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To complain about breastfeeding workshop?

(29 Posts)
largecoffeeplease Sun 19-May-19 17:15:10

NC for this

Would I be unreasonable to complain about this?

A couple of months ago at 8 months pregnant I attended a breastfeeding workshop hosted by a local breastfeeding non-profit group.
It was absolutely brilliant, I got so much unbiased information and I found that it really helped me with my own struggles with feeding when my baby arrived. As part of the workshop, they invited two new mothers to come with their babies and speak about their experiences.

As I had found this so useful, I offered to come back and speak at their next workshop with my DD about our experience.

At the workshop I was speaking at, this time round the session leader was someone different who I believe might be the co-founder of the organisation or something equally high up.
While the slides and materials etc were exactly the same as the workshop I had attended, I found this group leader to be absolutely awful. The information she was giving was so blatantly biased and came across so strongly as 'you must breastfeed from the breast always and if you don't you are wrong'. She shut down any questions about breast pumps etc by saying 'why would you bother? Just feed from the breast' and called formula 'awful'.

Would I be unreasonable to complain to the organisation? It seems bad that the same workshop is delivering a totally different message by two different leaders from the same organisation with presumably the same training.

TheCatInTheSquare Sun 19-May-19 18:56:27

If they are meant to be giving unbiased information then yes I'd complain.

parabailarlabamba Sun 19-May-19 18:57:46


HavelockVetinari Sun 19-May-19 19:00:42

That sounds dreadful, do please complain. Breast pumping was utterly invaluable to me (and is to many parents). DS is still bf at nearly 2 years old, and shows no signs of quitting despite <gasp> having had occasional top-ups of formula which did not cause him to instantly lose IQ points and only eat sausage rolls from thereon hmm

Definitely complain, it's not acceptable to put those messages out there, and if for any reason bf doesn't work out her comments could easily lead to PND sad

Powerof4 Sun 19-May-19 19:02:49

YANBU - information is great, propaganda is worse than useless!

MagicKingdomDizzy Sun 19-May-19 19:03:11


Discounting pumping is really bad. My daughter was born with a cleft lip and palate and it is physically impossible for a cleft child to suck directly from the breast. I wonder what advice she would have offered me?

I would complain. She is doing a disservice to anyone whose breastfeeding journey is not straightforward and regular.

MindyStClaire Sun 19-May-19 19:04:11

YANBU. Taking such a strict stance helps no one. Besides, I know of at least two women whose babies struggled to latch and so they exclusively pumped, one until the baby finally did latch after a couple of months and the other is still pumping more than six months on. That's superhuman effort and it's awful to think any woman in that room who made that choice would have this woman criticising them in the back of their mind.

AnneLovesGilbert Sun 19-May-19 19:05:48


You know how it might have impacted on your experience and expectations if you’d gone to that session instead of the one you did. Good honest support is so important!

HolyMilkBoobiesBatman Sun 19-May-19 19:06:11

Yes i would complain.

I breastfed both of my children but DC1 was premature, sick, tongue tied and initially tube fed.
Breastfeeding was a battle from day one and DC was always supplemented with formula to ensure they were getting all the nutrients and calories that they simply didn’t have the energy to fully take from the breast. I also pumped for almost a year.
After all the SCBU time and struggles with DC health my mental health was balanced on a knife edge. If someone had told me that how I was feeding my baby was wrong and that the formula (which was prescribed by a paediatrician) was ‘awful’ it would have probably tipped me deeply into PND. I already suffer with anxiety and PTSD.

I think people in this position need to understand the power their words can have, particularly given it’s probably safe to assume that most if not all of these women were hoping to breastfeed. If it doesn’t work out for one reason or another some women can really struggle with feelings of guilt and this sort of attitude really plays into those (entirely misplaced) feelings.

Needcoffeecoffeecoffee Sun 19-May-19 19:11:50

I think you need to be careful how you word it. If it is the co-founder and a very militant pro breastfeeder your complaint may cause the other session leader to be told to leave.
I don't think YWBU to complain but a constructive approach about how useful you found the advice about breast pumps and how it can help people continue feeding may get a more receptive action

I wouldn't mention formula at all. I work with a very pro breastfeeder who openly refers to it as poison and thinks it should be double the price. I'd mentioned in a complaint letter she would focus on thag one word nothing else

Littlebelina Sun 19-May-19 19:12:08

Complain. Although I understand ( but don't entirely agree with) a breastfeeding workshop not giving info on bottle feeding, telling people bottle feeding is wrong and formula is awful is really off and potentially harmful. With DS I ended up in tears because I gave a bottle of formula as an early top up as I felt like a failure due to messages I was given in pregnancy (a nice midwife helped me and I ended up breastfeeding him for nearly a year).

The not pumping bit is just daft, there are loads of reasons why expressing might be needed, special care babies, feeding issues or just mum having to go back to work.

Needcoffeecoffeecoffee Sun 19-May-19 19:12:37

*if not I'd

Celebelly Sun 19-May-19 19:15:07

Ugh. Pumping is the only reason I'm now able to breastfeed my DD. For the first six weeks she physically could not latch and pumping kept my supply up until she was able to. I'd love to hear how this woman would respond to that. Also formula helped top her up on days when I couldn't pump enough. How awful...

horizontalis Sun 19-May-19 19:15:12

Yes, I'd complain, because there may have been women attending who might not be able to breastfeed after all (for whatever reason) and they will now have been made to feel absolutely terrible about it.

AgentCooper Sun 19-May-19 19:18:00

YANBU. And I say complain.

