Report Recommends NOT Breastfeeding Only

April and I saw this on BBC Breakfast this morning (Weaning before six months ‘may help breastfed babies’):

In the British Medical Journal, the team said breastfed babies may benefit from being given solid food earlier.

Current advice suggests weaning should occur at six months, but the UCL team say it could happen as early as four.

They suggest later weaning may increase food allergies and iron deficiency levels, but other experts backed the existing guidance.

April began feeding Caedmon baby cereal not long after we got back from the United States (when he was around 4-5 months) and when the Health Visitor came by April said she got her ‘wrist slapped’. The NHS and the Royal College of Midwives have been adamant about the 6 month rule, which the article states is based on research primarily aimed at developing countries where water is polluted and food resources questionable. The United States decided not to follow the advice (and the UK didn’t until 2003).

April and I both welcome the report because of the ridiculous attitude that the NHS has taken. If you choose not to breastfeed, you are treated as some kind of second-class citizens. Midwives refuse to answer questions about bottle-feeding in pre-natal classes and told them they would only do it after class and after all other questions had been answered. If that isn’t enough, they send in the Little Angels who put on the guilt trip and tell you, ‘keep at it’.

April struggled with Savannah to produce enough, and the ‘breast-feeding’ mantra was very unhelpful. Finally, one midwife stepped in and helped us by telling us to do what we need to with Savannah. The next time around we were upfront and told the midwives we were going to try to breastfeed, but if it didn’t happen, we were going to do what was right for Caedmon.

N.B. I should make clear that all other aspects of the care from the NHS and the midwives was excellent. Just this one issue where we had a problem.

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8 thoughts on “Report Recommends NOT Breastfeeding Only

  1. Oh breast feeding can be such an emotive subject, and it should be widely recognised that what is right for one mother and child may not be right for all. Some mothers have no problems with lactating, others suffer not only problems and sometimes pain but also guilt inflicted on them for not being super-women!

    I am afraid this is a reflection of a Nanny State!

    That said I value the NHS highly, and have received excellent care from them in so many ways 🙂

  2. Sally: Indeed it can be an emotive issue! I value the NHS, too, but wish they would tone this one down a notch.

    Pam: Interesting point! Information does change, but is it always helpful?

  3. Will, do what you think is best for your child. My wife got put through so much guilt because our first two children were not vigorous nursers. They both survived bottle feeding and are doing very well as young adults now.

    We put too much guilt on people by suggesting they are ruining their children for life if they don’t do x or don’t do y.

    Do your best. Love your kids. God takes care of the rest.

  4. I know you were writing in the past tense, Will. You can see I’m emotional about this issue to after watching how my wife was treated 20 years ago.

  5. That’s quite OK, John. April and I get pretty emotional about it now. With our first, I finally stepped in between 3 midwives, a health visitor, and what the ‘Little Angels’ had told her. It was RIDICULOUS. I nearly had an argument with a midwife this time around while April was in labour! I finally had to tell her this is not the time, nor would we be guilt tripped into doing what she said. I also told the midwives (and consultant) Little Angels (which, in my more aggravated states, I call the breastfeeding nazis) were not welcome at April’s bed.

  6. McLeod in Florence also has breastfeeding nazis. I had to have radioactive materials in my body for a gallbladder test they ran on me the day after Ethan was born and the doctor’s told me to wait 24 hours before starting to breastfeed. Well…the breastfeeding nazis told me I was not doing what was right for my child by asking him to be feed by a cup for 24 hours. She kept frowning at me when I told her I had chosen the test over breastfeeding. I did end up breastfeeding Ethan for 6 weeks but when I went back to work I stopped. Ricky loved helping bottle feed Ethan. When I was breast feeding, Ricky really didn’t get to hold Ethan that much so he was thrilled to help out with the bottle feeding every 2 hours.

  7. That sounds similar to what happens here. April got mastitis and the midwives were adamant that she keep breastfeeding and didn’t care about the pain. Those first two weeks were awful. I understand about Ricky, too. I enjoyed feeding Sav and was glad when I got the chance.

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