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The 'breastapo!'

(50 Posts)
twinklegreen Tue 05-Jul-11 22:27:03

so does anyone else feel their blood boil at the use of this phrase?? Also similar terms such as the breastfeeding mafia, breastfeeding nazi's.. Etc etc.

As far as I am aware, I sit in a room twice a week, try to keep my kids entertained, on the off chance that someone will walk through the door needing help. If they come I will do my best to help them, sometimes I don't think I said the right thing/didn't know enough, that is why when I get my three kids (5 and under to bed) I spend a few hours studying breastfeeding issues ( not every night! There is wine grin) Plus, spending hours and hours on admin for the local breastfeeding support group.

I give so many hours of unpaid labour, supporting the nhs, who quite frankly should be training midwives and health visitors better. angry

But at the end of the day if you manage to help one woman, give them the support needed to succeed, then it's worth it smile

That is why I get SO offended when we are called derogatory names, and especially likening us to the Gestapo the mafia! I am 100% certain that I have never masterminded mass genocide or taken innocent people's lives, nor have I ever even pushed my very strong views on anyone.

The way I see it is that if someone comes to a breastfeeding group they are coming for support with breastfeeding which we will give them, whole heartedly. Please do not judge us for being 'anti-formula' we are never going to say it's the best thing for your baby, because biologically it isn't! However if that is what you decide, we will respect that it is completely your choice, as a mother to make.

YES we really do believe 'breast is best' in fact we believe it is normal it is the benchmark to measure everything else upon, BUT please don't judge us for having strong views on the subject, if we didn't then we wouldn't be giving up our free time, putting our husbands/partners in a bad mood, doing lots of hours for no pay... On the off chance that when someone really needs us, we'll be there, with correct (up to date) information and a lot of support!

Ok, rant over smile

TheRealMBJ Tue 05-Jul-11 22:35:46

I feel it too twinkle. But then you know that already grin.

It is just projection though, isn't it?

And you are right, we (bf supporters in general) are SO careful about not offending anyone. And we don't go around judging other mums. We are so careful of providing 'opt-in' support, so that only mums who actually want to bf supported, yet we are accused of pressuring mums, or setting impossibly high standards angry.

twinklegreen Tue 05-Jul-11 22:43:08

realmjb grin x

kimberlina Tue 05-Jul-11 22:43:21

I'd ignore the people using these terms - they're probably just unhappy that BFing didn't work for them or embarassed that they didn't try.

If it wasn't for lovely people like you twinkle sitting in that room, then I certainly wouldn't still be BFing 8 months on.

TCOB Tue 05-Jul-11 22:44:42

twinkle - coould not agree more. It is shite that the sisterhood doesn't exist at all when it comes to BFing, whether they choose ot do it themselves or not. BFers seem over-deferential to everyone else's choices but are called all kinds of incredibly offensive names if we dare to defend/ explain/ just be proud of what we do for our children. You will of course be shot down in flames for your opinion no doubt, as are countless BFers on this site.

I reckon within about five posts the FFing 'Nazis' will be along, regular as clockwork...if there's such a thing in the BFing world, then my God it's there with militant FFers as well. Here they come - am now going to dodge the stampede of 'How dare you judge me, blah blah blah.'

Luckily there are also some very mellow FFers and BFers around as well who just do their thing smile.

twinklegreen Tue 05-Jul-11 22:58:52

kimberlina I agree that a lot of the bad feeling, is essentially, about breastfeeding not 'working' and it does cause people alot of heartache, and I know that many people trying to bf are really trying to to do the best for their babies, but if people were given the right support at the right time many more would succeed..

TCOB believe me, I can take it! I wouldn't have started this thread otherwise wink I also agree that there is alot of very mellow bf/ff out there, I count myself as one of them smile

twinklegreen Tue 05-Jul-11 23:06:04

kimberlina forgot to say... It's lovely to hear 'we' made a difference smile really does make it worthwhile.

HipHopOpotomus Wed 06-Jul-11 00:29:48

Too many people have chips on their shoulders about BF V FF!! It makes my blood boil that all too often when a positive comment is made about BF or a womans enjoyment of the BF experience, it is swiftly followed by accusations of trying to make formula feeders feel bad about themselves. If you really feel bad about FF, then look elsewhere - BFers simply aren't out to get at you. Really they aren't.

OP what you do is brilliant. 1000 thank yous.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 06-Jul-11 06:46:03

When ever i hear those terms i just think the person using them has ishoos. They can completely undermine someones "ff was the right choice for me" statement in my eyes.

If so, why the grudge?

The sad thing is ime very few women actually have a choice about how they feed their babies. Most i know want to ebf or mixed feed. But lots end up ff due to poor advice or support. I think the anti-bf comments are often a defensive reaction to this.

