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Do you breastfeed your baby?

11:32 UK time, Friday, 14 January 2011

Relying purely on breastfeeding for the first six months might not be best for babies, say UK experts. What advice have you been given?

Current advice suggests weaning should occur at six months, but the UCL team, writing in the British Medical Journal, say babies may benefit from being given solid food earlier even as early as four months.

Ten years ago, the World Health Organization published global advice advocating babies be exclusively breastfed for six months. But the UK team suggest later weaning may increase food allergies and iron deficiency levels.

Whose advice do you follow? What are your views on this new study? How easy is it for parents to make decisions regarding breastfeeding?

Thank you for your comments. This debate has now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    breast feeding is much better than formula proof? go back in time and ask man how he survived thousands of years with no formula!

    also breast milk give babies things formula cannot!

  • Comment number 2.

    No. My moobs don't provide adequate nutrition.

  • Comment number 3.

    My wife breatfed ours. I tried but it did not take for some reason. All grew up with different tastes etc so personality is a personal thing and I do not like cucumber and my mother breastfed me. Let nature take ist course and mothers do what is natural. baby food manufacturers are as good at dentists for recommendations etc.

  • Comment number 4.

    RUBBISH! guidelines change as often as the wind - go with your instinct

  • Comment number 5.

    We evolved to breast feed our babies, along with other animal species. Despite whatever the so-called experts say, millions of years of evolution can't be wrong!

  • Comment number 6.

    I didn't have children.

    But as my husband has pointed out to me, a lot of babies who had no option but to be breast-fed are now causing the pensions industry and others serious problems due to their long lives, so it can't be all that bad.

    Unless it is breast-feeding from people with unhealthy diets or lifestyles, or modern-day issues which are causing the problem? Far more processed food around now, vitamin supplements, drugs legal and illegal. Just one possible reason out of many?

    AND I'M SURE A LOT OF MUMS HAVE BEEN VERY SENSIBLE WHEN BREAST-FEEDING THEIR BABIES.





  • Comment number 7.

    Not really, I'm a 50-year old bloke! The advice we were given, when my children were born, was that my wife should do it. Thought that was pretty sound advice.

  • Comment number 8.

    2. At 12:19pm on 14 Jan 2011, grumpy old man wrote:
    No. My moobs don't provide adequate nutrition.

    --

    Best. Post. Ever.
    :D

  • Comment number 9.

    Best packaged meal I ever had and nutritionally perfect.

  • Comment number 10.

    "What are your views on this new study?"

    My views? I think these 'experts' should stop bullying new Mums and go and get a proper job! They change their advice whenever it suits them without ever thinking for one moment how this will affect Mums at a time when they could be feeling vulnerable and emotional. Just leave the Mums alone to get on and enjoy their babies.....give them a break!

    Speaking as a Mother who breastfed my son when he was baby, more than 30 years ago, I would suggest Mums ignore the so-called experts; just do whatever you're comfortable with and whatever seems right for you and your baby.

    If breastfeeding is SO vitally important, why have I never been asked in all my 55 years, "Were you breastfed as a baby?" Seems to me breastfeeding is only important to those people whose jobs depend on it.

    A well-fed baby is a contented baby and I guarantee the baby won't give two hoots where the milk comes from.

  • Comment number 11.

    As a parent and grandparent the only advice I would give is to do what you think is best for your family. Expert advice is all well and good but many new mothers find that they have problems breast feeding their baby and then think that they are somehow failing as a mother because they aren't following the expert advice.

    My wife was able to breast feed some of our children but one of our sons stopped taking milk at about three and a half months and our only choice was to give him solid food from then on, he turned out to be just as fit, healthy and intelligent as our other children and never experienced any problems due to the fact he stopped breast feeding so much earlier than them.

    Breast feeding has obvious benefits and if it is possible for you to breastfeed then I would recommend it but don't get too worked up over it; if it isn't working for you then finding an alternative that does work will be better for you and your child.

    Always remember that the most important things you can give to your children is love, care and affection and as long as you're able to provide those then most other things will fall into place.

  • Comment number 12.

    Advice
    an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action.
    This should put a end to any argument.
    I.e Do what you think is best for your Child.

  • Comment number 13.

    Do you breastfeed your baby?

    No I am a man and bottle feed ours.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    No - I dont produce milk so the poor little sod would starve!

  • Comment number 16.

    We should follow the maxim that 'Mother knows best' for her child and not be a slave to ever changing advice from so-called experts!

  • Comment number 17.

    Another Health scare? Breastfeeding offers lower rates of infections in newborn babies up to six months. As a health care professional and father I know some children wean earlier, as that it is for the parents to decide. And weaning is not a sudden stop 'breast feeding deadline' but a gradual process.

    The editorial cited in the BMJ makes lots of valid points but they fail to find sufficient evidence to back up there supposition of increased allergies. They also link it to lower iron levels in Honduras. I can't see the similarities between Honduras and the UK, or the transferability of this study. The press has failed to point out the greater health benefits, and once again common sense has failed. For all parents wishing to read the article and make some sense of it all follow the hyperlink:

    http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5955.full

    Stick at six months if you can! (None funded arguments and from a GP who is a father of 2 who were breast feed for 6 months).

  • Comment number 18.

    My daughters were born in 1997 and 1999 when the advise was to wean them at 16 weeks - which the study is suggesting is a suitable age. By that time both of them desperately needed solid food - I had switched to a combination of breast and formula milk but that simply wasn't enough for them. I could never have lasted out until they were 6 months.

    Coincidentally, the medical staff incorrectly calculated the conversion of my first daughter's weight from imperial to metric. As a result of this they said she was not gaining weight and that I wasn't feeding her sufficiently; they were constantly dispatching me to try and feed her again and providing contraptions that would apparently help, until such time as the error came to light.

    Not surprisingly, my view is that all advice and guidelines should be just that; not set-in-stone standards that everyone should have to conform to. 6 months may be right for some babies, 4 for others - why not help new mothers with information and support rather than bombarding them with inflexible ideals and suggesting that they are wrong or failing if their baby somehow doesn't fit that ideal. Parenthood is difficult enough!


  • Comment number 19.

    I'm a baby, why isn't anyone offering to breastfeed me?

  • Comment number 20.

    Each mother should just us their common sense.

    Animals don't worry about breastfeeding their young, it just comes naturally! They don't ask peoples advice!

    Sometimes people butt in with their too many different, conflicting views and as no one is the 'same' its enough to make a new Mum weep!

