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Judgement on mums and formula feeding

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
Judgement on mums and formula feeding
What gives a man the right to get all judgey on mums and formula feeding?

Many of you will know that I do a lot of YouTube video's on parent education topics.

One of these video's was instructing on how to give a bottle of expressed breast milk to a breast fed baby. Mum wanted to go to a gym on a regular basis as many mums do. Families often do not have the luxury of extended families living nearby. They're often interstate or overseas.

So what are mums supposed to do?

And what happens if breast feeding hasn't worked out for whatever reason and mum has tried her hardest?

Are we supposed to neglect the bottle and formula feeding mother and deny her information on how to bottle and formula feed correctly and safely?

infant formula

I believe the Australian Midwives Rules state that:

Midwives value informed decision making


Midwives value a culture of safety in midwifery care

And if we look at the National Health and Medical Research Council their viewpoint is:

"health workers must be confident in their ability to advise women on the safe preparation and use of infant formula. This section highlights issues such as the choice of appropriate infant formula, sterilisation options, and safe techniques to use when preparing, mixing and storing infant formula"

So when I received this extremely judgemental rant from a MAN on my YouTube video I chose to ignore it. I maybe shouldn't of. As you can see from a rant of old I am no fence sitter!

This is from a YouTube member 
If a mother can breastfeed, then she should. Infant bottle-feeding has the potential to malform the oral cavity, where the implosion effect on soft, malleable bone can lead to a high-arched palate and narrowed dental arch. Further, with the natural descent of the epiglottis after the first few months of life, bottle-feeding can narrow the pharyngeal space in pulling the epiglottis closer to the posterior wall of the pharynx; it can also have it that the epiglottis settles into too low a position, whereby it cannot efficiently brace the back of the tongue during sleep.

With bottle-feeding, there are three elements leading to the risks I have outlined. They are intensity, frequency and duration (of bottle-feeding). And with these elements, come the inherent risks of sleep disordered breathing, SIDS, and, later, a multitude of orthodontic problems.

As breastfeeding incorporates a peristaltic action of suck, there is no risk of malformation. So, if mothers are able to breastfeed, and they understand the risks of not doing it, then they are willingly exposing the child to the possibility of some very concerning outcomes.

This is a mum I know and her reply.

Did I miss something? Was this a video on the topic of whether a mother SHOULD breastfeed?

It's not. But since you have raised it - what is your suggestion to help avoid/minimise these issues if a mother isn't breastfeeding?

It appears, nothing.

I am not breastfeeding (tried for months, including with the help of a lactation consultant). I am bottle feeding and there is sweet FA out there about how to correctly do it and no help whatsoever from nurses at hospital, from home visit nurses or anyone else.

For the last few weeks I have been feeding my darling son hopelessly - my bottle feeding technique and his latching issues means he hasn't been able to drink his recommended milk intake and he has instead been filling up on air. It took me weeks to find a professional willing to assist with bottle feeding. This video has also been instrumental in helping me correct the problems.

You, on the other hand, offer no useful comment.

Not only do you offer no useful comment, but you pass judgment on women who bottle feed. These women "'willingly' expose their children to the possibility of some very concerning outcomes." Like death. Nice.

The carve out that your comments don't apply to women who 'can't' breastfeed is a distinction without substance. All the breastfeeding proponents and our society generally beat into mothers that every woman can breastfeed. On that rationale, every mother that has issues with breastfeeding successfully makes a choice to (a) continue despite the problems, or (b) stop. In your comment, 'can't' therefore doesn't apply to many women. Instead, 'willingly' does.

Given your apparent knowledge on the topic of breastfeeding and the careful language you use, I would not believe you if you said you didn't mean to make the serious and hurtful accusations you do. If you genuinely didn't, then can I suggest some careful introspection.

In any event, I suspect incorrect bottle feeding can exacerbate the problems you identify. Care to comment on how once should correctly bottle feed to minimise these issues?

Of course not. Except that one 'should' breastfeed if one 'can'.

How helpful.

There needs to be a culture of information and education in healthcare and midwifery/child and family health.

Families deserve support not judgement. 

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