It reminds me of racism really (this might seem extreem but it's all prejudice). There is a real problem in peoples lives (lack of housing or jobs/lack of support for bf) but the blame for the problem is misdirected (toward minority groups/bf supporters)

The fact is that most bfers are very supportive of however mothers feed babies because we are so painfuly aware of the failings in "the system," be it lack of proper mat pay, knowledge or a supportive larger society.

The myleen klass comment reminded me of a school kid who'd come up with a clever zoygma and wanted to get a reaction. Pathetic and demostrates a complete lack of understanding about what happened in WWII sad

TheRealMBJ Wed 06-Jul-11 08:34:04

I think Myleen Klass is painfully aware that her income comes from a fan base of both bf and ff and as she is bf herself she is petrified that she will put of ff's, so, she makes these uneducated comments to try to protect herself.

That's my take anyway.

WoTmania Wed 06-Jul-11 08:56:43

I can empathise with that. I'm a LLL L and I'm there to support mothers who want to BF. I'm not going to force anyone to do anything and how they feed thir babies is up to them.
I am not, however, going to sit there and 'oh yes, yes of course FM is as good as BM' if it comes up in converstaion. It isn't and I'll give facts. All about informed choice and support with that choice.

WoTmania Wed 06-Jul-11 08:58:38

P.S I don't post as a Leader as mumsnet is my 'just a mum' space smile

TheRealMBJ Wed 06-Jul-11 09:01:38

So, so true WoT I try not to brooch the subject with friends and family either but if they ask me about my voluntary work and start quizzing me, I'm not going to placate them (some have ff) by saying something like 'Well, you did what was best for you' etc, or say that ff is as good as bf. As that is simply not the case. I will, however, empathise and try to explain that they received incorrect information or poor support,*if they ask*

chloesbaby Wed 06-Jul-11 09:07:07

I'm baffled by the terms too. I have no expertise - I'm just a mum six months into breastfeeding, and so naturally I've met a lot of HCPs and other mums. Not once has anyone said publicly or privately anything remotely critical or pushy about those who use formula.

I find it really disappointing that there seems to exist an imaginary barrier between mums of babies who choose different feeding methods. I've got friends who breastfeed and friends who bottlefeed and each have their own personal reasons.

Breastmilk may be better for babies, but breastfeeding doesn't necessarily make you a better mother. I think most sensible people know this smile

CamperFan Wed 06-Jul-11 09:22:54

I completely sympathise OP, and completely agree Moonface that the anger is misdirected, and they have ishoos. I think quite often when a woman has "failed" to bf, the breastapo comments are used to justify their decision to ff, suggesting anyone continuing to bf when it is tough going, is somehow a smug extremist.

OP, I am going to do the training in a couple of months to be a peer supporter on the basis that if I help one person do it, then it will be worthwhile, so you are doing a great job smile. What some people should realise that often the people who decide to become supporters/councillors etc are the ones who struggled and know how difficult it is. With DS1 I mix-fed from 3 months and he was ff from 5 months after so many problems with bfing, this time round I am still bfing at 8.5 months, also after a shaky start, so I feel like I can really help someone else. Quite how someone could view me as a breastfeeding nazi though is beyond me.

I also think the actual terms are really offensive, not just the implication and just make the user sound stupid, imo.

peedieworky Wed 06-Jul-11 09:32:42

I couldn't have survived without my peer supporter. 6 and a bit weeks later she still gives me valuable support. What I found unhelpful was the attitudes of the in-patient midwives who had to follow the policy line in relation to BF - which meant when I was struggling post emergency section, my milk hadn't arrived and my big baby boy who had a tongue tie was screaming 24/7. I was given a huge guilt trip for offering 20mls formula from a cup. In the end it settled him for a few hours and meant my stress levels reduced enough to feel strong enough to continue with BF. My peer support worker supported my decision when I told her. My midwife informed me that just one gulp of that formula had "cancelled out any benefit all that breast-feeding had done"...angry

SmilingandWaving Wed 06-Jul-11 09:54:25

I partly agree that it's often those with ishoos around bf that use the terms but I was surprised (& upset) to hear one of my childless 'friends' tell me I sounded like a bf nazi when I told her how pleased I was that we'd finally got bf sorted at 8 weeks. I'd never voiced an opinion on formula and was responding to a question. She then went on to tell me how it was pointless to bf past 2weeks, it was disgusting & you'd never catch her doing it. I counted to 10 whilst repeating twat in my head, smiled at her and changed the conversation. I put it down to her not knowing what the fuck she's on about being uninformed, and I avoid seeing her now.

I think the media has a lot to do with the term becoming acceptable. I also didn't feel like I could pull her up on her use as I would just be accused of being smug & she'd feel she'd been proved right.

I'd also like to say I think bf supporter do a fab job, if it wasn't for all the rl help & the advice on here I wouldn't still be feeding my 6month old ds.