    If the baby is not full up, after say, age four months, then introduce soft something like milky mashed potato, or yogurt or rusk.

    There is now SO much info on the Internet, or they can ask a TRUSTED friend for advice, one who has successfully brought up their child, well.

  • Comment number 21.

    The milk is FREE, clean and the right temperature. It arrives at the right time, (not 8 months before the baby is born). The 'experts' should STOP bulling the new Mums!

  • Comment number 22.

    New Mums should be encouraged, to brestbeed, not discouraged!

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Some people are getting the wrong message. The study is not about breast versus bottle feeding, Breast Is Best is well established. It "advises" that solids may be introduced from 4 months.

    I have breastfed all my 4 children. When I had the eldest the advice was still to start solids at 4 months. I tried but she simply wasn't interested until about 6 months. With the remaining 3 the advice was 6 months, but I found that 2 were hungrier and ready for solids at 5 months, the other again at 6 months. They all remained on the breast until average 12-13 months, some would take formula to top up at that stage, some wouldn't. I definitely noticed an increase in minor illnesses when they came off breast milk completely.

    There is too much advice out there which is contradictory or confusing. As there were no breast fed weight charts I was being pushed to give top-up formula to my newborn babies by midwives and health visitors, I firmly resisted and they caught up naturally. All babies have different sleeping/eating habits, I have experienced the whole spectrum. Thus there is no single textbook way to do this. There is a lot of pressure on women to do the right thing, so can those giving the advice please think carefully about what they are saying.

  • Comment number 25.

    Did I breastfeed my baby?
    I tried without a great deal of success - lack of milk.
    What advice was I given?
    Trust in your baby. If s/he is hungry even after breat-feeding, you need to come up with some other plan. So, the kid was subjected to strained food much earlier than four months.
    The kid has always been healthy as a horse, strong as a horse, except now and then subject to colds/coughing. She's in daycare. I expect colds/coughing. I think it's good that she start building up a natural immunity to common stuff before regular school.
    Whose advice do I follow?
    The baby's.
    If she's otherwise in good shape - dry, warm, nothing poking at her -I assume she's hungry.
    Breastfeeding is not the be-all and end-all that it's been promoted as because poor mom has been exposed over several-years to an environment that is no where near as natural and friendly as that of the caveman. In otherwords, poor mom could pass on a lot of naughty things accumulated in her system over 20 + years.

  • Comment number 26.

    My daughter was bottle fed from birth, my wife's decision.

    She told me:

    1 Brest feeding is NOT essential, all the 'natural' elements (improving the auto-immune system etc) only happened in the first SEVEN DAYS of breastfeeding after that it is just food.

    2 Doctors and medical 'experts' promoted breast-is-best because most new mothers couldn't keep the bottles-n-stuff clean. (my wife had a regime for sterilizing bottles that would put a surgical operating theatre to shame).

    3 the other problem with the bottle is that most new parents thought of it as 'food' and therefore didn't mix the formula correctly. They always thought they were doing better by putting in more powder when in actual fact the opposite is true. Babies have enough fat they do not need 'extra' food, it's fluid they want. More formula and the baby cannot digest it and so throws it back up.

    4 the inconvenience of it. MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.

    Can we just tell the lactating-mafia where they can shove their sanctimonious drivel.




  • Comment number 27.

    Baby ??

    No she's quite happy chewing/sucking the pram.

    I just paint on melted chocolate, cheese, soup at the sides of the hood. I think she likes curry sauce best (korma of course!).

    Just commonsense really.

    [wink.]

  • Comment number 28.

    These health and safety types do make me laugh sometimes.

  • Comment number 29.

    //2. At 12:19pm on 14 Jan 2011, grumpy old man wrote:
    No. My moobs don't provide adequate nutrition.//

    You beat me to it!

  • Comment number 30.

    @U8860545: Thanks!

  • Comment number 31.

    I breastfed all my kids, don't need so called "experts" to tell us what to do, its common sense. Bit of a waste of funding imho. I'm sure in the future we'll have a contradictory study published. Wonder were their funding came from.

    As we know all children are not the same, some may benefit from earlier weaning and some may not. I'm sure discussion between a parent and health visitors will find the appropriate time for weaning dependant on the childs development, weight etc.

  • Comment number 32.

    I intended to breastfeed my baby... just one problem, a failure on the part of my breasts to generate more than 25ml of milk!

    As usual, everyone seems to think it's merely a matter of choice. Lots of people for one reason or another CANNOT breastfeed, but are always lumped in with those who have decided that they'd rather not - and all of us get demonised without consideration of whatever reasons influenced what we ended up doing.

    There is also a tendency to bombard mothers with 'advice' normally presented not as properly-evidenced suggestions but as a 'you ought to do so-and-so' directive, with the assumption that one size fits all!

    The needs and wants of the baby should be paramount, followed by the mother's choices. Informed choice, yes; and that is where midwives and other health professionals do have a role to play - in providing unbiased information, and then supporting baby and mother in the route decided upon.

  • Comment number 33.

    Isn't it about time we stopped all this molly coddling of new parents? Mothers in particular, and let them get on with it? Having babies is nothing new and previous generations have managed just fine without herds of so called experts or all this 'new mother look at me' nonsense, just get on with it. Breast feed or don't breast feed no one else cares unless being modern you decide to get your chest out in a pub, word of advice here, don't get all upset if people look, best thing is do it somewhere else, its not big and its not clever....

  • Comment number 34.

    Last time i checked it was still the responsibility of the parent to make decisions, within reason, about their child's upbringing, education, and health. Those decisions should be based on individual choice and an assessment of the facts, of which official advice (whichever method it happens to be supporting this week) should form only a part. In all likelihood my wife will probably choose this method of feeding our as yet unborn child, not because like most now we're pathologically terrified of what has been defined as 'infant obesity' (the implications in terms of being negatively judged by society are another matter) or for that matter believe that feeding method has a more significant influence than a long-established, genetic propensity to being big, but for the purposes of cost and convenience. However, that's entirely our decision, which is how it should be.

    Unfortunately and as with so many things in a society obsessed with masking terminal decline behind over-complication and an intrusive, bully State, individuals are no longer fully free to consider advice and ignore that with which they disagree without being guilt-tripped or in some cases much worse. In a world where everything to related to parenting is now constantly monitored and scruitineered by armies of social workers, health visitors, medical professionals, teachers and other agents of the state, and where the 'expert', despite their apparent fallibility, is elevated to the status of some sort of deity, parents must live in perpetual fear of not being seen to be complying with whatever orthodoxy happens to be in style this month and labelled 'neglectful' or even 'abusive'.

