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I'm a bit sick of something and I'd like you to help me...

(39 Posts)
hunkermunker Tue 07-Aug-07 16:36:50

I'm pretty keen to support women to breastfeed [understatement]

Anyone like to ask me why?

Or perhaps you already know my reasons - want to tell me what they are?

Because I'm quite peed off with the "some breastfeeding evangelists, the fuckers" tone of posts after recent debate re formula advertising.

JeremyVile Tue 07-Aug-07 16:41:35

Well thanks for the invite, but as i said on the other thread - your choice is your choice and mine is mine.

You dont need to explain your reasons for your choice at all.

lulumama Tue 07-Aug-07 16:43:05

in all fairness, the posters who refer to BF mafia / nazis / evangelists and other unpleasntness, are not going to care what your reasons are...and you won;t convert them

i;d save your energy !

hunkermunker Tue 07-Aug-07 16:43:08

I'm not talking about the reason for my choice, I'm talking about posting on here, supporting women in RL, being involved with maternity hospital, etc, etc.

It seems your POV is that you decided what you decided for your own reasons, it worked for you and everyone else should do the same.

It doesn't work like that for everyone.

filthymindedvixen Tue 07-Aug-07 16:43:56

hunker, I'm actually interested in why you are so evangelical. (and i don't mean that in any negative way.)

so go on then, I'm biting (even though I don't need convincing to b/f by the way..)

JeremyVile Tue 07-Aug-07 16:46:03

But Hunker the other thread was about advertising of formula.

I dont believe it should be illegal, i also think that your support of breastfeeding mothers is fantastic.

The two views aren't mutually exclusive, so please dont assume that being pro advertising means being anti BFing.

flowerybeanbag Tue 07-Aug-07 16:46:06

hunker am posting on this thread as you requested, I don't think advertising formula should be banned.

I do know why you support women to breastfeed, I know all the benefits, and wish I could breastfeed DS.

I do think there are some breastfeeding evangelists who go over the top. I don't know whether you are one of them, I haven't read your posts on breastfeeding, but there are people like that, who do pile on the guilt and are not interested in supporting women who can't breastfeed, or are struggling, instead insist that everyone can do it, and people who give up are not trying hard enough etc.

I feel strongly that this is Britain in the 21st century, formula companies are there to make a profit, whether or not we approve of their product, and should be allowed to advertise (within strict guidelines, no giving out freebies etc).

The problem is that breastfeeding isn't publicised and 'normalised' enough, not that formula is advertised, imo.

(sorry for essay!)

SeamonstEr Tue 07-Aug-07 16:46:25

some one needs to give us all the info and help we may need, i bet you have helped loads of people, and if some one needs a kick up the arse then so be it. I will no doubt be requiring one soon when I start getting sore.

2mum Tue 07-Aug-07 16:48:02

I never had no desire to breastfeed my kids. I wasnt breastfed either, although my mother was breastfed. No one put me off breastfeeding i just never wanted to try it it grosses me out. That is my choice, i dont see why advertising formula should be illegal its part of life as there are many reasone why people cant breastfeed. Also there are different types of formula that if you are going to use would be useful to know what one to choose.

elesbells Tue 07-Aug-07 16:48:25

hunker im the first to support a woman to breastfeed but i think therein lies the issue...its support thats missing and i dont think banning advertising will make more women bf. i said on another thread earlier the midwife gave me a bottle to give to my dd3 when she was born and when i told her i was bf she said she would leave the bottle there in case 'i couldnt do it'

the help and support is needed in the hospitals and clinics. i was blessed where i live, as we have a bf nurse at our clinic, some areas do not and thats where it needs to change.

mawbroon Tue 07-Aug-07 16:49:18

Why hunker? <mawbroon takes the bait>

I phoned today to volunteer as a Breastfeeding Buddy. I am keen to help other mums, but to be honest, I don't actually know the reasons behind me being so keen, perhaps your answer might help me figure it out!

thomcat Tue 07-Aug-07 16:50:28

Agree with Jeremyvile.
I'm well up for BF and have supported friends and talk about the benefits with my pregnant mates etc etc and I supoport those who do more to support others, iykwim, but don't see why advertising formula should be illegal. I breastfed my DD for 6 months and then went back to work and found it impossible to exclusivley breastfeed her once I returned to work so had to mix feed her. Making formula ads illegal makes it feel dirty and wrong and makes me feel uncomfortable and that can't be right.

tigerschick Tue 07-Aug-07 16:54:10

I wish that I had a) been able to breast feed my dd or that b) I had been a regular on here when she was born. I was unable to feed her as she was becoming malnourished and was dehydrated to the point of having to be readmitted to hospital at 3 days old.
I was made to feel like I had failed her. I hated having to ff her. I wish that I had had the strength and knowledge to put up more of a fight.

