Thursday, 24 June 2010

Furious; Women's Rights

You will either agree or disagree with me on this post but I feel so strongly about it that I had to bite the bullet and air my views.  Having read an article this week in my local paper concerning breast feeding I was outraged at the arrogance of the reporter.  Not to mention her contradiction in terms.  When Amy was born I never even contemplated breast feeding her; SMA powdered milk did the job and a good job it did too.  But Ms Davies reckons breast feeding "should not" be a choice.  In other words, it should be compulsory and every new mum should be "made" to feed her baby in this way.  And then she goes on to mention the Equality Act which was passed in April which surely allows women more liberation and choices.  A little contradictory, I thought.  And then she tells us "Breast milk is the best thing for our children"; My daughter did absolutely fine on formula, thank you very much; adding, "it's benefits are many, they have less gastroenteritis, chest, ear and urinary infections, childhood diabetes, asthma, eczema, and obesity (of course, I thought) than babies who are formula fed". 

She continued, "I wanted to give my child the best start in life".  SO DID I.  So did all the millions of other parents who are actually unable to breast feed, or who, get this, choose not to.  I'm surprised Ms Davies doesn't say anything about autism and that breast milk will prevent it.  I have read a lot about breast feeding recently, a lot of very useful, informative and helpful articles.  This one I found ignorant, dictating and extremely unhelpful to new and vulnerable mothers who simply need support and encouragement when presented with their new born.  Ms Davies does talk about statistics, comparing the UK to various other countries, mentioning we are the worst country of breast feeding mothers, and it is still frowned upon in many public places when a mother feeds her baby.  This is, however, to be stopped due to the new Equality Act.  I was asked once by a midwife during my pregnancy if I intended to breast feed and I gave her a firm answer of No.  Nothing more was said.  When Amy was born I was given a small bottle of formula and it went from there.  Choices are there to be taken; shouldn't it be a woman's right to breast feed or bottle feed?  We don't live in the dark ages anymore, Ms Davies.


  1. I could not agree more. It is and should be a woman's choice. You should not be made to feel like a second class citizen or worse a shit mother just because you can't or indeed just chose not to breastfeed.

  2. abso-bloonin-lutely! breast feeding is a choice and doesn't work for many women for a variety of reasons. I have many friends who were made to feel unbelievably guilty for giving formula. surely it is more important for the baby to have a happy, stress free mummy? also, I breastfed big m and she has had umpteen ear infections. I think maybe the whole breast is best campaign neends a rethink. happy loving stress free parents are best in my view.

  3. *standing ovation*
    I am constantly telling people that the entire argument of any human right comes down to choice. Equality and freedom are about choice, being able to make the choice you want to make without fear of judgement or ridicule.

  4. I have to say, I think the sadder thing is that there isn't enough support for women who can't breastfeed because in reality, it can generally be sorted if you get the right sort of support. Still, once the choice is made, every parent should have that choice supported 100%.

  5. I'm sooo with you on this one! My eldest was born with two teeth coming through... 'Nough said!

  6. You'd better watch out you'll get the breast-feeding mafia coming down on you!

    Not so long ago, in the 70′s in fact, experts were saying formula was better than breast milk and mums were being encouraged not to breastfeed. Did it mean all those children raised on formula became less intelligent or less healthy adults – I don’t know the stats, but I doubt it!

    Even now the claims that ‘breast is best’ is contested by some experts.

    Anyway, regardless of the scientific opinion, I think it is up to the individual!

  7. I wasn't breasfed and look at me! How dare she!I am pleased you aired your views as it allowed the good people around you to air their support! Sisters n all that!

  8. Good for you. And I totally agree with you. With Boy Two I let myself be bullied into breast feeding him up until the point where the HV saw he'd been losing so much weight he had to be a hospital inpatient. All along I'd been saying 'I can't do this, there's no milk' and they kept saying of course there is, keep going. Should have told them to get stuffed.

  9. Here Here

    When my seven year old was born I wanted to breastfeed but it just didn't happen no matter how much I stressed out about it and no matter what I or the midwives did to help I just couldn't do it.

    I was in hospital for five days and the nurses constantly told me that 'breast was best' which is fine but if you cant do it you cant do it.

    In the end, I took the decision not to keep trying and to enjoy my baby - the nurses continued to tell me that I should keep trying but I said no and she is now a beautiful, happy, thriving child.

    With my second, I said no from the start and although I still felt the pressure, I was much happier with my decision and felt less stressed when the nurses and midwives tried to tell me how I should be breastfeeding.

