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Article on BBC news today about why mums stop breastfeeding ...

(6 Posts)
sheeplikessleep Sat 20-Aug-11 09:55:54

www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14578500

Interesting angle about how there is immediate support at birth about breastfeeding (and rates of initially starting feeding have gone up), but that this isn't followed through to the first few weeks / months. Good to get it in the media how pragmatic support is lacking.

BertieBotts Sat 20-Aug-11 10:17:50

I think it's a mixed article. It has parts which highlight the lack of support, and it's definitely true that more promotion is not what we need, but also seems to imply that many women encounter problems which aren't fixable (which is only true due to the lack of support) but the article isn't explicitly connecting these problems and the figure of 90% of women stopping before they wanted to with the lack of support. And then it tails off with saying there isn't anything we can do and perhaps women should lower their expectations. Sigh.

It's better than the articles that spout on about low rates as though promotion is the problem, but nowhere near the kind of awareness we need in the media yet, sadly.

Mollcat Sat 20-Aug-11 10:25:40

Glad to see this on the BBC but have to disagree with the researcher from University of Kent. Sure, what she's saying isn't wrong as such, but she's not offering much in the way of solutions. I think she's right about social pressures (finding it "unpleasant") and difficulties with lack of support at home especially when there are older children to look after ("worked for the first baby but not the next") but having identified that there are obstacles her approach is akin to the throw-your-hands-in-the-air-and-tell-the-woman-she's-tried-ever-so-hard support at lot of us have received.

However, "A lot of women are saying they had the advice and information they needed, but breastfeeding just wasn't working"... well, if breastfeeding wasn't working, then clearly they hadn't had the advice and information and support they needed. I think she's missed the point a bit there really.

What would more pragmatic look like? Only BFing on a Tuesday and Thursday? Milk production doesn't work that way as I understand it.

And as for "Just do the best you can and stop when you feel you want to stop." Grrrowl. You forgot to add "happy mum = happy baby" at the end there, Dr Lee.

BertieBotts Sat 20-Aug-11 10:45:48

I would be really interested to see what research she has actually done which came up with that conclusion, TBH. Information and advice varies massively - and the "advice" most women encounter is that from their midwife and health visitor neither of who have much training in breastfeeding as standard, and perhaps a baby book or two - and the bestsellers are not known for their fantastically correct breastfeeding knowledge. If you don't know that there is other support out there, you might well say "Yes, I received enough advice and information", not realising that perhaps the advice you received was misguided or the information incorrect.

sheeplikessleep Sat 20-Aug-11 10:56:58

I think there is enough information and advice about importance of breastfeeding and its benefits. I just don't think there is enough pragmatic (or maybe practical?) support to help mums overcome the very normal 'issues' that come with the breastfeeding, particularly first time feeding.

I agree that I think the whole 'do what you can' message is a bit stupid. Surely the focus should be on making sure mums are getting enough long-term practical support about positioning, information about the fact newborns feed 24/7, that topping up with formula affects supply /demand balance and some sort of message about confidence in their own bodies (granted some women can't breastfeed, but only about 3% as I understand?).

However, a lot of my friends did say 'breastfeeding didn't work for me', that is something I hear a lot of. I think what's important is why didn't it work and implementing supportive strategies. I agree that the last line is frustrating ... do what you can and then stop. And yes clearly, the right information and support isn't getting through.

BertieBotts Sat 20-Aug-11 14:59:55

See, that "information and advice" referred to in the article is so vague. You've taken it to mean information and advice about whether to breastfeed, why breastfeeding is good, health benefits etc, and I'd agree that there is easily enough of that around. But I also think "information and advice" (and support of course which is so important) could apply to the kind of information and advice one might find on mumsnet, or in a decent book about breastfeeding, or by talking to a trained breastfeeding counsellor, or by speaking to other experienced breastfeeding mums. And I don't think there is enough of that around, or at least, I don't think it's accessible enough to mums. It's been mainly through the internet that I've come across the knowledge that such a thing as a breastfeeding support group existed, or that HVs may not always be well informed, or that the advice my mum gave me might be outdated (she was told to only let us feed for a maximum of 20 minutes on each side).

Literally the only other form of dedicated breastfeeding support I was aware of (without hearing about it through the internet) was the NCT bfc who attends the local NCT baby group, and that was only because I did NCT classes. Even then, the reason I thought to phone her when I was struggling was because helplines are constantly mentioned on online forums. If I hadn't have been reading that so constantly, I probably would have forgotten that she ever gave us a phone number to reach her directly.

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