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A rant about GPs and "extended breasfeeding"


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#1 glasnost

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:00 PM

So on Monday I took to the GP DD for her one year jabs. My usual GP was on maternity leave so I saw another random (male, not that it probably matters) GP that I hadn't seen before.

While I was in the waiting room I picked up a leaflet titled something along the lines of "Improving Your Babies Immune System". Interesting, I thought. To paraphrase it said something like "breastfeeding is good for the first few months blah di blah di blah however if you choose to move on from breastfeeding formula provides all of the nutrients your baby needs as well as probiotics which will improve baby's immune system". Thanks for that kind donation to the doctors waiting room, well known manufacturer of formula milk.

The doctor calls me in, does the jabs etc then asks "is she still breastfeeding?". When I replied that she was he told me that after six months, although there is no medical reason to give up that he thought it was a bit weird if toddlers still breastfed once they could talk and that I wouldn't want her first memory to be of being breastfed, would I? At the time I thought that  this was an odd thing to say however a few days later I am really angry about it. He was not only wrong (there is so much evidence that breastfeeding after six months is good for the long term health of the baby!) but out of line too as it is a personal decision.

Now, I am so far from being one of those bare foot hippy women in fishermens pants I think that he was referring to, with four year old attached to my breast (I would actually class myself as being pretty conservative and I probably won't breastfeed past 18 months) but this really "gets up my goat"! How is it that something so "normal" has become so "weird" that even  doctor is telling us not to do it?



#2 Nobodyelse

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:03 PM

Because there are idiots in every profession. I was having some breast refusal at three months so my doctor just told me to give him formula and when I expressed my desire to not give him formula, she told me to stop being a paranoid first time mother. Female doctor. Total moron.

Edited by LRD, 15 July 2011 - 12:04 PM.


#3 =R2=

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:12 PM

What an idiot.

I was looking after a mum and her 3 week old who came in to the hospital with mastitis a week ago. Her GP put her on antibiotics and told her she must stop breastfeeding from that side at once as she will be poisoning her baby with infected milk wacko.gif. She had the good sense to ignore that remark and kept feeding her baby. She had to go on the drip  as the infection wasn't clearing up but she was lucky it could have been much worse if she had stopped feeding.

#4 A'idah

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:14 PM

That's terrible, but most often the case these days that doctors seem to believe this sort of stuff. I have also been advised so many times by doctors to give formula, mostly because they say it will be easier for me (not even for any medical reason). One idiot doctor even advised me to start bottle feeding before I went overseas, because it would be easier! I don't know what he was thinking, as how on earth would it be easier to take formula, get clean water and sterilise bottles, compared to just lifting your shirt and breastfeeding? wacko.gif

Maybe write to the AMA and complain about the leaflets? Not that they will do anything I guess, but might make you feel better and every little bit counts when it comes to things like this, in my opinion.

Edited by Alik, 15 July 2011 - 01:54 PM.


#5 sarkazm76

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:16 PM

Write a letter of complaint to the practice manager and imply that you were given the impression the GPs practicing there may be influenced to give certain advice based on the advertising material/ promotional consideration given to certain formula companies original.gif original.gif

And that if they are not well informed/ educated on CURRENT info regarding BF'ing then they should say so and refer to other people who CAN help you.

#6 lizzybelle

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:22 PM

QUOTE (LRD @ 15/07/2011, 12:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... she told me to stop being a paranoid first time mother. Female doctor. Total moron.

Yeah patronising and nasty are so reassuring in a professional aren't they???

#7 tillyontoast

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:23 PM

One of my earliest memories is of my mother breastfeeding me in a rocking chair, im not scarred for life and I don't find it weird either  huh.gif

Sad that a medical professional doesn't know much about breastmilk and isn't being very supportive!

#8 I'msoMerry

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:23 PM

I have also found it very strange as my doctor doesnt encourage breastfeeding.
You would think they would be the highest advocates for it!

#9 lucky 2

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:23 PM

I would ring up the GP surgery and ask to talk to the practice manager. I would explain what has happened and suggest the Dr(s) review the AMA Position Statement on Breast Feeding, which also includes the recommendation to avoid any advertising of breast milk substitutes as they have been found to decrease breast feeding rates.
The AMA Position Statement is current and easily accessible, the GP is not working within his/her professional association guidelines. To me that equals being unprofessional and giving dangerous and potentially harmful advice. Could that be seen as negligence?

ps, the AMA may do something.

