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A rant about GPs and "extended breasfeeding"

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#26 NatMummyTo2

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:54 PM

Surely you're joking?  Does this really happen?  I'd lodge a complaint for sure - that is truly shocking.

#27 blueberrymuffin

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:55 PM

I've stopped mentioning that DS (2.5 years) is still breastfed, unless I absolutely have to (eg. getting a script for me).

Although I haven't really had any negative comments, most doctors have just gotten this stunned look and moved on without saying anything.

#28 orange

Posted 15 July 2011 - 01:59 PM

QUOTE (mamasaurus @ 15/07/2011, 12:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... he thought it was a bit weird if toddlers still breastfed once they could talk...

Actually, it's quite helpful when your toddler pulls off and says "other side now".  No point leaving them on longer than necessary. biggrin.gif

#29 Sif

Posted 15 July 2011 - 02:11 PM

When I expressed concern about going on an anti-convulsant because my child was still breastfeeding (18 months old), the doctor laughed out loud at me, proclaimed that "Australian babies don't NEED breakmilk past six months of age" and said he couldn't wait to tell his wife about my concern because she'd get a good laugh out of it...

Edited by Sif, 15 July 2011 - 02:12 PM.

#30 Feralmummacat

Posted 15 July 2011 - 02:12 PM

The GP and the practice is also not aware of the WHO guidelines on breastfeeding

Here is a link to the 10 facts of breastfeeding by WHO


You may also want to point out fact 7

An international code to regulate the marketing of breast-milk substitutes was adopted in 1981. It calls for:
  • all formula labels and information to state the benefits of breastfeeding and the health risks of substitutes;
  • no promotion of breast-milk substitutes;
  • no free samples of substitutes to be given to pregnant women, mothers or their families; and
  • no distribution of free or subsidized substitutes to health workers or facilities.
I would say that having the pamphlet on display is in breach of this code.

I am not a BF promoting crazy woman for the record. I had DS 6 weeks prem and we had to fight to establish BF (ended up BF until 2). I am pro choice, if you want to BF you should not have to listen to anyone trying to promote you to stop. That is your decision and your child's. If people want to bottle feed that is their choice, I don't judge as I know that it can be hard.

Edited by Feralmummacat, 14 June 2014 - 10:22 PM.

#31 niggles

Posted 15 July 2011 - 02:16 PM

QUOTE (orange @ 15/07/2011, 11:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually, it's quite helpful when your toddler pulls off and says "other side now".  No point leaving them on longer than necessary. biggrin.gif

Mine used to switch randomly between the two. wink.gif

#32 Etcetera

Posted 15 July 2011 - 02:19 PM

Is 12 months even considered extended breastfeeding?
I fed till 15 and 16 months and when I stopped with DS2 because I was pregnant and my supply dropped (and it was starting to become painful due to hormones) I was actually told I was wrong and I should keep going!

#33 Bigfatbum

Posted 15 July 2011 - 02:22 PM

I got that advise from one of my community nurses with ds2 - the very next week i took her in a whole bunch of reading and said im not coming back.

#34 snowhite

Posted 15 July 2011 - 02:38 PM

When DS1 was 3 weeks old and I was struggling with low supply my GP (no longer my GP) told me that 'there was more to mothering than showing a nipple into baby's mouth'. On my insistence she reluctantly gave me a script for Domperidone (to improve supply) but refused to give repeats after DS turned 8 WEEKS.

I did loads of  reading and found support elsewhere. DS1 was BF until 13m when I got pregnant with DS2. DS2 was BF for 2yrs.

I spend a fair bit of time in medical circles and many did find this 'weird' but I did not mind broadening their horizons  wink.gif

#35 4andcounting

Posted 15 July 2011 - 02:43 PM

Im sorry you had to see a crappy Dr OP, Dr's should support mothers choices no matter what they are and unfortunately some Dr's dont sad.gif

You should breast feed until whenever you feel you are ready to wean no matter who says otherwise your body your boobs your choice.
I personally dont see the need to breast feed after 2 years they get everything they need from regular food and their immune system has had a good boost from breast feeding so i think its more a mothers choice to do so after this time. I dont judge people who do breast feed after 2 but thats just my opinion.

