All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

Mother & Baby - Come now, are we really that shocked?

According to a study earlier this year, just under one thousand infants in the US died last year because they were formula fed.   Shockingly, this is not the first time worrying figures have hit the news.  A report in 2004 which examined all available scientific research on infant mortality, found that using formula doubled the death rate for US infants.  Co- author Dr. Linda Folden Palmer stated:
"Formula does not fully meet the nutritional and immunity needs of infants. It leaves their immune systems flailing."
I wonder how many pregnant mums were given those figures at their antenatal classes?

Only a couple of months later (during National Breastfeeding Awareness Week) Mother & Baby magazine (who claim to be staunch breastfeeding supporters), feel it's the perfect time for the Deputy Editor to tells readers she "couldn't be fagged breastfeeding" describing it as "creepy".

Ya gotta wonder how many of the one thousand US mums just couldn't be fagged?  I wonder whether Kathryn Blundell would have been as quick to advertise her stance, had she been unlucky enough to have been one of the mums who buried her baby?

Some might have been shocked at Kathryn's outpouring of anti breastfeeding comments, but I suspect most of us working in the field of lactation have heard similar many times before.  As a breastfeeding counsellor, when you meet a non breastfeeding mum (who knows you are a counsellor) you often get the full explanation of why they are holding a bottle.  I've never commented, I would never ask a mum how she was feeding or why, but that doesn't matter really - because a mother judges herself far more harshly than anyone.

My experience of mothers who are so anti-breastfeeding, is that they actually really wanted to breastfeed or really felt they should - and for whatever reason it didn't work out.  Mums who actually believe formula is as good, tend to be very laid back about the whole breast/formula issue - because they're happy with their own choice.  The most vocal "pro formula feeders", shout loudly they made " a choice";  Insidiously attacking those who are breastfeeding, because they are the sort of parent who wants the best for their child.

Would Kathy write an article announcing she had smoked her way through pregnancy? (despite those supposed pesky health risks) or not been fagged with a car seat, instead driving around with a baby on her lap?  Highly unlikely, remember the outrage when Britney tried that one?  Perhaps that she doesn't recycle but torches her litter on a weekly basis and sod the environment? (the environmental impact of artificial feeding is massive)

No, it's only politically OK to advertise you couldn't be fagged when it comes to feeding.  Why? because the majority don't do it.  Even if a huge percentage wanted to - trying to succeed in a place where only 1 in 100 mums manage to meet the recommendations is an incredibly difficult task. 

Imagine you had grown up only ever witnessing and tasting your local cuisine.  Someone hands you a Chinese menu and instructs you to cook a dish, giving you no recipe and only a vague description of what it is.  You've never heard of half the ingredients and what's more everyone around you seems to be doing "fine" on the local food anyway.  You seek help but unfortunately whilst you can hunt out some trained and qualified chefs in your area, the vast majority themselves made do with local cooking - so they are not really sure when you ask trickier questions.  Where do you start?  This is often the position a new breastfeeding mum finds herself in.

My grandfather used to recount tales of bus journeys pressed up against a mother nursing her infant - of relatives cooking, baby on hip, often latched on!  When something is normalised in this way from childhood, there is no mental shift required to appreciate breasts have a purpose other than as "fun bags" as Kathryn likes to call them.  In his day there would've been no call to find a "breastfeeding counsellor", one of the few that did make it and so volunteer to help other mothers (also known as "Breastfeeding Brigade, "Tit Nazi etc") they were surrounded by women who had done it!

Now you could almost be fooled into thinking Western Women are "broken".  Whilst entire tribes breastfeed in some parts of the world, seemingly only a tiny percentage of UK mothers can do so - despite all the amazing technology we supposedly have.

The trouble is breastfeeding involves two thing,  breasts and money.  The first apparently nowadays so bad a lot can't even bring themselves to say the word in public;  "Are you feeding her yourself" is the most common avoidance tactic.  I always long for someone to reply that no, they haul a neighbour over to do it.  Mothers buy swathes of cloth to ensure not a fleck of flesh is displayed should they get as far as having to do it in public, and debate ensues over whether feeding a child milk of it's own species in a public place is actually socially acceptable.  I wouldn't care but the vast majority of formula feeders also state they have "felt judged" bottle feeding in public, so it seems to me nobody is happy!

