Primary Care

Randomised controlled trial of support from volunteer counsellors for mothers considering breast feeding

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 01 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:26

Re: Breast feeding should not be a choice

Inigo, I fear that unless the mother has the wider support of
familial and societal cultural norms underpinning her motivation to
breastfeed, the choice is made for her.

Look upon the changing roles and expectations of motherhood over the
past fifty years alone and the current values and demands of those around
her to gain some insight as to why with there is little reinforcement for
a continuation of that singular female experience of being pregnant. The
role of Parenting is one that is now seen as a shared task...sadly this
cannot extend to this most primal of nuturing behaviours.

My mother breastfed seven children, I breastfed my four (mean
duration 18 mths each). It was seen in this country as a novelty,
aberrant, outdated and socially unacceptable and most peculiarly, a
negative reflection on social status.I find it quite amusing that fashion
has now changed this perception to one of a middle-class lifestyle choice.

I could conceive of no other way of feeding my children having the
weight of family practice and a myriad of matriarchal role-models to draw
upon.Luckily I possesed a peasants thick-skin and a belief in my mothers
maxim that "bottles were unsafe and carriers of disease" (Rightly or
wrongly!) oh and a bewildered husband.

Breastfeeding is something that is still shunned in public places and
makes the mother feel a social outcast to be closeted away in a dark
corner even in her own home or in a public toilet whilst attempting to
regain a place in society(delightful).

So it's not surprising those "enlightened" followers of good
nutritional advice will find it difficult to enact in practice, even with
the benefit of a telephone helpline to guide them through the labyrinth of
fixing on, cracked and sore nipples, engorgement or mastitis.


Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 January 2004
MC Feliciello
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