    Quite how deliberately keeping parents, particularly parents-to-be, in this constant heightened state of stress and second-guessing every decision they make about their children can be healthy or beneficial to the child beats me, but then our health authorities seem disproportionally preoccupied with the appearance of health (the physical type that can be quantified and measured with a growth chart or set of scales) to the utter exclusion of psychological well-being, and with all the pressures we inflict on our children through out their lives to be popular, to be thin (that one now being considered of such disproportionate importance), to be intelligent, good at sports, fashionable, make the right career choices, etc etc etc, maybe we're just educating them about stress and external pressure to conform by proxy as early as is humanly possible. I for one don't think anything good can come of it.

  • Comment number 35.

    I am a mum of two the youngest of which is 5 months old. With my first I was told that giving my baby formula WOULD make him diabetic like me, none of this "the risks are higher" just do not do it under any circumstances. Struggled for the first 8 weeks. Truly was hell as my baby was a hungry baby and being diabetic I would hypo each time I fed him. No advice for diabetic mums at all on how to manage your blood sugars either. Finally got fed up and went to my GP in tears because I just could'nt cope. I also have medical conditions which desperatly needed treatment that I could'nt have while I was breastfeeding. My GP basically made my decision for me and told me to introduce formulas as when I needed to, he also told me that I am the baby's mum and I know what it is best so follow my instincts. Once I switched baby settled and we never looked back. After that I basically ignored the health visitors and their "advice" and did what I thought was right. Also weaned him when he was four months. He is now a very healthy 6 yr old with no health concerns, whilst growing up he got around 1-2 colds year versus his breastfeed friends who were always sickly, even now his friends at school that were breastfed are constantly off sick with one thing or another, whereas he had 1 day off this year for swine flu. Second baby although he was a special care baby is still formula fed and will be weaned shortly. Again no health concerns! I will give all mothers the best advice my fantastic GP gave me - "its your baby, you DO know what is best so follow your instincts and ignore what anyone else says. It really doesn't matter what they think about you - its what you think about yourself that matters!" If breastfeeding works for you great, if not you must not feel bad you will bond just as well if they are bottlefed.

  • Comment number 36.

    One wonders who funded this study by the UCL (University of London Institute of Child Health). Could it possibly have been the manufacturer(s)of baby formula products? These things are almost always driven by money and perhaps formula sales were flagging of late.

  • Comment number 37.

    Little tykes are so lucky to have able to be fed by women like they do.
    It's every mans dream!
    Hence the famous baby picture with the words 'got milk' :D

  • Comment number 38.

    Yet more rubbish to confuse new parents & give busy body midwives another reason to make new mothers feel like they're doing something wrong. Obviously breastfeeding is best (& cheapest) option. Every child is different & they'll let you know if they need more than breast milk. I've had 4 children & it took until the 4th child to get breast feeding right. I was made to feel incredibly inadequate when breast feeding failed with the eldest 3, despite in 2 cases it being as a result of medical problems (warfarine ruining the milk supply in the first case & very bad cystitis in the second). I would not wish the agony of cystitis on anyone, yet despite this excruciating pain I was 'encouraged' to continue breastfeeding, despite the hugely negative psychological impact it had on me & the fact my baby wasn't getting the nutrition she needed.

    When I had my children the midwives in the hospital couldn't help themselves & insisted in getting in on my breastfeeding & putting their hands all over my breasts without invitation. That is one of the most intrusive things about being a new mother is that the professionals interfere without invitation, whether needed or not.

  • Comment number 39.

    26. At 1:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:

    4 the inconvenience of it. MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.


    Whereas sterilizing bottles and preparing formula milk is really so convenient in public, is it?

    Women breastfeeding in public do not have to indecently expose themselves: it can be done very discretely and the only ones shocked are those who wish to be shocked and insist on watching a perfectly natural process which has absolutely nothing to do with them.

    For those suggesting it should be done in a toilet, do you like to eat food in a toilet?

  • Comment number 40.

    I read an interesting item in a history book about the middle ages.

    Apparently the wives of the nobility gave their babies to a wet nurse as it was known that a nursing-mother cannot concieve. As their main purpose was to produce a 'son-and-heir' and considering the high mortality rate the more babies they had the better.

    At the other end of the social scale poor mothers often breast-fed their children up to three years old and over as they didn't want another hungry mouth to feed.

    Is this where all the myths about brest-is-best come from?

    Is Breast feeding beyound an age when the child should be eating solid food just self-indulgence from the look-at-me-what-a-good-mother-am-I crowd?


  • Comment number 41.

    All parents should have the right to choose how they feed their babies but this should be an informed choice after receiving accurate information. It should be noted that three of the four authors of this study receive funding from the baby food industry. (Referenced from babymilkaction.org) Make your own mind up, by all means, but be aware of the facts.

  • Comment number 42.

    "Did you breastfeed your baby"? is the HYS question.

    As this 'closed' HYS question is based on the debacle from comments from the BMJ - there are many issues that 1st time mothers face that have not been considered?

    In addition, if a first time mother and her baby suffer prolonged and needless traumatic delivery due to incompetent or unavailable midwifery/medical care - then they both will struggle with breast feeding?

    Our first child was late and his mother was on a ward that allowed her to be in labour for 27 hours - 9 hours after the waters were artificially broken. Until a doctor turned up the next day and said "we have to deliver this baby now" we had no idea. Our son was delivered with forceps, as he had, we discovered later, was stuck in the birth canal due to the size of his head and shoulders.

    Breast feeding was unsuccessful as our son would not respond. Thankfully, he grew to be a bright and intelligent individual who teaches - but has disabilities due to his over-long and needless protracted delivery.

  • Comment number 43.

    26. At 1:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:
    My daughter was bottle fed from birth, my wife's decision.

    She told me:

    1 Brest feeding is NOT essential, all the 'natural' elements (improving the auto-immune system etc) only happened in the first SEVEN DAYS of breastfeeding after that it is just food.

    2 Doctors and medical 'experts' promoted breast-is-best because most new mothers couldn't keep the bottles-n-stuff clean. (my wife had a regime for sterilizing bottles that would put a surgical operating theatre to shame).