Ultimately, acceptable breasts don't have a baby on them.  They are pumped with silicone or flashed on page three.  In fact breasts have seemingly become SO sexualised that even someone with Kathryn Blundell's intelligence is no longer able to make the link mentally with the only reason she actually has them at all!  So much so it would appear to almost repulse her, to the extent the article is littered with incorrect facts and straw man arguments to emphasise the strength of emotion she clearly still feels. 

And this is where it comes back to the supposed "choice", the one that never was.

When it comes to other areas of infant health, nobody is marketing an alternate cause.  There is no "anti car seat lobby" saying mothers shouldn't be "made to feel guilty" for not looking out for their child's safety.  Tobacco marketing is banned entirely and there are no adverts showing a doted dad, arms wrapped round his wife caressing her growing bump whilst she puffs on a Marlboro red.  But when it comes to infant feeding, the profit is in the product.

This multi million pound industry requires women to fail at breastfeeding for them to profit, and in order to do that, they need to convince mums their product is "nearly as good".   In fact they spend hundreds of thousands of pounds per year ensuring mums receive this message, you only have to pick up a copy of "the politics of breastfeeding" to be terrified at just how this impacts on society.

So can we really blame the likes of Kathryn Blundell for her stance?   As Deputy Editor of a magazine, wouldn't releasing such a controversial piece during National Breastfeeding Awareness week be quite a lucrative move?  It has resulted in media coverage galore, radio interviews and how much free advertising for Mother & Baby?  What's the old saying, "there is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary". 

The sad thing is the huge cost to their readers.  The pregnant mums who rely on the magazine for advice and information, perhaps the mum with a new baby, struggling with the early days of breastfeeding - confused as her midwife spent nine months telling her "breast was best".

Ultimately breastfeeding is down to a whole society and at the moment it's simply for the most part, a lucky few scraping through on a wing and a prayer.   Most breastfeeders will readily admit, that in different circumstances, with their first child - they could easily have ended up not breastfeeding, because that's the lottery as things stand.  The Department of Health might be talking the talk, but until the rest of the UK gets in step and walks the walk, nothing will change.


  1. Thankyou armadillo, for saying everything I was thinking and more.

  2. 'Ultimately, breastfeeding is down to a whole society...' Yes, shout that one from the rooftops! Fabulous post.

  3. fantastic, i shall not be buying mother and baby anymore as a result. x

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  5. Fabulously written.

  6. thank you so much for this well written piece. x

  7. As a 'failed' breastfeeder (I had almost zero milk production, amongst many other issues) I fully support breastfeeding and acknowledge all the benefits of breast milk and pitfalls of formula.

    Your post has raised some very good points but having followed debate about this particular article in the press, on forums, on facebook etc I have to say I am getting very sick of seeing formula compared to smoking in pregnany or driving with your child unrestrained in the car.

    The article could and should have been worded much better but Kathryn Blundell's decision for 'selfish' reasons in no way makes her a careless mother likely to zoom down the motorway with her baby thown on the floor of her car.

    Comparisons like these only serve to alienate people from the other very good points you have made in support of breastfeeding and formula feeding mums.

    I am very happy with my 'choice'. While I tried to continue with breastfeeding my son was starving and on the point of being rehospitalised. Formula feeding has resulted in a happy and healthy little boy.

    I have no interest in getting into a breast vs formula debate but the comparisons you have given here (also given by others on facebook) have prompted me to speak out.

    You say that nearly 1000 babies died in the USA as a result of formula feeding. I'm interested to know how and will be looking into that but in the meantime the statistics for USA babies lost to stillbirth by mothers who smoked are approximately 2272 (11% of the stillbirth rate) so more than double those lost to formula feeding. That hasn't included other losses at later stages after birth due to smoking or the babies who survive but are ill in some way because of it.

