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Sarah Vine's piece in the Times re: breastfeeding

(23 Posts)
FrumpyPumpy Wed 22-Jun-11 09:40:39

Anyone able to c&p here? Kirsty alsopp mentions on Twitter but not going to suscribe for 1 article. Yes, I could walk to shop and buy, but 41+2 and waters going and feeling crap so would rather not!

FriskyBivalves Wed 22-Jun-11 09:48:59

Here you go...

Breastfeeding helps you to lose weight? Not if you eat like a 17st darts player
Yesterday morning a weary Jane Garvey dutifully dedicated a large chunk of Woman’s Hour to National Breastfeeding Week. The conversation was dreary: medical benefits, the difficulties facing midwives, cuts, rights of the baby, bonding, evils of formula milk, yadda yadda. I had to make myself two strong coffees just to stay awake.
And yet, breastfeeding is a lively issue, as evidenced by several impassioned e-mails sent in by listeners. Women at that stage in their lives are obsessed with it: how to do it, when to do it, which is the best nipple cream (Kamillosan), do cabbage leaves work on sore breasts (not in my experience) and how to maximise milk production (fennel tea).
I should say at this point that I was lucky. I gave birth to two greedy little monkeys who knew exactly how to find their way to the feeding station. Our house was like a full-blown dairy in the first weeks and months of their lives.
But the thing is this. There were times when I really wanted to give my children formula milk. Times when I longed to have a few hours off from being half cow, half woman, reclaim a bit of dignity and leave the house in an underwired bra. And that, for the breastfeeding lobby, is bad.
The scenario that the breastfeeding zealots (or, as Myleene Klass described them yesterday, the Breastapo) like to paint for anyone even contemplating the bottle is nothing short of apocalyptic. New mothers are extremely vulnerable, often quite fearful creatures, and Breastapo strategy is to exploit this, ruthlessly. Favourite sticks with which to beat new mothers include:
If you don’t breastfeed your baby will get sick through lack of antibodies. Mmm. My son regularly drank his own weight in breastmilk and still contracted a very nasty infection at the age of four months. If it hadn’t been for our brilliant GP, who diagnosed mastoiditis (inflammation of a bone behind his ear), who knows where we’d be today. The sanctimonious health visitor who frowned at my back-up packets of Aptamil certainly didn’t spot the problem.
Mixed feeding (bottle and breast) is bad. No it’s not, it’s the key to being able to breastfeed for longer. Women are supposed to breastfeed until their babies are at least six months old, right? Fine. But there’s a big difference in the amount of milk that a three-week-old needs and the amount a strapping five-month-old can put away. A bit of top-up formula can make all the difference between a few hours’ peace and the howling void of insanity that is a hungry baby.
Breastfeeding helps you to lose the “baby weight”. Not if you develop the eating habits of a 17st darts player to produce enough milk. Habits that tend to stay with you rather longer than you’d planned.
Breastfeeding helps you to bond with your baby. True. But it can also give you dreadful udder brain — imagine having really bad PMT all the time, coupled with a chronic inability to find the house keys. That was my experience of it, anyway. When I stopped, it was like a thick fog had finally cleared.
The fact is, breastfeeding is a vital part of being a mother, but some women struggle. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s easy: look at childbirth. If the breastfeeding lobby stopped being so stubbornly prescriptive, they would have a much better chance of achieving their goal — to get the majority of babies on the breast. As it is, they just make me — and many others — want to switch off

FrumpyPumpy Wed 22-Jun-11 09:54:37

Thank you, will retire to bed and read!

ReshapeWhileDamp Wed 22-Jun-11 09:58:15

... Oh, pffft. hmm Yet another piece that thinks it's Oh! so original to bash breastfeeding mothers. We could play BF Bingo though: how many factual inaccuracies can you spot?

Oh, and has My KleenAss had a go too? Remind me who she is and what she's famous for again, will you?

(Thanks for the C&P, FriskyBivalves!)

crikeybadger Wed 22-Jun-11 09:59:25

Interesting how many bovine references there are. confused

and I hate the word breastapo angry

rant over smile

RitaMorgan Wed 22-Jun-11 10:08:29

It is like these articles are written through some random breastfeeding article generator isn't it grin

No one ever told me mixed feeding was bad, and pretty much all the breastfeeders I know used some formula.

lilham Wed 22-Jun-11 10:10:10

Another piece of crap really. Of course breastfeeding help you lose weight in the sense that it burns more calories. Why would you eat like a 17st darts player? It's like saying going to the gym doesn't help you lose weight coz you need to eat a chocolate cake afterwards!

