Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Any issues with what nappies to buy, home schooling etc. In fact if you have kids or are planning to this is the section for you.
Post Reply
sheridand
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:06 pm

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 202721Post sheridand
Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:14 pm

I have started training as a Bf counsellor. I did son till 18 mo, when he self weaned, and daughter till 20 mo, self weaned, and there is only 15 mo between them (just!) so I tandem fed too. After over 3 years at it i was glad to give them a rest! When I was living in London I found it easy to feed outside, lots of venues and no horrid commenst, apart from one in Victoria Park by some fundamentalist gentlemen who spat at me! In Fenland it was harder, when we moved. BF was not as common, most women bottlefeed, and I got looks from women and men. Carried on though! There is a great Oz ad showing a man eating his lunch on the loo. Then it basically says, why are BF women shoved into loos to do it? Fab! When I see a mum doing it, I will catch their eye and smile and say "how nice to see, I did it too" and we will often have a chat. Little things give confidence. I well remember an elderly lady approaching in Hackney Marshes and saying she'd done 3 sons, well done. It just gave me a boost to whap 'em out and not care! It's defo the best thing for babes, Other people should get used to it.

User avatar
citizentwiglet
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 848
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Just outside Glasgow

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 202744Post citizentwiglet
Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:43 am

Being Devil's Advocate for a minute.....I think we are all agreed that women have the right to breastfeed wherever they like, and that is how it should be. HOWEVER, those people who might take issue with it have an equal right to their opinion, don't they?

You will ALWAYS gets people raising their eyebrows, or looking away, or making comments. It's not 'right', but they are as entitled to their beliefs as anyone else. The best thing we can do is to GENTLY educate the 'ignorant' (i.e uneducated) so that these beliefs change over time; the sledgehammer approach is counter-productive to the cause, and may well be the reason that breastfeeding figures are still woefully low in this country. I don't think it's about the occassional comment, I think many new mothers are very intimidated by the efforts of some of the breastfeeding lobby, who often get far too carried away with their passion and can cause feelings of guilt and inadequacy if things are not going terrifically well for a mum - particularly a new mum who is often overwhelmed and over emotional and may find breastfeeding difficult when she is already exhausted and very sensitive.

I find slogans like 'The Food of Love' upsetting - that implies that a mother who breastfeeds loves her child more than one who formula feeds - that is simply not the case. There are many reasons why women do not breastfeed, and implying that a child who is breastfed is more loved that one that is not - well....that's almost as bad as the disapproving looks that people give breastfeeding mums.
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

http://reflectionsinraindrops.wordpress.com - My blog
http://www.bothwellscarecrowfestival.co.uk - Scarecrow Festival
http://bothwellcommunitygarden.wordpress.com - Community Garden

User avatar
battybird
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 655
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:05 pm
Location: Kent / central portugal

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 202844Post battybird
Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:36 pm

I was a breastfeeding counseller for a few years too, and I agree with citizen twiglet...easy does it is far more effective than confrontation. I fed my kids everywhere and only once had someone complain in a restaurant she felt I should feed the baby in the loo! I had nearly finished by the time the lady complained very loudly, happily I was supported by several people at neighbouring tables who said that they had not noticed and did not care anyway. One man even pointed out that the lady must have been really peering at me. I did not leave and the owner of the restaurant got involved and offered to move the lady to another table (near the loo actually!!) :lol: I have fed on buses, in church and just about anywhere but most of the time it is possible to be discreet (and personnally I prefer it anyway). I certainly did not intend doing it only at home!! Unless bottle feeding is banned to "feeding areas" and loos it is almost an equal rights issue!! Its for a very short time in a childs life generally and we should support anyones choice in how they feed their baby, bottle or breast. :hugish:
The cockerel makes the noise, the hen produces the goods!! anon

User avatar
citizentwiglet
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 848
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Just outside Glasgow

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 202863Post citizentwiglet
Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:06 am

Thanks for your reply, Ruth - a lovely, balanced, and fair response.