    As a mother of two lost babies (one to stillbirth not linked to smoking and one to prematurity which was linked to my being hit by a lorry while pregnant) I feel that any loss of life that could have been prevented is utterly devastating.

    I can see why you would use the figure here but it's unfair to bring in those particular two examples as a reasonable comparison because they are not.

    They only serve to hurt and frighten those who had no choice and perhaps alienate completely those who made the 'selfish' choice and perhaps stop them from paying attention to the other, more valid points that you have made.

  8. Are there figures available for the number of babies in the UK who have died because they were formula fed?

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  11. While I feel greatly for women who cannot breastfeed - I was one of them with my first and an undiagnosed thyroid condition - I believe this article is long overdue. While sometimes formula is the best you can do because you simply cannot produce breastmilk, this is a significant exception. It is NOT the 20 percent of UK women who don't even try to nurse! If the human race had such high rates of women who could not feed their children, we never would have survived as a species. We forget that if we don't breastfeed but formula feed, it is not just a poor second, it's more like a poor 5th or 6th...

    And we cannot quit saying this just because there will be women who will have hurt feelings. It is the truth. It hurt me that I couldn't nurse - but I still knew that it was the best thing for my baby and I'm thankful every day that I could nurse my second because the problem was found.

    Every woman should be starting out nursing. If she cannot make enough milk herself, she should be supplementing at the breast - because breastfeeding is more than just milk and babies are designed to nurse from a breast. If possible, the mom should be supplementing with breastmilk (if we could get over our paranoia about breastmilk banks.) Somewhere way down the list is simple formula feeding...

  12. I had serious complications during my pregnancy and the medication they gave me prevented me from producing milk. It didn't stop me from trying, though! I still fed baby whatever he could get from my breast first even if it was only an ounce or two, then bottle fed. Sadly to say, that only lasted for about 2 months before I couldn't get even a drop. I feel bad about that a lot, but I know that I did the best I could. My child has only been sick 1x in 2 years, so that gives me some relief. I am still an avid supporter of breastfeeding and encourage all of my friends who are pregnant to do so. We (my friends and I) also did not cover up while feeding in public, and neither do the women in my family.

    As far as feeling "attacked" by the comparisons in this blog, I don't believe it was meant as an attack on women who had to bottle feed. I think it was just a basic statement. Common sense says you don't smoke while pregnant, common sense says you don't forego a car seat when driving, why wouldn't feeding your baby milk from his own species be considered common sense?

    Kudos for this blog.

  13. Great read. Thanks for this - I've put a link on FB and hope that many people share the link.

    To My2cents: The analagies ARE comparable. The figures may be significantly higher for one than the other but the impact here ultimately is infant demise. Both smoking during pregnancy AND using formula cause infant death - fact.

    I agree that it's scary reading that 1000 babies in the western world died because they were artificially fed. And what about those parents who have experienced loss - especially when that loss could have been avoided by feeding what was physiologically expected from their infants. It must be heartbreaking reading these things! What about mothers who have no choice as they genuinely didn't produce enough milk, this sort of thing must make them feel mightily guilty huh? (FWIW, through the absence of choice should come the absence of guilt!) BUT- What about the pregnant mum still sitting on the fence on the feeding issue? What about all the babies yet to be born? If reading the above will make a difference to THEM, then it can't be a bad thing.

    If you'd have known you were going to be hit by a lorry before hand and had the opportunity to do that day differently...

    I am so sorry for your losses. I can't imagine how utterly heartbreaking they must have been for you. This isn't about digging up all the heartbreak for anyone who's experienced loss or illness, it's about giving others the opportunity to make INFORMED choices.

  14. It is about time someone spoke up for mums who don't want to breastfeed. Too many mums think it's OK to jump down other womens throats if they choose not to breastfeed. The amount of publicity surrounding this article is down to the 'milk mafia' overreacting. Freedom of speech and good on Mother & Baby for daring to stand out on the news stands and show the other side of fence!

