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Thread: Article: Suck On This

  1. #1

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    Default Article: Suck On This

    I posted this here as I know it's a sensitive topic and it's pro-breastfeeding. This article was written based on fact, study and science and the history of formula including comparisons on what both contain. It's a very interesting read.



    I do want to stress that this is not intended to start debate on the topic, but I am all for posting articles based on fact and science. If this topic becomes heated I will lock it, if you post with disregard to the guidelines for these gentle parenting forums, your post will be removed. If you feel you may not be able to handle or get angry at pro-breastfeeding articles, please don't read it. It's a very recent article from an overseas magazine called Ecolgist which deals with a range of major health /political / environment issues.

    Suck On This - What's Going On With Infant Feeding
    Last edited by BellyBelly; October 22nd, 2006 at 07:06 PM.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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  2. #2

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    Wow, Kelly, all I have to say to that is that it is soooo true of the UK - the lower down the social class you are, the more likely to bottlefeed (we see it at the hospital here), that young mothers are instructed to only feed their child every 3 hours, not when the child "thinks" they are hungry, even that bottle is encouraged somewhat.

    Though I never noticed before how the food is the "expensive" type of food, not the cheapy type: so odd when you realise how insidious this whole marketing thing is! I'm so lucky that I let it all go over my head!

    However, I do think its correct in saying that if the child would otherwise die, formula does save lives! So, much as I'd love to breastfeed exclusively, if it turns out that I can't there's nothing there that would make me upset about not doing so: seemed to be more of an attack on marketing scams and Nestle at the end than anything else.

  3. #3

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    Absolutely, and the article does state that it was originally designed to save lives of orphaned children and the same would apply now. There is a huge rift in the breastfeeding world with nestle in particular with it's marketing of forumla in third world countries. What apparently happened was mothers would give birth and the doctors would get huge pay offs to hand them formula samples. They would feed their babies this formula, get home with milk dried up and no choice but to bottlefeed - but they also had no money to buy the formula they were so poor. They apparently also had big marketing campaigns for formula that translated into 'Be like your western cousins' in regards to formula feeding. So they have done the dirty, and now they are paying for it. In third world countries, they desperately need to be breastfeeding their babies where possible, to protect them from the many diseases that are so prevalent. There is an organisation who have even started a Nestle boycott some time ago. I also once had a Nestle ad on the site, for a lifestyle survey before I knew of all this, I got emails of complaints for supporting them from a few people, given the nature of my site.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
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  4. #4

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    Kelly, thank you for posting this artical. I was left feeling like I couldn't defend myself in another thread. I now know I don't need to defend myself. the facts are there & I know that. If other choose to turn a blind eye to that then so be it.

    If you can get your hands on a copy of the doco 4corners did many years ago about Bottle feeding & Nestle (mostly but also other formula companies) in 3rd world countries. Its a real eye opener! I think its from the late 80's. A friend of mine has a copy of it & I have asked her to burn a copy for me. If I get it & you would like to see it I would be happy to forward it on to you.

  5. #5

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    Sure that would be great! I don't want to bring any debate or fire things up in here though, so is it okay if we not talk about the other thread? I didn't post it as a result of that thread, I actually contacted the magazine some weeks ago about reproducing it for an article on the main site, but they only have it in PDF format for some strange reason. So it was on the cards ages ago.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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  6. #6

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    Yep, no thats fine. I will let the other thread go now.

  7. #7

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    Kelly, I think this is a wonderful opportunity to discuss this and keep it in the context of the article.

    OK, I haven't gotten all the way through this article because of it's size (and I have dial up), but I will endeavour to read it all.

    While I agree wholeheartedly that breastfeeding is the way to go, I do think that there needs to be a little more leeway on how we feed our babies without incurring guilt and I don't think that scare tatics about various diseases and infant mortalities is the right way of going about things. Some will scoff and say "well I was fed xxx and i am fine" etc etc - but that is irrelevant to what this article is about.

    I also agree that there is a huge lack of education about BF and usually it is left until the problems develop to seek help from lactation consultants and the like.

    I haven't actually gotten to this bit, but in regards to what Kelly was saying about Nestle, I don't agree with multinational companies pushing their products using payoffs in circumstances where they are destined to fail. Infant mortality is high enough as it is in third world countries without doctors being paid to get women to FF, when BF is essentially their only option to keep their babies well. What they are doing borders on the criminal.

