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Grace Dent - "Offering poorer mothers £200 to breastfeed is barmy, middle-class lactivism"

(17 Posts)
littleomar Thu 14-Nov-13 13:39:40

She is funnier on Thronecast.

TheFabulousIdiot Thu 14-Nov-13 10:17:13

I used to like her but she's an idiot. Why did she write an attack on breastfeeding mothers and breast feeding and dress it up as a comment on the Breast feeding Voucher scheme.

Does she identify as a feminist? I fucking hope not!

Her article is factually incorrect and stupid. What a shame.

Best response in the comments was "Often, to me" - That summarises every Grace Dent article ever.

tiktok Thu 14-Nov-13 09:54:05

It's a feasability study, NotCitrus. The lead researcher explained this when I heard her interviewed on the radio. This means they are going to test its practicalities as well as the reactions to it.

Incentives to change health-related behaviours and to change attitudes is a strand of health and behaviour change that has worked well in other areas - the key to success seems to be careful targetting, where social attitudes are entrenched and hard to change.

In areas where breastfeeding initiation and maintenance is very low, practical help, knowledge and well-trained HCPs only scratch the surface, because all of this does not go anywhere near combatting the attitude that bf is disgusting, weird, hippyish, perverted...and even women who want to breastfeed find all that a lot more powerful than anything else.

I have no idea if the vouchers-for-breastfeeding is workable or effective. That's why they are starting with a small study.

It really has nothing to do with women 'being made to feel guilty' for formula feeding. In areas where breastfeeding is seen as odd and unusual, guilt for formula feeding is a non-issue.

MorrisZapp Thu 14-Nov-13 09:32:40

I'm very wary of the idea that bf women just need support. I had support coming out of my ears when I was bf'ing. But support workers have to go home, and in the end it's just you, baby, and the boredom, pain and loneliness. No support in the world can change that if you're not enjoying it.

I'm in favour of gvt funded support for bf initiatives, but it is only half the story. You can't make people enjoy it or make them want to stick with it when their minute by minute reality is shit.

NotCitrus Thu 14-Nov-13 09:26:28

Has anyone got a link to the exact details of the trial and its Ethics Committee statement?
I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's actually a trial to see if dedicated support, which is so rarely actually available, can make a difference to rates of initiating and establishing breastfeeding, with women still participating in the trial (ie still attempting bf) getting vouchers to compensate them for their time and the inconvenience of having helpers and researchers hovering over them for a few months. If the participants quit the trial, whether bf or not, they wouldn't get the vouchers.
It sounds like a voluntary trial with incentives in proportion to the level of intrusion - given that the going rate for an hour of interviews tends to be a £10 voucher.

If it is in fact going to be policy in an area that all new mothers get this intervention whether they like it or not, then I'd be against it for all the reasons everyone else has given.

Blottedcopybook Thu 14-Nov-13 07:42:00

I agree with BusyCee - I didn't like the implication that there was something wrong with me because I had done my research, knew the benefits and actually breastfed the babies that I could. I had two who breastfed with absolutely no difficulties whatsoever, and two very problematic babies who needed a lot of help, support and guidance from breastfeeding counsellors. I love the idea of pouring money into initiatives to support breastfeeding, but why not put it into ward & community lactation consultants and support workers? I'd wager that any Mum who wanted to breastfeed but struggled would have found that far more helpful than the promise of £200 in six months.

chibi Thu 14-Nov-13 06:35:11

there might be a debate about whether women should be paid to breastfeed if this were happening across the country. hell, even across a county.

130 women might be tge equivalent of a very busy surgery.

hey, my surgery does some things i don't care for- let's have some outcry and media attention and multiple threads about it!

or not, because it has no effect on anyone else's life or gp experiences at all.

BusyCee Thu 14-Nov-13 06:19:55

(I know it's a study, but it's opened the debate again so surely it's ok to join in calm, measured and reasoned debate?)

BusyCee Thu 14-Nov-13 06:17:29

GD is a bit snotty and divisive in tone - and I usually like what she writes and how.

