Its no wonder breastfeeding rates are low…

• Overall, only 35 per cent of UK babies are being exclusively breastfed at one week, 21 per cent at six weeks, 7 per cent at four months and 3 per cent at five months. [Source]

This week I’ve seen my health visitor and GP. Both times breastfeeding has of course come up for different reasons. And as usual their ever supportiveness *sarcasm* shone through. My health visitor told me, well you’ve done your six months when are you going to wean? My response was that I will let him wean when he is ready to and if that is when he is 3 so be it! Her response, what if he never weans? Seriously why the negativity? My GP today as well, you don’t need to carry it on now if you don’t want to you’ve done the main bit. 

Now surely these professionals should be supporting my decision to breastfeed? Not trying to convince me that we’ve passed the six month mark so time is up! Two words, sod. Off.

But heres the thing I know this isn’t localised to just these two professionals, you hear about it all the time, other women who haven’t had the support. These are the professionals we turn to when we need advice etc on how to carry on our feeding relationship etc so they should be supporting us not telling us its ok to give it up, it is ok to give it up, when your ready to! Not because they say its ok! Thus its no wonder breastfeeding rates are so low really isn’t it.

I had my hair done this week by a new hairdresser and we were chatting, aside from her ‘I think breastfeeding after 6 months is a bit weird’ comment, she had breastfed herself, we had quite an interesting chat. She had felt during her feeding relationship that she wasn’t comfortable feeding in public, she frequently sought out feeding rooms, this led to us discussing why some people can be so negative about feeding. My opinion is that because breastfeeding has become so rare and bottle-feeding the norm people find it hard to accept because they are not used to it, its not a sight they see everyday, whereas bottle-feeding is. How often on TV do you see a soap actress breastfeeding? Rarely if ever! So is it that society is now expecting us to bottle feed and we are abnormal for breastfeeding? Surely not because ultimately breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, right?


9 thoughts on “Its no wonder breastfeeding rates are low…

  1. I’ve noticed that people here are so much more at ease with breastfeeding mums, to the point where they’ll happily have a good look at baby feeding – it’s the tourists and expats that look at you like you’ve got an alien clamped to your chest that make me laugh! I only exclusively breast fed for a few weeks then introduced one bottle in the evening so the 10 yr old or the oh could get involved with feeds, that turned into an additional bottle if we were out and now the little one happily guzzles his way through two bottles a day. I could have expressed but I never bought a pump incase I had the same issues I had when feeding madam and didn’t want to spend money on something that may never be used. Turns out little one couldn’t care less how he’s fed as long as he’s fed so it works well with us. I’m not fussed about feeding in public, I happily whip my boob out at the school bus stop if I have to which is on a busy main road and has achieved quite a few looks that’s for sure, although more pervy than disgusted and the other mums don’t bat an eyelid. I think people just assume you’ll give up breastfeeding once the baby goes from being a “babe in arms” and starts turning into a crawling/walking baby or toddler, I suppose it’s because they’re no longer seen as babies as such despite them still being very young. At the moment I love nothing more than snuggling up with the little one for his morning feed it’s by far the best time of the day with him and I hope that continues for a few more months yet!

  2. the attitudes towards breastfeeding here are so poor compared to other countries. my friend is recently home from australia and couldnt believe the difference. they are much more casual about it here as the done thing.

  3. sadly, BF is no longer part of “our” culture. People were often surprised that I was BF as I didn’t fit into the hippy, alternative lifestyle stereotype. There is so much mis-information too which doesnt help mainly because so few women BF so tips don’t get passed on from one women to the next. I BF for 6 months and 9 months. I would have gone to 1yr but baby started biting & I couldnt find a way to stop him. I am not sure how much longer I would have gone past a year, to be truthful I once thought BF longer than 6 months was weird! I am sure WHO reccomend BF for the first 2yrs.

    On the otherhand, I really struggle when a small baby is fed via a propped up bottle in their buggy, feeding a small baby is more than actually feeding them, the close contact is soo important to their development too.

  4. I have to say I can’t remember ever feeling uncomfortable with breastfeeding. maybe in the early days as it is all so new but I didn’t have a care in the world after a while. I think I must have just blanked out any ignorant people staring or giving dirty looks. I know family members of mine weren’t for it and they were more embarassed than me at first when I fed in public but I think they soon came to expect it. I only breastfed for 4.5 months as my daughter started losing interest and pulling on and off the breast and it became a battle so I went on to bottles then but admittedly I probably would have weaned her off around 6 months anyway just to tie in her milk with meal times, it just felt easier in my mind to be able to have her sat in a high chair to feed her but I have plenty of friends who continued on till their kids were one so it’s an individual choice really.

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  6. I get the same comments. We are 10 months in and I get the “how much longer?” comments lots.

    It makes me sad. When did the attitude of society change so much that breastfeeding is seen as weird?

  7. Good for you. But you are quiet right. I usually say I’m going to self wean and they “usually” stop by aged 7 – that gets a bit opened mouthed. I recently posted that my 4 year old had stopped and he then asked again (but I didn’t feed him and he didn’t make a fuss about it). The WHO recommends a minimum of 2 years anyway.

  8. I am quite lucky where I am that the HVs are so supported. I told them that I would wean my lb at 8 months when I get ready to go back to work, and they tried to persuade me to carry on. I realise now that they are not the norm. It has been friends that have asked me when I will stop more than HVs!

  9. I am still feeding my 7 month old and will carry on til around the year mark. My eldest I weaned off breast at 14 mths, my middle child weaned himself just before 1!

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