  15. This is a great response to the article. Formula is a life saver - there's no doubt that there are babies out there who's mothers genuinely couldn't breastfeed and would have died without it. However, why is this substitute being used at any time except when really needed? I formula fed two of my children from 4 months because I had no milk as a result of going onto hormonal contraceptives without being given the correct information from health professionals about the effect this could have on my milk supply. I have no guilt in this. I was not ashamed to be formula feeding. My children would have starved had I not. The comparison with smoking or not using a car seat is absolutely spot on. If a mother chooses to smoke through her pregnancy she is making a decision to risk the health of her baby, if a mother chooses not to use a car seat she is making a decision to risk the health of her baby and if she chooses to use formula she is making a decision to risk the health of her baby. Mothers will continue to make these choices but they have to accept that they are going to be viewed in the same way as any choice they make which is not in the best interest of their child.

  16. What a lot of ladies, including many of you who were not able to successfully breastfeed, often don't realize is that "it boils down to society" is all-encompassing. As the author pointed out, for some reason, women in the US and UK seem to be have a ridiculous amount of trouble doing something that just doesn't seem to be such a large problem in countries where formula is less available. And the real causes of these problems are many--the casual use of drugs during labor and pregnancy that doctors KNOW will interfere with bf (and, yes, they DO have alternatives!), too many C-sections that weren't really necessary--or wouldn't have been had the doctor stuck to evidence-based labor management (inductions, epidurals, making the mother stay in bed, fetal monitoring belts--all of these result in C-sections that would have never happened had labor been allowed to happen naturally, on its own schedule). Women are NOT given proper dietary advice during pregnancy and breastfeeding (check out the Weston A Price Foundation or the Brewer diet for advice that makes sense). Too many hospital lactation consultants are worthless, or a new mama doesn't get a visit from one at all. Too many hospitals talk the pro-breastfeeding talk, but don't walk the walk--it's still not even uncommon for babies to be given formula directly against the parents' wishes! And, without the culture of breastfeeding to fall back on, too many new mamas are simply not well-informed enough to know when to shout "NO! You are NOT going to do anything to me that has a record of interfering with breastfeeding, or a record of leading to other things that interfere with breastfeeding, unless lives really ARE at stake!" Come on, folks, inductions and C-sections are still being done so that a baby isn't born on an inconvenient day, or so that the doctor isn't late to his golf tournament! THESE things are also anti-breastfeeding.

  17. jocastawetherall - I'm going to ignore that comment about doing things differently on the day of my accident, it's way to below the belt to even contemplate and I cannot believe you have even asked the question.

    You cannot say that the analogies are comparable just because the end result is a lost baby.

    If someone dropped their child off a cliff it would result in a lost baby but it wouldn't be comparable to feeding it formula in any other way but the end result.

    An informed choice is one thing but people don't expect to be the one who loses a baby until they are the one to lose a baby. You can try to educate people but without the need for bringing in totally different issues and problems to muddy the waters.

    As I said, to me any loss of a baby is devastating and I am all for doing whatever we can to prevent them but not to the point of comparing formula to smoking or reckless driving.


    You'll like this, trust me...

  19. my2cents: I'm truly sorry for hurting you, please believe me when I say that was NOT my intention. In hindsight it was a very bad way of trying to portray my thoughts.

    I was just trying to say that I think a LOT of people would do things differently if they were aware of the possible consequences. I know this to be true because I formula fed my first from one month old. I researched formula later and from the point of finding out what I now know, no child of mine has received a drop of formula. The vast majority of people who CHOOSE to use formula don't truly understand the repercussions of this (on top of all the harmful effects of formula listed, an Australian study has recently found a direct correlation between early weaning from the breast(before 6m)/never breastfeeding and mental health issues. Nursing children goes way beyond "feeding" - it's a whole process of nurturing a child.

  20. jocastawetherall - sorry, it was me jumping down your throat without thinking, I'm sorry it's been a very bad day. I've had a nasty bout of food poisoning and am just starting to feel human again but have been a little touchy and I shouldn't have taken it out on you.

    I know what you mean, I relive and regret that day every single day since it happened and there are a hundred "what if I'd done this" questions in my head.