To be honest, I think we fear the 'thought' of someone making a comment too much. Many of us have breastfed many times in public and, when you compare the amount of times you've done it with the amount of looks you've had, more often than not people are very accepting and don't bat an eyelid. Consider how many times you've fed your baby in public, yet most of us have only one or two experiences we would consider uncomfortable. And, as Ruth points out, even in these cases you will find that the majority are on the side of the mother, not the objector.

I only breastfed for six weeks, yet - as the mum of a tiny baby - I found that at least half my feeds were conducted in public. I was never made to feel uncomfortable (but then, I was discreet, I used his shawl over my shoulder, and I don't see a problem with making a concession like that UNLESS you are actively seeking frowns, curiousity etc). I did, however, get completely slagged off for formula feeding my son in a cafe one day - not to my face, of course, but loud discussions about how I was 'abusing' and 'poisoning' my child. I did want to go over and point out that the medication I was on at the time passed through into breast milk and was a far greater threat than some formula. Why is it OK for breastfeeding mums to slag off mums who do not, or cannot, breastfeed?

I think many new mums are frightened of this idea that they WILL be stared at and complained about. I think many of the breastfeeding lobby LIKE to think they are on the sidelines of society, that what they do is somehow subversive and 'wacky' (I know so many breastfeeding mums who buy hundreds of pounds of tacky plastic toys, spend a fortune in the local supermarket on plastic-wrapped, pesticide ridden food and drive their in their massive, unnecessary 4 x 4 but still happily declare themselves 'hippies' BECAUSE they breastfeed).

Let's get this straight - Breastfeeding IS socially acceptable, to the majority. Promoting this idea that you WILL face comment, and staring, is NOT doing breastfeeding any good at all - in fact, it is a major factor in women not wishing to draw unnecessary attention to themselves. Look at your own experiences - I bet 99% of your public feeds have been hassle-free. Stop making breastfeeding so 'special', and you'll get mums on board.

As for Milky Mums' business cards. Nice, in a way. But I think I would feel HUGELY patronised if I was handed a thank you card for doing something that is natural and something they want to be 'accepted' (though it is). Because you know they'll take it to places like toddler groups, where they will hand out 'thank yous' in front of women who are formula feeding, thus making them look superior. Surely, if breastfeeding is so great for mum and baby, you don't NEED a thank you. There is thanks enough in having a happy, thriving baby. Again, it is driving a wedge; and setting breastfeeding mums 'apart' from everyone else.

What next? Handing a parent a thank you card for being so natural as to actually have sex and produce a baby in the first place?

As Ruth says, it is a very short time; and we should respect both ways. Formula fed babies are hardly dying of malnourishment, are they? And, from my experience, the formula feeding mum seems more likely to insist on a healthier diet through weaning and childhood - making up for their 'failings', I imagine.

A straw poll of my friends (around 30 in total) - those who FF now have 2 - 5 year olds eating 5 to 7 portions of fruit and veg (roughly 60% buying or growing organic) and seem far more 'hippie' in other aspects of their lives than the breastfeeders, who - though still providing healthy food, seem more lax when it comes to buying needless rewards such as biscuits, 'branded' fromage frais, bottled drinks etc...you know, 'child friendly' supermarket food.

I think it may be the case that FF mums try to go the extra mile to make up for their perceived 'failure' to provide in the early days. Almost all the FF mums MADE their own purees, or did Baby-Led-Weaning (another area the breastfeeders claim as their own, but it is perfectly safe - and good - to do BLW with a formula-fed baby, regardless of what some of the internet sites say); that number was - maybe surprisingly - lower with BF mums. As I say, this is a small poll amongst my friends - social construct dictates that this will vary between region, country and, to an extent, class.
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

http://reflectionsinraindrops.wordpress.com - My blog
http://www.bothwellscarecrowfestival.co.uk - Scarecrow Festival
http://bothwellcommunitygarden.wordpress.com - Community Garden

sheridand
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:06 pm

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 203127Post sheridand
Sat Jul 17, 2010 11:56 am

