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Anyone hear the Woman's Hour debate this week?

(11 Posts)
CaptainWarbeck Tue 09-Feb-16 10:57:15

Long discussion with various experts and callers in, all very interesting to listen to. Podcast is good, I do recommend.

BUT did anyone else get frustrated with the presenter saying things like 'well of course you do get very hungry babies who may well need to be weaned at 4 months' and insinuating that as evidence changes all the time it's fair enough not to pay much attention to the WHO guidelines (exclusive breastfeeding to 6m and continuing until 2yrs).

I also felt that if the experts they called in couldn't even agree on basic issues such as tongue tie and women's basic ability to produce enough milk, then what hope is there for all of us!

Thank god for MN, that's what I say. Reading this board totally supported me through breastfeeding.

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Tue 09-Feb-16 11:15:33

I listened to that. I thought that the message they were trying to convey was that all women and all babies are different and that one should not be too prescriptive about how long one breast fed for. The message I took away was that ANY breast feeding is a good thing - and that women should not feel bad/inadequate because they had ONLY breast fed for a few weeks. Some women give up before they start because they think I can't cope with this for six months. So I felt that was quite a good message.
Btw after a number of DC I think the exclusive breast feeding to six months works with some, but not others. Had to give that idea up with DS2 when he started snatching food from the table.

HuckfromScandal Tue 09-Feb-16 11:26:45

I actually found it annoying.
The woman who kept on about the "traditional" method got on my nerves.
My eldest is 18 and certainly the Breast is best message was very much in evidence then, and has not only been pushed in the last 10/15 years as she indicated.

I felt heart sorry for the woman who phoned in saying that she had been in pain feeding for a whole year with her first and was 5 weeks in with her second and it still hurt. Poor poor woman!!

My experience was that even with a good latch, it did hurt for several days until I got used to it, and I never had a latching problem with either of mine, so I think that that message almost sets women up to fail.

SunnySomer Tue 09-Feb-16 11:44:30

I agree with Drinkstoomuchcoffee that the aim was to stop women feeling they'd failed for not doing it for the "right" length of time, in the "right" way etc. Experts disagree on everything and we can only do our best - and I think it's good to know that all mothers and all babies ARE different.

For what it's worth I didn't breastfeed at all - was on a new and relatively untested anti-epilepsy drug and was advised not to breastfeed. For lots of reasons this was an excellent decision for my circumstances but I have never felt so judged or inadequate in my life - by NCT people (who said there was "no point" me attending the session about post-natal baby care if I was going to choose not to breastfeed), by the La Leche League who told me they thought my hospital consultant was wrong (what would a neurologist know about anti-epileptic medication after all?), by random women, eg ex-colleagues of MIL who'd quiz me on it.
Grrrr. Still angry 9 years down the line. And the obese, underachieving child that I was promised seems not to have materialised ....😀

tiktok Tue 09-Feb-16 11:47:52

Haven't heard it - may listen on podcast.

Huckfrom, I feel strongly that women should not be told it is normal for it to hurt. It is common and yes, often the pain goes....but it is not inevitable, and thinking that pain is normal sometimes means women don't ask for help, and just put up with it, until their nipples are shredded and agonising.

whatevva Tue 09-Feb-16 11:54:24

My eldest is 18 and certainly the Breast is best message was very much in evidence then, and has not only been pushed in the last 10/15 years as she indicated

It was certainly around in the '70s hmm

CaptainWarbeck Tue 09-Feb-16 12:34:54

Tiktok I definitely got the message through that breastfeeding wasn't supposed to hurt and was then a bit confused when I had pain during letdown at the start, only to be told that that was normal by a midwife.

I suppose it did benefit me though in that I would unlatch DS when it continued to be painful and try to get a better latch. 8 months on I've almost forgotten all those latch issues as it's so easy.

I couldn't understand the caller who said breastfeeding was time consuming and it just wasn't always sustainable with busy lives. Whether you're feeding a baby with a bottle or a breast surely you still have to sit down with the baby and do it?

Junosmum Tue 09-Feb-16 12:54:48

Captainwarbeck- I don't have to sit down to feed and often empty the dishwasher, make a brew and sort the washing whilst breastfeeding so I don't know what that woman was talking about.

I agree with drinktoomuchcoffee. Each baby is different and WHO guidelines are just that, guidelines. There IS evidence that weaning before six months can cause allergies however there is also evidence to the contrary, so much so that the whole of Scandinavia reccomends weaning somewhere between 4 and 6 months DEPENDING on the child's needs and has the lowest levels of allergies in the world. What grates me is that randoms on the internet (and in RL) feel that they know the child better than the parent and when experts dismissed concerns of new mothers, such as pain with breastfeeding despite an apparent good latch (undiagnosed tongue tie, cracked bleeding and very sore nipples) - the experts aren't always right. I've been very lucky DS latched virtually perfectly immediately, no issues of supply or blocked ducts and minimal pain, particularly once my nipples had hardened. But it isn't like that for everyone and some people make out like it is or should be.

Bue Tue 09-Feb-16 13:12:46

Yes OP, I agree, why the hell was Jenny Murray spewing loads of guff about 'hungry babies' and giving the BF supporters a rather hard time?! It was a bit bizarre and I was getting rather ranty. (Although I do agree that early weaning is sometimes appropriate, it was just the way she put it!)

I was also highly irritated by the breastfeeding counsellor as well as the doctor (was it a GP?) who was discussing tongue tie and said that the benefits of BF weren't known until the 90s hmm

However I did think the takeaway message was good, that we should perhaps stop setting women up to fail by emphasising 6 months and instead encourage small goals and the fact that any breastfeeding is a good thing.

I wish they had entered more into the cultural factors surrounding the low BF rates in the UK though. There is something much more going on than just a lack of support. The support is patchy in other developed countries too but their rates are higher - as the La Leche leader pointed out, American women regularly combine return to work and BF and do it very successfully.

CaptainWarbeck Tue 09-Feb-16 13:31:43

Yep bue I thought the la leche league woman was being set up as a mad ranty breastfeeding woman when actually she was just advocating more support.

Spudlet Wed 10-Feb-16 16:35:55

I found it really interesting to listen to. I do think there is a lot of pressure to breastfeed and variable support. I've been very lucky to have support (and a midwife who taught me the apparently old-fashioned way to latch). It still hurts though if I have engorged boobs - I have flat nipples, so the boy has to draw them out, and if I'm really full I can't help him as my boobs won't squish enough! Once he's done that, it's fine, not painful at all. But the first 30 seconds of a feed can be toe curling. I've had our latch checked and it's fine. It just is what it is. There's no damage being done as far as I can see and feel, so I just grit my teeth then breathe a sigh of relief when things ease off.

I totally agree with the person who said that looking down the barrel of six months is too long and puts people off - I initially aimed for a week. Then up to six weeks. Now I'm there, my next goal is three months. Then we'll see. I also half expect to start weaning before 6 months as DS is huge and hungry - but we'll see how we get on. I also think there should have been more said about the pressure to stop breastfeeding - my DM is horrified by the thought I might continue once teething begins and wants me to say I'll stop then. And of course breastfeeding in public can be stressful - although so far, my experience has been a positive one. But it took a bit of working my courage up to get on and do it.

I think it was good that the presenter was pointing out how apologetic many callers were about not breastfeeding - we should surely celebrate everyone who tries and support them, not make them feel like failures if for whatever reason they don't continue. And we should remember that women have had to fight for centuries to control our own bodies and that in many places in the world, we still don't have that control - and therefore support each others' decisions about what we do with our own bodies.

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