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Ok all us BF supporters, we are wasting our time <sigh>

(76 Posts)
AnarchyAunt Mon 20-Oct-08 08:54:04

Well, so says Clare Byam-Cook....

"Well, I'd end breastfeeding week for a start. You get all these breastfeeding mothers trotted out, but how does that help? It's like having an infertility week and putting up pictures of parents showing off babies. What we need to do is stop all this endless talk of "support" - if I hear that word again in relation to breastfeeding, I'm going to scream - and start looking at ways to show women properly how to latch on.

The simple fact is, most mothers don't understand the practical knack of getting a baby to fix on to a nipple and feed, and what they need is a midwife or health visitor who will show them how to do it. It's not rocket science: what you need to do is shape the breast so it's doughnut-shaped rather than apple-shaped, and when the baby's mouth opens you shove her on and she starts feeding happily away.

The other thing I'd like to see is a bit of honesty: you get these counsellors who bully women into carrying on breastfeeding when they feel their milk supply isn't good enough, and the fact is not all women can do it and there comes a stage when it's right to call it a day. To say every woman is physically capable is to say every human being has perfect eyesight: it just isn't true"


cupchar Mon 20-Oct-08 08:55:37


JustKeepSwimming Mon 20-Oct-08 08:56:37



cupchar Mon 20-Oct-08 08:58:03

It's the Homer Simpson school of bf - "Mmmmm - Doughnuts - is there nothing they can't do...."

FCH Mon 20-Oct-08 08:58:36

To be fair - I did need a midwife to show me how to latch my baby on - one did and away we went - so I sort of agree that far - but I did get lots of support therafter for which I was really grateful!

OrmIrian Mon 20-Oct-08 09:02:25


Is that ring or jammy?

ZacharyQuack Mon 20-Oct-08 09:03:09

Doughnut-shaped? How do you get the <gulp> hole in the middle? shock

AnarchyAunt Mon 20-Oct-08 09:03:48

Yes women need to be shown how to latch their baby on, I agree. But is that really all they need? Really??

They certainly do not need to hear that a self-appointed 'Breastfeeding Guru' believes that

"...there is too much hysteria and militancy about breast-feeding in the UK.

'If you can breast-feed your child up to six weeks old, and then have to move them on to formula, that is fine,' she says. 'Too many women beat themselves up about it when formula milk is perfectly safe.'"

Thats not really helpful if you are having BF problems that could be solved with some of the support that she deems unnecessary, is it?

cupchar Mon 20-Oct-08 09:04:38

She means latch on should be like this - Simple really

PortAndDemon Mon 20-Oct-08 09:06:32

The trouble with CBC is that she takes the indisputable fact that not all women can physically breastfeed successfully and extends it to the unsupported belief that lots and lots of women can't physically breastfeed. Which, unless there is something genetically peculiar about the Scandinavians, is patent tosh.

The "support" she derides so much is aimed at helping that substantial body of women who want to breastfeed, can physically breastfeed, but don't find it easy. If she doesn't believe that this group exists at all then no wonder she finds the idea of "support" unhelpful.

Not to mention that the reason a lot of women "feel" that their milk supply isn't good enough is not that there is any indication whatsoever of this in their babies. It's because they don't understand how "normal" breastfeeding works (so assume that if a newborn is feeding all the time their milk supply can't be good enough) or because they are undermined by midwives/HVs/their own families. In either case they need... now what was it again... oh yes, support.

If someone who can't breastfeed or who doesn't want to gives up, then fine. But if someone who can, and desperately wants to, gives up through lack of help and support then that is extremely sad.

MurderousMarla Mon 20-Oct-08 09:07:07

Silly bint. For me, yes, all I needed was a midwife to show me how to latch my baby on, but support is vital I feel to being confident in my decision to BF when all around me are urging me to use formula, and having the information on the risks - well where would I get that without BF support? Oh, I wouldn't. So I'd probably be happy to think it's as good as BM and would have stopped within days due to social and family pressures. Yeah, BF support a waste hmm Did I already say she is a silly bint?

MurderousMarla Mon 20-Oct-08 09:08:23

I don't know how to make my breast a doughnut shape either hmm does she mean a ring doughnut? Iced or plain? Jam or not?

AnarchyAunt Mon 20-Oct-08 09:08:29


And as far as I can see she is contributing to the lack of support by stating that it is not needed and that women should just get on with it and give a bottle if it doesn't work out.

MurderousMarla Mon 20-Oct-08 09:09:19

Why a dougnut anyway, why not a bread roll? Or a crumpet?

FlabbyTumSquashyBum Mon 20-Oct-08 09:10:43

She's banded about as some bf expert (particularly on this morning) and she comes across as someone who neither wants to help and encourage women to bf nor believes that bf is beneficial for babies.

DaisyMooSteiner Mon 20-Oct-08 09:22:49

If what she shows women is 'not rocket science' how on earth can she justify charging £120 an hour?!!

aurorec Mon 20-Oct-08 09:24:59

Proper latch is only the first step in BF.

