Ok, I just want to quickly qualify what I earlier wrote about a bit of 'pressure' not being a bad thing.... I was writing in response to, and disagreeing with Danyl's comment about Midwives that
the entire profession seems to cross the line when it comes to advocacy for breast-feeding.
I absolutely do not believe that midwives, nurses etc ANYONE should put pressure on an individual to breastfeed or make them feel bad about their choices. However, disagree that AS A PROFESSION their stance results in a 'pressure' that crosses a line.
However, I feel that many midwives probably feel that their pro-breastfeeding stance is countering a wider social/cultural pressure NOT to breastfeed. Through things like: only 14 weeks paid maternity leave, no compulsory paid partner leave, shortage of maternity beds (unbelievable that when Wellington hospital did its huge renovations there was NO increase in maternity beds), shortage of lactation consultants, social pressures for women to get back to paid employment, social pressures for women to start exercising and lose baby weight shortly after giving birth.
I also experienced from Plunket (as many other people I know have) a pressure for my baby to conform to a particular model, that excludes some of the variables that come from breastfeeding, ie- your baby should weigh x amount (making you feel bad, that there's something wrong with you if your baby is at the lower or upper end of the bell-curve), should sleep x amount of hours, shouldn't be waking more than x number of times in the night. (Not to mention the scornful and judgemental response that some of my friends got when they told their nurse they wanted to raise their child VEGETARIAN... but that's another matter)
Perhaps breastfeeding advocates should be targeting these issues rather than individual women
Notice how they only advertise “toddler milk”
Which has been argued was invented purely to get around the advertising rules which ban formula being advertised for newborns. It still is advertising the brand.
I’d like to see some examples of this PR machine in action, in NZ in 2011.
Try buying a baby welcome arrival card without a bottle on it, or a toy baby doll without a bottle
I absolutely agree with you. Being supportive and encouraging does seem to take more time than, in my experience, Plunket nurses, but probably many Midwives too, are able to offer due to big workload.
Of course midwives’ (as well as nurses, doctors, plunket etc) manner/politeness should be appropriate when it comes to advocating breastfeeding and new Mums. But when the OVERWHELMING amount of evidence supports breastfeeding as having benefits for both Mother and child, I think it would be remiss to suggest to a mother- ‘look you have two options here, and they’re both equal’. I think a bit of ‘pressure’ is not a bad thing. Like your GP telling you to lose weight or stop smoking. The majority of NZ women aren’t breastfeeding their baby at 4 months old, so I’m always surprised that those women feel like they're ‘bad’ or ‘outsiders’ for formula feeding.
As I noted, my takeaway from the story was that there is no monitoring of perinatal harms apart from death of mother or baby. So birth injury that results in severe and lifelong disability isn’t counted. This is not good enough.
This is really the crux of the matter and why the article was interesting. This doesn't have to be an anti-midwife issue. I just think it was a pity that it had to be twisted into a war between the old dichotomies to grab attention and sell the mag.
Yes, exactly. I don't think the article addressed 'natural birth' at all. There are in fact many benefits to a non-interventionist approach to childbirth- which the article didn't mention. This does, of course, always need to be weighed up against the risks to mother and child.
What distresses me is that midwives can vary so wildly...
as do obstetricians, GPs, any health professionals
The thing is, you can have a non-interventionist hospital birth with an obstetrician as your LMC, that is to say, a 'natural' birth. Use of drugs, interventions, midwives, obstetrician, home-birth are all actually different issues.
Having read the North & South article ( a while ago now) the thing that most annoyed me was that it didn't actually address the 'myth' of natural childbirth at all. In my experience there are a range of approaches within midwifery (and obstetrics) from highly-interventionist to hands-off and a much wider range of options available to women, within a hospital or elsewhere, when giving birth than many people realise.