A Little Bit Of What…The…Fuck…?

Rant Coming...
Rant Coming…

I watch the news every day and we all know that it is usually filled with doom, gloom, death and destruction, with the occasional news piece that is random and usually to do with record breaking pigeons.

This week, the biggest news circling is that the NHS is offering breastfeeding mothers £200 shopping vouchers to encourage them to breastfeed. The pilot scheme is being targeted in deprived areas of South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Apparently they will be trialing this scheme on 130 women and if successful, will roll this out nationwide. We all know the use of financial incentives are not new in the NHS – they’ve tried bribing smokers and those who are overweight as well.

The areas chosen are targeted because of the low numbers of women breastfeeding in these areas. To qualify for the full £200 in vouchers, women must breastfeed for the full six months of the babies life. However this will be front loaded – with £120 up for grabs when the first 6-8 weeks is completed. The quote below comes from a BBC news article:

Dr Clare Relton, the Sheffield University expert leading the project, said she hoped the financial incentives would create a culture where breastfeeding was seen as the norm.

“It is a way of acknowledging both the value of breastfeeding to babies, mothers and society,” she added.

But Janet Fyle, of the Royal College of Midwives, questioned the initiative: “The motive for breastfeeding cannot be rooted by offering financial reward. It has to be something that a mother wants to do in the interest of the health and well-being of her child.”

She said the answer lay in making sure there were enough staff available to provide comprehensive support to new mothers after birth.

What. The. Fuck. I am all for women being encouraged to breastfeed, but this should be done via helpful midwives, health visitors and lactation consultants. There are many reasons why women do not breastfeed, the top three being:

1) There is not enough information – judgmental hospital staff and unhelpful staff who have no real information on how to help women without getting impatient.

2) Some women physically cannot breastfeed – milk can dry up or not let down at all

3) They do not want to.

The idea that the NHS are going to bribe women to breastfeed not only puts pressure on mothers to perform according to ‘reports and statistics’ but it can make mothers who want to feed but can’t feed, feel like utter shit. Yes, breastfeeding should be seen as normal and it is a bloody shame that people don’t see it as such and as taboo, but that is not a reason to effectively pay people to do it. My best friend was not able to breastfeed longer than she did because of low supply and she had a very hard time dealing with the guilt that came with that. She shouldn’t have had to feel that way but she didn’t get enough help and even if she had, her body wouldn’t do what she wanted it to do.

Why should she be made to feel a failure for that? 

The money that is being ridiculously wasted on shopping vouchers (which, let’s face it, won’t go on breastfeeding equipment but on other things) could be better spent on hospital lactation consultants or special nurses/midwives who can direct and assist with women after birth who need help breastfeeding and with latching. Or they could use this money and give it to cafes/restaurants and department stores for comfortable breastfeeding areas for mothers who are shy in public, without relegating them to the toilets.The biggest issue is lack of knowledge and the NHS could have spent that money on providing that knowledge.

Breastfeeding should be done because of the will and desire of the mother to do so and not mandated or bribed. They haven’t considered the pressure they are about to put new mums under at a time where they do not need additional pressure.

But no. The answer for them is to throw money at those who want to feed as a reward for doing so. It’s disgusting and it degrades women. The ones who breastfeed, making out like they would do it for money and the ones who don’t, making out like they can be forced via money. For the ones who can’t, well you just make them feel like utter crap! I could understand this incentive in third world countries where formula is being bought when they do not have the money or resources to buy it. They do not have the right education or access to education on this subject as we do so encouraging FREE breastfeeding is appropriate.

Not only this, but what about women like me? Those of us who simply do not wish to breastfeed? We get made to feel like we made the ”wrong” choice. If it wasn’t for the evil powder sold in supermarkets, my best friends daughter would have starved after birth. She could have died. I didn’t make a wrong choice for my daughter, I made the right choice for me and that’s how it should be, not bribing mothers to do what they believe should be done.

