Sunday, 17 April 2011

Breastfeeding in the UK

I've just watched 'Is Breast Best?' on Iplayer: watch it here

I was shocked to discover that the UK has the 2nd lowest breastfeeding rate in 36 countries. Did you know, only 3% of UK women are exclusively breastfeeding their babies at 5 months?

As one girl in the programme said, there aren't enough women breastfeeding in public for it to be considered normal.

A new mum friend of mine, Rose, has started an amazing initiative to help normalise breastfeeding in public. She is organising a breastfeeding 'nurse-in' at a central London location in June (during National Breastfeeding Awareness Week). We are aiming to get 100+ women feeding their babies at the same time. This has never been done on such a scale in the UK!

To ensure the element of surprise, we're not widely publicising the date,time and venue. For these details, nursing mums can join the Facebook Group 'Breast Feeding Flash Mob'.

The direct link to the Facebook group is:

The Facebook group has only been going for a few weeks and already has 365 members. The idea is really taking off. Please spread the word to any nursing mums you know.

BTW - I am in no way against bottle feeding. Some of my good friends bottle feed their babies and I fully respect their right to do so. I understand that not all women find it as easy and convenient as I do. However, I am passionate about promoting breastfeeding and helping women to feel confident to do it in public.


Muddling Along said...

Already signed up although sadly Littler has now weaned herself off

I'm not against bottle feeding but what I am very much against is the fact that bottle feeding is taken as 'normal' and then breastfeeding as 'better' so that its breastfed babies have less bad behaviour not bottle fed babies have worse behaviour...

Which then leads into decisions based on bottle feeding is normal and breastfeeding is somehow above and beyond normal

Anna Colette said...

That's such a good point. I'm not against bottlefeeding either, and I realise that in some cases it is the only viable option. However, to many mums don't even contemplate breastfeeding - or drop breastfeeding way too early because formula is presented as an equal-if-not-better alternative.

And why are the press so reluctant to say 'bottle fed babies have worse behaviour' I wonder?

Our society is so careful not to offend bottlefeeding mums but so quick to make it hard for breastfeeding mums:
frowning on breastfeeding an older baby in public
insinuating through follow-on milk adverts that breastfed babies older than 6 months may become iron deficient
the obsession over newborn baby weight encouraging new mums to fret over milk consumption so that they switch to formula 'so I can see how much she's having'