One of the most controversial parenting debates comes down to how we decide to feed our baby. With so much pressure placed on mothers to breastfeed, we look at is breast always best?
This debate is seen on every parenting debate board with many mixed reactions. Sadly even today some look down their noses at the mothers who choose to bottle feed.
A professor of paediatrics, Michael Kramer, claimed that much of the information used to persuade new mothers to breastfeed was either wrong or out-of-date. The benefits of breastfeeding have been greatly exaggerated, according to a leading expert. Professor Kramer, has spent more than 20 years studying the subject and been an adviser to the World Health Organisation and Unicef, believes a significant amount of evidence behind the claims is flawed.
The ‘breast is best’ message, including that of the Department of Health, state a mother’s milk wards off a host of illnesses. NHS leaflets given to pregnant women and new mothers claim that breastfeeding protects against obesity, allergies, asthma and diabetes.
Professor Kramer’s own work has failed to prove that breastfeeding protects against asthma, allergies or childhood obesity.
The Royal College of Midwives and the National Childbirth Trust also actively encourage women to choose breast milk over formula.
The paediatrician, from McGill University in Montreal, also has further concerns. ‘The public health breastfeeding promotion information is way out of date,’ he added.There is very little evidence that it reduces the risk of leukaemia, lymphoma, bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
‘I don’t favour overselling the evidence - we should not be conveying false information.
‘I think some of the advice promulgated on obesity or allergies is false information.’
The Department of Health first advised that breast milk gives babies the best start in 2003. It invests up to £7million a year in promoting breastfeeding.
Not all mothers like the idea of breastfeeding, some try and just can’t do it. I breast fed four of mine. The other two children were bottle fed. It is a choice we as individual mothers make. It is a right of a mother to choose how she feeds her baby and should not made to feel guilty over her choice.
Mothers have enough to worry about without the added fear of being frowned upon if she is not feeding her baby herself. All six of my children are healthy, regardless of which way they were fed. I see no difference.
I personally found breastfeeding difficult at times, it was time consuming and I always worried they were never getting enough milk. When you bottle feed, you can see how much milk they are taking at each feed. The after pains made it impossible with my 5th and 6th child and when you have other family commitments and other children it makes breastfeeding difficult, sitting with your breast out when you have a house full of your children’s friends is not comfortable. I don’t like my boobs and never have. The thought of getting them out in public is not for me. I tried expressing but to no avail. I stopped going out when breastfeeding and I believe part of that led to me suffering with postnatal depression.
At the time breastfeeding worked for some of my children but not for others. I personally have no preference but do feel there is far too much pressure placed upon new mothers. My youngest child is 9 months old and when he was born the hospital gave you free formula milk, a month after the hospital no longer provides formula milk. If you decide to bottle feed then you are now to take all the equipment that comes with this, is this cutting costs or is this a way to persuade more mothers to breastfeed?
Do you think breast is best? Is too much pressure put on mothers top breast feed?