EldonAve Wed 22-Jun-11 10:13:51

crap article
agree about the BF bingo

FriskyBivalves Wed 22-Jun-11 10:21:27

I think a few knee-jerk reactions here. Sarah Vine has made the point that she did breastfeed and felt fortunate to have done it successfully while not always enjoying it...equally, says others struggle and are often made to feel like failures by hvs etc. Fair points. Seems pretty balanced to me, and certainly not "bashing" breast-feeding mothers.

She's a columnist, after all, not writing a Dep of Health press release.

EauRouge Wed 22-Jun-11 10:36:56

Same old, same old. Actually I think RitaMorgan is onto something with the BF article generator grin

Seriously though, it is sad that so many of the things Sarah Vine thinks about BF are inaccurate. Giving HCPs proper training is one thing but it'll take a while to stamp out all the old wives' tales.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 22-Jun-11 11:03:42

Just marking my place, will be back later.

friendcat Wed 22-Jun-11 11:16:23

I don't think articles by people who do/don't or like/dislike breastfeeding are helpful in any way, to anyone. The trouble is, they invariably come out when a good proportion of women who have recently given birth are scratching about for all and any information that will help them to get on with or without breastfeeding. The media are shameful. Why publish articles bashing breastfeeding advocates ("breastapo"!!) during Breastfeeding Awareness Week?

KvetaBarry Wed 22-Jun-11 11:22:44

I think this article says it all for me.

friendcat Wed 22-Jun-11 11:42:20

Kvetaberry - Good balanced piece. If you have to read anything!

lol-ed at "...whether your breasts have seen active service "
Help For Heroes, anyone?

WorrisomeHeart Wed 22-Jun-11 20:23:41

Thanks for the link kveta, good article.

HowBreastfeedingWorks Thu 23-Jun-11 08:05:35

Thank you for sharing the piece I wrote on the Breastapo thing, Kveta. War and hate language v inappropriate if we are wanting to improve things. Sadly some seem just to enjoy the rucking - and perpetuating the fight with pieces like this.

NightLark Thu 23-Jun-11 08:23:27

The only thing in that article I can relate to is not loosing weight while BF.

I think my problem with it is it sets women up to assume they will feel 'bovine' and somehow oppressed by having to BF. I loved it. Found it very freeing not to have to worry about feeds, ever. Milk always on tap, unlimited quantities, no sterilising.

It gives a very one-sided view, ironically what she is complaining about.

And I bloody hate 'breastapo'.

VeronicaCake Thu 23-Jun-11 08:24:59

You have to worry about people who think encouraging mothers to breastfeed is equivalent to advocating genocide.

It isn't that bad an article I guess the only annoying bit is the anecdote halfway through. Sarah Vine can't really be stupid enough to think that a single case rebuts mountains of evidence on how much breastfeeding reduces the risk of infectious disease in the first year of life. And that evidence really is overwhelming, this is a good example.

tiktok Thu 23-Jun-11 08:25:58

One of the things I don't get is that using formula is supposed to be something women are not allowed to do, or who are judged for doing, or who have to hide that they're doing....but something like 99 per cent (literally) of babies have formula milk at some stage of their lives. This fact is missed by commentators of Sarah Vine's ilk. So whatever 'pressure' is out there not to do it, ain't working.

No evidence, BTW, that using formula prolongs breastfeeding. Speculation, yes, and individual experiences that suggest combined feeding might in individual cases ensure a baby is fed while bf is fixed, but no evidence that mothers might sensibly be advised to use formula for this purpose as a routine.

It's also tiresome to note that she makes so many errors that rather underline the point that even breastfeeding women are uninformed about quite basic facts - and as for 'udder brain'.....what sort of woman-hating phrase is that one?

peanutdream Thu 23-Jun-11 09:13:36

"Mixed feeding (bottle and breast) is bad. No it’s not, it’s the key to being able to breastfeed for longer. Women are supposed to breastfeed until their babies are at least six months old, right? Fine. But there’s a big difference in the amount of milk that a three-week-old needs and the amount a strapping five-month-old can put away. A bit of top-up formula can make all the difference between a few hours’ peace and the howling void of insanity that is a hungry baby."

Oh dear. Formula is the key to being able to breastfeed for longer?! sad sad How does this rubbish even get published?

peanutdream Thu 23-Jun-11 09:15:10

'As it is, they just make me — and many others — want to switch off' Why would what others say influence such a personal and intimate decision? I really don't get that at ALL.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Thu 23-Jun-11 19:52:04

blah. Cow references really piss me off. What happened to all the other mammals? Not to mention that people have been lactating for longer than there has been a dairy industry. Infact, i wonder what evolved first...cows or modern (wo)man?

Love the bf article the daily mailomiter somewhere out there in t'inter land!

TheRealMBJ Thu 23-Jun-11 23:14:03

<sigh> sad

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