    I do want to know though, when they refer to there being more FF babies that die from any cause in the first 6 weeks, how do they know that it was because they were FF? Any baby can die from any cause - regardless of how it was fed IMO.

    I will leave it there until I have read the rest of the article.

  8. #8

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    There was no mention of the sample group size anywhere, Sherie - so yes, 20% of FF babies may get XXX compared to 10% of BF babies - but in a sample size of 10 that's 3 babies get XXX, of which 2 were FF and one BF - not exactly representitive. And is that exclusively breast, exclusively formula, or were the 10/20% BF and FF combined? Because there should be a seperate statistic for them.

    Also the age at which the babies get the diseases wasn't mentioned (I believe) - so, at the age of 80 if you were FF over BF you stand a greater chance of XXX; but then if you're 80 you've done pretty well out of life. And it didn't explore the fact that social factors are also partly responsible, though it did mention it. Over here, the lower socioeconoic group are twice as likely to have type II diabetes - because of their adult diet (that is a huge contribution, though not always the case). They are also the group more likely to have been Formula Fed.

    As I mentioned before, I'd love to BF if I can but articles like this wouldn't put me off FFing; I like to see the raw data, not the reported date before making up my mind. FionaJill - please don't think I'm turning a blind eye as I do think that breast is best, but when an article makes these claims with no sample size and no raw data I get a bit annoyed: I wish when someone can "prove" something that they do it comprehensively.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for sharing that Kel...its really eye opening. I was aware of the issues with Nestle so am pleased that its becoming common knowledge.

    Jo

  10. #10

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    I do think the article is intially 'in your face' about it, and I think most women will stop reading at that point, but I think the article has some very good points to make about other things, especially the support (lack of), education (we might make an informed decision but not all of us do), issues that need to be addressed at government level, and social too. If they only toned it down a little at the start!

    I might contact them to see if they have references in regards to the studies, but I believe it is an evidence based magazine, so I wouldn't say they are making it up. Statements like they are twice as likely to get diabetes etc I would imagine they make a comparison of those who have diabetes, how many were FF and how many were BF etc. I guess they look at the statistics and survey them to see which was the go, but I will see what I can find out.

    Thank-you for keeping this discussion open and level minded, I wont be in today but I will make sure Moderators keep an eye on it, as I don't want it to get out of control. And those who read it, please read the whole thing even though it is long, don't get put off or emotionally driven by the first few bits which are attention grabbing as there are important issues this article is trying to address behind that.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  11. #11

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    I read the article... but now I'm left feeling rather uncomfortable about my particular situation. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and while the medications I need to take are deemed safe during pregnancy, they do pass into breastmilk. This means that when I give birth I will need to cease my medication for as long as possible to breast feed. Depending on the time of year the amount of time it takes for me to be in severe pain could be several months, it could be only a few days.

    Perhaps I should avoid discussions of this nature, as despite everything I know, despite coming from a family where breastfeeding is encouraged and supported I simply have no other choice in the long term.

    BW

  12. #12

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    All right, I have finished reading the article and while yes, I do think that advertisement with the bottle and proclaiming "The Baby killer" is rather confronting, the ad also includes the image of a baby from a third world country and in that instance, Formula feeding babies is a baby killer for many different reasons, including the fact that they live in unsantitary conditions, they do not have access to proper sterilising equipment, the can't afford to buy replacement formula, so they weaken the mix to make it last. I have even heard of a problem in Sri Lanka in an SBS health report that unscrupulous parents are taking the formula meant for their babies and selling it on the black market to the middle classes.

    The article as a whole is more about the methods used by companies such as Nestle to find loopholes in legislation to market their products where they are not suitable and for every bit of progress made in these countries by BF Groups, Nestle seems to be right there behind them undoing all their work. Sure, pro breastfeeding groups are not going to win friends by being bullies and using shock tatics, and they themselves need to take a gentler approach and lobby governments to increase spending on education programs to get more mothers to BF. A lot is said about alternative products being marketed at the mothers from lower socioeconomic groups and that is where the goverment and pro breastfeeding groups should be making the effort to get those women successfully BF their babies - but the option should still be there to educate them about alternative feeding if the need arrises.