I am still breastfeeding my DS at almost 20 months and it’s great. But without pumping and formula top ups in the early weeks, to get his weight up and allow me the tiniest bit of extra sleep as I was losing my mind, I would not still be breastfeeding today. I doubt i’d have made it past 6 weeks.

pigsDOfly Sun 19-May-19 19:24:15

Yes, complain. Breast feeding is frequently difficult and newly bf mothers need all the helpful information and support they can get. This women sounds the opposite of helpful. Being so rigid helps no one.

My DD trained as a bf counsellor, NHS not private. Sounds like that might be something you might find interesting OP.

marvellousnightforamooncup Sun 19-May-19 19:27:54

That kind of breastfeeding militancy is counterproductive. Breastfeeding is really hard and the last thing a new mother needs is added guilt and pressure. DS didn't gain weight for 6 weeks after birth and I had a horrendous time with mastitis and cracked nips. My shitty, hippy, home birth midwife hammered it home that I had to keep trying and formula was the devil. After six weeks of misery for me and ds, I broke down in front of my GP who was great. She sorted my mastitis, encouraged me to give one formula feed a day for a bit and pump. DS gained weight and was happy, I was pain free and was able to breastfeed him for 14 months. More importantly, after ds regained his birth weight, shit midwife signed us off and was replaced by sensible health visitor, happy days.

marvellousnightforamooncup Sun 19-May-19 19:28:30

Sorry, that was long and paragraph free. blush

stayhomeclub Sun 19-May-19 19:29:37

I went to a breastfeeding workshop at my local hospital. It was horrendous, formula is ‘inappropriate’, women got caught up with feminism and actually the best place for us is at home feeding our babies, breastfed babies walk sooner (maybe they do but so what). Basically along with all the other health facts, the attitude of the class leader was that those who do not breastfeed do not have the best interests of their child at heart. The actual practical advice was helpful but I walked out thinking what the hell was that and had a little cry later on thinking what if I can’t do it and am not good enough sad

MichonnesBBF Sun 19-May-19 19:32:59

Yeah I remember attending one of those through 'Sure Start' 10 years ago. I came out really angry and frustrated at the whole bloody thing.

The leaders opening words were , whilst frowning and wrinkling her nose up "Why do you think women don't breast feed", I vocally made a list, she asked if this was a second pregnancy as I shouldn't really be there if it was. Ummm no it's my first. She then asked my occupation (Early years practitioner/nursery nurse) replied "I see", that was it.

Moved on to how she gets incensed at dolls being sold with bottles, I jokingly asked if it would be appropriate to have plastic boobs in the box (no-one laughed except my husband a little to loud which made me snort blush? Mmmmm not really but young children will mimic their mothers and pretend to breast feed". Ok then hmm

One of the two parent speakers I used to know in our younger years and she knew that I knew she did not breast feed her first child, in fact she was quite vocal as to why she would not (her body her choice, dad can do his fair share)

Well what a rant she had about women not trying and it's a shame that statistics are so low, attempting to do it is no hard ship because she did and it was fine, however she then admitted that to become a parent speaker you had to breast feed for a minimum of 12 weeks so that's what she did. Another parent to be asked why she stopped and she said it was because her child was a very hungry baby so could not keep up with demand and mentally she struggled towards the end.

The whole thing was bull shit and I came out feeling really angry for all parents to be and the judgements that were already being made.

DISCLAIMER: I do not judge anyone who does or does not breast feed or for however long they choose to do it for, I however do not need to be educated or ranted at for other peoples decisions or opinions.

Scoutingaround Sun 19-May-19 19:33:22

YANBU. Without my breast pump and formula I would have:
A) ended up in A&E with sepsis (very narrowly avoided)
B) would not be breastfeeding (with a bit of formula) now.
Ignorant stupid woman.

Dueinnov19 Sun 19-May-19 19:38:19

Its tricky.... it's a breastfeeding class and therefore that is the focus. However I get where you are coming from.

I attended a similar class run by midwives, it was helpful and informative and although they touched on other methods the message was breast is best and you must preserve. I went away thinking if I couldn't breast feed I would be a failure.

I fed back to the midwife that the class was good but how it made me feel and I thought the approach could be more gentle and encouraging.

Siameasy Sun 19-May-19 19:43:44

Yanbu she is over the top
There are ways of getting the message across without being so black and white
Wonder if she has ever breastfed or had a kid🤔
Another one here who, due to early baby and jaundice used formula top ups, nipple shields and expressed and BF till DD was three so🤷‍♀️
Advice needs to be relevant to the world we actually live in

TheBigFatMermaid Sun 19-May-19 19:54:25

Complain for me please OP!! My DD2 was born and taken to SCBU 60 miles away, after a few hours of breastfeeding as she was so ill, she was dying. I was not well enough to go with her. I tried and I tried to pump and failed.

I even kept trying the next evening when I joined DD, I still failed. I have vivid memories of a lovely MCA trying to 'milk' me and failing. The conclusion was that the shock of DD being so ill made my milk dry up!

No lectures would have helped!

Purplegecko Sun 19-May-19 19:58:00

"why would you bother" because my baby didn't latch. She eventually did when her mouth became bigger but with HH breasts, it was what it was and I had to pump. I also had shared custody and her dad was able to have her and feed her breastmilk because I pumped.
I used to think formula was awful but god, it's not my business. Some women really want to BF and can't and aside from breast milk donations, formula is there to FEED the baby. Definitely complain. My NCT leader made me feel like I was doing an amazing job by pumping, whilst I had been feeling like I'd failed.

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