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BREAST FEEDING AS A SUBJECT IN SCHOOLS?

(56 Posts)
GEM33 Sat 22-Sep-12 21:02:40

Hi, I'm not a political person, I'm not intellectual, I'm not a hippy type or radical about anything. I consider myself to be an average jo. I dont have a problem with people who have to formula feed, however recently, I am getting on my high horse about breast feeding.

When I was pregnant I decided I would ebf mainly because my mum ebfd me and we are told breast is best. Other than this I knew nothing about bf. I think in my life (other than my mum) I only recall ever seeing maybe 2 women bf in public.

Baby arrived, the midwife shoved her on my boob, without waiting to give me chance to go step by step how to do it. I ended up with a bad latch, massive cracked nipple and thrush. After seeing several mid wives, I went to a lactation consultant who showed me how to latch on properly (11 weeks old).

Ive now been bf'ing for nearly 10 months and have found that in my area there are only a handful of other bf'ing mums.

My issues are to do with attitudes and knowledge/ I now get comments from people,
ooh is she getting enough now shouldn't she be on a bottle?.
Or,
urgh, youre STILL bf'ing?
I have met soooo many mothers who say, "oh my god bf'ing no way thats disgusting" or
'my baby was premature my milk didnt come in \or
I tried but I stopped bf'ing because I had a hungry baby it fed all the time.

I had a meeting with work recently about my return and the overall impression given was, well, youre baby is on solids now, as if why bother with the bf'ing and a complete lack of knowledge, I was told to ask my health visitor what times I should express my milk so I could tell work what times I need to express when I go back?!!!

This thread isn't about me personally, please dont comment about my rough start, Im over it. This thread isn't to make ffers feel bad and I'm not judging.

What its about is, how can a human basic function suckling young like all mammals do be so alien to some people, and so little knowledge about it?
we dont bat an eyelid seeing a sheep feeding its lamb, dog with puppies etc.
Aren't we going wrong somewhere if mothers are saying "urgh bf'ing yuk". Should we be teaching kids at school about b.fing or making it a part of the antenatal presentations and then when it comes to having a baby people can make an informed choice.?

Maybe this is just a problem within my area, I dont know?! I wish bf was seen as normal and not cause this odd feeling I get from most people as if its strange or family members thinking Im a possessive mother for wanting to bf.

chocoluvva Sat 22-Sep-12 21:22:43

I was shocked by my own lack of knowledge/skill when I had my DCs and the perception of BF-ing as middle-class, health freak, hippy or whatever.
What a great idea to include it in school education IMO (not exactly sure HOW though). Also, it might counter some of the over-sexualisation of breasts.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 22-Sep-12 21:30:19

I am a science teacher and I advocate Breastfeeding in Year 7 reproduction and Y8 Food and digestion topics.

I impress on them that bf is normal and natural and the perfect nutrition for a human baby. I don't have a lot to say up front, so most of the teaching will be done asked on pupil questions.

I don't see a lot of value on teaching about latch etc, as this is a craft that needs to be dealt with at the time, and will also make BF appear to be difficult.

GEM33 Sat 22-Sep-12 21:34:40

Totally, choco, I agree. Also, It doesn't help when the media reports on stories of bf'ing 7 yr olds and put the mother in a provocative pose on front pages.

GEM33 Sat 22-Sep-12 21:40:27

knowsabit-wow really thats good to hear. I agree about the latch thing, I dont think that is something you can go into until youv'e actually got a baby to latch on!! As I say, I dont know if the attitudes Im encountering are just in my locality and maybe things will be different with the next generation if as you say, kids are getting an input at school about it. Thanks ;-)

chocoluvva Sat 22-Sep-12 21:41:55

I know, that's just sensationalist nonsense isn't it ?
I also had a nightmare time BFing DC1 and I'm convinced if it was portrayed as a normal thing that (virtually) every mum will do I wouldn't have had such problems. I had only ever seen a mother BFing twice before I had my first DC. (I'm quite old, but not ancient!)

JollyToddler Sat 22-Sep-12 21:46:16

I've said before on here (probably under a different name) that I BF because I have huuuge boobs and I decided that carrying them around for the past 10 years or so would have been a waste of time if they couldn't at least be useful.