    3 the other problem with the bottle is that most new parents thought of it as 'food' and therefore didn't mix the formula correctly. They always thought they were doing better by putting in more powder when in actual fact the opposite is true. Babies have enough fat they do not need 'extra' food, it's fluid they want. More formula and the baby cannot digest it and so throws it back up.

    4 the inconvenience of it. MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.

    Can we just tell the lactating-mafia where they can shove their sanctimonious drivel.


    Surely all that sterilising that would put "a surgical operating theatre to shame" is not exactly convenient, now is it?

    All three of my children were breast fed and were gradually weaned onto solids around 4 months. Breastfeeding when in public places was much more convenient that taking bottles: it's at the right temperature, perfectly sterile, dispensed in the way nature intended. We never had anyone complain about "indecent exposure" and my wife is certainly not one "TO SHOW OFF". I could suggest those who think otherwise have something wrong with them.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think there should be a ban, for about 10 years, on this kind of report.

    I suspect the dead hand of vested interest, either a company in search of sales or a quango or charity in search of a reason for being, behind most of this stuff.

    For what it's worth, I have incredibly little faith in the quality of advice and care here, having seen doctors and health visitors make huge mistakes and fail do diagnose my child's diabetes, even though the symptoms wouldn't have been more obvious if the child had had a 'I'M GOING DIABETIC' sticker on their forehead.

  • Comment number 45.

    26. At 1:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:
    4 the inconvenience of it. MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.
    =================================================


    No, not degrading - how can it be? But more privacy for women who wish to breast-feed could be afforded. Apart from other issues, surely the "ladies waiting room" at stations and other long-since vanished facilities used to assist.





  • Comment number 46.

    39. At 2:08pm on 14 Jan 2011, Total Mass Retain wrote:
    26. At 1:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:

    4 the inconvenience of it. MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.


    Whereas sterilizing bottles and preparing formula milk is really so convenient in public, is it?

    Women breastfeeding in public do not have to indecently expose themselves: it can be done very discretely and the only ones shocked are those who wish to be shocked and insist on watching a perfectly natural process which has absolutely nothing to do with them.


    Funny, but a lot of people (men actually) who feign shock at women breast feeding in public seem perfectly happy to frequent beaches in sunny places where these same parts of the anatomy are fully exposed.

  • Comment number 47.

    Don't worry folks, there'll be an opposite viewpoint published in a short while. Don't you just get fed up of 'experts'?

  • Comment number 48.

    41. At 2:12pm on 14 Jan 2011, boo28 wrote:
    All parents should have the right to choose how they feed their babies but this should be an informed choice after receiving accurate information. It should be noted that three of the four authors of this study receive funding from the baby food industry. (Referenced from babymilkaction.org) Make your own mind up, by all means, but be aware of the facts.

    ######################################

    We are in an age when 'belief' is more important than 'fact'.

    Most of the lactating mafia 'know' that breast-is-best and by god is every new mother going to be told that regardless of what they actually want. Which is honest, straight forward information. Most processed food we adults eat is not 'natural' i.e. not as nature provided, and guess what? we are living longer and longer.

    There is nothing 'wrong' with not breast feeding. But new mothers are NEVER told this it is always 'breast-is-best', 'breast-is-best', 'breast-is-best', ad nausium.

    The thing to remember is when people want something banning in the name of the public good, it usually isn't.

    It's people using 'the public good' as an excuse to boost their own agenda.

    So is making claims that their statements are biased because they take money from 'big-business'.

    If the product is not good enough to feed babies on then ban it. If you cannot prove that through reasoned open argument, not resulting to emotional blackmail then just shut up and let people make their own mind up.


  • Comment number 49.

    I breast-fed- gets easier after the first week or so. My daughter who was tiny, I weaned at a little over 6 months but my son was definately too hungry on breast milk alone so I weaned him at nearer 5 months.

    I think the tip about weaning is to make your own - cook up apples, carrots etc and freeze them. The shop bought stuff has things like chalk and the stuff that goes on the back of stamps inside it - yuk!

  • Comment number 50.

    Nothing wrong with breast-feeding beyond 6 months either. Bitty! Bitty!

  • Comment number 51.

    i have two grown up sons,healthy,with no health issues.one is 47 and the other is 44.both were weaned at three months or 12lbs which ever was reached first.this method of weaning was standard practice around 1964.

  • Comment number 52.

    I breast fed both of my now teenagers, he is nearly 7 foot tall, she is 5 ft 9 inches tall. both are health. He had breast milk till he teethed at 7 months and i said NO MORE. She breastfed to 4 months when she refused to have any more to do with it and wouldnt take ANY formula at all, she went on to cows milk, much to my midwife's horror.

    Many mums will do what they feel is right, and the only advice they need is to love their child and go on instinct.

    i would like to know the percentage of this panel who were female and had breastfed!

  • Comment number 53.

    I don't think there is any doubt that breastfeeding is good for your child where possible. It's good for a number of reasons, all detailed by those above.

    HOWEVER, I am coming from another angle entirely. I am tired of people ramming this mantra of 'breast is best'down our throats and of the the 'formula doesn't do anything for you' brigade. Please think about what you say or write before you do it?

    As one lady said before, there are some of us who, not for want of trying, have desperately wanted to breastfeed but could not. I find this whole NHS driven 'Breast is best' campaign laughable when I think of our experience of having a mixed feed approach from day one, with hospital midwives falling over themselves to shut my baby up with a convenient bottle of formula or a dummy. I actually had to stop someone from giving him sugar water!! Then, when he got home, he had severe nipple confusion, so severe he barely ate. In my case, I thank goodness there was a bottle handy because if not, he would have starved, ironically because of this shambolic NHS campaign.

    Then, whenever i went to the baby clinic or doctors, I'd get 'oh, I see you're not breastfeeding. You know your milk will dry up if you don't.' No, never, really?!! I am tired of the condescending nature of medical professionals regarding this and having to defend myself. I feel like wearing a t-shirt saying 'I flippin' tried, please stop judging me!' I also get the impression that they will get the sack if they say anything else.

    I'm glad of these reports because if nothing else, someone like me can actually raise her head above the parapet and tell our story.

    I'm not in favour of weaning early, btw, however I have learned that mums do know their children very well and I think it should be left to them to have all of the information at their disposal (incl these reports) but be left to make their own decisions and not be made to feel bad about it.

  • Comment number 54.