I agree that people need to support bf and help in any way they can but it needs to stop short of criticism.
Hunker, I am interested in why you, and wnyone else, are so keen in bf and would like more support if/when I have another dc.

WanderingTrolley Tue 07-Aug-07 16:58:07

Look here hunker

meandmyflyingmachine Tue 07-Aug-07 17:00:04

I think anything that encourages a sort of 'siege mentality' is counter productive. It gets people's backs up. It seems disproportionate to the perceived risks. (You may disagree about the actual risks, but I am talking about perception.) If a ban could just slip in unannounced, then it might be different, but it wouldn't. There would be much hoo-ha.

I think it's a bit like negative election campaigning. It often bites you in the bum.

SeamonstEr Tue 07-Aug-07 17:10:41

I had a bf expert telling me I would never feed my ds1, and I didn't because I had no help what so ever. Had I had some one like hunker helping I may have fed him and ds2 sucessfully. I had better luck with dd, but more luck than judgement and gave up quickly, again having had no help. I still feel very guilty about all three, and if I felt some-one was being unfair or slagging me off re ffing them I would get upset.
This time I really am determined and I have mumsnet to help me.

hunkermunker Wed 08-Aug-07 02:04:38

I'm passionate about helping other women to breastfeed for many reasons.

First of all, I strongly believe that, all other things being equal, it's best for babies and for their mothers to have and give breastmilk.

But I also strongly believe that there's not enough information out there for women to make an informed choice without doing their own research. Healthcare professionals are busy, often have limited knowledge themselves and without knowing where to look, or what to expect, it's hard to know what you should be researching.

I believe that the UK society isn't geared up for breastfeeding, certainly not past the first few weeks, and I think that it's criminal that 90% of women who stop breastfeeding in the first six weeks of their baby's life do so against their wishes. The fact that only 1 in 4 babies is having any breastmilk at all at six months and more than 90% of babies have formula at one stage or another also demonstrates how ingrained giving formula is.

Formula manufacturers spend almost £20 per newborn baby marketing their product. The Government spends about 80p per baby marketing breastfeeding. So I'm not sure that anyone can complain that breastfeeding is "pushed" on them. And this brings me to what often irritates me about this whole debate - yes, I breastfeed, yes, I support other women to breastfeed where I can, but I don't do it for any reason other than that I feel that women often get a raw deal with breastfeeding support in this country and if I can help stop that, in some small way, then I will feel quite happy about that, because breastfeeding, when it's going well, is a really nice thing to do.

But the implication is so often that for some reason I and other supporters of breastfeeding are trying to make women who feed formula feel bad, or wrong in some way.

I have nothing against formula or women who feed their babies with formula. I do wish that the breastfeeding campaign had the spending power of the formula companies, definitely.

I object to formula being advertised for many reasons, not least because the adverts don't actually tell you anything useful and I don't think that's helpful to a woman trying to choose the best nutrition for her baby.

What I would like to see is a total ban on formula advertising (including in professional journals - in fact, especially in professional journals), follow-on and growing up milk banned (they are unnecessary products) and, in my ideal world, all midwives, health visitors, paediatricians, GPs and any other healthcare professional who has contact with babies to have full training on all things breastfeeding.

I would also like to see more information for mothers about the normal course of breastfeeding and give them the confidence to diagnose their own breastfeeding "hiccups" without telling them they ought to top up with formula at the slightest sign of a dodgy weigh-in one week, or stop breastfeeding if they need to take antibiotics of antidepressants, as well as the knowledge of when a problem needs extra help from a professional (such as with a severe case of mastitis or thrush).

Also, if workplaces provided better facilities for women to express and store their expressed milk and there was more information about how to manage working and breastfeeding, more women would have the confidence to start breastfeeding - so often I hear women say there's not much point doing it, since they'll have to give formula when they go back to work - I do realise it's not always possible to keep breastfeeding once you return to work, given the nature of some employment, but more women than currently do would be capable of it, given the right support and knowledge.

What I really object to is this spurious argument that somehow by allowing formula advertising to continue, you're helping women have a choice, when, in fact, all you're doing is making very sure the formula manufacturers can use their rather large budget and their very sneaky tactics to undermine women at their most vulnerable time.

But mostly, what I really want, is for women to be able to make decisions they're comfortable with, based on up-to-date information. I do get very sad reading the wistful "I wish I'd known then what I know now" posts on here. I don't want women to regret anything about the early days with their babies - and that 90% figure bothers me greatly, because that's a lot of regret.

welliemum Wed 08-Aug-07 02:36:54

<<resounding applause>>

Hunker, I agree with you 100% and I'm a nitpicking opinionated b*gger so that's really saying something.

What especially makes sense to me is your clear separation of information and advertising.

Formula advertising tells you nothing about a) what formula is made of or b) what effects (good or bad) this might have on your baby's health.