I don't think it needs ramming down peoples' throats, but it does need positive input. Although many FF feel hounded by BF women, it is the case that many women choose to FF through misinformation. And it is a class thing too, in Hackney, where I was taught to BF my son by a lovely Surestart group, the women there were almost universally white and m/c, despite the group being set up for poorer women from ethinic groups as its' target. The West African lady who ran it was despairing. Several ladies of African descent did join us, and one explained that many did not BF because of it being seen as the "poor" option, buying a tin of formula was more "bling!" Yes, really! And also many women were rmeoved from families and unable to ask for help, and unable to expose themselves to others to ask for it because of religious restrictions.

Where I am now in the Fens, lots of women do not BF, it has a terrible take up. Partly this is down to the high teen pregnancy rate, younger mums are less willing to do it (although not all, obvisouly. One young mum in our BF support group has joined to try to persuade others. The misconceptions about BF she has heard are hilarious! Red heads can't do it, apparently!), and partly because the women here tend to work shifts in agricultural jobs, so it is harder to demand feed and express.

I agree that FF isn't necessarily the devils own, but fact is that BF is best all round environment wise and baby wise, and what prevents women from trying is often nothign more than a bit of support. So I do think you should get out there and risk making FF feel hounded, if they are sensitive about it, as it is worth picking up those women who just want a bit of help. It might be a bit naff, but when I was trying to latch DS and getting no help from the NHS at all, after 7 days I found the BF card of the surestart group, and it saved me!

I don't think your poll is representative. I have seen FF mums here giving their kids protein shakes! And Nesquik. Equally, i've seen them being great and healthy, and vice versa. TBH, I think it depends a lot more on class and poverty than anything else, and that is what needs to be addressed. That, and making places ok to feed in, either way. There is not one place in my home village that would be ok to feed in, excepting the mobile library!

oldfella
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1237
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:31 pm
latitude: 44.564
longitude: 0.959
Location: Lot et Garonne France

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 203137Post oldfella
Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:13 pm

Why is it that the human species have so much trouble with nature, after all we all know all living beings put food, in one end and get rid of muck at the other, they pee, there is normally a male and female needed to produce young, and the female, in most cases nurse and feed the young, and all this is done because, that is the way it is, but only in the human species is it made an issue.
I for one have never been embarrassed, seeing my dog feeding her pups, or even see them making puppies, so why should I be embaressed or even think about it, when I see a woman doing what nature intended, and when I read words like "in your face" " do it discretely" I ask why, as it is after all the right of the child to be fed, and the right of the Mother to feed her child without embarrassment, and it is the onlooker who should be discreet, and not "in your face"

So Mums, do what nature made you for, and do it with Pride and to hell with those who want to make it an issue, cos one thing that is an absolute certainty, it been like that since time began and it ain't going to change because someone else is embarrassed.

TO ALLTHE NURSEING MUMS :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower: :flower:
I can't do great things, so I do little things with love.

circlecross
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 517
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 7:44 am
Location: Sunny Cumbria

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 203225Post circlecross
Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:28 am

well said, Old Fella. If you decide to breastfeed, then that is what you have decided to do. And you will do it. I nver found I had time to think about if I was being discreet or not, as I had a hungry demanding baby to feed, so I just did it. Had I had time to feel I was making a statement, then it would have been less about the need to feed and more about my wish to be seen as a lactivist. I certainly never felt I had to make a great show about it, but I never felt inclined to remove myself to a toilet to do it. Sometimes it is nice, if there is a special lounge, as it is generally quiet, sometimes cool, and quite nice, if you are feeling the need to escape from a talkative husband. You can take a magazine and a bottle of juice and put your feet up in them for an hour! I did feel smug and earth-mothery, but never berated anyone for FF. I donated breastmilk to a premmie ward, and I think I was prouder of that, than lurching milk-sodden boobies out in cafes.
"yum, yum, piggy's bum!"