The same goes for formula fed babies i dont see the need to after 2 years either as for the same reasons as above.

I formula fed my kids as i just simply didnt want to breast feed, although considering it for this pregnancy. I did find however there was NO support for women who are formula feeding and even had nurses at the hospital(with all my kids) that refuse to even attend to me because i was formula feeding. It was aweful. I do get that their should be more support for b/feeding mothers whether you plan to feed for a short or a long time but on the other hand in my experience alot of mothers and proffesionals look down on formula feeding mothers its no wonder alot of women get PND i just think women should be supported in their decisions to feed whether it be breast feeing or formula. Ok rant over lol

Either way OP if you are still quite angry at your Dr then you should definitely complain and find a new Dr who is going to support you.

#36 madmatriarch

Posted 15 July 2011 - 02:43 PM

QUOTE (5sunny5 @ 15/07/2011, 01:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

Wow after 8 b/f children i'm in big trouble !!lol and i am due for new overalls! My dh must be feeling like he should be wearing a dress.
It is interesting the reactions on b/f though i even had a (female) paed once tell me that "b/f was of little nutritional value at 7 months". I went back to my (female)gp and told her what was said and she gave me another referral for elsewhere. I certainly wasn't impressed.

#37 Erma Gerd

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:06 PM

Because there are idiots in every profession.

Yep- GPs and patients too.
I'm working as a GP now, I'm still feeding occasionally tandem feeding (a toddler and a kindy kid), and I am sometimes tempted to just not ask if kids are breastfed, because I get so depressed by the responses. Yesterday I asked a mother of a 4mo baby if she was breastfed, and she answered "not any more, of course" with an "ewww!" kind of expression. It happens all the time.

But then occasionally I am able to make an extended breastfeeding mother feel comfortable about it (usually they admit to it as though they expect to get a lecture from me about weaning), and that's good.

One other GP in our practice has a breastfeeding 2yo, so I know they're up to speed with it, but honestly I think breastfeeding education is really poor for most GPs (and most doctors). We had just one tutorial on it in the clinical years of med school, and I remember that vividly because every single other student thought 6 months was a normal age to stop breastfeeding.

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.

The GP may not be a member of the AMA. Lots of doctors aren't. The AMA isn't the Medical Board/AHPRA, it's a voluntary organisation that advocates for its members (like a union) as well as for patient issues. Members don't have to agree to comply with all the organisation's guidelines.

I'd definitely call the practice or write them an email and just express your concerns, but I don't think there's much point in dobbing them in to anyone. You could write to APHRA, or find out if the practice is a member of a local health service or operated by a corporate body and contact them to complain, in particular about the pamphlet in the waiting room, which I think contradicts the WHO guidelines re advertising. But if they aren't part of any "Baby friendly" initiatives, they may not care.

#38 Erma Gerd

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:17 PM

Here's a form for reporting a breach of the formula marketing agreement:
MAIF Incident form
or here:
Dept of Health and Aging
with guidelines here.

The agreement is here:
MAIF agreement
And it actually says:
Clause 6: Health care system
6(a) Manufacturers and importers of infant formulas should not use any facility of the health care system for the purpose of promoting infant formulas. This does not, however, preclude the dissemination of information to health care professionals as provided in clause 7(a). (WHO Code Article 6.2)

6(b) Manufacturers and importers of infant formulas should be aware that facilities of health care systems should not be used for the display of products within the scope of this document, for placards or posters concerning such products, or for the distribution of material provided by a manufacturer or distributor other than that specified in clause 4© above. (WHO Code Article 6.3)

#39 DandyLyon

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:28 PM

I bet there are plenty of formula company reps that visit doctors surgeries and 'educate' them on their products, but how many ABA reps would visit the surgeries to educate them properly?
Health professionals are expected to know so much information but yet often are left to educate themselves or take the easy path and listen to those who do actually 'educate' them, whether that information is correct or not!

