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bf - the norwegian perspective

(44 Posts)
une Wed 09-Jul-08 21:20:00

Have been reading some of the different conversations on bf, and now I feel that it is time to tell how it is in bf-utopia wink
(and just so I have said this too: Just because we are good on this bf thing doesn't meen that we are the country of perfect kids and mums,- Norway plummeted on the Piza-qustionare this year again!)

For starters: Yes it is true that 98% of norwegian moms bf until we start the babies on solids between 4 and 6 months. Here bf is reagrded as the natural thing to do, and that there is a "choise" is close to impossible to grasp. The small persentage that doesn't bf are in general prohibited from it, due to baby beeing premature or other physical reasons.

I think maby the reason for the all over agreeement that bf is what we do, is because we have a wery standarised gowerment-controlled healthsystem, so that all doctors, midwives and every other person working with new mothers have the same approach. This means that we talk about bf already when pregnant at our monthly check-ups, and that we get proper guidance and help already at the hospital after giving birth. Every hospital in Norway also hand out a information-pamflet on bf to every mother.

Beacuse of all the information and focus on bf, "every mother" knows that bf is not just best for nutrition, but also is the best way to get back in shape after giving birth, keeping your baby healthy, bonding with your baby and naturally becomming mum - best person in the whole of babys world (this is of course beacuse of the wonderfull smell of breastmilk that one carries around)smile

moondog Wed 09-Jul-08 21:34:18

Very interesting une.

tb73 Wed 09-Jul-08 22:19:38

I am afraid that the British are repressed when it comes to breasts - or any part of our bodies!

I think that we need a more standardised approach here and better education too.

FairyMum Wed 09-Jul-08 22:23:56

Its also a generally better educated population which is easier to educate and inform.

Pruners Wed 09-Jul-08 22:26:16

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Pannacotta Wed 09-Jul-08 22:31:50

I think Scanidinavia generally is a much easier place to be a new mother in terms of breastfeeding, much better support and advice, no funny looks or comments, longer maternity and paternity leave, lots of women breastfeeding in public etc etc.
Wish the Brits would learn some lessons...

haditfortheday Wed 09-Jul-08 22:43:30

But how do the UK get there? It seems such a distance to go. Was there anything in govement that made things turn more towards bf?

tiktok Wed 09-Jul-08 23:10:17

Norway (and the Scandi countries generally) are indeed bf utopia compared to here

But the history and background is very, very different from the UK's and actually the rest of Europe.

None of the scandi countries was ever a bottle feeding culture in the way we became - yes, formula became more widely used for a short time but there never was a time when formula feeding was the norm from birth. In addition, formula manufacturers never advertised as heavily.

All the things you mention are also true, une, but they are not the whole story by any means.

welliemum Thu 10-Jul-08 03:53:36

Une, that's very interesting, thank you!

Do you have any links to bf information online for Norwegian mums? I'm interested to know what they say, and if it's different from the UK or NZ info. (I can read Norwegian so it's OK if they're not in English).

For example, I was wondering how people deal with common problems like sore nipples/difficulty latching on - what sort of advice would someone get for these problems?

FairyMum Thu 10-Jul-08 06:39:36

Mummyfor3 Thu 10-Jul-08 08:11:30

I have mentioned this here before: a Danish friend told me that Danish obstetric units (unsually midwife let) do not stock formula samples at all. Apart from the obvious reasons also to convey the message to new mums that BFing their newborn is the perfectly natural thing to do and that they CAN do it.
I cannot help thinking that this would be such an easy stategy to adopt and makes me wonder how big the enticements to hospitals by formula manufacturers are??
Having said that, I think I may have BF more successfully with DS1 if somebody had told me how hard it can be and how long it can take to get "good" at it...
^wave to all continental mums from German BFing mum^
PS: Nationality alone does not make you a successful BF grin

tiktok Thu 10-Jul-08 10:11:58

Mummyfor3, in times past, UK hospitals were permitted to make deals with formula manufacturers - the formula was given free to the hospital, usually in exchange for an exclusive presence...ask anyone who gave birth in a UK maternity hospital up to about 12 or 15 years ago (I am not sure when it changed) and they would have had one formula brand only available - obviously a massive advantage to the manufacturer.