http://www.myspace.com/circlecross_73

User avatar
Helsbells
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 907
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:32 pm
Location: Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 203385Post Helsbells
Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:10 pm

I think someone mentioned about education.
I can't stress enough how much I wish children were educated better in school about bringing up babies. I mean it's the one things that nearly everyone who goes to school will do.
The only children in my school who are taught about breast feeding are those who chose to study child development.
I had a conversation with them about it and asked them if there are any benefits to the baby for choosing not to breast feed (medical reasons aside) And they agreed that No, there was no benefit for the baby to choosing not to breast feed. Even though they agreed to this both of the girls I chatted to had decided that they would not breast feed, one citing that it was gross, and the other saying that it was not convenient.
I was really really upset by this. Far too many young people are totally ignorant to breastfeeding. Very frustrating in this day and age.

User avatar
citizentwiglet
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 848
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Just outside Glasgow

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 203574Post citizentwiglet
Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:42 am

LOL @ 'Not convenient'.....because buying formula, having chapped hands from having them permanently submerged in Miltons, making best-friends with your bottle brush and having to wait 30 minutes for the kettle to cool down for that 'unexpected' feed is just SOOOOO convenient, isn't it?! Not to mention not being able to leave the house for a day out without bottle, bottle cooler, bottle warmer, sterilised empty bottles, wasteful cartons of formula. Oh yes, forget the Louis Vitton handbag if you want to formula feed. In fact, forget having a bag any smaller than a large suitcase. With iceblocks in.
And formula feeding makes your boobs droop. Badly. Quite how my 32A cups have managed to stretch and droop to my knees is quite beyond mathematical and physical reasoning, but they did.

I'd have LOVED to breastfeed. I'm proud of the 6 weeks I did. I do think FF mums get bad press - but agree that many choose FF as the 'easy' option, which it clearly isn't. Sheridand's comments about the West African mums' attitude that formula was 'bling' just goes to show how rotten our Western, modern society has become, that women eschew nature in favour of - ha ha ha 'labour saving' bottles.

My friend has a T-Shirt saying 'Too Lazy to Make Formula', I thought that was brilliant. It's so true. At 1.30am...and 2.30am, 3.45am, 5.15am....when my youngest wanted a wee snack of an ounce or so, it would have been so much easier to just cuddle him up and lift my top up. The kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil, whilst your baby screams themselves inside out, is a VERY lonely place indeed.
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

http://reflectionsinraindrops.wordpress.com - My blog
http://www.bothwellscarecrowfestival.co.uk - Scarecrow Festival
http://bothwellcommunitygarden.wordpress.com - Community Garden

User avatar
contadina
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 807
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:11 pm
Location: Puglia, Italy

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 203581Post contadina
Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:42 am

You seem very defensive citizentwiglet, but no one is having a go at women who have no choice but to formula feed. The fact remains though that many young mum's in the UK don't even give breast feeding a single thought because of the reasons Helsbells mentioned (it doesn't mean they are accurate it just goes to show that education is sadly lacking as many young girls believe formula is the easy option).

In Italy I have never seen anyone formula feed and breastfeeding in public is very normal, without the need to cover baby with anything. No one takes a blind bit of notice, or they will smile as they pass mother and child. On a recent trip to the UK, however, I must say I was really shocked at the difference. Babies with bottles were everywhere and I witnessed a group of young mums all have a go at a mother in the seat opposite. After the other mother felt uncomfortable enough to move they all agreed it was disgusting and that she'd have saggy t*ts :roll:.

User avatar
citizentwiglet
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 848
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Just outside Glasgow

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 203590Post citizentwiglet
Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:07 am

Sorry, I fail to see anything defensive about that post.
I took my dog to play frisbee. She was useless. I think I need a flatter dog.

http://reflectionsinraindrops.wordpress.com - My blog
http://www.bothwellscarecrowfestival.co.uk - Scarecrow Festival
http://bothwellcommunitygarden.wordpress.com - Community Garden

Claripup
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:49 pm
Location: Finedon - UK

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 204642Post Claripup
Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:41 pm

Just to reply to the "education" thing, when I was at school (back when school were steam powered!! - 25 years ago) we did a term on how babies were made. I was about 7, we made models of the various stages of development before birth, learnt when hearing developed, how and when sex was decided ect.