I also wanted the best for my child. I am still feeding at 17months. I don't know anyone else irl who is still feeding. I'm a pretty confident individual though so it doesn't matter to me what anyone else thinks.

We've overcome lots and lots of problems to get to this stage and I am so proud and pleased to be here. I don't feel self conscious about it at all. I don't talk about it evangelically but if anyone mentions bf or asks about bf I am happy to tell them.

GEM33 Sat 22-Sep-12 21:49:31

yes, thats partly what Im getting at, that if bf'ing was the 'norm' there would be more support in general around us. explaining to your boss on return to work about bf'ing/expressing might be easier. I knew nothing about bfing before dd arrived. I wish someone had told me before (like when i had antenatal checks)that newborns can have a leaky gut which makes ebf'ing ideal for the first 6 months, or that if youve been bf'fed you are more likely to have a healthy pregnancy/baby. that it effects IQ. that babies cluster feed and when you feel like your always feeding thats just them getting your milk supply right. etc etc

OodHousekeeping Sat 22-Sep-12 21:50:37

Dd1 covered (vv basic) breastfeeding inher yr6 sex ed.
It's a different school nurse doing it now and it's not covered.

feekerry Sat 22-Sep-12 22:33:55

Well something needs to be done! Tbh I think its awful the way bf is viewed. I'm 6 months into ebf my first dc and I never thought i'd feel in a minority. I went to a party the other day and there were other mothers there of children of various ages and the comments I got varied from - I couldn't bf my dc as I hate the thought of them starving in the first few days- to - I weaned my dc at 15 weeks as my milk dried up- i'm sick of going on about it now so I just keep my mouth shut but it really is disgusting that we have these views.

Nigglenaggle Sun 23-Sep-12 08:16:10

I think it must be an area thing. Here it has gone too far the other way, and mums who choose to formula feed are practically demonised. I think we should have lessons at school on minding your own business ^^ Its everyones own choice how they bring up their child. Seems no-one can do what they want without someone thinking its their right to have a go at them for it. I breast fed to begin with and can honestly say never had a single person make a derogatory comment. No problem feeding in public we have a BF friendly town centre. But have had a few disapproving glances since switched to formula - from people who no nothing about me, my circumstances or my baby.

crackcrackcrak Sun 23-Sep-12 08:30:22

Of course it should be covered in schools. Especially now formula advertising has increased so much recently.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sun 23-Sep-12 08:34:33

Some people cannot breast feed for medical reasons,feel really really bad about it, and use the platitudes and daft reasons you stated because to tell the truth would leave them emotionally raw and exposed and in tears.

Just to give the other side of the coin. If you're going to teach breast feeding in schools, given that most babies end up on formula, and there's so much confusion around how to make up and store bottles, should you also be teaching bottle feeding?

nomoreminibreaks Sun 23-Sep-12 08:47:51

I think it's true what mydog says about using those excuses when in fact they stopped BFing because it just hurt too much and they couldn't cope. It could have been me in different circumstances.

I think I found BFing so important (and normal) because my mum raved about how great it was when I was growing up (she stopped at 11 months with me I think but apparently loads of kids my age were FF and thought my mum was weird). I think you take what's 'normal' from what you grew up with. If your own mother didn't BF or had some outdated idea about it being wrong (eg starving them for the first few days) then a lot of the time that must give you your impression of BF.

Maybe our kids will see things differently if we teach them about it ourselves?

To answer the OP though - yes I think we should teach it in schools. It normalises BF. Good point about covering FF though.

MarzipanAnimal Sun 23-Sep-12 08:48:15

I agree. In biology we learnt about all the body's systems: digestive, respiratory, reproductive, nervous etc. The lactational system is the only one I can think of that was left out. Why?

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sun 23-Sep-12 08:54:59

Marizpan - maybe because the lactational system only affects females, and the others affect both genders?

