It said that women have been "cajoled" with slogans such as "breast is best." But researchers have decided the approach is "idealistic" and "sets parents up to fail", furthermore:
"That greater recognition of the multiple demands new parents face would reap greater dividends."OK so we agree its time to ditch the "breast is best message", but the interesting bit is recognising the multiple demands new parents face. We'll come back to this in a moment.
The Independent goes on to say:
"Breastfeeding boosts the baby's immune system and protects against infections, reduces the risk of asthma and eczema in childhood, and of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity in adulthood."Well to be fair breastfeeding doesn't "boost" anything - it's the normal food a human infant is intended to consume. Infants produce some antibodies, ie they produce IgE well - IgE seems to be involved in fighting parasites, rather than pathogens. However other antibodies they don't produce in large levels for example sIgA. This antibody protects mucosal surfaces that line the oral, respiratory, gastro-intestinal and genito-urinary tracts against infectious organisms and toxins
Instead mum makes this and breastmilk has high levels, so together baby ends up with a full arsenal - it's a dyad just like before birth that work together to create the whole picture. Not breastfeeding cuts half of this team away and leaves a baby without the antibodies expected from mum - the results show babies have lower levels of these antibodies (1).
The Independent goes on to say:
"The researchers contrast the idealism of the professionals with the realism of the women and their families.All this confirms to me is we have a society still swamped by the myth that because breastfeeding is considered "bonding", any method of feeding must be and thus it is essential for all family members to be involved in order to bond. The "realism" is based on lack of education and perpetuation of this myth - with no consideration to the fact there are lots of ways family can bond without feeding. Before bottles did nobody bond? Were we all dysfunctional?
A mother who feeds her baby on demand is the ideal, but in reality sharing responsibility for feeding allows partners, grandparents and others an opportunity to bond with the baby."
"Some parents reported feeling pressured to breastfeed and even regarded its promotion as propaganda. They felt the culture was "all or nothing" rather than "try it and see" and did not want to be "set up to fail."This is interesting - do we hear parents reporting feeling pressured to provide a healthy balanced diet or use a carseat? Why does this only apply to infant feeding? When we talk about benefits of a normal function it does feel like propaganda.
For years breastfeeding wasn't promoted and bottle feeding rates were higher "Try it and see" is an interesting concept, but also potentially doesn't convey the significance of feeding method as discussed here.
Unfortunately with the support systems in place, I'm struggling to argue against the "setup to fail" comment....
"Many new parents spoke about "getting the baby into a routine" and "getting back in control of their lives" which often conflicted with the time needed to breastfeed."And here we have it, the root of the issue - yet more myths pedalled by certain "baby experts" <snort> who sell parents unrealistic expectations, and indeed play their part in "setup to fail".
"Gail Johnson, education and professional development adviser at the Royal College of Midwives, said a shortage of midwives left some women feeling unsupported with breastfeeding."Strange the "shortage" of Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and those appropriately trained and qualified in the field of lactation within the NHS don't get a mention no? I mean, wood - trees? Why haven't they asked a Lactation Consultant, those working day in and out with mothers for a quote on this?
"The authors suggest changing the message from "breastfeed exclusively for six months" to "breastfeed as long as you can and introduce solid foods as close to six months as possible."So despite the fact we know not breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months carries risks, we don't tell mothers this? OK. I'm clearly in a minority in that I would kinda like to know and make my choices accordingly. What do others think?