The Sabotage Of Breast Feeding By Ignorant Professionals

For as long as I have been a midwife I’ve seen many women start to breast feed and stop after 2 weeks. Looking at the statistics this pattern seems to have been going on for a long time.

A woman has a right to change her mind about her feeding choices, and guilt should never be the feeling she is left with, but what I object to is the amount of substandard advice and information given to breast feeding women by so called birth professionals.

Often the support offered is in direct conflict with what we know about how breast feeding works, what’s going on? Do some midwives not fully understand the physiology of breast feeding?

‘Top your baby up with a bottle, you need the rest’.

‘Wake your baby in the day to feed, you need to get this baby into a routine’.

‘Nipple shields are a good way to get you through this painful feeding period’

‘Your new born is sleeping too much, wake the baby up and offer the Breast’.

This is said to women who have had a ‘straight forward’ birth and whose baby is a good weight, physically well in every other way, just sleeping.

I’m sure you could add your own example to this list.

Even a basic understanding of the physiology of lactation would cure this pernicious sabotage of breast feeding which often leads to the demoralisation of desperately tired and worried new mothers.

Breast feeding subsequently stops because the advice has been acted on thus impacting on this ancient process, a process that has kept man kind (mammals after all) alive on the planet for millions of years.

Like the process of birth, breast feeding works perfectly and birth professionals would do well to humbly step back, deferring to a woman’s inner intuitive knowing.

I am working on a resource aimed at men who are supporting their breast feeding lovers.

It will include video clips , a full explanation of how breast feeding works, liking that physiology to our evolutionary development over many years.

Examples of baby feeding signals, good ‘latching on’ and position for feeding will be shown to him. He will understand the function of the brown fat across his baby’s scapular in those early hours as the placental hormones flushes out of his lovers body allowing prolactin to do its work.

After a man has seen the video and worked through some written material including exercises designed to reinforce this knowledge, he will intuitively know what is poor/good advice (this can be done on his own or in a facilitated group).

He will then be able to support his partner in her feeding choices. The truth will set him free from the constraints of having to ignorantly follow the advice of professionals visiting his home.

Watch this space for further developments. If you have examples of the kind of poor advice given to breast feeding women please post in the comments section below.

I am speaking at the ABM conference in June 2015 and hope to present the fruit of this work there.

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7 thoughts on “The Sabotage Of Breast Feeding By Ignorant Professionals

  1. On Wednesday at hospital clinic, babe is 5 days old, paediatrician has advised mum to bottle feed for ‘a day or two’ to rest her sore nipples…advice from the mouth of god himself, why would mum and dad have any reason to doubt the words of this otherwise professional and really very nice chap? The launch of your resource for fathers, and the work you do with them already is such a valuable force for the good for our species, as we re-learn how to support those who are nurturing our most precious young ones. This is about the future of humankind, and our planet, no less. (hehe, no pressure!)

  2. I took my fully breastfed daughter for her 8 week check and was told that because she had “only” gained 1lb 3oz in a month that I should seriously consider bottle feeding as her weight gain had slowed and she had dropped a centile on her growth chart. No wonder so few women are breastfeeding at 8 weeks and beyond!
    I’m a midwife and I must point out that it is not always “us” that get it wrong. Health visitors and GPs give more poor advice than we do! I’ve seen and heard it all too often!

    • I’m sorry to generalise you are of course right in what you say.

      • To be fair you dont target midwives in particular, but i feel there must be some correlation between the day ten hand over to health visitors and GPs and the reduction in breastfeeding. I hear a great deal of “do what’s right for you” “a bottle now and then won’t hurt”.
        Interested to follow up your work and utilise anything you produce to support families to breastfeed for longer.

      • Am working on a shirt film aimed at men who support their partners breast feeding. I’ll let you know.

  3. My partner supported me to breastfeed our first child until she was over 2 years old. He never once thought it was odd or distasteful to breastfeed until this age, unlike the vast majority of British men I know. He’s not a ‘new age’ or particularly ‘sensitive’ type of man – so no fitting any stereotypes a there, but he’s not British, so perhaps he isn’t used to our attitudes to breastfeeding. I certainly would have found it very hard to continue without his support and acceptance. Our second child is due any time so if we can help with your video let me know.

    I have heard friend’s partners say “yeah but I just want her boobs back” all too often – and these are otherwise well educated and thoughtful men. Your planned resource for men is desperately needed.

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