    Sorry for the length of my comment - this really gets me annoyed x x

  10. Can I scream? AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Yes breastfeeding is good, yes bottle feeding is good. People making up their own minds is good. Articles like the one in the paper are BAD!

  11. It's good you are getting the word out on this. Incredible to me that there are people who still don't know.

  12. T tried with Logan but much too we went bottle and for him and eventually for teh abhorance of some friends deeming it unnatural...sheesh...

  13. Freedom of Choice, never had a baby (freedom of being independant) believe a woman right to choose. Thanks for being brave and sharing. Sometimes my mom feels like it's her fault, that she did something wrong, of course it's not and she didn’t, but I was breast fed and am environmentally sensitive and allergic to dairy and wheat: life it was it is. Did I mention freedom of choice?

  14. Good shout, CJ.

    I breastfed for 6 months - but because I wanted to. I knew someone who also breastfed (for near on 12 months) and continued to smoke, drink and eat crap food throughout. I really don't think breast is necessarily best. What's best is a combination of what makes Mum happy and, if that choice is breasfeeding, only if it's given responsibly.

  15. Like all bigots Ms Davies is evangelical in her beliefs. And like all bigots she spouts utter tosh. Our youngest had real difficulty breast feeding - we had no choice but to move onto bottle and as a consequence he thrived. Would Ms Davies have preferred him to starve or spend month after month distressed?

  16. Many things should be a woman's choice. Although my opinion on breast-feeding may differ from yours, I think everybody should get to try things her own way. Of course it is useful to have all the information (and if I find something I consider interesting or useful, I will forward it to friends), but finally, everybody should have the right to choose.

    (Since I do not yet have children, I am usually more outraged when it comes to things like "Women have to go for career" or "Women who like to cook are oppressed beings and counteract the good cause of all modern women" and garbage like this. And I, little stupid girl that I am, thought emancipation and all that ruckus had been going on so we would *have* choices!)

  17. I breastfed my first two children and bottle fed my third. I don't have any regrets about what I did with any of them, I did what was worked for all of us in each situation.

    I tend to be an 'each to their own' type so it gets me very very cross when someone comes over all uppity and pushy about breastfeeding, and I did breastfeed!!!! I hate anything being shoved down peoples throats or that smacks of preachy, gggrrrr


  18. I find much of what they purport breastmilk to do to be a bit of bunk

    You see, I breastfed my son till he was one (he was a terrible biter and I couldn't wait to stop). He has asthma, horrid allergies, spent his entire infancy and part of toddlerhood coated in eczema, and so on. Apparently the my milk wasn't magic like that woman's.

    It's cheap. It's portable. It doesn't make their poop stink.
    That's about all I can say for breastmilk.

    I don't live in a country where women always have the option. I was lucky and had good enough health and such I could do it. But he got formula sometimes and it didn't kill him.

  19. Agree 100% Kathryn, utterly ridiculous....don't get me started on the Breast Police!!!

  20. Sounds like you have the same reporter(s), there that likes to hear themselves make noise, as we have here.

    If I had been compelled to breastfeed my daughter, she would have starved to death. It just didn't work. My son, on the other hand, did nothing else until he discovered the taste of apple juice (from a bottle, of course).

    What an incredibly silly woman. We all want what is best for our children, and bottle or boob, it all works.

  21. There's online breast feeding police everywhere. I swiped at one not that long ago that claimed equality and truth was she wasn't.

    Choice is exactly that... choice. She's one that'll tell you how horrible bottle feeding is.

  22. How unbelievably ignorant, I wanted to try breatfeeding but I couldn't. My milk didn't come in for 10 days for a start let alone my flat nips! I'll try again but there's nothing wrong with formula-got more nutrients than the average diet I would imagine.

    Suggesting formula parents don't want the best start for their children is maddening. It's like when people suggested that me finding out my babies gender at the scan was pointless as the health was what counted the most...well yeah obviously just because I'm impatient doesn't mean I wish for a sick child.

  23. I think the only good argument that I've heard in favor of breast feeding was that you pass on your anti-bodies.

    Aside from that though, I can't imagine any monumental benefit.

    Two of my biggest pet peeves are when people a) state opinion as fact and b) try to press their beliefs on others.

    Yes, you're entitled to your opinion, but that doesn't mean you're entitled to shove it down my throat. And what's worse, is people who write articles like that are heralded as authority figures on the matter, AND they make money doing it! Grr...

