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The UK has a breastfeeding rate at 12 months of 0.5% apparently - worst in the world.

(331 Posts)
minifingerz Fri 29-Jan-16 18:03:22

Whereas 99.4% of women in Senegal, where there is widespread poverty, double the UK average family size, no maternity leave and minimal medical or midwifery support for postnatal mothers, are still going.

Those statistics are mind-boggling, given that most of the 82% of women who start off breastfeeding in the UK state medical reasons for not being able to continue breastfeeding.

Does beg the question - how is this possible?


minifingerz Fri 29-Jan-16 18:03:55

Those figures are from the Lancet by the way.

Bunbaker Fri 29-Jan-16 18:06:56

I would have thought that many women who don't make it to 12 months are back at work. I BF DD for 6 months, but my milk supply suffered during a three and a half week hospital stay when DD was 6 months old, so I gave up and gave DD formula.

Nicknamegrief Fri 29-Jan-16 18:07:14

Who gives them the STATS for 12months and beyond?! I certainly have never been asked by my HV (and I have 4children). And while Senegal are doing exceptionally well here, I am glad that we don't share many of their other 'health concerns'.

GreenTomatoJam Fri 29-Jan-16 18:09:57

Agree with Nickname - I saw the box to check in the red book, but no-one ever asked if I was still feeding so their stats are off by at least 2 people (or 6 babies) - mind you, DS2 hasn't seen a HV since we were signed off a couple of months after he was born, and no details were taken when he's had his various jabs.

Brokenbiscuit Fri 29-Jan-16 18:10:11

I went back to work when dd was around five and a half months, but continues to breastfeed for another two years or so.

I think part of the reason is that lots of people believe there is no benefit beyond 6 months.

Brokenbiscuit Fri 29-Jan-16 18:10:48

Oh, and I was asked by HV and GP at various stages.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 29-Jan-16 18:10:51

presumably there is more family support (ie extended family living with mothers who have breast fed and can provide support) and it's more acceptable to take your child to work etc.

Further, it's more likely that the local midwife or your granny will deal with any infant tongue tie rather than you having to wait 3 weeks to have it separated on the NHS - and I say that as the mother of 3 under 3 who were all tongue tied and I have a husband who is an accredited tongue tie practitioner

PennyHasNoSurname Fri 29-Jan-16 18:12:13

Some people state medical reasons for stopping because the pressure to BF is so overwhelming that they dont feel they can say they stopped purely because they wanted to.

Does Senegal have a safe alternative to BFing?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Fri 29-Jan-16 18:12:28

That's a good point regarding how the stats are gathered. I've never been asked how long I breast fed for

SSargassoSea Fri 29-Jan-16 18:13:14

The senegalese women wont' be juggling FT work and childcare. Nor will they be able to afford formula milk, nor will they have a way of sterilizing bottles.

Give them the above opportunities and the stats will be similar I should think.

They might be working ft in the field or at something where they can take baby with them, not the same here.

Diddlydokey Fri 29-Jan-16 18:15:19

I think that the majority would be getting rid of infant milk feeding altogether by 12 months. All bottles, dummies etc are supposed to go by then and just 3 cups of milk a day.

Isn't nutrition from food at that age?

MaisieDotes Fri 29-Jan-16 18:15:31

I don't think you can compare two completely different societies on how they approach one specific issue.

Cloudybutwarm Fri 29-Jan-16 18:18:32

When ds1 had his 1 year check my hv asked me when I stopped breastfeeding, and looked really surprised when I said I still was. Very depressing.

notbread Fri 29-Jan-16 18:21:41

Pretty much everyone I know says they 'couldn't' breastfeed any longer than they did. We're not talking 12m more like 12 weeks. Certainly all but two of the babies were bottle fed by the time we were meeting up at groups etc. I formula fed by choice. I think a lot of women can't admit that they don't want to breastfeed.