Then under (I think but am not sure) under EU legislation, this was deemed to be uncompetitive and hospitals had to offer a range of brands and to pay a commercial price for them.

This is why in most maternity units you have a choice of mainstream brands.

Some UK hospitals get ff mothers to bring their own formula in with them, and they do not provide it themselves except in an emergency. I am not sure if this is a good idea - fine in Denmark, where everyone assumes they will bf, but not in the UK where a substantial proportion of mothers assume they will ff. Making mothers bring in their own formula with them rather paints the 'don't knows' into a corner and removes the possibility that they might give bf a go.

welliemum Thu 10-Jul-08 10:17:14

Thanks for the link, fairymum!

Have just had a little look at the website and so far so good - it looks very straightforward and factual. But YIKES! the pictures of sore nipples had me cowering in my chair with my arms around my norks....

It's good though that they're honest about the potential problems and aren't pretending it's all soft focus warm fuzzies.

It definitely has a "can do" flavour to it - which I suppose is what you'd expect in a place where most women are sure that they can do it.

VeniVidiVickiQV Thu 10-Jul-08 10:22:00

Very interesting smile

sfxmum Thu 10-Jul-08 10:24:23

was smiling at the expression smelling of milk.
I always find it odd that people become so divorced fro the fact that we are basically an animal, I suppose civilised and socialised but when it comes to reproduction and so on the more we distance ourselves from those instincts the worst it is for our over all balance.

and I know I did not express myself properly or as I meant to therehmm

GoatisLOLing Thu 10-Jul-08 10:27:52

lovely norweigans!

it isn't just up to the medical team it is cultural. i had pro breastfeeding antenatal care gave birth in a unicef acredited pro. bf hospital with midwifes doing everything in their power to help me bf (i was fairly incapaciated for a couple of days) and still bottle feeding was the automatic choice for alot of mothers. midwifes etc can only do so much the onus is on the society an dthe mothers themselves to change their priorities.

Pannacotta Thu 10-Jul-08 10:36:12

sfxmum thats a good point.
When I lived in Sweden it interesting to see how different the Swedes are in terms of how they feel about their bodies, they are generally much more comfortable with their bodies in all shapes and sizes (there is less pressure on women to be thin) and nudity.

sleepycat Thu 10-Jul-08 10:40:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeachBunni Thu 10-Jul-08 10:40:16

Further to your comment that because of prematurity/ physical reasons sometimes women can't bf it would be interesting to see the rates of prematurity in the UK compared to other countries. There was a story reported recently that the UK prematurity rates are the highest in Europe and increasing. May contribute to our ff figures (in a small way).

FairyMum Thu 10-Jul-08 10:47:59

Speaking about cultural expectations. The one main difference I see between my Scandinavian and British mummy-friends is that my Scandinavian friends tend to be a bit more laid-back about motherhood. Just seem to accept a little easier that life with a baby with a baby. Tend to be a bit less occupied with sleeping through the night, getting into routine etc. I think to bf successfully at least past a few months, you need to take cluster-feeding, night-time wakings, routine-changes a bit more in your stride.

hunkermunker Thu 10-Jul-08 10:51:18

The mother-baby relationship isn't that important in the UK - to the detriment of the entire society, imo. Breastfeeding is a huge part of that.

Fascinating to read the Norwegian perspective - thank you.

sfxmum Thu 10-Jul-08 11:26:41

it is not just the mother baby relationship the father child mother thing needs some work too.
I remember dh being keen on skin to skin contact when dd was a baby, and he was extremely supportive during pregnancy, birth breast feeding etc, he also did all the bathing because it was something he could do, likewise bottle feeding expressed milk.
we got a few odd comments about that but really they have a very strong bond

Pruners Thu 10-Jul-08 13:11:19

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hunkermunker Thu 10-Jul-08 13:15:53

Really very true. A lot of emphasis on "not spoiling babies" when what the mums would be doing is simply meet their needs.

Will blog about it.

Pruners Thu 10-Jul-08 13:18:26

Message withdrawn

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