#10 glasnost

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:32 PM

QUOTE (luckytwo @ 15/07/2011, 12:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would ring up the GP surgery and ask to talk to the practice manager. I would explain what has happened and suggest the Dr(s) review the AMA Position Statement on Breast Feeding, which also includes the recommendation to avoid any advertising of breast milk substitutes as they have been found to decrease breast feeding rates.
The AMA Position Statement is current and easily accessible, the GP is not working within his/her professional association guidelines. To me that equals being unprofessional and giving dangerous and potentially harmful advice. Could that be seen as negligence?

ps, the AMA may do something.


Thanks for this advice, I will definitely give them a call.

#11 Sockergris

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:33 PM

Thank goodness I have only come across GPs that practically high five me for keeping on BFing DD.

Sad that it isn't recognised for what it is.  Formula companies have NO place with pamphlets in a doctor's surgery IMO.  That makes me SO angry.

(I'm not anti formula for those that need it but don't agree with advertising FF- especially to vulnerable people who may have an unwavering trust in the opinions of professionals.  Yep, I'm ranting now......)

#12 soapy

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:37 PM

Strange. I went and saw a lovely Dr when DD was about 4/5 months. She started teething early and he told me that I was 'brave' for still feeding her with teeth. Thought it was a funny thing to say.

#13 Nobody Cool

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:51 PM

That really saddens me OP. People place a good deal of weight on advice given by medical professionals and it is very sad to think that some other mother might be given the same dubious advice, start doubting herself and subsequently choose to end her breastfeeding relationship.

I'd be like you though and hit the "ignore" button on that "advice".

#14 *mnm*

Posted 15 July 2011 - 12:59 PM

I am finding the same advice from numerous GPs I have seen lately. I had mastitis a few weeks back and was told to stop BF immediately and put DS2 (allergic to cow milk protein) on formula as he is "too big for BF"  rolleyes.gif  

Then yesterday I took the boys to a different GP for their cough and when I mentioned I was still BF DS2 (11months) he said "Oh really, wow". And I asked "Is that unusual?" and he said "Oh yeah you don't really see many people BFing a baby that age.

WTF!?

#15 *Caro*

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:07 PM

I like luckytwo's advice cclap.gif

Sad to say, but GP's don't learn very much at med school about breastfeeding.  It just doesn't get much air play, so they quite often don't 'get' it. I had a female GP give me some really dodgy advice a few years ago about weaning, but she has totally changed her tune now that she is a mother herself  biggrin.gif  

I think it is possible for us mums to influence and educate GPs and MACH nurses, by questioning their advice, sharing our experiences and pointing them to some more up-to-date info.

Edited by *Caro*, 15 July 2011 - 01:08 PM.


#16 Charlotte84

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:07 PM

OP that sucks - I would complain if I thought my GP was giving me info based on companies that could be providing an incentive to him.

I experienced with DS a horrible doctor (but the opposite to what you had) I couldn't BF (there is no milk in me) and went for something else after about 4 -6 weeks and whils there also asked for something to dry up my milk so I wouldn't get an infection.  Well the rant she entered into (and we are not talking encouraging either) about how I would give my child asthma and etc. I felt bad enough about having stop I did not need my GP to tell me that I would cause my child a range of diseases.  I told my MHN and she told me to ring and complain (I did) and also told me she'd perfer to see a baby formula fed then starved.

#17 Hodor55

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:08 PM


Unfortunately, it IS unusual, in Australia to be breastfeeding beyond 6 mths.  

People are uncomfortable with it, because it's outside the norm.  GPs are only people, they too can be influenced by what society sees as 'normal' (and therefore, better).

This is why so many breastfeeding advocates do try to make a difference in breastfeeding rates, by educating and encouraging, to try to improve the number of women who breastfeed longer than a couple of months.  Not just for those individual women and babies, but for the future.  Because if rates keep dropping, when our daughters have children it may be considered even more 'weird' or 'abnormal' to breast feed over 6 months than it is now.


