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to think "Breastfeed if you can" would be a better message

(322 Posts)
ringle Fri 03-Nov-17 14:28:15

... than "Breast is best".

I say this having start skimmed yet another thread where the OP was driven to post natal depression because of difficulties breast feeding.

PND is far more damaging to babies than formula.

NapQueen Fri 03-Nov-17 14:29:11

But surely choosing not to is ok too?

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 03-Nov-17 14:32:30

Tbh I don't think the message breast is best is the problem. That's a favt we have to deal with it.

I think the problem lies often with the health care staff and their attitudes.

Unsupportive partners

And a lack of info at just how hard,.painful, isolating exhausting etc that it can be. Perhaps what's needed is more honesty about the whole thing and more support.

And to be told formula is not the end of the world.

It's the pressure we put on ourselves that's the biggest problem though. We need to find it within ourselves to be ok with it not working

streetlife70s Fri 03-Nov-17 14:34:10

I agree. ‘Breast is Best’ is only factual in nutritional terms. For many mothers the social, emotional, physical, financial

OfaFrenchmind2 Fri 03-Nov-17 14:34:36

^^ Yes! FF is also very good if you just do not want to BF, and in Western Countries, just as safe as BF. Why should we have those endless discussions about why we FF and the reasons why we do?
Do not tell me I should BF if I do not want to. Period. "Breastfeed if you can" may be less aggressive, but just as patronising and unwelcome for the many many women that just do not want to BF. Can anybody respect that?

2014newme Fri 03-Nov-17 14:35:11

Breastfeed should you be so inclined.
Is what I prefer.
I couldn't, had no milk supply (I was ill and in hospital for a month after my premature twins were born) and in the end we stopped trying so we could go home! The pressure is horrendous though

streetlife70s Fri 03-Nov-17 14:36:33

Crap posted too soon. Feeding plans have to be considered within there social, emotional, physical, financial, cultural and geographical contexts. Whether breast is actually best when considering all these things is arguable.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 03-Nov-17 14:36:56

And something definatly needs to be done to stop demonizing formula in hospital set ups etc

Hiding it or making it difficult to access formula is added pressure an exhausted and perhaps post operative mum doesn't need.

streetlife70s Fri 03-Nov-17 14:37:51

‘their’ contexts not ‘there’ (hate typing on phone sorry.

PippleBang Fri 03-Nov-17 14:38:25

I quite like "feed your baby".

It's not really anyone else's business how.

But I agree with PPs that it's all about having the right support in place for mothers who do want to breastfeed but who struggle. I don't think it's right to shame mum's who can breastfeed but choose not to.

Honeycombcrunch Fri 03-Nov-17 14:38:50


Shutupanddance1 Fri 03-Nov-17 14:40:39

I BF my little one until 14 months - Breast is best was true for us as it worked. But I'm 100% supportive of people who FF too as guess what, they have a little person to look after!

It's a case of women not being given enough support! How many women start off BF but then stop because of reason X/Y/Z.. It takes a village to raise a baby and we have truly forgotten that - forgotten how to BF, how to support and actually help each other. I'm sure there are lots of things about BF that we've been not told/had passed down to us because of the invention of formula and the heavy advertising bombarded at us.

We forget how lonely and horribly long them first few weeks are - new mums need supporting and help, not information rammed down their throats to be told by a midwife on their delivery ward that they are too busy to help them feed.

2014newme Fri 03-Nov-17 14:42:46

See I had tonnes of help, breastfeeding supporters, midwives blah blah, as I was in hospital. But it didn't make my milk appear nor my back is be able to latch on. So it was all a bit pointless. After a mo that I was desperate to get home. Fave my babies a bottle, we were home next day.😁

user1493413286 Fri 03-Nov-17 14:42:50

Yep and I think people should be told that combination feeding is ok and can work well. I was told my an NCT breastfeed counsellor that I should only do one feed a day of formula as trying to do half and half would mean that my supply would drop totally, when I told the health visitor this she said it was ridiculous and it body would adjust to however many feeds I “demanded” of it. I then happily did 3-4 breastfeed and rest formula without any problems but if I’d gone on the NCT advice I might have stopped breastfeeding altogether as I felt I couldn’t cope with it full time

RatherBeRiding Fri 03-Nov-17 14:43:23

FFS this drives me insane.

BF if you want. FF if you want. It's a personal, individual choice and the way the NHS try to force BF down your throat makes me want to punch someone.

In the end, if makes f-all difference. This is a first world country. The water supply is safe. Babies aren't going to die of starvation just because BF isn't available.

And, yes, hospitals should definitely stop making life difficult for those mothers who prefer to FF.

