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Breast vs. bottle (am I brave or insane?)

(228 Posts)
emkana Sat 09-Jul-05 21:49:38

article in Times today

What interests me, both in this article and in previous threads on the Mumsnet, is how there is a feeling that the "breastfeeding lobby" or "mafia" as I believe it has been called is regarded as so powerful and influential and as having such a large impact on new mothers everywhere to make their lives an utter misery. I just can't see it! I see formula etc. on sale everywhere, articles on how to bottlefeed in every baby magazine, which always always say that you shouldn't feel guilty for bottlefeeding, I see bottlefeeding on TV, I see bottlefeeding celebrities, bottlefeeding mothers at toddler groups...
Breastfeeding? I vaguely remember a poster on the maternity ward, but it wasn't particularly in your face. I might have been given a leaflet on breastfeeding by the midwife. That's it.

I just don't get it, I really don't.
I don't mean to upset anyone, by the way. I'm just genuinely interested in your experiences. Honestly.

Cristina7 Sat 09-Jul-05 21:52:35

I haven't read the article you linked to but can I ask what magazines have you been reading with articles on how to bottlefeed.

spidermama Sat 09-Jul-05 21:53:19

I'm with you Emkana. I know I'll be in trouble for this but I think the whole 'uh oh! Here come the breastfeeding police' thing comes from deep-seated guilt because they know BF is best.

I'm often scorned and attacked for being vegetarian and I often wonder why. I have no problem with people eating meat. I even feed my children meat. I think the people who attack me are not comfortable with their own choice to eat meat, or perhaps assume I'm judging them.

I let it wash over me now.

Hulababy Sat 09-Jul-05 21:53:46

Have to say when I was og I got far more information about breast feeding than bottle feeding. At the antenatal classes at the hospital NO information about bottle feeding was given at all, and the MW only answered peoples questions on it very briefly and with little interest or acknowledgment. However there was a full session of breast feeding, with video, Q&A, leaflets, etc.

After having had DD at the HV clinics all the posters and information was aimed at breast feeding, as was the MW's advice and information. Again very little help ior interested available for those who wanted to/ had to bottle feed.

That was my experience when I had DD, just over 3 years ago - in Sheffield area.

emkana Sat 09-Jul-05 21:54:25

Not recently, but when I first had dd1 (four years ago) I read all the baby magazines (Prima Baby, Practical Parenting, Mother & Baby) and there were always articles on how to both breast- and bottlefeed, and it was always made very clear that you shouldn't feel guilty for bottlefeeding.

NotQuiteCockney Sat 09-Jul-05 21:55:15

Presumably all that information is there because a) they do want to encourage bf, for obvious reasons and b) very few women "fail" at bottlefeeding, so presumably the help isn't really needed?

NotQuiteCockney Sat 09-Jul-05 21:56:49

Oh, and I think the pressure varies with your social circle. I'm pretty sure that if I had decided to bottlefeed, I would have had pressure from my in-laws about it. (Although, as I did exclusive breastfeeding, I got pressure to give some formula!) I know lots of women who breastfeed, and lots who bottlefeed. I'm probably a bit more comfortable breastfeeding around other women who have breastfed, but only by a very small margin.

emkana Sat 09-Jul-05 21:56:53

But do you think this was wrong, hulababy?

emkana Sat 09-Jul-05 21:57:36

I mean as in: You felt you were put under undue stress and pressure to breastfeed?

wordgirl Sat 09-Jul-05 21:57:50

Maybe things are different now but when I was in hospital after having DS1 11 years ago we were shown a video on how to make up bottles etc. I was breastfeeding and asked the midwife if they had a video about bf. She rummaged around and found one at the back of the cupboard saying that no one had ever watched it before. I felt like a complete freak!

QueenOfQuotes Sat 09-Jul-05 21:57:53

"I know I'll be in trouble for this but I think the whole 'uh oh! Here come the breastfeeding police' thing comes from deep-seated guilt because they know BF is best."

