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Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney refuses to back breast feeding campaign

Author: Nicola Toomes Published: 5th September 2010 13:39

Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney refuses to back breast feeding campaign Breast Feeding Manifesto

I breast fed both of my children, the first to 11 months, the second until 9 months (and that was because he had teeth and wouldn't stop biting me!! ) I firmly believe that breast feeding is not promoted enough or talked about enough leading to an almost taboo about the difficulties and hurdles every woman faces when feeding.

Jason McCartney talks about the pressures put on women The Examiner quotes him saying "He said: "I find the arguments compelling and I thought long and hard about my response.

"However, I will not be signing the breastfeeding manifesto, since some mothers feel pressurised into continuing with breastfeeding even when struggling and despite advice from breastfeeding counsellors.

"This can have damaging effects on the mothers' emotional wellbeing and therefore on their babies." (For the full article click here )

Jasons refusal to sign the manifesto that actively promotes supporting women to breast feed lacks insight and understanding of the bigger picture, it seems that his response is based on only one perspective, presumably one that is close to him.

Since the introduction of artificial milk and bottles we, as a society, have placed a taboo on breast feeding. I think we are now in a strange situation where everyone knows it is best but nobody wants to talk about it or deal with the problems you can encounter. 

In the first few weeks breastfeeding is difficult. There is the toe curling pain of cracked nipples, the constant demand on your body is exhausting, the discomfort of engorged breasts and the embarrassment of leakages. But this is NORMAL! After this hurdle is breached breast feeding is a doddle, cheap,  locally produced and sustainable, great for losing baby weight and easy. 

I agree with Caitlin Hartley from Honley, breast feeding is a skill both you and your baby have to learn! When my first was born - under very traumatic and drastic circumstances - I felt shell shocked. She wouldn't feed, she just wanted to sleep, when put to the breast she slept. So the midwives told me that they would have to give her a bottle of formula. I agreed and she was literally force fed a bottle. The next morning she was the same and the midwives again gave her a bottle. I had to stand up to the midwives and say what is happening here? It felt like a slippery slope to  bottle feeding..Was I to become one of those women that can't feed her child?

So I kicked up a fuss and said I wanted some help to feed my baby. They sent for another midwife, one who was comfortable helping me (why aren't they all?). She got us going. But it wasn't pretty! She had to handle and twist and shove until we finally connected. I felt great I could do it. Later came the pain and the engorgement and the sheer embarrassment at the christening when I had two dark patches on my pale grey sweater. After 3 weeks I became one of those women who made breast feeding look very easy.

Jason McCartney's actions do not consider the effects of marketing, public opinion and poverty on the popularity of breast feeding. If a women has the slightest doubt that she cannot 'do it' there is tremendous pressure out there to stop - TV ads, other mothers, family always offering an opinion - and very little of what she needs to continue. That is confidence she can and is doing it well, that the doubts she feels are normal and above all she is taking good care of her baby. As a woman struggling all you can see are woman who appear to be breast feeding effortlessly, but that simply isn't the reality.

What would the saving be on government budgets if they didn't pay out £9 a time for a tin of formula for all those on benefits? When I worked for social services the Section 17 (Children Act 1989) budget always had to pay out for artificial milk when the client had spent their beneifts!

He is not taking into account the Nestle Boycott or the  large companies that know once a bottle has become between a mother and her child, breastfeeding is more likely to fail and the company has gained a customer.

Jason I urge you to reconsider and think about the wider picture.

 For anyone wanting to sign the manifesto or you want to know more go to Breast feeding Manifesto.

Other sites of interest: 

Baby Milk Action 

Baby Milk action on Facebook 

The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

And heh! If you are struggling give me a call!





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