    I breastfed my daughter exclusively for 6 months, there were the usual growth spurts but that didn't mean she needed food, just more milk! We decided to do baby led weaning,and I'm so glad we did, because she eats everything and anything. There are no signs of allergies and she is definatley not fussy. I will being doing the same again when I have baby number 2!!

  • Comment number 55.

    There is no denying breastfeeding is an excellent start in life - but that is no reason to look down on mothers who cannot, or perhaps, radically, just don't want to breastfeed.
    Experts should by all means give them the advise - and then back out and respect the mother's decision. End of.

  • Comment number 56.

    JohnH wrote:
    MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.

    Can we just tell the lactating-mafia where they can shove their sanctimonious drivel.



    Breast feeding is perfectly natural and there is nothing indecent about breasts, especially when there's a baby being fed with them.

    I'd much rather the likes of you were told to go shove your puritanical drivel so that mothers could care for their children without having some ignorant middle aged men complaining about them feeding their children when they're hungry.

  • Comment number 57.

    26. At 1:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:
    MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.

    ---------

    It's neither indecent nor degrading. It's very sad that you would think it is.

  • Comment number 58.

    And also to point out, the MAJORITY of research studies are sponsored by industry leaders so this study is no different to any other. The government has no money. Simples.

  • Comment number 59.

    Did you breastfeed your baby"? is the HYS question.

    As this 'closed' HYS question is based on the debacle from comments from the BMJ - there are many issues that 1st time mothers face that have not been considered?

    In addition, if a first time mother and her baby suffer prolonged and needless traumatic delivery due to incompetent or unavailable midwifery/medical care - then they both will struggle with breast feeding?

    Our first child was late and his mother was on a ward that allowed her to be in labour for 27 hours - 9 hours after the waters were artificially broken. Until a doctor turned up the next day and said "we have to deliver this baby now" we had no idea. Our son was delivered with forceps, as he had, we discovered later, was stuck in the birth canal due to the size of his head and shoulders.

    Breast feeding was unsuccessful as our son would not respond. Thankfully, he grew to be a bright and intelligent individual who teaches - but has disabilities due to his over-long and needless protracted delivery.

    Complain

    -------------------

    Unfortunatley, there is a severe shortage of midwives. My mam was also left on her own a lot during my birth, I won't go into details, but when a doctor eventually showd up, he was shocked she'd been left unattended so long as she was pretty much giving birth on a trolley in a corridor. She had a difficult birth with me and I was lucky I wasn't born a vegetable due to her uneccesarily long and complicated birth.

    Is it ironic I want to be a midwife? I am so looking forward to my course and future jobs, but I have to admit I was shocked when I saw examples of how short on midwives this country is - and how much we need them.
    Something has got to be done.

  • Comment number 60.


    26. At 1:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:

    4 the inconvenience of it. MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.


    Wow, you're wife sounds like a chauvinist male! Okay, back to school. The primary function of the mammery gland is:

    A) Feed the young offspring of the female parent
    B) To attract the opposite sex
    C) To cause public commotion
    D) Impact protection

    Tricky question, but you'll find that A is the correct answer according to physiological science. Unfortunately, the society we live in has corroded that of nature, and now we accept the unnatural and dismiss that would be considered natural instinct.

    Some techniques work for people, others do not.

  • Comment number 61.

    I like Breast feeding it gives the baby nutrients and is very natural and on the other hand bottle feeding is great and very convenient...but which ones better? There's only one way to find out

    F I G H T ! ! !

  • Comment number 62.

    AngryGP - You clearly believe that this new study is rubbish and you say that "[The authors] also link it to lower iron levels in Honduras. I can't see the similarities between Honduras and the UK, or the transferability of this study. "

    Ummmm, are you actually a GP? You're clearly pro-breastfeeding and know about evidence based medicine. But did you realise that the WHO's systematic review (which resulted in the original advice of 6 months) only contained 2 trials... both of which were carried out in Central America? Honduras, to be precise. All the other studies were observational (not high quality evidence).

    So, if the current study is not generalisable to the UK, by default are you saying that the existing guidelines can't be?

    Just a thought.

  • Comment number 63.

    56. At 2:59pm on 14 Jan 2011, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:
    JohnH wrote:
    MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.

    Can we just tell the lactating-mafia where they can shove their sanctimonious drivel.


    Breast feeding is perfectly natural and there is nothing indecent about breasts, especially when there's a baby being fed with them.

    I'd much rather the likes of you were told to go shove your puritanical drivel so that mothers could care for their children without having some ignorant middle aged men complaining about them feeding their children when they're hungry.


    Yes, one wonders what such men think the primary purpose of the female breast is!

  • Comment number 64.

    My son was diagnosed with dairy allergy at 10 weeks (after we inadvisedly gave him some formula which was puported to be 'the closest to breast milk'), so I continued to exclusively breast feed as I had no choice (and had planned to anyway).

  • Comment number 65.

    I currently have a 23 month old who I breastfeed on demand (I also feed while out about and about I am also and extravert who won't even sun bath topless! Breastfeed can be done very discretely but if you see a woman doing so and you are embrassed than don't look! She is not exactly poseing like a Page 3 model for your enjoyment) totally. At the age of 5.5 months old he decided that he would like to stop playing with solid food and ate something (a banana I was eating at the time which he grab and shovelled into his month). From that point on I introduced solid food but continued breastfeeding when ever my son demanded. As he ate more during the day the less he breastfeed. He now still occasionally looks for a feed if he wakes up in the middle of the night. This works for us. Now it appears from this study I have negelected my son's health by doing this. Don't even go near the fact that I returned to work full time (bad for his development as I have abandoned him) when he was nine months and put him in a nursery rather than a sole Childminder which other 'experts' will also have 'guidelines' as I should have stayed at home. Why do we have to be constantly bombarded with how Bad we are as parents if we dont follow the latest guidelines. They are not Rules as the experts have to admit that each child is different and each situation is different. I made the choice to breastfeed my child (as I found it easier that getting up to make up a bottle). I also have friends who made the choice to bottlefeed their children and started weaning at 3.5 to 4 months and their children are also perfectly healthy. As long as the children are healthy and well looked after what should it matter.

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    My two children were born in the early 1990s when the advice was to start solids from four months. I found it a complete nightmare. I had been perfectly happy, and my children put on weight perfectly well, solely with breastfeeding. Neither of them liked 'baby rice' or homemade purees, and while they might have liked commercial baby food I felt duty bound not to give it to them, so I struggled to persuade them to take spoonfuls of mush. Once they reached six months my health visitor said I could feed them our normal family diet. I took this literally, giving them food that they could pick up in their fingers such as (cooked) broccoli or carrots, sliced hardboiled eggs etc, and it was fine from them on. We would all have been much saner had the advice been (as now) to leave the introduction of solids until they were six months and capable of eating 'proper' food.

