Here’s A Thought; Make Up Your Own Minds…

Recommendations that babies should be breastfed for six months, without introducing solid food or other liquids, is considered “unrealistic and unachievable” by many families, experts from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Stirling argue.

Well, that’s why they are ‘recommendations’, and not ‘edicts’ or ‘instructions’.

If you can’t achieve them, for whatever reason, no problem! Right?

Well, no. Not in our increasingly infantilised world, it isn’t. Not in the ‘all must have prizes’ culture we’re eagerly building:

They say that the “ideal” – as set out by the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health – is “perceived as setting parents up to fail”.

Well, perhaps these parents need to grow a bit of a spine, then, maybe thumb through a dictionary to find out the difference between ‘recommendations’ and ‘mandated edicts’..?

The experts found the “mismatch between idealism and realism” could mean mothers feel pressurisedinto breastfeeding.All the women in the study intended to breastfeed and were keen to try, but the researchers found a range of views emerged, including that families saw sharing the responsibility of feeding as an opportunity for fathers and grandparents to bond with the baby.

Some found expressing milk difficult, time-consuming and distasteful, while others said breastfeeding in public was difficult. Some families felt that waiting until six months before giving the baby solids went against their intuition. Antenatal care was also found to paint an unrealistic picture of breastfeeding, while NHS staff were not always available to help with feeding in the early stages.

So, basically, lots of people found the government advice not particularly helpful or fitting with their circumstances, and so didn’t follow it.

Yes. And..?

The authors, writing in the journal BMJ Open, concluded: “Adopting idealistic global policy goals like exclusive breastfeeding until six months as individual goals for women is unhelpful.“More achievable incremental goals are recommended. Unanimously, families would prefer the balance to shift away from antenatal theory towards more help immediately after birth and at three to four months, when solids are being considered.”

Rather than try to tinker endlessly with the guidance in the forlorn hope of finding some form that meets 100% of the requirements of the audience for it, why not just simply say ‘These are our recommendations. If you’re too damned thick to understand that that’s all they are, recommendations, then you’re probably too damned thick to be breeding in the first place!’..?

8 comments for “Here’s A Thought; Make Up Your Own Minds…

  1. March 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Twenty years ago, mothers were told to start solids at 12 weeks; to do it any later, we were told, might make them fussy eaters.

    What happened to common sense? Some babies are ready for solid food before others – after all, the birthdate, which can vary by well over a month, doesn’t reset the developmental clock to zero. We found it easy to tell when our children were ready for solid food – it’s when they start taking an obvious interest in what the people around them are eating.

    I have a horrible feeling that this ‘recommmendation’ is a knee-jerk authoritarian response to the anecdotal evidence of babies weaned on chips and coke – “keep them on milk until they are old enough to cope with the rubbish their ignorant mothers will shove down their necks”.

    • March 24, 2012 at 7:44 am

      What happened to common sense? It turned out, well, it wasn’t all that common. 👿

  2. Voice of Reason
    March 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    @macheath – you strike at aanother pet peeve of mine. The idea that we can make everyone the ‘same’ within some range of measurements, whether it be weight, when/what they eat, how much they drink, etc.

  3. March 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Well, perhaps these parents need to grow a bit of a spine, then, maybe thumb through a dictionary to find out the difference between ‘recommendations’ and ‘mandated edicts’..?

    … and then ignore the latter as well.

    • March 24, 2012 at 7:44 am

      Probably! We’ve absolutely no personal responsibility any more. In anything.

  4. john malpas
    March 24, 2012 at 5:19 am

    How can you be too thick to breed.
    Getting pregnant is the classical ability of totally unskilled people.

    • March 24, 2012 at 7:43 am

      Well, quite!

  5. Maaarrghk!
    March 26, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Just been through all this with young Saddam. The midwives tended to be breastfeeding nazis, but the Doctors were much more in agreement with our more pragmatic approach, ie let him have the boob, but if there isn’t enough in the boob then top him up with formula. Don’t let him starve just because there isn’t enough in the boob.

    Coming onto solids, they were very keen to leave it 6 months and it turned out that he was ready at about this time – if he had been ready sooner we would have started him sooner.

    What we were told is that they do get a lot of Pakistani babies admitted to our local hospital with severe dehydration – a consequence of their tradition of weaning at 8 weeks.

    We currently feed him cow & gate jarred meals and sloppy stuff based on mashed potato which he loves. The chips etc will come when he gets some teeth coming through. He loves all this and seems to be thriving.

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