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NHS advice on duration of breastfeeding

(17 Posts)
minunnimi Fri 28-Feb-14 21:06:00

My ds2 had his 2.5y check today where as part of the discussion I said that he nurses on demand, which is usually before sleep and when waking up. This resulted in a lecture on how he no longer 'needs' breastfeeding and it has no nutritional value. I was also told not to nurse him when putting him to bed and that he 'must' be awake when he's put to bed. She then proceeded to say that I wouldn't want him to be calling me when he's 32 to be nursed to sleep angry

I found her manner so condescending and not interested in hearing anything I might want to say so I just smiled and nodded sad

When my son had his last check at 11m I was then also told (by a different HV) that he should not be nursing more than 2-3 per day. that time as well I just sat there like a lemon and said nothing sad

However, I did want to check what the official line from NHS is re duration of breastfeeding. I'm aware what WHO says but on NHS I could only find the 6m min ebf recommendation.

I'm probably too much of a coward to send any feedback to the HV office but it would be good to hear others' views and I'd be grateful for links on any NHS info thanks

SmileAndNod Fri 28-Feb-14 21:13:34

Indeed. Smile and nod! I think the NHS line is 6 months (ebf). WHO is longer (2 years?). If you're happy, and your child is happy what exactly does it have to do with the HV? I'm pretty sure that you won't still be feeding him to sleep at 32.

I would complain, but then I'm a bit grumpy today smile

SmileAndNod Fri 28-Feb-14 21:17:21


EeyoreIsh Fri 28-Feb-14 21:17:47

Sounds like you've just encountered a few unenlightened health visitors. I saw our local infant feeding expert this week who gave me the WHO advice, suggested I expressed and froze milk for when I return to work and reminded me of my employer's duty to me as a breastfeeding mother. So the advice isn't all bad!

crikeybadger Fri 28-Feb-14 21:20:25

Agree with SmileandNod. If you didn't ask for help with feeding to sleep and natural term breastfeeding then the HV should keep her nose out.

OnTheRunAndUpTheDuff Fri 28-Feb-14 21:31:01

Ugh. Why do hv's (and other hcp's if it comes to that) insist on giving 'advice' in areas in which they have no expertise?

Current guidelines are exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months, breastmilk should be the major part of the diet till 12 months with the gradual introduction of other foods. This balance should then slowly shift, but breastfeeding should continue, preferably until the child is AT LEAST two. There is no reason at all for it not to continue beyond the age of two. All children will eventually wean, if for no other reason than the shape of the jaw changes with the arrival of adult teeth (at about age 6), making suckling impossible.

This is the current 'gold standard' advice based on the best evidence we currently have.

<steps down from soapbox>

catkind Fri 28-Feb-14 21:38:45

From NHS choices:
"You should continue to breastfeed or give your baby infant formula until they’re at least one year old. Breastfeeding will continue to benefit you and your baby for as long as you carry on."

Whiteshoes Fri 28-Feb-14 21:39:31

Argh! Such arse. By the way, I nursed mine to sleep and guess what, she can get to sleep herself now. Just nonsense.

I got told off by a pediatric consultant who saw me bf my 9 month old. 'There's no need to do that anymore.' I so wish I had corrected him in front of his gaggle of students when he told me WHO guidelines were for only 6 months... grr.

gamerchick Fri 28-Feb-14 21:43:09

just smile and nod if you don't want to say anything.. or you could comment that you're astounded at how much ignorance you come into contact with on your travels with a grin.

yanno.. I fed mine till 3 1/2 and funny enough he goes to bed - awake on his bedtime each night without any (usually) fuss and sleeps all night.

I'm pretty sure advice is for a minimum of 2 years... just carry on the way you want.. they all stop eventually.

moondog Fri 28-Feb-14 21:43:35

She is talking total crap and speaking in contravention of international recommendations. Since when was the mammary evidence of a bovine superior to a mothers milk? FFS.
And they scratch their heads and wonder at dismal b/feeding rates around the world. This woman is paid to give you correct advice and isn't. As such she is not carrying out her job properly. Please raise it when you are ready or she will mess up some other poor woman.

icanmakeyouicecream Fri 28-Feb-14 21:53:24

She is talking complete nonsense.

Totally smile and nod, but ignore. You're doing a grand job!

tiktok Fri 28-Feb-14 22:13:13

Please don't smile and nod.

Call, email or write and complain.

You don't need to be rude or angry.

Present it as useful feedback which will help them provide a better service.

Starballbunny Fri 28-Feb-14 22:18:37

Sadly my own, DFs' and MN's consensus is..

Never ever tell a HV you are still BFing a child over 6m.

Only ever tell a GP/hospital doctor if you need a prescription and then only after researching the most likely drugs for your condition yourself.

The level of knowledge about BF amongst HCP is appalling.

Starballbunny Fri 28-Feb-14 22:23:44

I do know a dr. who BF her DD at least until 3, but she is a palliative care specialist, so sadly unlikely to educate many GPs and health visitors on the subject.

minunnimi Sat 01-Mar-14 06:14:18

Thank you so much everyone for your replies, you can always count on getting moral support in here smile

I will send them some constructive feedback abd will update my post if/when I get a response.

smileyhappymummy Sat 01-Mar-14 06:22:35

I am a GP sat here feeding my 17 month old on waking! She will be bf till she self-weans.
And I teach medical students so am trying to re-educate....

Seff Sat 01-Mar-14 08:57:54

I have an almost 4 year old that is still sometimes BF to sleep, but for the most part goes to sleep perfectly fine on her own. Sometimes, I'm not even there!

Just to be perfectly clear, she's 3, not 32! ;)

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