Re the supply issue, PortandDemon is so right. My SIL stopped nursing at 5 months (didn't want to) because she felt her baby wasn't getting enough milk.
Never mind the fact that her DD was in the 90% for weight- there is this misconception in France that after about 2 months breastmilk is just not nutritious enough- nursing on demand is also a big issue, as babies have to be on a schedule and cut down their feeds asap.

The reason why you need a BF week is about acceptance- to normalise it and get people to see it for what it is- the most natural thing in the world. BF mothers need to be supported so that they are not made to feel like perverts when they nurse their children.

mellyonion Mon 20-Oct-08 09:25:51

my boobs are so saggy, i can shape them into whatever shape you so desire! grin

wastingmyeducation Mon 20-Oct-08 09:28:01

I take it she means flattening the boob, to post it or roll it into LO mouth, which is what I have to do. If it's that simple, why does she charge so much?


ghosty Mon 20-Oct-08 09:28:21

"shove her on"???

wastingmyeducation Mon 20-Oct-08 09:29:58

x-post with Daisy Moo!


tiktok Mon 20-Oct-08 09:39:34

CBC is right in that technical knowledge about how to make breastfeeding comfortable and effective is lacking - I share her irritation at the (many) midwives and health visitors who say to women weeping with pain and frustration that they have to 'persevere', or who say to them 'everything looks fine to me' and then leave it at that.

Often women seek outside help with situations that are already seriously difficult - weeks have gone by with a milk supply that's under threat from ineffective breastfeeding, because all the HCPs have done is to tell her to 'persevere' instead of really understanding how to fix the feeding.

Where she will appear to 'win' with these mothers is by being directive, reassuring them about formula, and telling them to switch because they simply don't have enough milk. For some women, this sort of controlling approach may be welcome.

Breastfeeding counsellors - who she truly hates - will not be directive in that way. It's just not the way we work. We certainly don't bully anyone (I have never heard of this happening) but if someone says 'I want to breastfeed, help me to do so' we will believe them, rather than challenge them. They contact us, after all, and it is reasonable to assume they are sincere in wanting to breastfeed. It is certainly possible some women would, deep down, prefer to be challenged, but skilled as we are, we cannot read minds. Having said that, breastfeeding counsellors often help and support mothers through switching to formula, if this is what the mother wants to do, and we can help them preserve a breastfeeding relationship even if the mother is giving formula as well.

I dislike CBC's approach, and the fact she seems to work outside of any organisation or training or supervisory body. I don't think this is a safe way to work for anyone.

VictorianSqualorSquelchNSquirm Mon 20-Oct-08 09:53:22

I love this interview with her.

What do you think the National Health Service could do to improve breast-feeding figures?

There should be better training for midwives and other health professionals. Many of my clients are referred to me by hospitals, community midwives or NCT teachers who know that I use different techniques, and yet they still tell the mothers that I will succeed where they have failed. Unfortunately, these midwives are usually bound by hospital rules and regulations, which prevent them from using their own initiative and do not allow them to suggest aids such as nipple shields. I freely admit that my knowledge of breast-feeding was very limited during my time working as a midwife, mainly because we rarely followed up on patients after they were discharged from hospital. As a result, we didn't hear whether sore nipples recovered or whether babies did eventually latch on. Feedback is an essential part of the learning process.

Followed by

And finally Clare, what do you say to those who criticise you for having no formal qualifications in breast-feeding?

Well, first of all I would point out that I was a fully qualified midwife


doingmyheadin Mon 20-Oct-08 11:04:36

I'm a 'fully qualified midwife' and a breastfeeding mum. To be quite honest I think most midwives can assist a mum to latch a baby on properly but it is definitely support and encouragement which is needed, often after women have been discharged from hospital, to maintain breastfeeding. In my experience a lot of women who say they want to breastfeed don't have any idea antenally that it will involve a great deal of committment, possibly feeding every hour or two for the first weeks, when their bottle feeding friends are already getting settled nights or at least can get Gran or hubby to help out. People's expectations of breastfeeding are very unrealistic and I think it is fantastic that we have committed breastfeeding counsellors to fill in the gaps left by the overstretched NHS. Furthermore, however experienced or qualified you are, everybody's experience of breastfeeding is slightly different so any help or encouragement is welcome and I am definitely not too proud to ask for help. Whilst in hospital after birth of ds no2 the paediatrician asked me how feeding was going - I said well - she then suggested
i might want to express or top up with formula. ds was one day old!! It is this kind of negative reinforcement from the medical profession and others we need to stamp out. No wonder women with little knowledge of breastfeeding will start questioning their supply. The fact of the matter is that for some women breastfeeding is tough, but the advantages far outweigh any difficulties.

Lurcio Mon 20-Oct-08 11:12:29

This makes me so cross. I had already successfully bf my ds without any problems, but had I had dd first I may well have believed that I physically couldn't do it.
I had huge ammounts of support with feeding her, midwives and hv that didn't advocate "just topping her up" or that ff would be just as good.
If I had had someone with her attitude, I would have given up and spent a long time feeling bad about it. Thanks to all the support I had, my dd is still bf 18months on. smile

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