Yet this is absolutely rock bottom basic info that every ff mother has a right to know. Instead, ff mums are being fobbed off with vague claims about a particular brand being closer than ever to breastmilk and made-up ingredient names like "immunofortis".

Advertising isn't just different from information: it's the opposite of information. Advertising is intended to sway you to buy something, no matter what the facts are. Information tells you the facts so that you can decide.

Thanks for that post Hunker: I can see that your stance on formula advertising is totally consistent with your mission to inform and support people who want to breastfeed. Advertising formula is the opposite of what you're working towards.

eidsvold Wed 08-Aug-07 03:06:10

hunker - I am pro breastfeeding and have fed dd2 and am feeding dd3 HOWEVER circumstances meant that I could not breastfeed dd1 - would have given anything to be able to do it. I expressed for about 8 weeks and then could do it no longer.

I appreciate people who are evangelical about it BUT do not appreciate those who treated me as a lesser being for formula feeding my dd1.

You may not have treated me as such if I had encountered you at the time BUT those I did really gave me a hard time including challenging me for not trying to establish breastfeeding when dd1 was about 11 weeks old and finally thanks to cardiac surgery no longer ng tube fed. I was able to bottle fed my babe rather than have to put it down an ng tube. I was able to feel like a regular mum instead of someone to be gawped at or have people complain and point when I fed dd1 by tube out in public.

Here in Aus there is not the vast range that was available (formula) to me in the UK. There is some advertising but again not to the degree I remember in the UK.

I also feel there is a lot more support for breast than bottle feeding here in Australia. Information and clinics are more readily accessible, hospitals offer lactation services and you are informed of where to get the information and support. However I guess I am comparing that to having dd1 which was a totally different ballgame to having a healthy nt child.

There are women like you who are evangelical and supportive and then there are those who are evangelical and judgmental - doing no one a favour.

GooseyLoosey Wed 08-Aug-07 04:44:28

I have always tended to shy away from those who are evangelical in their support of breat feeding. If I am honest about why, it is because I gave it up with both of mine at around 5 months. I know that this was the best thing for all of us at the time but suspect that there may have been long term benefits which we missed out on becase of my actions (I have deliberately avoided any detailed consideration of these). Therefore I avoid "evangelicals" becuase you trigger feelings of guilt in me (and I suspect others) that I would prefer to avoid confronting.

That said, I still sudder at the terrible recollections of expressing breast milk in the loos at work and then being asked where I had been for the past half hour and sitting in a meeting feeling the norks getting bigger and bigger and being sure everyone was waiting with baited breath to see if there was a point at which they would burst. So while I do feel a bit sheepish in these discussions, I recognise the great efforts those of you who are passionate about breat feeding make and the great benefits it could have for people like me.

Carry on!

welliemum Wed 08-Aug-07 06:14:53

One of the things I like about MN is that it's pretty rare to see a poster here judging people for ff, and any newbie who does, gets very quickly jumped on by other MN-ers.

I know there are some very judgemental people "out there" but presumably they're too terrified of MN to make much of an impact here.

Let's keep it that way.

SauerKraut Wed 08-Aug-07 07:52:49

Hunker, do you have anything to do with the UNICEF Baby-Friendly Hospital Iniative?

purplemonkeydishwasher Wed 08-Aug-07 08:07:02

personally I'd have no problem with the advertising of formula IF the companies were forced to advertise breastfeeding as well.

eg: if they spend £20 per baby on advertising formula, as Hunker said, then they should have to spend £20 per baby on advertising breastfeeding as well. (or, in a perfect world even more than £20!!)

hunkermunker Wed 08-Aug-07 10:25:08

Thanks, WM

Eidsvold, I'm appalled people judged you with DD1 - it makes me very sad to hear things like this, largely because I am sad to hear how upset the person on the receiving end of the judgement is, but also in part because it makes my life harder. Every unsupportive comment made to a woman who is ffeeding (often reluctantly and feeling sensitive about it, so any comment is magnified) has an impact on the "bfing message".

GL, I think the way you feel is not uncommon by a very long way and I applaud you for posting about it. It's not easy to have such prickly feelings - I know there are things in my life I don't think about too closely because they're like probing an aching tooth.

PMDW, if advertising breastfeeding was left to formula companies, I'd be very uneasy about it. Very. They already try the "if you're having problems breastfeeding, phone our helpline, where there are trained midwives waiting to take your call" - some MNers rang one of them a while back and it wasn't long before those "trained midwives" were suggesting formula top-ups.

I can't make a comparison without upsetting somebody, but think about products and campaigns which are utterly at odds with each other and think about whether you'd let one company be responsible for putting the alternate message across...I know I wouldn't!

hunkermunker Wed 08-Aug-07 10:26:16

SK, not directly, no. Am involved with local hospital which is looking at implementing it. Why?

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