I don't think there's any point in comparing to the UK to Senegal.

tabulahrasa Fri 29-Jan-16 18:22:15

Do the 99.4% of women in Senegal have any choice?

minifingerz Fri 29-Jan-16 18:22:26

"I would have thought that many women who don't make it to 12 months are back at work"

Would this not also be true of women in Senegal?

Interestingly, in the UK, those women who are most likely to breastfeed, and to breastfeed longest, are also those most likely to return to work.

"Some people state medical reasons for stopping because the pressure to BF is so overwhelming that they dont feel they can say they stopped purely because they wanted to."

Yes, I think I'd agree with this.

I really wish that women would be a bit more truthful about their reasons for stopping breastfeeding. All the breastfeeding failure stories which saturate our culture are massively unhelpful to pregnant women hoping to breastfeed and trying to gain some confidence that it's not a ridiculous and naive wish.

NorthernLurker Fri 29-Jan-16 18:31:06

I don't know anybody who had an actual real medical reason that they couldn't breastfeed. I know a few people who didn't like the idea and refused to attempt it. I know a LOT of people who tried but were poorly supported, not prepared, badly advised (and so thought they had a medical reason to stop when actually their breastfeeding had been sabotaged) and/or had no personal successful examples.
I think knowing people who have breastfed is HUGELY helpful. I knew my mum had fed both me and my sister and that did keep going through some difficult early days. My older kids have seen me breastfeed. Recently I have particularly tried to support somebody I know who is quite young and with relatively few examples around her. She's still going at nearly a year smile It makes a difference to have some support. None of the people I knew when dd1 was young were breastfeeding. My mum (and my mil) was the only 'example' I had.

MardyGrave Fri 29-Jan-16 18:31:09

Would you not consider physical pain and discomfort a medical issue? Would you consider exhaustion a medical issue? I can imagine that's a lot of the contributing factors to stopping, aside from a host of more acute symptoms.

I'm happy to be living in the U.K. Where that's a valid choice.

paddlenorapaddle Fri 29-Jan-16 18:31:12

oh for crying out loud !! Well its not the fault of those midwives and nhs staff who all but grab your boob and shove it in the babies mouth whether you want them to or not.

I think it has a lot to do with going back to work and the lack of societal support to see women continuing to breast feed beyond the year. We live in a misogynistic society that feels like it can demand our bodies go back to being sexually available after 12 months.

Or perhaps its because we have a choice and can afford to.

But please please please stop with the breast/ff feeding nonsense as if women need more things to be condemned about.

Speaking as someone who combination fed DS1 and ebf DD1. The 3 year old would still take the boob if i offered it but i express for him now

minifingerz Fri 29-Jan-16 18:32:37

"I don't think there's any point in comparing to the UK to Senegal."

I understand.

I can't find the whole report, but apparently in 2012 Norway had breastfeeding rates of about 45% at a year. (Kellymom figures)

notbread Fri 29-Jan-16 18:32:44

Maybe a more interesting comparision would be US vs UK. The US having a rate of 27% at a year. You would expect US mothers to face similar challenges regarding work/life balance as in the UK.

CultureSucksDownWords Fri 29-Jan-16 18:33:36

I find the 0.5% to be amazingly small. I was feeding DS beyond 12 months and sort of assumed that was typical of breastfeeding. I went back to work pt when he was 11 months.

Does anyone know if there are any stats on when women return to work? I was wondering whether 6, 9 or 12 months was most likely. I guess a lot of women will return to work at 9 months due to maternity pay stopping.

Claraoswald36 Fri 29-Jan-16 18:34:25

Is this thread even allowed? ;-)
I bf dd2 until 18 months. I went back to work at 8 months. I didn't want to ff under normal circs so I didn't.

LaceyLee Fri 29-Jan-16 18:39:36

Oh well I'm the 0.5%

Not really a great comparison to Senegal where women have no alternative. They have to breastfeed! Very very little access to formula and little access to clean water so breast milk being sanitary is the reason so many are still feeding. So not exactly for positive reasons.

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