    It's not an easy position to be in when you lose a child and go on to have another. No matter what there is always the knowledge that for me to have one of my children I would have lost two others, one way or the other. If my first son had survived we would never have conceived our daughter or our second son. If our daughter had lived our second son wouldn't exist. So if someone gave me a time machine and said "go back and change it, stop the accident" I couldn't because no matter how much I wish she were alive, changing what happened to her would take away the son I have now and that is unthinkable. A chance for me to change things honestly would be Sophie's Choice.

    I would hate for any mother to go through a loss and discover it all may have been different if only X or Y or Z and I do wish for a better support system for breastfeeding new mums and a bit more information but I think the way that information is presented is vital to getting the message across in a way that most people will accept. Comparing it to smoking in pregnancy could give some people the idea that if formula is just as bad they may as well not even try to stop.

    There are a lot of emotive comparisons we could make, there are so many dangers in pregnancy and early childhood.

    If the original article had compared formula feeding to getting pregnant as an older mother (and our hospital charmingly calls mothers aged 35 a "geriatric pregnancy") or to obese mothers I'm sure many people would have been just as upset and yet I know they too carry risks to mother and baby. Yet I think they are maybe more reasonable comparisons than the car seat one, although still not an ideal way to make a point.

    It's shocking that formula can harm a child while it also nourishes and I think that's why it is such an emotive subject. I've seen my son thrive on formula and I'm grateful we had the option to feed him something when my milk production failed. I know formula is not the ideal but for us it has also been a godsend. It makes it very difficult to see how it can be linked to baby loss unless there are other health issues with those babies that contributed in some way. I'm trying to google it all now but not getting anything that really explains the hows and whys.

    I will say though that if we ever have another baby (and I have just reached geriatric pregnancy age so we may not) I will be giving breastfeeding another try. Although I went through agonies it was only the fact that my son was starving that stopped us, the pain would have been worth it if only the milk was there. The feeling of feeding him the little milk I did manage to get before it all dried up was incredible even through the pain and I do have hopes that next time, if there is one, will be different.

  21. I'm sorry, but I think the good aspects of this piece are overshadowed by your insulting and misleading comments about formula feeding moms. As one of those moms who wanted to breastfeed and ended up formula feeding, and who goes around "screaming about choice", I really don't appreciate being called anti-breastfeeding. And honestly, I've yet to meet one mom (and I encounter many, running the blog that I do) who wanted to breastfeed who is now "anti-breastfeeding" or goes around slagging breastfeeding moms. If anything, they tend to be huge breastfeeding supporters, going out of their way to support their breastfeeding sisters b/c they still plan to nurse future children, or would have wanted that same respect and support if they had been able to nurse as planned.

    And for what it's worth, I was running around screaming about choice even when I was 9 months pregnant and fully intending to nurse (so much so that I spent 1000 usd on lactation consultants when it wasn't working, and we are by no means affluent. That was 1000 that could have been contributed to my child's college fund). I will always support a woman's right to choose in any way, shape or form, whether that be abortion, working outside of the home, or formula feeding. These may or may not be choices I would make myself, but I still want women to be able to make those choices. We can offer education and support, but ultimately, these decisions are not made in a vacuum.

    Incidentally, how is making a blanket statement about formula feeding moms who WANTED to breastfeed helping your cause? You certainly won't be winning over moms who believe formula is "healthier" than breastmilk, no matter what you say. But WE are people who still want to breastfeed, who still believe in breastfeeding. I find this type of attitude cruel and counterproductive.

  22. Going to try and answer comments in order, sorry if it takes a while!

    my2cents - thank you for taking the time to respond so eloquently.

    I wasn't trying to compare not breastfeeding to smoking or not using a carseat in terms of risk -or suggesting the all had the same outcome. The point I was trying to make was that if it was anything else except breastfeeding that could impact negatively on baby's health, nobody would find it ok to shout from the rooftops they acknowledged the risk but thought sod it I can't be fagged.

    The examples I picked were smoking and carseats, but it could have been anything that increased the risk to baby in some way, from not strapping baby into the pushchair to leaving them unattended near an open fire!