    Anyway... I say, present the FACTS, and let people do what they want!

    Excellent post. Bravo!

  24. Great post!
    It angers me when women push their own views on other women, and wrap it all up into a nice, smug women's lib package: "Express your right to make your own choices by doing what I say."

  25. I did both...I tried breastfeeding No1 & it just wasn't working so I switched to formula - she is the healthiest girl out, never had any medical issues & is very rarely ill.
    I breastfed No2 successfully for 8 months - he had constant ear & chest infections, had to have grommets put in & had asthma. He has outgrown them all now & is a big strapping teenager, but it just goes to show!


  26. I have four kids, and breastfed two of them, they are healthy and well. No problems at all.

  27. Oh dear...... this is a personal choice and if it causes distress to the mother or baby then it is pointless to try to breast feed.
    I think people should mind there own business and get on with their own lives.
    Take no notice. Things come in & out of fashion.
    If you are anything like me, then you won't want to be told what to do.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  28. I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying, dear CJ, Choice is a basic human right. I personally breastfed all 4 of mine until at at least 8 months, except for my 13 yr old. I was lucky enough to have great milk production (the dr. called me a gurnsey cow ;oP) But my little geek had such a high metabolism that the only way he got enough milk from me was if he spent 24 hrs a day at the boob. At 2.5 months, I gave him a bottle to supplement in between feedings, just to give myself a break. I realized it worked way better and so did I. Yes there are benefits to both, and ultimately, it is up to the mom whether she can or wants to do either.
    Bless you, honey, for speaking up!

  29. It is a choice one way or another, and I completely agree with you - it's the mother and her baby who make the choice. I partially breastfed and partially bottlefed my twin girls because I didn't make enough milk for two but wanted to try. Is that for everyone? NO! This reminds me of the anger that I get when people say that women who work and send their children to daycare are letting other women raise their children for them. GRRR!

  30. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Breastfeeding should not be forced onto mothers. I did breastfeed to start, but moved onto bottle, as I had to go back to work. I don't think that it did my son any harm.

  31. Err, healthy natural free milk versus paid for 'formula' milk? As a Yorkshireman I'd vote for the first every time! Fortunately Mrs Troy agreed with me so there were no arguements in our house.
    (Guess I'm not going with the trend here though, reading all your comments).

  32. I think it is very ignorant and unfair for the woman writing that article to say that a woman should be forced to breast feed. I have a sister-in-law who couldn't. There are also women like me who gain weight while breast feeding. And ultimately, who is to say what is right or wrong for your own child.

    I have had to contemplate this choice this week, since I just found out that I am expecting. I plan to breast feed for 4 months, then switch to formula.

    To each their own, is what I believe.

  33. Evelyn - congratulations on your pregnancy! Good luck with the feeding!!

    Troy - We are all entitled to our opinions, including you my dear! Now off you go...!!!

    Thank you for all your great comments; I have really enjoyed reading your views. Each have their own reasons to breast feed or not to and I always felt that mine were no one else's business. Women should not be made to feel guilty for formula feeding; we all want the best for our children and we go all out to get it. You are all wonderful parents and I admire you immensely.

    Thanks again, CJ xx

  34. It goes without comment that breast feeding is a mother's choice.

  35. Of course this choice is intensely personal and one only the wet nurse should make;-)

    I breast fed my Rachie, so we can't say that caused her autism. It was my choice, but I did it for 6 months for all 3 of my babies. I've got to tell you, though very intimate and rewarding, it's also exhausting to be the sole source of nutrition for your baby--especially when you have other young ones to raise as well.

  36. This is a big issue and we mustn't forget that the Nestle company have done their best to promote bottle feeding in Africa. This is a bad thing because those people can't afford to buy formula. We are the lucky ones, we can, for the most part. It would have been better to leave those people to breast feed and encourage that, surely.
    Personally, I wanted very much to breastfeed my babies, but I was unable to because each time I tried it, I bled from the nipples and it was agony. I had to give up for both my own sake and the baby. It is a regret I have to live with.
    I'm not disagreeing with you. I just think that in an ideal world, it would be the best way to look after the baby.
    Blessings, Star

  37. I bottle fed all three and I'm proud of it. I was made to feel guilty by a number of people. Journalist like the one you mention tend to be of the GF brigade (not mentioning "her who shall not be named" for fear of repercussion... ).