    As for breastfeeding itself - I'm not the best judge of whether it's healthier than formula; I only know that it was far more convenient than I can imagine faffing about with bottles and sterilisers would ever have been. If formula had been proved to be preferable for the baby, I would have grudgingly adopted it despite the hassle; as it was, mine never had a bottle at all (I stopped breastfeeding each of them at a year, by which time they were well able to drink from cups).

  • Comment number 68.

    61. At 3:12pm on 14 Jan 2011, James T Haddock wrote:
    I like Breast feeding it gives the baby nutrients and is very natural and on the other hand bottle feeding is great and very convenient...but which ones better? There's only one way to find out

    F I G H T ! ! !



    I have to challenge the "convenience" of bottle feeding. Sterlising and making up bottles is nowhere near as convenient as breast feeding. In most circumstances (not all I agree) then the baby can be fed in a matter of minutes by breast feeding without any preparation or carrying around any paraphenalia. It does not, of course, enable the father or another person to feed the baby (which is probably what is meant by "convenience" here) but there's plenty of opportunity to do that during and after weaning.

  • Comment number 69.

    57. At 3:01pm on 14 Jan 2011, Khuli wrote:
    26. At 1:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:
    MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.
    ---------

    It's neither indecent nor degrading. It's very sad that you would think it is.

    ###############################################

    Please read my posting with an open mind.

    It is not I who find breast feeding in public is degrading, it is the mothers who are told they 'must' do this 'for the babies sake' and be a 'good mother'.

    It is these women who would rather not do it that I say are the ones who feel degraded, not me.

    But there again, I as a man should have no say in this matter, should I?

    Talk about free speech.

    I thought 'have your say' meant all of us, not just women on issues such as this.

    My view is made form the knowledge given to me by my wife. Who has successfully raised three children, all in perfect health, without resorting to dictat, and who has more common-sense in her little finger than all of the breast-is-best fanatics put together.






  • Comment number 70.

    Milk is milk for god sakes, people. Regardless where it's from.

  • Comment number 71.

    As a mom, i think it its best to read all the facts, with that being said, baby need iron supplement because it not not in breast milk after 3 or 4 month of breast feeding. one way is taking prenatal vitamines with iron or supplement with one bottle of formula with iron, problem solved. yes breast feeding is important for bonding with child and fighting infections.

  • Comment number 72.

    Who funded this ridiculous research?
    My bet is a company that makes baby milk powder and food.
    What total rubbish, how do you think humans have managed to evolve on this planet before civilisation brought baby milk powder into the frame?
    Whats best?!!! why is it even a question being asked, nature knows best not Nestle.

  • Comment number 73.

    As a mom, I think it is important to have all the facts,with that being said, baby needs iron, breast milk has iron until the third or fourth month when it runs out. if you supplement prenatal vitamines with iron or supplement one bottle of formula with iron, problem solved. Breastfeeding is good bonding for mom and baby and fights infection.

  • Comment number 74.

    Babies are individuals. Whilst one could probably say, after considering all up to date properly peer-reviewed research applicable to UK, what seems to be the optimum time to start weaning *on average*, you can't make that a general rule for every baby. Some will need solid food earlier and some later. So the best advice is to do your best with whatever makes you and your baby happy, healthy and comfortable within reasonable limits. It's more important to make sure babies aren't given too large quantities of unsuitable foods once solids are given.

    One other point - it'd be interesting to know whether babyfood manufacturers have any hand in funding any research that's being considered. No doubt they'd be overjoyed to start selling us even more packets and jars of unnecessary processed 'starter' food earlier than hitherto.

  • Comment number 75.

    We started weaning our 3 sons at 8 weeks, they are 5,3 and 11 months, are fit, strong, healthy and will eat anything. They were all big when born, I suffered utter humiliation at the hands of an NHS midwife whilst trying to breastfeed the eldest, the second breastfed very well, but, I was passing out every time I fed him and the last I was left to get on with it in the maternity ward so I combine fed and wished I had been strong enough to bottle-feed exclusively from the start, but, I succumbed to guilt because I had breastfed the older two for a little while.

    Yes, all babies are different, but, don't forget so are all mothers, some of us struggle to provide enough milk, some prefer to breastfeed some don't, for me it was not a natural thing to do, in honesty I hated the feel of it, if it was so natural formula would not have been invented and children wouldn't have died young in days gone by. Stop giving mothers a hard time and start supporting them in whatever they feel is best for their children. We cannot be held to account for all of life's failings!

  • Comment number 76.

    Gosh! -- what a good job we have so many "experts" on so many subjects -- if only the Romans had known this we could all be so much healthier by now! It really makes me wonder how we would manage without such profound advice - it certainly puts the experience of centuries into perspective !!

  • Comment number 77.

    I breast fed my daughter exclusivly for the first 6 months and continue to do so 13 months on. She is a thriving,inquisitive toddler who eats solids and wants to try new food all the time. I suffer from a wheat intolerance (I was fomular fed from 8 weeks!) and refrained from introducing wheat at 6 months as before then the gut is not fully developed. A babb'y imature intestines are not ready to recive a variety of solid foods untill around 6 months, when many digestive enzymes kick in. Maturing intestines produce the protein immunoglobulin iga which acts like a protective paint, this coats the intestine proventing the harmfull allergens. Some babies who tend to be allergy prone even show delayed willingness to accept certain solid foods.
    My daughter stated eating wheat based products at around 9 months when I felt her intestines had matured and the IgA had peaked and her intestines could filter out offending food allergies. Solid foods should be considered as an accompliment to breast/formular milk not a substitue.
    The introduction of solds is a personal desission for baby and parent.
    I was more alarmed by the so called breast feeding councilor on the BBC one breakfast show talking more about giving breast fed babies formular at 8 to 10 weeks so that they sleep! I think she missed the point. If you have a baby you should expect some sleepless nights, and it is true that breast fed babies need feeding more regularily but that is because babies tummies are only very small. If you stuff them full with an artificial product that't fill's them up it will send them to sleep as it is harder to digest.
    Breast fed babies do not only need the milk it is also a comfort for them in the day or night.
    You just have to wonder what the drug companies are up to and who they are paying to promote artificial feeding. The WHO actualy suggests exclusive breast feeding for 6 months and then to continue breast feeding for two years, whilst weaning your baby on to solid food.
    Mother of a hapy breast fed todler who also likes her spare ribs!

