health professionals.

user1493413286 Fri 03-Nov-17 13:05:22

I agree with you, I struggled massively with the decision to combination feed and now only formula feed. I don’t need to be made to feel worse every time I look at the formula pot

Starwhisperer Fri 03-Nov-17 13:07:18

This was meant entirely as a criticism of formula companies not of breast feeding or formula feeding.

Bubblebubblepop Fri 03-Nov-17 13:08:05

But that's the interesting bit isn't it? That something like BF is so emotionally important that if can CAUSE PND. It's not about the label or the advertising it's about why on earth does THAT happen?

CactusJelly00 Fri 03-Nov-17 13:08:54

I'm actually pretty sceptical about the BF is best brigade. Studies done on siblings and children in the same families show very little difference... that said. I did breastfeed. Can't say it really matters either way (I'm just lazy and found it reasonably easy though I don't doubt others don't).
Do what's best for you and your baby and fuck the rest.
Breast certainly isn't best if the price is an unhealthy baby or mum (mentally or physically)

Justanothernameonthepage Fri 03-Nov-17 13:09:01

YANBU. Breast is not the best for your baby - unless you are giving birth and raising a baby in an environment with no access to clean water or a steady supply of formula.
There are no studies with a definitive link to formula babies Vs breastfeed babies. (It would be unethical for a start). There is evidence that shows putting new parents under pressure and stress is bad for the whole family.
The best outcome for a baby is of a steady supply of milk (breast or formula), a loving parent with the energy and ability to care for the baby and support for the family as a whole.

Hmmalittlefishy Fri 03-Nov-17 13:09:36

I assume the wording on formula is down to the world wide guidance. Or to do with a legally risk adverse society in the same way hot drink cups have 'may have hot contents'
I'm sorry you feel upset by it but it's really not aimed at that

Dinosauratemydaffodils Fri 03-Nov-17 13:10:37

What do you think Formula companies should do differently out of interest (I'm assuming you're talking about the slogans on formula products rather than the wider campaign)? As far as I'm aware they can't advertise infant formula only follow on and they have to include the "Breastfeeding is best" line due to legislation they have no control over. Even if they switched to plain packaging, the tins would still say "breast is best".

However as you say OP, there is plenty of evidence to say that women who wanted to breastfeed and can't for whatever reason are more likely to experience PND. Interestingly enough there is also a link between women who didn't want to breastfeed but who ended up doing so and PND which makes me wonder if it's less to do with breastfeeding itself but with a lack of control/lack of bodily autonomy.

I'm currently pregnant again and I know from my experiences last time around that "breastfeeding is not best for my baby" simply because it was so horrifically triggering it almost killed me. This time around I won't be trying.

rnccea Fri 03-Nov-17 13:11:06

I was in TCU for a week with my daughter after she come out of NICU. All over the kitchen where you can sterilise and store milk are signs that read- Artificial feeding mothers please do not keep milk tubs in kitchen. And Artificial feeding mothers please do not store milk in fridge this is for breast milk. Really pissed me off.

Bubblebubblepop Fri 03-Nov-17 13:12:55

"makes me wonder if it's less to do with breastfeeding itself but with a lack of control/lack of bodily autonomy."

This makes a lot of sense to me. Whereas It doesn't really make much sense that someone would get a serious mental illness from the breast is best message.

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