#40 Blondiebear

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:37 PM

QUOTE (sparassidae @ 15/07/2011, 01:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would loooove it if my children's first memory was of breastfeeding wub.gif .

That's exactly what I thought when I read the OP, what a beautiful first memory!

OP I'm sorry you had to experience such ignorance from your GP sad.gif. It's very sad that his attitude is such a common one.

#41 spannah

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:39 PM

I'm a little surprised to hear the term 'extended breastfeeding' is related to a bub at 12 months.
DD1 was born in Canada and the norm seemed to be up to 2 years. No questions asked. She wasn't weaned until 19 months and only because she was so big and had so many teeth that it started to get uncomfortable for both of us. I hope to BF DD2 for as long as possible as well.
I'm also aware how lucky I am to actually be able to BF! A mate of mine suffered terribly with mastitis and ended up FFing instead. She was devastated.
BFing can be hard enough on mind & body without a professional compounding any problems.

#42 archyandmehitabel

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:48 PM

QUOTE (=R2= @ 15/07/2011, 12:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

This advice was incomplete.  The GP should have added that if she wanted to keep breastfeeding on the uninfected side she should permanently lean to the infected side so gravity would stop the infected milk from running into the other breast. dev (6).gif

#43 Sassenach2

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:50 PM

I haven't read all the posts, so if someone has mentioned this, then "snap". When doctors do their training for seven years, or whatever it is, they only have a very small portal of experience with babies and breastfeeding and they really don't know. However, some doctors are attending ABA courses for the professionals and gaining much more information. To have that literature in their surgery is against the policy of the Health Department, I am sure, but the formula company has weaselled it's way in there and they have probably promised the doctor a free lunch or something. rant.gif

#44 lucky 2

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:50 PM

QUOTE (DandyLyon @ 15/07/2011, 03:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Health professionals are expected to know so much information but yet often are left to educate themselves or take the easy path and listen to those who do actually 'educate' them, whether that information is correct or not!

Or they could look up the AMA website for information on all current matters including the Position Statement on Breast feeding. They could avail themselves of plentiful opportunities to educate themselves (professional development). If they are active (or at least members) of their own professional organisations (AMA, RACGP) they are fully informed re the expectations of them as health professionals and how to stay current and commit to evidence based practice. This is just normal professional expectations, they have a responsibility to stay up to date, they have a duty of care to the community/those under their care.

#45 glasnost

Posted 15 July 2011 - 04:34 PM

QUOTE (Bam1 @ 15/07/2011, 01:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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!

Sorry, to clarify, I definitely did not mean that there is anything weird or wrong about breastfeeding a 3 or 4 year old. I said that I would "probably" stop when DD is 18 months but then again I might get to that stage and neither of us wants to stop. So I guess that I do have a vague kind of "line" but I definitely don't judge anyone else on where their "line" is!

I threw in the "hippy mum" reference because I am sick of breastfeeding a kid over the age of one as being seen in our culture as something done by mothers living up in the commune in the hills and not something that is a completely normal part of being female mammal.

#46 Rohey

Posted 15 July 2011 - 06:01 PM

I cudn't breastfeed past 10 weeks due to various reasons (never establishing supply properly in the first place being the main one- something I "self diagnosed" later) and I have always come across GPs who are a bit "whatever" about breastfeeding when they really shud be the biggest advocates for it.

Can the ABA do something about this. I don't know if they are? Hopefully more than just pamphlets in GP offices to combat the formula company ones! Maybe rather than local communities organising mothers group post birth- groups should be organised for mums-to-be in local communities- that way breastfeeding can be discussed a lot so that formula is a last resort rather than a desperate choice as can happen some times.