  • Comment number 78.

    My daughters are 23 and 17 - when they were babies the advice was to wean at 3 months which seemed very sensible at the time as they were both ready and hungry for proper food. I continued to breastfeed only at certain times of the day such as first thing in the morning and last thing at night until they were about 8 months old. They have both grouwn up to be strong and healthy although the second one is a fussy eater but i'd say that was more personality than anything. As many people have said trends change but new mothers are very influenced by these type of media reports and of course want to do the best for their babies. Speak to your health visitor or maybe read Miriam Stoppards wonderful Babycare book that still has lots of relevant information.

  • Comment number 79.

    The mother should do what feels right for her. No other animal needs to be told how to bring up their young, and we are supposed to be the smartest of them all?

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    It would be helpful if the normal conventions on using initials to identify a report had been followed by the BBC. They cite 'UCL as the source, but fail to identify UCL, it could be 'uncle claudes library' or even Un clean librations'. Presuming it to be a University report, one could simply treat it as all other research from a University, to be taken with the normal pinch of salt, and read on the morning train to work.

    More seriously, the advice given to my wife when my son was born boiled down to 'just do it'. It became apparent at just befroe 6 months that he was ready for food with lumps in, and for a while consumed both milk and solids. He was not ill with anything until he started at school, and now at 34 is still as fit as any.

    The best advice to mothers is do what you find works, and whatever you do never read books on child rearing.

  • Comment number 82.

    " ... 1. At 12:08pm on 14 Jan 2011, scotty1694 wrote:
    breast feeding is much better than formula proof? go back in time and ask man how he survived thousands of years with no formula!

    also breast milk give babies things formula cannot! ... "


    Many did not survive. Mothers can't always produce milk in sufficient quantities.

    As for breast milk giving babies things formulas cannot. True, but if the mother is unable to breast feed for any reason she should not be made to feel that she has failed or is inferior.

    I have a relative who had twins which meant she was breast feeding 5 hours per day (5 feeds each per day for half an hour each feed). She had to stop as it was becoming far too painful.

    It was the case that dried milk companies were, wrongly, encouraging mothers to bottle feed (it happened to my mum with me) and that still sometimes happens in 3rd world countries.

    We need to stop and think, however, that breast is not always best. Bottles can actually be more convenient at times and if the woman feels embarrassed breast feeding in public, rightly or wrongly, then bottle feeding will help her. She should not be made to feel badly about it. (Yes, we should change our attitudes to breast feeding in public, but some women will still feel embarrassed).

    Bottle feeding also gives the mother a rest. She has to be very careful about diet/alcohol intake when breast feeding and if she has a few friends round for a meal and has a couple of glasses of wine then she should be able to us the bottle on the next feed without feeling guilty.

    Being able to use a combination of both is the best balance.

  • Comment number 83.

    Breast-feeding is the natural way to increase the child's resistance to disease, and must help to impart the parents' genes. It's been going on for thousands, if not millions of years and, funnily enough, all other life forms such as mammals have probably been doing it for even longer, and nothing's gone wrong with them.

    Isn't it time these experts' findings were treated with the contempt they deserve?

  • Comment number 84.

    This is a complete and utter non-story! Every single "expert" speaking on the BBC News channel have said things like "there is nothing new in this report", "mothers should carry on doing what they think is best" etc, etc, etc. Welcome to dullsville, population you!

  • Comment number 85.

    " ... 26. At 1:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote: ...

    ... the inconvenience of it. MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.

    Can we just tell the lactating-mafia where they can shove their sanctimonious drivel.

    ... "


    Hmm, I don't find ad hominem arguments particularly convincing.

    It is interesting that you use the word "indecently" to describe something that all female mammals have done for around 250 million years.

    I would say using a combination of both when it is convenient is probably best. There is no need for such bottle-feeding vitriol.

  • Comment number 86.

    69. At 3:44pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:
    57. At 3:01pm on 14 Jan 2011, Khuli wrote:
    26. At 1:28pm on 14 Jan 2011, JohnH wrote:
    MOST women DO NOT WANT to indecently expose themselves in public. It's degrading and only practiced by WOMEN WHO WANT TO SHOW OFF.
    ---------

    It's neither indecent nor degrading. It's very sad that you would think it is.

    ###############################################

    Please read my posting with an open mind.

    It is not I who find breast feeding in public is degrading, it is the mothers who are told they 'must' do this 'for the babies sake' and be a 'good mother'.

    It is these women who would rather not do it that I say are the ones who feel degraded, not me.


    Ah, the same women who'll happily flaunt their wares on a beach in Mediterranean sunspots. Possibly they are really worried that breast feeding affects the shape of their breasts rather than the health of their child.

  • Comment number 87.

    "18. At 1:05pm on 14 Jan 2011, Jacks_h wrote:
    Coincidentally, the medical staff incorrectly calculated the conversion of my first daughter's weight from imperial to metric. As a result of this they said she was not gaining weight and that I wasn't feeding her sufficiently"

    mmm... in our (18 month old) daugther's red book every (and i mean EVERY) point on the weight/age graph has been plotted wrong on at least one axis.

    As a father of 2 kids under 2 years I wholeheartedly second everything said above about experts keeping their noses out of it as all they have managed to do is give my wife more stress and worry at an already stressful time.
    I have very little faith in what a lot of experts say ("expert" frequently seems to refer to "someone with a personal opinion that they want to push onto as many others as possible and will reverse engineer as many statistics as they can to support their opinion"

  • Comment number 88.

    " ... 80. At 4:32pm on 14 Jan 2011, fredbear5150 wrote:
    Whilst I wish no harm to any adult or child on this planet, please understand that whilst your baby may be the centre of your universe, it probably isn't mine.

    As a consequence, I am more concerned about why you insist on bringing the noisy thing within my vicinity when I am, say, trying to enjoy a nice peaceful coffee and a newspaper in what was, up to that point, a quiet coffee bar, rather than what or how you feed it. ... "

    Presumably it was a public coffee bar. Does the parent not have as much right to be there as you?

  • Comment number 89.