    It only seems to be politically correct to say sod the risk, when it's about breastfeeding - and the point I was making was why that is.


  23. Hi Sue
    I've never heard of a comparable UK study. The Infant Feeding Survey touches upon things like rates of gastroenteritis admissions in the UK for non breastfed infants, and the cost of this one condition to the NHS - but doesn't specifically examine mortality rates.

  24. my2cents. Thank you. I felt like utter crap thinking I'd upset you and I'm relieved that I haven't caused you too much unnecessary pain.

    AA, could you possibly forward a link to the USA study that you're talking about - would like to post a link on my FB page and own blog. TIA

    Jo x

  25. Fearless Formula Feeder - I don't believe that I in any way shape or form insult formula feeding mums in my piece.

    I wasn't for a moment suggesting ALL mothers who wanted to breastfeed and couldn't turn into anti-breastfeeding protesters; that would be a beyond ridiculous statement!! (would also alienate a lot of my very good non breastfeeding friends!)

    I was saying that my experience is those formula feeders who DO feel a need to attack, or insiduously put down breastfeeding or breastfeeders (rather than just saying hey I couldn't or didn't want to!) tend to be mums who wanted to breastfeed OR felt they should and for whatever reason didn't - and the strength of their negative feelings towards breastfeeding is fuelled by their own emotions.

    I am absolutely 100% percent behind choice. However I believe in informed choice - and my argument is you can't give someone half the facts, then claim they made a choice.

    Mothers are told ridiculous things like a pro of breastfeeding is "they have less smelly stools" I mean please!? why insult mothers in this way? why withold information from them that all the world leading health bodies openly recognise?

    The rock and the hard place for us, is that simply by giving mums the facts as they stand - we are then accused of "guilt tripping". This is why even at meetings at local level we are told, oh no you can't tell a mum THAT! imagine how bad she will feel if she formula fed her last baby! It doesn't matter if it's fact proved beyond any doubt - there is so much talk of guilt, it prevents mothers actually getting to make any sort of informed choice and so the cycle continues.

    This, to me is just back covering at the highest level.

  26. I nursed all three of my babies and had lovely home births and all but there was a woman in my prenatal class who had a stroke during labour. She could not nurse her baby because of all the drugs she had to take that saved her life. And i remember her feeling bad about it and explaining herself to all of us. I believe that we do the best we can with what we have.

  27. Yep, very much agree. What annoys me an awful lot is that the support isn't there for mums that WANT to breastfeed but struggle and instead the argument becomes between two 'sides.' I was very upset to learn that my best friend from junior school has just had very similar problems to the ones I faced and is now expressing but going to give up as she is struggling.

    She's been poked and prodded, her baby lost 11% of its weight and been given conflicting advice. Like me, her baby has nipple aversion leaving her to feel rejected, a failure and guilty.

    It'd be good if there was more information about expressing milk as an alternative to breastfeeding too. I exclusively expressed for a year with top ups for about a month at the beginning (because we had to due to a 10% weightloss).

    I was very disappointed to discover that there was no support locally (this is changing and I'm part of a bf support group) and found it especially bad as my DD was born just before Christmas so the holiday period shut down everyone.

  28. The study you are quoting (found here: states in its conclusion that "postneonatal deaths might be prevented or delayed" through exclusive breastfeeding. What seems to be overlooked here is that this is a correlational study. Correlational studies show that a relationship may exist, but not that there is a direct cause and effect relationship. There could be other factors contributing to the data, such as the overall health of the infant at birth, the age and experience of the mother, environment, or genetic factors. One way you could tell for sure would be to take thousands of pairs of twins, feed one breast milk and the other formula and see what happens. Studies like this would never be conducted or approved so really there is no way of knowing 100% for sure that formula is responsible for postneonatal death.

    The authors cannot and do not state that giving formula to infants causes death. In their conclusion they state:
    "Breastfeeding is associated with a reduction in risk for postneonatal death"
    "Assuming causality, however, promoting breastfeeding has the potential to save or delay 720 postneonatal deaths in the United States each year."