I don't know what the answer is (I BF mine very successfully BTW) but I know someone who really genuinely COULD NOT breastfeed for medical reasons and was devastated and gutted and used to use the "oh no I like my husband to be involved" line to people she didn't really know who seemed to think (at baby groups and stuff) that it was OK to ask her why she wasn't BF. And I just think if BF had been taught at school it might have made her feel even more of a failure. I'm rambling I know. I just don't know. Yes I think BF should be more "normalised" for want of a better word, but there are women for whom it is never going to work, never going to be an option - and given that most babies do end up on formula and there is so so much confusion about making up and storing and sterilizing bottles, that should be taught too.

OodHousekeeping Sun 23-Sep-12 09:00:14

I don't think it needs to be covered in detail like the othe systems.just that the most natural way to feed baby is bf and that the WHO recommends up to 2 years. Also then saying v few women can't bf but people choose to ff for other reasons . Normalising bf but saying its ok to ff. some debate over bf in public might be useful as usual reaction is urgh but lots of the time you don't actually notice.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sun 23-Sep-12 09:04:07

BTW sorry to take issue but whether or not you've BF has very little to do with whether or not you have a healthy pregnancy or baby and I really really find that statement a bit off. From your post GEM at 21.49

"if youve been bf'fed you are more likely to have a healthy pregnancy/baby"

that is quite frankly a load of bollocks.

crackcrackcrak Sun 23-Sep-12 09:51:28

Most babies end up on formula? Evidence?

Teaching bottle feeding in schools would make teaching about bf a bit pointless.

I understood the op to mean general information about the biological function and process of bf so that when the pupils go on to face children at least they have some basic understanding of body function in the same way they have Learnt about digestive/reproductive organs etc

How has this thread turned into 'ooooh you can't talk about bf the ff don't like it meh' already? Thought police.....

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sun 23-Sep-12 09:58:46

I did not say that BF could not be talked about. confused I BF my children. I support BF. But the bottom line is there are mothers who cannot for whatever reason BF, feel really bad about it and use platitudes and daft reasons so as to cover up their feelings to relative strangers.

there's the numbers from Kellymom on BF rates

And I am not thought police. You are twisting and misrepresenting what I said - or rather that I didn't say.

And I'd like to see these figures and stats that will prove that my daughter is going to have a healthy pregnancy and baby because I BF her.

crackcrackcrak Sun 23-Sep-12 10:02:52

I didn't say anything about pregnancy. Afaik bf reduces some kinda of female cancers. Bf affecting of is news to me.

It's gets v wearing that bf can only be discussed in one context now. Bf rates are a worldwide and national health concern and need to continue to be addressed by the government and health agencies - despite it 'offending' ff

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sun 23-Sep-12 10:09:52

I BF my children. If I had another child tomorrow I would BF that child. My 2nd child I BF until she was over 3. I am not in the least offended by BF. BUT there ARE mothers who cannot for whatever reason BF. There are also parents (most parents if the stats are to be believed) who are going to end up FF.

BF can't be "taught" in school - you need a real live baby of your very own to do that - but yes it can be explained that the natural way to feed a human baby is to BF. But at the same time, there are hundreds of posts on here from mothers who don't know the best way to prepare formula - so if you're going down that route, couldn't how to prepare a bottle, should you need to, be included too?

And I am struggling to see how I am being thought police in saying that.

DilysPrice Sun 23-Sep-12 10:34:41

Ff technique does not come under the heading of human biology, hence should not be taught in biology classes any more than nappy changing apart from a statement that it is now available as a way to keep a baby alive if bf is not possible. Bf is a basic part of human biology, and quite a lot of people are pig ignorant about it, including the future fathers and friends who will have a good deal of influence in whether a mother tries or succeeds in bf. so yes, a brief introduction in human biology lessons would be a good thing.

Teapot13 Sun 23-Sep-12 10:35:42

I would definitely support the idea of learning about BF in school. I cannot understand why it would not be covered just like all the body's other systems.

I find it much, much more upsetting, however, that so many HCPs seem to have no knowledge whatsoever about BF. People post on here all the time about crap advice they get from all sorts of people who ought to be able to help. It's as if BF were not a proper part of human health. I guess this reflects the attitude of society as a whole, which might be helped by adding it to school curriculum.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sun 23-Sep-12 10:36:53

Agree about biology classes, but I thought the op was talking more generally in school?

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