Think I might start using the term 'formula favela' to describe areas with low bf rates & see if it catches on as much (disclaimer: this is a joke, I don't care how you feed a baby as long as you feed it).

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 06-Jul-11 10:24:29

Peedieworky and smiling it's interesting and sad imo that you have both recieved hurtfull and ill informed nonsense remarks about feeding your dc's...peedie to the affect that any ff is harmfull angry smiling to the affect that bf is harmfull.angry

Just goes to show how much crap is out there, even among hcp's.

Peedie i hope you didn't take that bitch's mw's remarks to heart, she was of course talking rubbish. I wonder how many women give up bf like remarks like that that paint it as pointless and unworkable. sad

God i hope i don't spout crap about things like that smilling...the scary thing is the unknown unknowns iyswim.

CamperFan Wed 06-Jul-11 10:36:21

Nice friend Smiling!

I was thinking about the whole thing some more and we should stop even mentioning these terms - the "breastapo" do NOT exist, its a media term invented by journalists who have to fill their magazines and newspapers with the same old rubbish day after day, so they have to invent more ways to describe the same thing and write the same articles. Articles which annoy people and start a debate generate more sales. It's all rubbish.

cocoachannel Wed 06-Jul-11 10:42:13

I have a friend who is FF as she just couldn't BF after 3 weeks of trying and lots of help. She overheard two bfing mothers saying her bottle feeding her 5 week old was 'tantamount to child abuse', as they sat nursing in a coffee shop. This is the type of comment which I know would never be made by the posters on this thread but exemplifies why this image has been ceased upon by the media. These terms are clearly wrong on many levels but are directed at those who DO judge and make people who can't BF feel like they are failing their children at the first hurdle. TCOB mentions the 'sisterhood' not exisiting when it comes to BFing, I think this works both ways, and as mothers we should simply support our peers regardless of their personal choices.

Personally, I have just moved to bottle feeding after four months of EBF (for reasons I have discussed ad nauseum so won't go into here) and am much more self-conscious bottle feeding in public than I was breastfeeding as I feel people are judging me for not bfing my baby!? Clearly my issue...!! But as a first time Mum I have been really shocked about how judgmental SOME mothers are. It seems to go well beyond the feeding issue. Unless you are doing things in exactly the way they are, you must be wrong. I wonder what happened to trusting our instincts about what works best for our own little families?

SmilingandWaving Wed 06-Jul-11 11:02:36

MFM I'm confused by your last sentence, DS isn't sleeping well at the moment so my brain takes a while to wake up.

I think everyone feels judged as a mother no matter what they do, these women clearly have no idea if they think its child abuse. But I still don't think the term should be applied to them as there are plenty of perfectly good words already available. I quite like the word 'twunt' at the moment, think that would suit them.

I think people using it even legitimately just gives others more reason to use it when it'd completely uncalled for.

cocoachannel Wed 06-Jul-11 11:10:21

Smiling- yes, I think 'twunt' is perfect.

bumperella Wed 06-Jul-11 11:20:58

I tried to BF for 7 weeks. Her Ladyship NEVER EVEN ONCE latched on properly, so I was expressing milk and giving it her in a bottle for that time. It was horrible, and I was a maniac for continuing as long as I did; it was precisely because I know that breastmilk is best for her and becuase I felt that FF was a "second best". It was a horrific time, feeling like I was a failure and then making the decision to give up.
I went to a breastfeeding cafe thingy,where people were INCREDIBLY helpful and kind, even when I had to whip out the bottle to feed the baby not one person looked disapproving: I reaslied then that feeling self-counscious about bottles was my "ishoo" and nothing to do with anyone elses' attitude.
Despite how awful those first couple of months were due to the breastfeeding problems, I would never have anyhting but praise for the people who tried to help me.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 06-Jul-11 11:47:47

smiling sorry, was rushing as ds was waking up (the cheek shock wink )

I just ment clearly your friend feels like she knows what she's on about enough to voice an opinion, but doesn't realise how woefully ill informed she is. I wondered if there are areas of life where i think i know enough to have an informed opinion but i'm unwittingly talking crap. Does that make sense?

Now that i know a bit about bf i see loads of holes in media stories and things people say, and so wonder how bad they are at getting facts straight on other things, where i don't have enough knowledge to spot it...i think the two are related. The thing is you don't know what you don't know...rumsfeld's unknown unknowns.

Tangent. Sorry smile

peedieworky Wed 06-Jul-11 12:04:13

mfm I still get angry now! What made it worse was that my hormones/sleep deprivation etc etc meant that, instead of the well balanced, informed retort I had in my head to rebuff her utter shite statement..I opened my mouth & burst into tears. She gave me a totally condescending pat on the shoulder, thinking I was crying at the realisation that I had bumped Rose West of the number 1 terrible Mother slot...

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