    I am all for doing what is best for your baby. What I do not agree with is heaping guilt onto mothers unnecessarily with outrageous comments such as “one thousand infants in the US died last year because they were formula fed” which is simply not true and not what the study you are quoting states. They are saying there may be a relationship, but this study does not prove that formula kills babies.

  29. Liquorice Torpedoes - my next entry might ring some bells with you:

  30. A Mountain Momma@
    One way you could tell for sure would be to take thousands of pairs of twins, feed one breast milk and the other formula and see what happens.

    You mean like this:

    I think we see things the wrong way up to be honest. You state:
    ""so really there is no way of knowing 100% for sure that formula is responsible for postneonatal death.""

    Oh well if it's not 100% guaranteed - let's just ignore it and carry on pushing it as a perfectly safe alternative to breastmilk!

    There are extensive studies showing increased rates of these deadly conditions, we know breastmilk is the bog standard substance human infants are supposed to consume - therefore where are the studies showing formula isn't responsible for these increased rates? AF companies fund enough studies that they could go ahead and prove it's safety no? the problem is they can't, as in the studies AF infants always come off worse.

    So whether it's highly likely the breastmilk substitute causes infant deaths, or whether it's 95% likely or whether it's 100% confirmed (which as you state is conveniently virtually impossible) I don't feel particularly reassured either way and parents should be aware of this.

  31. what a vile article- you should be utter ashamed of yourself for printing such utter rubbish! how can you even contemplate comparing a bottle feeding mother to one which would not strap their child into a child seat or smoke! Its people like you and those that agree with you that cause this stupid rift between breast feeding mums and bottle feeding mums!

  32. Flawzz - I will repeat what I posted earlier.

    my2cents - thank you for taking the time to respond so eloquently.

    I wasn't trying to compare not breastfeeding to smoking or not using a carseat in terms of risk -or suggesting the all had the same outcome. The point I was trying to make was that if it was anything else except breastfeeding that could impact negatively on baby's health, nobody would find it ok to shout from the rooftops they acknowledged the risk but thought sod it I can't be fagged.

    The examples I picked were smoking and carseats, but it could have been anything that increased the risk to baby in some way, from not strapping baby into the pushchair to leaving them unattended near an open fire!

    It only seems to be politically correct to say sod the risk, when it's about breastfeeding - and the point I was making was why that is.

    Thanks though for taking the time to comment :) hope you enjoyed my other posts.

  33. Great article AA, thank you. From an Irish perspective where only approx 53% of mothers even try breastfeeding, such journalism is so badly needed. Bare lipservice is paid to breastfeeding over here, and advice that comes from so called medical professionals here is utterly shocking. I've lost count of the amount of friends that gave up breastfeeding because of conflicting and misinformed advice. I think a large percentage of women here would be successful at bf if professionals had proper training, facts and inclination!
    Its a pity an article like yours isn't printed in national media.

  34. Thank you AA for this article. Reading the comments has once again confirmed the gist of your article - that some mothers have a residue of guilt so that they seem to be taking this personally.

    Can I just say that, as I read it, this article is saying very clearly that on the whole mothers are NOT GIVEN ENOUGH INFORMATION to make a choice and that breastfeeding is the norm, and anything that isn't mum's milk is inferior. The conclusion is that we need to have more resources to give accurate info and useful support.

    Really, can anyone argue with these statements?

    I say this as a mother who has used formula on occasion when it has been essential due to my ill-health, but has managed, with the right support and resources to hand, to get my milk supply back to a normal level and am now still feeding my 13-month old.

    I weighed the risks and the benefits of having a full baby with formula as opposed to a hungry baby on limited breast milk, and unsurprisingly opted for the full baby on inferior milk. I have no guilt about this, I made the best choice as a loving mother. Inferior milk is still better than no milk.

    I have friends who have mainly used formula and their children are healthy and bonny. Do they love their children less than a fully breastfeeding mother? Of course not, that is ridiculous to suggest. There are always reasons, and weighing up risks and benefits is something mothers do every day.

    Please keep writing and researching, this is all so useful for me as a peer supporter!