Breastfeeding :: The NHS Workshop

So this morning I went along to a Breastfeeding workshop that the local maternity services run. It was a long morning and full of information. Some relevant some not. Last night me and snafflesmummy were talking about it on twitter and she reminded me that it’d probably be a very rosy picture that the NHS painted, and boy was it.

Our local hospital are currently aiming for some Baby Friendly Award status thing which I didn’t really understand but a lot of it was referred to UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative, which I have to say I had never heard of previously, but after this morning and all the facts and figures the midwife churned out in relation to this initiative I’m certainly familiar with it now!

Now don’t get me wrong I am pro breastfeeding! I wouldn’t be trying my best to conquer it this time around if not! But sometimes, as was the case with preschooler, Mums cannot manage to breastfeed and bottle feeding is a must. What seriously wound me up was the scare tactics that were used when discussing bottle feeding, the “Your child will get obese, your child will get heart disease, your child will get asthma, but if you breastfeed none of this will happen”. Uh WRONG! Both me and my brother were breastfed, he still had asthma and he still had eczema! Breastfeeding doesn’t mean your child won’t get these things! Yet the midwife made out like breastfeeding made sure that your child will never have any health problems if they are breastfed and that the majority of bottle fed babies end up in A+E with infections etc due to their immune systems being low, Preschooler has only been a handful of times and none of them were for infections or related problems.

Then there was her “Breastfeeding is 99% safe contraceptive and although we don’t advise that you use it exclusively as a contraceptive its perfectly safe to do so”. So safe and certain that my Mum fell pregnant with my brother when I was 9 months old!

There was also very limited discussion over issues that may arise such as mastitus, tongue ties and other breastfeeding hurdles! I wasn’t the only second time Mum there and the other couple had also had issues first time around, tbh I’m amazed that second time mums are even allowed as of course we all brought up various issues we had had when we had our first, yet they were just dismissed and very vauge answers given.

Did I find it helpful? Not really! I didn’t come away with anything I didn’t already know other than the realisation that no I never have seen an advert for newborn formula nor dummies. Other than that? Nowt! If I’m honest I feel like I wasted a whole morning on listening to the stereotypical unrealistic breastfeeding view! I’ve learnt more from the lovely Mums that have commented on previous breastfeeding posts and have answered my questions about it on twitter. I guess you live and learn!


6 thoughts on “Breastfeeding :: The NHS Workshop

  1. Just have to point out that it is considered a good contraception but only for the first few months and certain conditions must be met (before 6 months – no solids – no dummy/bottles /articificial teets – feeding at least every 3 hours including all night ) although would NEVER advise someone to use it as a contraception unless they were prepared to fall pregnant (it did work for me – i got pregnant when my eldest was 8 months again , period came back almost 1 month exaclty after she started solids) .

    I am very pro breastfeeding – been feeding for 6 years + now and am a peer supporter in my area. I think it sounds like a harsh workshop that may be leading people to failure – or trying to scare people into having to breastfeeding.
    For me , i would love if all people could

    1 – Admit breast is best , most people are fine with that but some try to say its not or formula is better.
    2 – Try feeding – it may just be for the first feed and decide its not for them . They don’t need to feel guilty or bad for it – but at least they gave it a shot . That parent should be proud of themselves for even doing that far

    (I know in my area only 16% of mothers even put the baby to breast for the first feed – shocking i think)

    Good luck with feeding when the time comes x

    1. Hey Laura, Thanks for popping over. As I was saying to someone earlier, at the end of the session so many mums looked petrified quite frankly, as she put it, scare tactics! I’m thankful that my Mum is a trained breastfeeding counsellor so I can generally turn to her for advice although she doesn’t like to bombard me with her knowledge! I certainly wouldn’t recommend the workshop I attended to fellow mums to be in the area thats for sure!

  2. Hi Hayley,

    I do hope you have a better experience this time. Breastfeeding advice that irritates me is that it ‘shouldn’t’ hurt if you are doing it right. In my experience (as a midwife) yes, if you have a better latch it improves everything, but some people get sore nips for the first couple of weeks whatever they do. The nipples toughen up after this, so it’s worth persevering. (This opinion would be shot down in flames by breastfeeding advisors I expect but it is true in my experience! And nuns have told me they would rather be prepared realistically for some difficulties than told they must be doing it wrong if it hurts!) Best book on the subject is called ‘the food of love’ I think. (will double check when I go downstairs!) It gives you the correct info but in a lovely humorous way.
    Please do spare a thought for us midwives trying to convey complex stuff – no one should say all bottle fed babies will be ill, but statistically any formula does increase the risk of illness. The fat in formula (which is cows milk) is processed by babies in a different way to the fat in human milk, which means their bodies are less able to deal with harmful cholesterol and other fats etc as they grow up, which can lead to obesity and heart disease but that also depends on a genetic predisposition and on the sort of food they eat when older! The causes of asthma are multifactorial, but total breastfeeding til 6 months reduces the risk – it doesn’t remove the risk completely.

    Good luck with everything.


  3. have to agree with nicky – the facts remain that statistically bf babies are at much less risk than ff babies. everyone can say ‘oh well i was ff and i’m fine’ or ‘i was bf and i was really ill’ but these remain anecdotal evidence. there is also the increased risk of SIDS with formula feeding – enough to put me off. these are not ‘scare tacticis’ these are the facts. we have unusually crappy bf rates in the uk.

    you may not have seen nb formula advertised but you will have seen the aptimil adverts, sidebars on facebook, ads in the bullshit baby magazines not to mention the utter bs articles about bf/ff (fun bags etc). have you noticed that the universal symbol for baby facilities is a bottle? if you are interested in the grusome facts of the formula industry have a look at ‘the politics of breastfeeding’ by geraldine palmer. enough to give you nightmares.

    as for bf causing annovulation (prevention of ovulation) the condidtions are; baby is under 6 months, no periods and the baby is demmand fed. westerners dont seem to really ‘get’ demmand feeding so it doesnt work as well over here. in developing countries the natual child spacing (where no contraception is used) is around 3-4 years (and theres been no foreign aid and nestle interfering :-))

    as for bf being painful, as a peer supporter i see loads of new mums and i was shocked by how many experience no pain at all feeding, even if there are other issues. i think from my own experience it can be painful at first but with a good latch its more likely it wont be 🙂

    its not very constructive to suggest that other mums don’t attend these workshops in your area – any information/resources are better than nothing. just because you didn’t feel that you gained anything doesnt mean that other mums might be really inspired.

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