Have they also forgotten that not every baby is the same? My own mum tried breastfeeding us, and we didn’t take to it. Nothing she did wrong, but not every baby will breastfeed. What about those mothers? Don’t forget, this is taxpayer funded. Why should any of us have to pay for something that is a choice, not a mandate??

I think a mother should get support with either option of feeding, it’s hard enough being a first time mother without prejudice from either side. There should be more support for those that do want to feed but it’s equally important to support those that can’t. Surely the important thing is a happy, healthy, thriving baby and a happy settled mother?

Seemingly not.


New Day, New Page

After the resounding success that was birth stories, a very good friend has asked if I would feature stories about feeding after birth. Not just breastfeeding, but bottle and combi as well. Everyone who has followed my blog already knows that I’m a 100% supporter of breastfeeding, but that I chose not to and Sophie is a formula baby.

However, my best friend had such a tough time with breastfeeding after birth and a severe lack of support, despite all the ‘breast is best’ propaganda. It seems the general consensus is to tell mothers what to do, but not teach them how or support when things get difficult, which just isn’t right. Midwives should not only be a support, but they should be patient and understand that breastfeeding, though the most natural thing in the whole world, is not easy and not automatic for some mothers.

So feeding stories has been launched! I want to hear from mothers everywhere about their feeding journeys regardless of method. Women need to hear the good and bad and know that while they’re cluster feeding at 2am, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that they are NOT failures because they cannot produce more than a few oz of breast milk at a time and that they are doing a fantastic job, whatever method they choose!


The Great Debate…Part Deux

Apparently not!
Apparently not!


Earlier in my lovely blog here I wrote about the big debate between booby feeding and bottle feeding. Something I have come to notice lately are TV adverts about this issue.

Do you ever wonder why you don’t see adverts about infant first milk? Only ever follow on milk? The World Health Organization has done intensive investigation into the advertising practices of formula companies, the health risks of the use of breast milk substitutes, the associations between advertising practices and breastfeeding rates across a multitude of cultures, and the impact of advertising on consumption and cultural beliefs. After several years of research analyses and committees and publications, they produced the

International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes.

Yep you read that correctly. It sounds like a covert mission doesn’t it? Here are some of the things that the ICOBMS says:

There should be no advertising or other form of promotion to the general public

of products within the scope of this Code.

So – they actually are not allowed to advertise infant formula.


Manufacturers and distributors should not distribute to pregnant women or

mothers or infants and young children any gifts of articles or utensils which may

promote the use of breast-milk substitutes or bottle-feeding.

This basically tells us formula is wrong and breast should be the only milk

The World Health organization recommends that an infant be fed its mothers own breastmilk from the breast. If that is not possible, expressed breast milk from that infant’s mother is the next choice. After that, breast milk from a wet nurse or donor milk. After that, banked, pasturized breast milk. Finally, if all of the above options are not possible, a breast milk substitute (such as infant formula) is recommended. Wow – Cow and Gate is apparently the very last option for  choice.

I also heard another line this week by that idiot I spoke about earlier. She says “If you don’t choose to breastfeed, don’t open your legs”. Ridiculous! Some people believe teenagers shouldn’t open their legs either but no one was judging her…another topic this one!

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has banned the advertising of infant formula but allows follow on formula to be advertised as it’s post breastfeeding or when you choose to move on from it. The original guidelines were written down in 1981 and get reviewed every year as research change but it still stands that we don’t see anything advertised for first milk for babies. I have never ever seen a formula tub that states formula is the best option – which is correct – breastmilk is the best option of course but it is important to realise it is not the only option out there and I really don’t think that the WHO should be stopping the advertising of formula.

People are not stupid. TV does not dictate to us what we should or shouldn’t do and if it does that for you go and get yourself checked over. Fast.

I don’t go out and buy a Moben kitchen just because it pops up on the screen. Nor do I go and buy Freederm….because I don’t need it. Mothers who see formula on the telly will buy it if they need it not because TV says so


Jeez I wish people would stop treating us like morons and allow us to think for ourselves. This banning of adverts is pathetic!