    How did the whole of the human race survive before there was modern bottled or powdered milk for babies? By breastfeeding. For longer than six months. With the advantages
    - that breast-feeding is a form of natural family-planning as eggs are rarely produced/released while the milk-producing hormones are active,
    - milk production mops up calories so mums lose weight quickly and
    - the intimate body contact between baby and mother is invaluable, even after six months.

    Could anything be cheaper, simpler, healthier, better for mother and baby or more sensible?

  • Comment number 90.

    Post 21 from EBAYTKMAX just about says it all. I carried my two in a sling (not simultaneously: there's just over 2 years between them!) and have fed them even on the hoof before now, draping a jacket round my shoulders. Out of all the times I ever did it, only one woman ever noticed (and no men); and she smiled at me, conspiratorially, in approval.

    My older daughter refused solids for a long time; my younger daughter was slightly more enthusiastic, but not much. Neither was ready to accept any solids at all, even at 6 months, but were quite happy to continue breast-feeding - which I did on demand (see frankie-t above). I'd discovered that when I was a baby and rigid hours were enforced, I spent a couple of hours every afternoon for a month or so, screaming my little head off - until the NHS systems then obtaining allowed my Mum to increase my feed. Realy helpful for bonding, that kind of advice/insistence! My two finally accepted some small amounts of solids around 6 and 7 months - again, baby-led weaning.

    If you can't breast-feed, what the hey! It's less convenient to bottle-feed, more hassle, more expensive, but countless millions of babies/adults bear witness to its success. Interesting that to the end of one's life, though, it's possible to tell breast-fed from bottle-fed babies - or so I understand.

    What is utterly wicked is promotion of milk formula in third-world countries where instruction and supervision may be inadequate, and water is likely to be tainted and unsafe to drink: that is absolutely unconscionable, and several formula companies at least used to do it, if they don't still. (I've lost track over the last quarter-century!)

    Accept all the advice going, with a smile and thanks; and then follow your own wisdom. As every child is different, born an individual rather than a blank sheet, you're likely to know better than anyone else. The only virtue in gaining everyone else's advice is that sometimes someone may come up with something you hadn't heard of.

    JohnH is a very sad man, and sadly mistaken. What on earth purpose does he imagine breasts were designed for? And women tend to judge their company and the degree of discretion required, and feed accordingly: apart from the assembled company if people would be happier that way, and within it if they're relaxed about the issue or if there's no alternative. No-one would willingly subject either herself or her baby to JohnH's kind of hostility. Grow up, man!

    There used to be a raconteur by the name of Blaster Bates - a kind of demolition-based Fred Dibnah of the comdey and after-dinner circuit. His definition of an expert: ''Ex' is something that has-been, and 'spurt' is a drip under pressure'. Never forget it!

  • Comment number 91.

    I was just reading another BBC article to which various people have replied. Within the replies is one from a lady called Helen an NCT peer supporter and she is quite frankly talking rubbish about iron in breast milk! It is this kind of misinformation that leads to these crazy research papers being produced in the first place. Plus three of the experts have received funding from formula companies in the last three years! Another money making ploy by the big pharma companies! I breastfed all three of my children and didn't feel the need to wean before 6 months, non of them have any health issues or deficiencies. They are happy, healthy children who all eat their greens and have an extremely varied and healthy diet! People don't be fooled by these so called 'experts', if breast milk wasn't the best source of nutrition for a baby then why does the female body produce it?...............

  • Comment number 92.

    There is NOTHING (apart from sport) as boring on the planet as people talking about their own children and how they bring them up.

  • Comment number 93.

    I wonder where the "UK experts" got their research grant?

  • Comment number 94.

    I breastfed all 4 of my children up to the ages of 10 months. I also started weaning them at 4 months. I gave them baby rice to start off with and then after a few weeks I introduced them to pureed steamed vegetables. I started weaning them at 4 months as I felt they were starting to need a bit extra, but they were also starting to watch us eating and were really interested in that. I now have 4 children (aged between 6 and 15) who eat practically any foods, love fruit and vegetables and none of them have any allergies.

  • Comment number 95.

    My children are now in their mid - late teens so the recommendations were a bit different when they were born, but I never had any intention of breast feeding them and so I never did. I now have two beautiful children who are healthy, have no food allergies (or other allergies), no food fads and with whom I am very close. Between them they have missed less than 1 weeks schooling through ill health. I think #10 is right, it seems that breastfeeding is only important to those people whose jobs depend on it. Get off the backs of those who don't want to do it.

    Overall I would say go with your feeling and do what you think is right.

  • Comment number 96.

    More than twenty years ago I breastfed both my children to almost two years. One seemed to be needing solids before six months and one showed no interest until later. Neither had nor has health problems. Both were incredibly fussy eaters. Neither slept well. Thing is babies are all different and guidelines are just that---guidelines. There's a whole industry out there working tirelessly to make each new Mum feel useless. Don't. My kids have turned out fine. Unless you neglect or abuse them...yours will too.

  • Comment number 97.

    It was hot in the early summer of 2004. At pre natal classes our Midwife was bang on message with the "anyone that fails to use breast milk is an inadequate parent" guff.
    She even tried to persuade the "class" that feeding cow's milk to a human was disgusting, un-natural and possibly even dangerous.
    I waited till she'd finished her PC rant and asked her if she was enjoying her strawberry Frijj milkshake and whether her medical training had been completed before Louis Pasteur had qualified.
    She went very red.
    Mothers milk is best. That's commonsense. But for many reasons women often can't breastfeed or the baby won't latch on. Ultimately it's a choice even. What is a child meant to do in those circumstances? Starve?

  • Comment number 98.

    At 5:25pm on 14 Jan 2011, zeldalicious wrote:
    There is NOTHING (apart from sport) as boring on the planet as people talking about their own children and how they bring them up.


    ... and there is NOTHING more hypocritical than coming on here when you feel that way.

  • Comment number 99.

    Yes I do still breastfeed my baby...........er! should I stop now that he is 56?

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm amazed at the late age that is recommended for weaning. At 4 weeks my mum had to wean me, as I could not hold down fluids, it was mainly things like rusks mashed with formula milk. My son had the same problem and with the recommendation of my GP I did the same. I am healthy and my son is a strapping over 6ft healthy intelligent 20 year old. My daughter I started weaning at 6 weeks again a very healthy intelligent 18 year old.
    I never breast fed and luckily never felt pressurised by anyone to do so. Every mother should do what feels right for them and their baby. The mother usually knows what is right as every baby is very different in their needs and wants.
    For many people a so called recommended single serving is a joke. It's the same for babies.

 

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