Isn't the bigger problem that there are so few accessible nonjudgmental BF advocates? So few of us have family with BFing experience that could give positive help and guidance when there are problems (meaning; if you want to continue here are some ways to make it easier/less painful/less stressful, and if you don't here's how to move to FF straightforwardly and happily). Rather than GD separating is into opposing camps it would be better, as said up thread, to see us all trying to do the best for our babies, finding different solutions but supported in whatever that may be.

For full disclosure; I fed DS1 until he was 16mnths. Have had an utter utter misery feeding DS2 (tongue tie; high palate; wind; constant vomiting) and was entirely ready to move to FF. Local BF counsellor was great, giving practical tips that really did make the difference while talking readily about how I could move to FF too. Gave me the confidence to give it try again, took away the fear and anxiety and made me feel that I had options , was in control. More like her would be good for everyone, no?....

...but guess what? Due to funding cuts she has left our local Surestart and her post isn't being refilled. Surely far better to adequately fund experienced, kindly, non-judgemental support than throw bags of cash at people?

chibi Thu 14-Nov-13 06:08:07

this is a study.

it involves 130 women.

it doesn't use any government money.

it has no implications for anyone's life, unless you are one of the mothers, one of the babies, or one of the researchers

oh, and me, who keeps getting annoyed because i keep seeing stupid articles by misinformed jerks with an agenda used by those with a personal issue about infant feeding to charge off into battle against a straw man. again.


dashoflime Thu 14-Nov-13 05:05:29

"If you are making yourself horribly ill, your baby is hungry and you're getting depressed over it then actually it's far from best."


People generally stop breastfeeding because its not working and their baby is crying with hunger and losing weight don't they?
What sensible person wouldn't provide an alternative in that situation?

thezoobmeister Thu 14-Nov-13 04:23:01

I agree that paying people to bf is an, er, interesting idea hmm

But GD was unbelievably insulting, suggesting that anyone with a positive view of bf is automatically a judgemental and bossy stuck-up snob.

Feeding babies is a minefield, we all know that. But it really doesn't help when trolls journos like GD make it out to be a war between mums. We are all on the same bloody side!!

forgetmenots Wed 13-Nov-13 19:09:29

Personally I support parents to feed their baby in the way that best fits their needs and circumstances. As long as baby is getting milk in a format that helps them grow then it's all good.

This. And a simultaneous well done on 6m bf Blondie.

NoTeaForMe Wed 13-Nov-13 12:57:18

Why should her life be like anything over then next few days? I think she made some good points. Everyone knows breast is best...but actually I think that's only true if it works. If you are making yourself horribly ill, your baby is hungry and you're getting depressed over it then actually it's far from best. I had a horrible time with my first baby, it's only looking back now that I realise how close I came to PND and that was down to the guilt of not breastfeeding like you "should" I missed special bonding time because the thought of her waking and needing feeding reduced me to floods of tears for a good couple of months.

How is money going to help? Surely there's better things for this money to be spent on...whether it be breastfeeding support workers or sorting out food and shelter for children.

I think the whole idea is ridiculous

SomethingOnce Wed 13-Nov-13 08:50:40

Some valid points aside, Grace Dent seems to have a bit of a problem with MC women.

BlondieTinsellyMinx Tue 12-Nov-13 20:13:37

Grace Dent is a feisty lass, I doubt a bunch of online moaning minnies will phase her much! grin

I think she makes a number of very valid points if you read the whole article, especially about child poverty. If she manages to open up an informed debate about that, then even better.

Personally I support parents to feed their baby in the way that best fits their needs and circumstances. As long as baby is getting milk in a format that helps them grow then it's all good.

Not everyone can breastfeed and for those women it doesn't work out for, the guilt can be crushing sad.... and I think the "breastapo" are responsible for a lot of PND sad

Oh, if anyone now feels the need to make comment about "projecting", I did feed my DD for 6m.

I'm just saying we could all do with being less judgypants about breastfeeding sometimes.

Blottedcopybook Tue 12-Nov-13 19:57:12

Clicky clicky

I don't envy what her life will be for the next few days...

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