I predominantly saw my GP or ob during pregnancy and neither discussed breastfeeding- just the pregnancy, which is such a short, fleeting experience in comparison to parenting-- its concerning to hear on this forum that during study doctors spend only a short amount of time on this area of study- but somewhat understandable too because of the general volume of material they have to get through.

I would have liked to breastfeed longer- but am not fussed at all having a formula fed baby either as I'm not one to think "all formula is evil".

Recently, via mothers group, general discussions with other parents and observing some of the teenage girls of today- I really wudn't be surprised if breastfeeding past 6 months, as a pp said, will be considered out of the norm in the next 10 years or so.

Sad but something that I can really see happening. We can all do our bit though by promoting breastfeeding to all expectant mothers and people thinking about it- I know I will be.

Sorry for giant post.

#47 lucky 2

Posted 15 July 2011 - 06:13 PM

Thanks for that Rohey. Things are being "done" to try and increase bfing rates. Maternity services reviews (State and National Governmental reviews), BFHI accreditations, membership of ABA, increased no.s of IBCLC's, The International Code of Marketing of Infant formula, something is always happening, research is always being undertaken.
It think that what you are doing and thinking is demonstration of the grass roots changes that happen person to person, within families and friendship groups.
You are doing a great thing to be thinking of bfing in positive and hopeful terms and considering supporting and encouraging your friends and acquaintances original.gif .

#48 NatMummyTo2

Posted 15 July 2011 - 06:21 PM

QUOTE (V&J @ 15/07/2011, 05:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The leaflet you picked up OP sounds like the same crap Ad that has been running for weeks on EB, cleverly disguised as Toddler formula of course   rolleyes.gif

I had seen that and wondered - I thought there were laws against pitching formula as superior or 'as good as' breastmilk.  Maybe not in Australia.  Those ads irritate the hell out of me.  I sometimes wish someone could make money from Breastfeeding - but even I would probably draw the line at eating breastmilk cheese unless its my own breastmilk.  So weird as I happily drink cows milk/cheese.  Why IS that?

#49 Erma Gerd

Posted 15 July 2011 - 06:44 PM

I have always come across GPs who are a bit "whatever" about breastfeeding when they really shud be the biggest advocates for it.

You know, it's really hard to be an advocate for breastfeeding as a GP. Everyone expects their doctor to talk frankly with them about things like stopping smoking and losing weight, but if a GP starts to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding to a woman who is planning on formula feeding, chances are they'll crop up on the Venting Board before they've called their next patient. So most of us seem to stick to being very encouraging to women who seem determined to breastfeed, and try to appear as "non-judgmental" as possible with anyone who is considering formula feeding.

As seen on EB on a regular basis, just putting forward information about the benefits of breastfeeding as compared to formula feeding is often interpreted as judgemental and guilt-inducing for formula-feeding mothers. So I can't really blame doctors for tiptoeing around the subject.

I hate to admit it, but I've been guilty of coming across as a bit "whatever" about breastfeeding in certain circumstances- eg when a new mother tells me she's weaning her baby onto formula because she wants to go away for a holiday and leave the baby with her parents.

If they are active (or at least members) of their own professional organisations (AMA, RACGP)

They might not be members of either. I know at least 2 (possibly 3) of the 6 GPs in my practice aren't AMA or RACGP members.

I bet there are plenty of formula company reps that visit doctors surgeries and 'educate' them on their products, but how many ABA reps would visit the surgeries to educate them properly?

For what it's worth, I don't think we're a particularly pro-breastfeeding practice, but we do have the only GP obstetricians in our area, and in 4 years we haven't had a visit from a formula company.

#50 lucky 2

Posted 15 July 2011 - 06:47 PM

I thought there were laws against pitching formula as superior or 'as good as' breastmilk. Maybe not in Australia.

Australian MAIF agreement- voluntary and limited in Aus, only 6 companies have signed it, it is our Govt's less than ideal response to the WHO International Code of Marketing of Infant formula.
IBFAN is worth a look at re monitoring Code violations (by formula manufacturing companies) and information on the issues.

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