Oh please - get real will you. I did both - and I'll tell you it wasn't only as a bottlefeeder 2nd time around that I saw the breastfeeding police "in my face" - but even when I was BF ds1 I saw it around!!

emkana Sat 09-Jul-05 21:59:24

So QueenofQuotes - who exactly were they? The midwife? The HV? Where did they talk to you, what did they say?

spidermama Sat 09-Jul-05 21:59:42

Where do you think it comes from then QOQ?

NotQuiteCockney Sat 09-Jul-05 22:00:25

What do the "breastfeeding police" do? I notice a lot of bottlefeeding women feel they have to tell me why they're not breastfeeding (I've never asked! It's none of my business!).

MarsLady Sat 09-Jul-05 22:00:31

do you not all think that it's swings and roundabouts? Firstly it's bottle feeding that's the thing to do, then it's breast. Over 13 years I have seen the whole thing go back and forth.

QueenOfQuotes Sat 09-Jul-05 22:01:36

"They" included a very large number of people from all sections of the people I met wtih (including fellow Breastfeeders - if anything some of them were the worst!).

spidermama Sat 09-Jul-05 22:02:35

I've been critisised by dh's family who think I'm selfish for not bottle-feeding, because it means no one else gets to feed the baby.

QueenOfQuotes Sat 09-Jul-05 22:04:37

I've seen breastfeeding mums (in real life) in lots of places sit and openly criticise bottlfeeding mums - sometimes behind their backs, sometimes withint ear shot.

tabitha Sat 09-Jul-05 22:06:29

Speaking personally - obviously the only thing I can do - I've never come across the 'breastfeeding mafia'. To be honest I got the impression that, while the healthcare professionals were probably in favour of breastfeeding, none of them were really that bothered whether I bottle-fed or breast-fed.
I do agree however that it probably depends on the social circle that you're in.
Tbh, I think there should be more encouragement (not pressure) for women to at least try breastfeeding and less pressure on them to keep trying if it just isn't working out for them and their babies.

CarolinaMoon Sat 09-Jul-05 22:07:04

NQC, do you think that's because they would actually prefer to bf themselves but hadn't got it to work?

or do they think you're judging them and are trying to pre-empt that?

(genuine question btw, I've noticed the same thing - no-one ever 'apologises' for bf do they?)

QueenOfQuotes Sat 09-Jul-05 22:08:02

I've also seen plenty of people on here saying that bottlefeeding mum's must be feeling 'guilty' if they mention this 'breastfeeding mafia/police'

Who's to say these people that have witnessed it first hand (like myself as a former breastfeeder) are feeling guilty about their decision to bottlfeed??

Hulababy Sat 09-Jul-05 22:08:44

emkana - I feel that there should be information about all aspects of dealing with a baby available readily - from all quarters. Accurate and helpful information about breast and bottle feeding ought to be available to all IMO.

hercules Sat 09-Jul-05 22:09:20

why does it have to be breast vs bottle?

It's not one or the other with both sides battling against the other.

My own experience in hospital for both kids was pro bottle anti breast. Others will say the opposite.

I believe women should have access to correct information and be able to make an informed choice with support from health professionals.
Sadly correct information and support are clearly lacking in our health system.

I really hate hearing about women being told incorrect things about bf and passing on that as the truth to other women.


If there is so much pressure to bf in this country then why are bf so low???

In many other countries bf is seen as no big deal and bf rates are far higher.
Women are let down in this country.

hercules Sat 09-Jul-05 22:10:24

Didnt think it would take long before the word mafia appeared. I'm sure mumsnet asked people not to use this.

QueenOfQuotes Sat 09-Jul-05 22:10:52

oh and as for what hula has just mentioned about help with ALL feeding.

Yes it would have been nice if I'd had access to some help when I decided to switch from bf to bottles when DS2 was 5 days old.

I didn't have a clue what I was doing - and my HV was about as much use as the wallpaper

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