Breastfeeding

New Mums given DVD instead of Midwife chat…

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New Mums DVD

How did you find your hospital’s post-birth care before you were discharged?  Did you have a nice chat with a friendly midwife who ensured you had a good understanding of the needs of your baby and the possible challenges to come?  Did you find that you left hospital armed with all the information and advice you were going to need?

I had a brilliant birth experience, but the brief stay in hospital after the birth left something to be desired. Granted, I was pretty knackered and I don’t remember every moment and every chat, but even in this state, I can safely say that all my knowledge about what was to come once I had left the hospital and we were our own little family came from the NCT course that I had attended whilst pregnant.  They even discharged me with a notes saying the breastfeeding was “established” when no one had seen me feed and Munchkin and I were back in 24 hours later because she wouldn’t…

Long gone are the times of my parents, where new mothers were kept in for over a week, and taught how to feed, wash, change and generally care for their new baby.  Not that I really fancy spending more time than necessary in a noisy, hot hospital ward, but I would like to think that someone has a duty of care over new babies and their families.

So, when I saw a BBC news story entitled “Leicester hospital’s new mothers DVD attracts NHS interest“, I read it with mixed feelings.  Leicester General Hospital has created a DVD for new parents and apparently other trusts are very interested in it.  It appears from the BBC report, that new mums are given the DVD on a laptop prior to being discharged and that this DVD gives helpful advice and information about how to feed and care for your new baby.  The report then states that parents are also able to ask other questions if they wish.

On one hand this seems like an impersonal way of interacting with new mums.  I have an image of being shattered and bemused, newborn in arms, whilst a midwife sets up a laptop, presses play and says, “I’ll be back in 15 minutes”.  Alone with a small potentially screaming bundle and a laptop spouting information-overload may not be the most useful learning environment!

…and yet if a DVD means that you are given access to information, rather than just packed off home to make space then perhaps it is a good thing.  Perhaps a short DVD that you can watch and then consider the sorts of questions you might like to ask is a useful idea.  Perhaps a DVD which can be paused or fast-forwarded depending on prior knowledge, rather than the brisk chat from a midwife who has a hundred other things she needs to be doing is in fact a good thing.

I am in two minds.  I don’t think that this impersonal should replace the personal, but is the impersonal better than nothing when it comes to ensuring you are well informed about looking after your child?

R

More than a Mum is available on Kindle

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Facebook censorship of breastfeeding

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OK, so the last time I got properly ranty on More Than A Mum was about breastfeeding and people’s, frankly bloody silly attitude towards breastfeeding in public. Well, @plus2point4 just made me aware of Facebook’s removal of photos from Beautiful Breastfeeding’s page for being “sexually inappropriate” and I’ve just got to get ranty again. Sorry if I’m being repetitive.

Beautiful Breastfeeding has had a number of photos removed from its site (see which one’s here at the Beautiful Breastfeeding blog) for being sexually inappropriate.  I find that language inappropriate.  What is sexual about feeding your child?  Nothing. If Facebook censors/bosses find breastfeeding sexual then it is their own morality that should be questioned.

Yes you can see some breasts, but they are not being paraded for sexual reasons, they are being used to feed children.  Does Facebook remove pictures bottles, or of food for that matter?  With the prevalence of free porn on the internet now I don’t think that many teenage boys need turn to facebook pages of mothers feeding their children for their kicks. And let’s be honest, if you’ve gone to a page entitled Beautiful Breastfeeding, you’ve got to have an inkling of what the photographic content might be, so no need to be offended.

If photos of women breastfeeding offend you, don’t look at them.  If women breastfeeding in public offends you, don’t watch.  What offends me is that people’s personal, and frankly ridiculous, views about the natural human body can be enforced through illiberal censorship and worse than that these can be enforced on such a healthy, natural and important activity as breastfeeding.

The number of women in the UK who solely breastfeed their child at 6 months is below 1% despite The World Health Organisation recommendations, and with attitudes like those displayed by Facebook’s censors, this will not improve.

So, Beautiful Breastfeeding are asking you to help by telling Facebook how ridiculous and prejudiced they are being. Write your own blog post, share the blogs of others and contact Facebook. The links below will help you to do that.

Mark Zuckerberg’s official FB profile where you can send him a private message (he is the founder and chief executive at FB):
http://www.facebook.com/zuck

Chris Cox’s FB profile where you can send him a private message (he is the vice president of product at FB):
http://www.facebook.com/chris.cox

Facebook’s official FB HQ page where you can comment:
http://www.facebook.com/facebookhq?sk=wall&filter=2

R

Breastfeeding in Public

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I was going to blog about something else today, but then I heard about a lady who was asked to stop breastfeeding in Debenhams, Oxford, because it was a public place. .. and that made me cross.

It is this kind of backward and ridiculously prudish attitude towards breastfeeding that means some women feel trapped in their home with new babies and many give up breastfeeding at the earliest possible opportunity.

In the UK the number of mothers who exclusively breast feed at 6 months is below 1%.  This is despite The World Health Organisation recommendation that exclusive breastfeeding has several advantages over mixed feeding.

One of my many roles as “More than a Mum” is a breastfeeding peer supporter. One of the most regular concerns I deal with is from Mums who feel that they’ll never be able to feed outside of the house.  I have had a woman turn up with a 5 month old child, distressed that she had not been out other than to friends and families houses, because she didn’t think you were allowed to breast feed in public in this country.  That is how  institutionalised this attitude is in the UK.

Breastfeeding is a brilliant thing to be able to do for and with your baby.  It has a number of health benefits for your child and for you (not to mention cost benefits), but moreover, it is your right!  You have the right to breastfeed your baby in any place, unless there are health and safety reasons which make it dangerous. If you need confirmation of this, take a look at this link.  I am fairly certain that Debenhams couldn’t suggest breastfeeding discretely in the corner of Dune shoe shop presents any health and safety issues.

Anyway I don’t wish to rant at you for too long, but I do want to let you all know about the brilliant reaction of the Mum in question. Emily John has set up a social-media protest.  She has set up a facebook event and wants to get as many Mum’s as possible to have a “Nurse-in” at Debenhams in Oxford.    If you are a nursing mum in the Oxford area, please join up.  I’m sure you’d also be welcome as a supporter, feeding or not.  Please pop along to Emily’s “Debenhams Nurse-in” event page on facebook and sign up, and then pass this information on to anyone you know who supports breastfeeding.

R

A little update 10/10/11 Debenhams have apologised but the ‘Nurse-in’ will still go ahead to raise awareness.  BBC coverage here