I have to say the whole sex part was glossed over enough for young children, basically mummy and daddy have a special cuddle that feels nice and then go to sleep, and the only thing that got complaints, was when a mother came in with her baby and breast fed in front of the class (which was very discretely done under a blanket). Bearing in mind she also showed us how to change, bath and dress the baby I find this ludicrous. But apparently a couple of children (with young siblings who were bottle fed) found it disturbing. The school did not repeat the class, and through the rest of my schoolhood this sort of education was not repeated.

Now I understand that some young children may think it is "wrong" to BF if their mother hasn't done it with siblings, but surely the parents should explain why they didn't in a way that is understandable to a child, not complain so bitterly to the school that all future pupils miss out on a vital part (IMO) of education. Personally I found it lovely and fascinating, it was the "fire safety" that scared me ridged and gave me nightmares, but I bet that hasn't been 'banned' from schools!!!

I do think that while 7 is a young age to be exposed to "making babies" it is probably about the right age as children are far more open to learn things at that age, and if children have younger siblings they will be aware of most of the basic facts anyway. Also as we have many more young mothers than we once did it would help to disperse the rumours about breatfeeding (and other aspects of motherhood) For example, at age 7 I asked what it felt like and if it hurt, the response from the mother convinced me that if I have had a baby I would breastfeed and although I now know that is not always possible the sentiment is still there and if I can I will... All because of what I learned as a 7 year old.

hippymum1
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:54 pm

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 208612Post hippymum1
Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:15 pm

hi im new :wave:
i hav a 2yr old son born by csection and struggled to feed him for 4 months before being told to use formula by a health visitor , i never fed him in public as i didnt feel confident so never really went out :( however i now hav a 2 month old daughter who was born natrually and started feeding 2minites after birth i bought one of those feeding covers and feed her everywhere (staying in all day is not an option with a boistrus 2yr old lol) i think alot of the time its more about confidence than other ppl
and how much suppor u get ,i dont know any other mums that breastfeed however my mom breastfed 4 kids so ive never found it odd definatly think ppl shud be given more support tyhough
:flower:

User avatar
123sologne
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 347
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 5:14 am
Location: Used to be UK, now Central France
Contact:

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 208619Post 123sologne
Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:28 pm

I have no children and do not intend to have any but I thought I would have a look at this conversation to see what people had to say. One thing I am amazed at is that in a society where health and safety has become quite over the top, there could be people that suggest that a baby should have his/her meal in the toilet.... I would certainly say to anyone who would suggest that to take their plate and have it in there themselves!....

welshmum
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:30 pm
Location: south wales

Re: Breast feeding, socially unacceptable or not?

Post: # 210273Post welshmum
Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:31 pm

I have fed all four of my children and I would never change this. My worst experience was also the best. On my third child in T***o cafe I fed my then 6 week old. A middle aged woman felt obliged to deride openly for being indescent and for exposig her to such a ludicrous thing in public. My other children, then 20mnths and 3and half years, were quite upset by their mam being shouted out and did not understand why. Shortly after the lady left I had an elderley woman come over and congratulate me for continuing.

Yet I do have issues with the way that some lactivist are promoting bf by demoralising ff mothers for the decisions they make. However, when the reasons that some ff mums give for not bf are ridiculously immature they dont always do themselves any favours. I have even heard one pg lady say that she would not bf as it was not natural! I have also heard it said that these are the husbands toys and nobody else is going to touch them. When you have women who are open enough to say that I cant be bothered to bf even though they acknowledge that it is the best start possible for their child it does leave you questioning the mentality of the parent. If this attitude that they have to raising a child it doesnt fill me with umuch hope for the next generation.

Post Reply