Goldfishshoals Fri 03-Nov-17 14:43:58

"if you can" is problematic.

The number of women who absolutely can't breastfeed is very small.

The number of women who think they can't due to lack of information and support is larger (ie thinking they have supply issues).

And then there's plenty of women who can but choose to prioritize other things (mental health, their personal comfort, going back to work, etc) - which is perfectly valid.

If I had to write a baby feeding slogan it would be : "On the spectrum of things you could feed your baby, breast is best, formula is second best, ground up Mars bars and cocaine is way, way down the bottom. If you're near the top of the list you're doing great."

It's not very catchy though.

TookyClothespin Fri 03-Nov-17 14:45:52

"Breast is best, but formula is ok too".
There needs to be more support for mothers and the choices they make about how to feed their babies. There needs to be more trust that mothers will make the best choice for their family.
That means more support to keep breastfeeding if that's what they choose. More reassurance for common breastfeeding issues, and advice to overcome them BEFORE they happen.
And support for those who choose to formula feed, for whatever reason. Reassurance that it is ok to switch to formula if that is what they want to do.
And society needs to get a grip and stop judging mothers who are just feeding their baby.

VeganIan Fri 03-Nov-17 14:46:04

Breastfeed if you want to. Don't if you don't.

Given the huge gulf that lies in between the medically accepted percentage of woman that medically can't feed, vs the amount of women who believe and/or who have been told they can't feed - there's a huge issue of unsupported women who are left with a completely needless sense of failure. And it's not their failure, it's the MW that told them they had no milk at 4 hours post birth (but didn't mention that's normal), or the pharmacist that told them they couldn't feed on those meds (but did not suggest an alternative), the DH that "helpfully" fed a newborn a bottle of formula this disrupting supply, the grandmother that said she'd never been able to feed, the friends that said it was disgusting/painful, the MIL that says "feeding again so soon?"

Feed your baby however you choose to - but for god's sake let's support women to have a choice.

InDubiousBattle Fri 03-Nov-17 14:46:22

I personally don't like 'breast is best', it's only really a slogan because it alliterates nicely. It seems to have worked quite well in getting women want to bf though- the overwhelming majority do- but it's just a sound bite and is a bit meaningless.

'Every breast feed counts' ??

streetlife70s Fri 03-Nov-17 14:49:31

* ground up Mars bars and cocaine is way, way down the bottom. If you're near the top of the list you're doing great."*

grin grinBrilliant! Would have loved to have seen a poster like this in NCT classes.

PortiaCastis Fri 03-Nov-17 14:52:48

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

Cookiesandcake Fri 03-Nov-17 14:53:33

I don't think there should be any slogan on formula cartons. I think the midwife should advise mothers and leave it at that. I tried breastfeeding my first little boy and it didn't work. Although I was producing lots of milk and he was latching fine he was a lazy feeder and wouldn't put any effort in to drink properly. He also wouldn't take expressed milk. Believe you me I tried everything. At 2 weeks old he was admitted to hospital for losing too much weight. Even in the hospital they were still trying to push breastfeeding and after many nights in tears I ended up putting him on formula, which thankfully he drank and started putting on weight. If I'd have carried on trying to breastfeed under pressure from the hospital staff he could have died. I'm now 14 weeks pregnant with my second little one and although I want to breastfeed I'm already feeling the pressure building up. What if this one doesn't put effort in, what if I fail again. It's wrong. Mothers shouldn't feel like failures for making sure their babies don't starve

Bubblebubblepop Fri 03-Nov-17 14:56:29

Is this TAAT OP?

Anyway I don't think that slogan is any good, because lots of women think they can't BF but they don't have the right support to make it work or they don't know what the reality of BF is (feeding for hours on end, cluster feeding etc all taken as signs they're not producing enough milk) so it wouldn't encourage anyone would it?

I'd prefer if you're struggling with breastfeeding call this number <helpline>

streetlife70s Fri 03-Nov-17 14:58:06

The breastfeeding Nazis make me sick, there's such a thing as personal choice and bullying new Mothers is awful.

Ahh I remember in 2006 when I went on ‘The Other Site’ to ask for advice as I was struggling. I had given my sin formula and two of these types of people told me I had given my baby the equivalent of a Happy Meal.

I threw myself in front of a van that evening. 2 weeks in hospital and a traumatised driver for life.

Obviously I was already on the brink but people really don’t realise the power of words when new mums are so utterly distraught, desperate and guilt ridden.

ElephantAndBird Fri 03-Nov-17 14:59:36

I don’t actually think the nhs has ever used the slogan “breast is best”. A quick google suggests not, but I’m happy to be corrected.

A couple of years ago it was “every breastfeed counts” which I really like.

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