    ETA - I don't doubt that the article is factual, but I do think they could have backed themselves up a bit better and included the results of the studies for clarification.

  13. #13
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    Every person in the world should be educated that 'breast is best'. In fact every tin of formula sold in Australia states that formula is no substitute for breast milk (something that causes me angst every time I make up Miles' bottles). And there is no doubt that Nestle's and others' marketing activities in third world countries is criminal.

    The only comment I'd like to make is that the article is VERY big on statistics and vague mentions of studies, but to be credibly scientific it needs to cite those studies and list them at the end of the article, so that the reader can read those studies and make up their own mind about the findings and claims made. Without doing this, it is impossible to know whether the studies were rigorous and the findings robust and valid, or is purely anecdotal conjecture. So I read the article but was left feeling sceptical about many of the claims and statistics, even though I know full well that breast is best. I just wish that scare tactics and hype could be taken out of the issue and the focus instead being on education (using hard science) and support.

  14. #14

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    Hmmm, interesting. I think some of it is true obviously but there is also alot of overhyped information. I'm not for propaganda of any type! I'd like to see the real statistics rather than "twice as" as that can mean anything from 1in 1,0000000 to 1 in 2 so thats not very good stats (sorry I have a friend who studied research and always goes on about bias studies/stats). I agree that BF'ing is best, we all know that. But I think when first time mothers deal with enough stress of doing it all wrong, and then have some nurse or Dr in their face telling them their baby is starving why not try some formula and hormones are involved its not always easy to think about "whats best in the long term". I'm not saying those medical pro's are right, in fact they are dead wrong. The time between birth and a women's milk comes in is the most common time for people to give their children formula because they think their milk isn't going to come in at all. Alot of women don't realise that when a baby cries because its not getting steak and eggs yet (full milk, not just colostrum) its meant to help get the hormones going to bring milk in. With Paris it took less than 24 hours for my milk to come in, with Seth it took nearly 48. And with Paris I had an epi, spinal block, PCOS & Caesar all the things that are supposed to prevent your milk from coming in. So not all women are going to be the same. I think instead of attacking those that do go down the path of formula for whatever reason we should be educating expectant parents on what its like in the first 24-48 hours etc etc. There should be more pre natal breastfeeding classes and not just 2 hours out of 12 hours of antenatal classes set aside for it. Dr's & all medical staff should be more informed. And should also be held accountable if they giving incorrect advice that leads to a mother to make the choice to give up breastfeeding and choose formula. However I have to give the article some credit, its got us all talking hasn't it?

    So I guess what I'm trying to say is its an interesting article, but more for shock value than anything else. And I'm sure it offends a heck of a lot of women out there who only want (as we all do) whats best for our babies.

    Just my thoughts.

    *hugs*
    Cailin

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    Yep, I knew about Nestle and their third world antics - they are notorious and even though there are guidelines about what they should and shouldn't be doing, they still manage to breach them. It annoys me that they are now getting money from me every week but that won't be happening forever.

    Edited to add: there was a discussion on here last week about follow on formula ... a scam if ever I saw one. One of the girls here (I think it was Angel) was given a free sample. So there you go ... they're not allowed to give free samples to the new mothers but they see if they can get them again further down the track.

  16. #16

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    I think it is sad that people are getting offended about pro breastfeeding information and discussions. I am now getting to the point that I think I should remove my ticker in case it offends anyone. I hate being made to feel ashamed that I managed breastfeed.

    I had a lot of troubles with breastfeeding to begin with, mostly due to the nature of Maggie's birth. We did manage to overcome them though, but it was not easy, it is something I do not want to go through again. Anyway one of the biggest problems I encountered was that most breastfeeding information focused on the following:
    • How to express
    • How to store EBM
    • Benefits of breastfeeding

    It was not until I got home and had the first visit from the MCHN at 1 1/2 weeks that I was actually given a brochure on how to attach. The brochure was fantastic and gave step by step instructions with pictures. Where was this brochure in the hospital? It would have saved me so much confusion and pain.

