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'Breast is best' message failing


The “breast is best” message is failing to convince new mothers of the importance of breastfeeding, campaigners have claimed.

The Breastfeeding Network had called on the Department of Health for a change of approach.

It said breastfeeding needed to be seen as the normal way to feed babies rather than an added bonus.

The current message reinforced views that formula milk was the “standard” way of feeding, the group claimed.

Lesley Backhouse, chair of The Breastfeeding Network, has written to the Department of Health, calling for a change of approach.

“We’ve got to knock breastfeeding off this pedestal,” she said.

“It seems to play straight into the formula manufacturer’s hands by encouraging the view that formula is the normal way to feed a baby - whereas nothing could be further from the truth.”

She added: “What we should be saying - and are intent on getting across - is that formula feeding is an avoidable health risk to babies.”

A Department of Health spokesman said in a statement that “breast is best” was not its slogan, adding: “Breastfeeding is good for babies, good for mothers and incredibly convenient.

“It’s crucial that mothers get the support they need to make breastfeeding a success for them and their baby.”



Readers' comments (5)

  • with the attitude of people when they see you breastfeeding, it is no wonder that formula is preferred.

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  • If you are not prepared to breast feed your baby, unless you have a really good reason, then you are failing as a mother. The natural milk provided by breast feeding is the BEST thing to feed your new born, it's by far the healthiest thing and gives protection against many conditions by the transfer of antibodies from the mother. It can also make your child smarter. It's also just a nice thing to do to get the close contact bond with your baby.

    I suspect many women are too worried about their precious figures (sagging breasts as a result of breast feeding is not true)

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  • But what about the mothers who DO have problems breastfeeding? How will they feel about such a campaign ?
    I have six children and breast fed them all. It was always the same story- baby was gaining weight well for about two months, then slowed down and at three months stopped gaining at all. My last two children were born in England and I had a lot of support concerning breastfeeding, but in the end it made no difference. With my last child I ended up breastfeeding every two hours during the day and every three during the night to stop her from loosing weight. Yet I felt guilty all the time about quitting breastfeeding. When I started loosing large amounts of hair my husband (who had already been worried for a long time about me)went to town one day and bought a bootle-feeding starter pack and convinced me that it was time to start looking after myself.
    My children are healthy and happy, all of them.
    The suggested approach to promote formula feeding as a health risk will put even more pressure on mothers who, as in the coment above, are already viewed by some (many ?) as failures.

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  • Mothers who can't breast feed, I'm glad there are alternatives, but those who don't out of vanity, you really need to question why you are breeding in the first place...?

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  • I breast fed my daughter but only lasted 8 wks due to how painfull it became. I felt awfull that i couldn't do it but was appalled that blood was coming out with my milk!. I neva recieved any support from any midwives etc and felt totally alone.

    I think that women should try to breasty feed if they so wish. BUT there should be more support for them, if more women have better expereinces of breast feeding then they are more likely to recommend it to their friends and famillies.

    As for the stupid comment that women worry about their figures it is a fact that the sucklin g action on the boobs pulls the womb in quicker!!!.

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