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A rant about GPs and "extended breasfeeding"

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#51 --binda--

Posted 15 July 2011 - 07:02 PM

My GP today told me to give my 9 week old formula, because I went in about PND... She told me I needed a break, etc.

I express so I don't see how giving her a bottle of formula will make it any different?

#52 Soontobegran

Posted 15 July 2011 - 07:19 PM

There are good and knowledgable GP's too. Mine always encouraged my BF but it is not suprising that they don't know too much about extended breast feeding, they simply don't see it often.

I know the offending pamphlet and it is NOT advertising formula as a breast milk substitute, it actually recommends BF is the best but it says that if you decide to wean then it recommends a formula with certain ingredients. I actually don't see that they have violated anything by having this available in the waiting room.
Given the incidence of breast feeding at 6 months is pitiful I think that for many mothers it is a valid information sheet. sad.gif

#53 A'idah

Posted 15 July 2011 - 08:05 PM

It is probably of no use complaining about advertising of toddler milk. Unfortunately it is not classed as a breast milk substitute. It is therefore actually used as an excellent way for companies to get around the voluntarily advertising ban, because they heavily promote the toddler milk, which is of course branded the same as the infant milk. So the brand awareness still gets out there. Sneaky, but clever marketing by the companies.

#54 Guest_bottle~rocket_*

Posted 15 July 2011 - 10:52 PM

QUOTE (mamasaurus @ 15/07/2011, 12:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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?

The attitude expressed by this GP is really common, it is only that most people are not prepared to say it out loud.   The marketing of baby formula over the last century has had a huge effect on attitudes and beliefs about breastfeeding.  Formula feeding is seen as normal and even though the health benefits of breastfeeding are now well known it is still seen as appropriate for young babies only. There has also been advice over the years from baby "experts" such as Dr Spock who encouraged breastfeeding but said that babies should only be breastfed for 6 months otherwise it would stop them from becoming independent!

He does sound like a idiot though.  Describing a baby over 6 months as a "toddler" who can talk??? And no child would remember being breastfed unless it was continued past the age of three.

#55 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 15 July 2011 - 11:04 PM


Edited by hab, 18 July 2011 - 01:52 PM.

#56 Guest_bottle~rocket_*

Posted 15 July 2011 - 11:09 PM

QUOTE (DandyLyon @ 15/07/2011, 03:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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!

The ABA is volunteer organisation and they don't have anything like the resources of the big formula companies, so they can't visit every GP individually .  However they do provide information and training for health professionals as already mentioned.

#57 Bam1

Posted 15 July 2011 - 11:15 PM

QUOTE (mamasaurus @ 15/07/2011, 04:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

Thanks mamasaurus for the clarification, I get what you mean now.

#58 **Tiger*Filly**

Posted 15 July 2011 - 11:57 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?

As per a previous poster, ABA is completely run by volunteers, so although there is some education of health professionals that happens, it's not remotely possible for ABA to visit all the GPs. I work in health education for a community organisation and we are continually trying to make connections with GPs and educate them about our cause (ie something other than breastfeeding), and I can tell you it's very difficult to get your message out to GPs because you are just one voice amongst very, very many others competing for GPs' valuable time.
I breastfed both my younger children to 4 years plus, and never had any criticism from my GP. Maybe it's my general 'don't mess with me' attitude, but anytime I went to the doctor and needed medication, the little box would pop up on the computer to ask if I was still bf, I would say yes, and he would say fine.

#59 mini-muffin

Posted 16 July 2011 - 12:24 AM

QUOTE (mjk05 @ 15/07/2011, 06:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

Haha! So true mjk05. original.gif Some honest insights you have given!

#60 Majeix

Posted 16 July 2011 - 12:41 AM

QUOTE (*Caro* @ 15/07/2011, 01:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

You know we disagreed with a general practiioner who told us to wean our sick child immediate at just over one. He told us their was no medical benefit at that age and it was just a bad habit. When my husband suggested that opinions differered these days about how long you should wean for he told us 'his was a medical opinion so we should listen to him'. oh and he also implied she mustn't be eating (no my plump little girl is starving) if she was still bf. It was my first child who is now 7 but I told my GP who was furious, and called the practice herself while I was there. They requested I put my concerns in writing so they could act upon it, which I did.

#61 Guest_bottle~rocket_*

Posted 16 July 2011 - 11:17 AM

QUOTE (hab @ 15/07/2011, 11:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Stupid thing to say but I'm not surprised really.  I love my GP but several times she has made comments about my extended breastfeeding. When I was sick she told me I should probably give up breastfeeding, as it's wearing me out and isn't nutrionally necessary for the baby at "that" age.
I just nod and go home and continue to feed smile1.gif  I know what's best for me and my child.

Oh yes, the idea that breastfeeding "wears you out" (even if it's only a couple of times a day) is another one that keeps popping up.

#62 Guest_bottle~rocket_*

Posted 16 July 2011 - 11:26 AM

QUOTE (Rohey @ 15/07/2011, 06:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

The ABA is already doing something about this.  They run breastfeeding education classes for pregnant women and their partners which are very popular.  They also encourage new members to attend some of the local group meetings before the baby arrives.

#63 Sassenach2

Posted 22 July 2011 - 05:24 PM

The ABA also run classes for the professional people to catch up on the latest advice for their patients, who are breastfeeding. I don't know if the classes are successful though.

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