    Also what does not help is the conflicting information of the use of breast shields etc I had to resort to them, luckily that move was supported and encouraged, but I wonder what would have happened if I had a MCHN who advised against them

  17. #17

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    Ok, this is the way I see it. Yes I know I am going to offend more then one person but please remember, this isnít a personal attack on people who FF for what ever the reasons. These people who are offended by the information really need to let go of the emotional side of things. I KNOW that every choice made with your children is made out of love. I think its fantastic that so many FF babies are doing so well.
    Back to my point. Smoking is a known killer. The diseases it causes are non mistakeable. So if Aunty Flow is on her 80ís, smoked since she was 15 & has never missed a beat & is imperfect health for her age. Does this mean Smoking is in fact ok & all the health scare tactics are a load of bull?? NO it doesnít it just means Aunty Flow is lucky.

    When a person is given something that is not natural to their body (ie formula) then for those who are lucky and have a normal, healthy, strong metabolism, it may have very little effect. For many babies, all you notice is the 'processing' problem - harder poos and yucky smell due to the ingredients of formula. For many babies that will be the only obvious sign. For some babies however, formula causes cramps, colic, unsettled behaviour, gastric upsets, skin problems such as eczema and nappy rash. Further up the scale, it can cause or make worse autoimmune problems such as diabetes, crohns disease and allergies. In extreme cases babies can have an anaphylactic reaction and die.

    A mum who has a breastfed baby with rashes and illness may be eating something that her baby is sensitive to, but that usually means that baby would be worse off on formula, with its associated risks. Mum can often adjust her diet and baby's symptoms will stop or ease.

    B456 is right, for some children, formula will not have any measurable effect - same with anything else, antibiotics are fine for some people, dreadful for others.

    It is easy to say 'Babies who are not breastfed are not as healthy as babies who are.' but people hear 'Every breastfed baby is healthier than every bottlefed baby.' No one is saying that and it is clearly not the case. Actually it is more precise to say, 'as a group, babies who are not breastfed record a higher incidence and severity of certain illnesses. We therefore conclude that not breastfeeding increases an individual's risk of illness.'

    I donít believe that by telling parents that there are risks involved with formula feeding that we are trying to send them on a guilt trip, if thatís hows it taken then you need to remove yourself emotionally & look at it is academically. I feel that it is every parents right to know all the facts & be able to make informed choice. For example BW has to take medications that may not be suitable while Bfing, so by knowing all the facts about both sides she will be able to make an informed choice on what will be the best way to feed her baby. (BW, you should call Mother safe 1800 647 848 they will be able to give you the most up to date information on the medications you are taken and how they may effect Bfing & your baby. Get the heads up now ).
    Of course if it turns out that Bfing while on these drugs are really bad, then she has the choice of managing with out the drugs or Ffing. If Ffing means she is able to better care for her baby then fantastic, itís an easy choice.

    If you went to your Dr while PG & he informed you of all the risks involved with smoking while pg (say you were smoking) would you be offended by this? I should hope not, your Dr is helping you make informed choice of what to do. Continue to smoke or quit. So say for instance you were never told that by Ffing you could be increasing the chances of your baby developing XXX later in life. Then later in life you child comes down with XXX, wouldnít you be ****ed off that you were never actually informed that this was a possible problem associated with Ffing?

    I have put a link to web page from NZ that has a bit more stats etc for research that has been done. Itís the most local I can find but can get my hands on some US based information if any one is interested.

  18. #18

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    I think the article had some pretty hard hitting lines in the start of it, but I am just wondering where you feel that the propaganda is coming from? I mean as women some of us can get very personal about it and on our soapboxes a bit, but maybe I am blind LOL but I cannot see anything in public which is in your face about it? I'm not being silly, I am interested

    I think like Astrid mentioned and the article too, that there is a lack of education, and the right sort of it - going for the kill isn't going to help, but I found the chart of contents of both quite helpful. And if I was more informed, I wouldn't have given Elijah the formula for those couple of months I did, when he was about 4 months or so, thinking it would help his reflux, when it actually made his wind worse, being a thickened formula. I am actualy glad he started rejecting it when he did and I had a chance to feed him again.

    I am not against formula, I am all for education, support and encouragement without pressure. I do know women need to bottlefeed for all sorts of reasons, like medical conditions that you need medications for Brooke - no-one is denying that and I can understand that fully given I know your story, so I guess when the option is taken away from us, we can hurt more.
    Last edited by BellyBelly; June 14th, 2006 at 11:11 AM.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
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