  38. I bottle fed my 3 kids and only ONE of them has autism....gasp!!!! Could the author possibly be so far up her own behind that she could tickle her own tonsils???
    BTW, I would have divorced my husband if I couldn't boot him out of bed to do his share of the night feeds XXX

  39. ha ha ha Jean, you made me laugh. My husband ALWAYS changed the diaper before I breast fed my two kids.

    LOL.. Very funny... tickling the tonsils. :)

  40. I do think 'breast is best' however it is something that I never wanted to do as I always thought I would feel like a human 'cow'. Having said that I did infact breastfeed for 6mnths and 3 days. Yes I actually counted the days!. I personally found the whole thing quite gross! There I was sat with a thing
    (oops a baby) hanging off my boob! I found it at times a very painful experience. If I had a second child I don't think I would breast feed again.

  41. Why do people insist on taking away our choices? Whether it be breast feeding, wearing a seatbelt, or smoking within my own home, I should still have a CHOICE. Why do people think that their way of doing things must be the only way, therefore call for regulation????

  42. Women's Rights? Have you noticed? They seem to be disappearing...
    Moronic a class all their own!!

  43. this is a matter of personal choice, end of story!

  44. Don't get me started on this one. In fact I've blogged around it this week.
    Despite what they say, breast isn't always best and there's more to take into account than the health benefits to a baby in being breastfed. It wasn't right for TB and I was foolish to push on but with Mr A it's been perfect.
    At the end of the day, like whether you feed your kid an all-organic diet or let them have burger king for tea every Friday night, it's your choice as a parent and not something anyone else should be able to decide for you.

  45. Yes that is a very contradicting article, I mean I can barely relate women's lib with breast feeding? but I can relate the right to choose, hmm strange

  46. I absolutely agree - I tried with my first for three days and almost ended up back in hospital due to infection - hated it. Did not even try with my second and both my children have turned out fit and well. How dare someone take something as personal as this and try to forcibly dictate it should be done. I am appalled.

  47. As usual, the "choice" here is a two-way thing.
    First, I should point out I have no children!
    However, what I will say (and I may well be lambasted for it) is that I find the sight of a baby being breastfed in a public place pretty damn offputting. I have been on buses, trains, Metros, parks, restaurants, bars, you name it, where someone has suddenly whipped out a boob and started breastfeeding. I personally find it distasteful. I'm not allowed to wander around a public place topless, or with one breast hanging out (not that I feel the need, by the way) without being in danger of complaint and potentially, arrest! I see no difference.

    I have seen people manage to do it very, very surreptitiously and I don't really have a problem with that. But some people seem to feel the need to make it extremely obvious and that just doesn't seem right.

    Is it not also my "right" to be able to go about my daily business without having to see a baby munching away at someone's breast?

    I have no idea what the evidence is for the passing on of immunity etc is, but from a purely economic view, I can totally see why breastfeeding is much more sensible, if the mother is able/capable/willing to do so.

    But honestly - in public. Is it really too much to ask that some milk be expressed and put in a bottle to take with you when you go out in case the baby happens to get hungry?

    I'm sure this will be an unpopular opinion, but it's mine!

  48. Em - You, together with every one else, are perfectly entitled to have an opinion! Freedom of choice I guess.

    Thanks for your interesting comment and as always, for visiting my blog.

    CJ xx

  49. I agree entirely. I think that sort of journalism is unhelpful and damaging to those unable to breasfeed. We have had a campaign to encourage women to breastfeed and I think it's done its job. There's no need to go so far as to make it compulsary.

    My daughter would not breastfeed and in the end the midwives in hospital said she had to be bottlefed or she would starve - when I got home, with a lot of help from my midwife I managed to breastfeed a little, but used formula as well. I don't think it has done my daughter any harm and I would never berate another mother for using formula, whatever her reasons.

  50. Choice is choice, and we are all within our rights to make our own decisions. I do find sometimes that people make choices without all the correct facts. Which, in this instance may put some women off not trying to breastfeed - see MuddlingAlongMummy post on this (where I found you!)

    I ran a Breastfeeding Carnival last week, but I really would have liked a post from someone who chose not to breastfeed, like you, Crystal Jigsaw.

    Maybe we'll run another Carnival covering just the choice part of pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding? Let me know - is just about supporting ALL women! Please get in touch

  51. My first born child had gastronomic problems until I switched to formula. I tried and I enjoyed it, but he was extremely sensitive to whatever I ate, and although I did my best to avoid certain foods, he would still have problems. Breast feeding should be a choice.


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