#18 Jo-Anna

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:18 PM

That's terrible! I don't know if I personally could be bothered complaining, but at the time I would have had some sort of horrified look on my face!
Why is everyone so freaked out by extended breastfeeding? I mentioned that I would like to continue feeding DS beyond a year at mothers group and I got all sorts of weird looks. DH even is a bit funny about it.
There is so much on here defending Formula (I have nothing against it personally) but I think extended feeding gets just as much judgement and criticism out there!
Bugger them I say!! You know what's best for your little one.

#19 sparassidae

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:24 PM

I would loooove it if my children's first memory was of breastfeeding wub.gif. But you can tell the idiot Dr not to worry- even though I feed until 4 yrs they still don't actually remember it shrug.gif

#20 Roobear

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:24 PM

Definitely ring and complain!

I have had some supply issues and always get raised eyebrows when I take DD into the clinic and explain that I am here for a weightcheck because my supply is playing up. I feel like saying 'She is only 6 months old ffs'

I have noticed as well that I get more 'looks' when I breastfeed in public. The only thing I can think of is its because DD is getting bigger.... I seemed to get an almost endearing glance when DD was little but now it is a look of repulsion. Even DP noticed it last week when we were out to lunch. It makes me very sad sad.gif

#21 Nina's Mummy

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:28 PM

QUOTE (tillyontoast @ 15/07/2011, 12:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One of my earliest memories is of my mother breastfeeding me in a rocking chair, im not scarred for life and I don't find it weird either  huh.gif

Sad that a medical professional doesn't know much about breastmilk and isn't being very supportive!



And what a lovely memory to have.
I don't get what's wrong with that being the first memory.

Odd

#22 libbylu

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:32 PM

I realise how lucky I am to have a good GP.  When I had mastitis she advised me to feed MORE on that breast because it would help unblock the ducts (along with giving antibiotics that were safe).  I never had any negative comment from a health professional about feeding my DS til he was almost 2.  That's what the World Health Organisation recommends, so if anyone questions it, just tell them that.
I live in an inner suburb of Melbourne populated mainly by mothers who are professional and a little older than average, but in my mothers group of 15 women, all 15 breastfed their babies, and none stopped before 10 months.  About half of us had gone back to work part time by then, but by either expressing or adding some formula we were all able to keep breastfeeding.  However, I was the only one who fed beyond 15 months I think.  So in our area I would say the definite norm is to breast feed to 12 months.
I would make a complaint too. Doctors should absolutely be supporting women to breastfeed for as long as they want to.

#23 Bam1

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:38 PM

QUOTE (mamasaurus @ 15/07/2011, 12:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Now, I am so far from being one of those bare foot hippy women in fishermens pants I think that he was referring to, with four year old attached to my breast (I would actually class myself as being pretty conservative and I probably won't breastfeed past 18 months) but this really "gets up my goat"! How is it that something so "normal" has become so "weird" that even  doctor is telling us not to do it?


The doctor was wrong especially as he is a professional but everyone has a "line" for breastfeeding yours seems to be at 18 months and because its not 3 or 4 years you are casting the same dispersion as the doctor did on real extended breastfeeding (after 2 years according to the WHO guidleslines).  Its a shame that everyone seems to have their own line, and can't appreciate any other line!



#24 robbie07

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:48 PM

QUOTE (tillyontoast @ 15/07/2011, 12:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One of my earliest memories is of my mother breastfeeding me in a rocking chair, im not scarred for life and I don't find it weird either  huh.gif

Sad that a medical professional doesn't know much about breastmilk and isn't being very supportive!


Aghhh that is so sweet! What a beautiful memory.

When I was struggling with breastfeeding DS1 my GP said that babies only needed breastmilk for the first 6 weeks then it didn't matter what they were fed. He went on to say "all these pro breastfeeding lesbians are trying to enforce their views onto mothers"  ohmy.gif

There's some really weird views out there on breastfeeding eh?



#25 Hodor55

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:52 PM

QUOTE (robbie07 @ 15/07/2011, 01:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
He went on to say "all these pro breastfeeding lesbians are trying to enforce their views onto mothers"  ohmy.gif


Amazing.  Since breastfeeding my 4 kids for years, I have started to develop some lesbian tendencies.  Sometimes I even wear overalls.

GPs are so very insightful.







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