A new set of articles published in NCT Perspective journal highlight the need to ‘change the conversation’ around women’s decisions on infant feeding.
Heather Trickey, Dawn Leeming and Fiona Woollard suggest how changes in the attitudes and behaviour of others, and the environment in which women find themselves, can help women feel better supported in making the decision that is right for them and their baby.
Read the article here:
Parents need ongoing support with feeding their babies. But discussion around infant feeding in the media tends to be polarised around ‘promoting breastfeeding’ or ‘promoting choice’. The focus is often on whether or not a mother initiates breastfeeding rather than how her decisions can be supported.
It is staggering that around three quarters of all UK mothers who stop breastfeeding in the first six months would prefer to continue. The focus on ‘choice’ means that the unique experiences and changing circumstances of mothers and babies can be forgotten. Mothers often feel divided according to how they feed their babies, so that the support and friendship they might find from each other is undermined.
UNICEF Baby Friendly UK have highlighted a need to ‘change the conversation’ about the way that babies are fed: ‘by stopping laying the responsibility for this major public health issue in the laps of individual women and acknowledging the role that politics and society has to play at every level. The goal of our Call to Action is not to put pressure on women to breastfeed, but to remove the barriers that currently stop women who want to breastfeed from doing so.’
As parents, friends, grandparents, peer supporters, breastfeeding counsellors and health professionals, how might we even begin to do that?
To get us started, a new set of articles by Heather Trickey, Dawn Leeming and Fiona Woollard, published in NCT Perspective journal, draw on ideas from public health, psychology and philosophy.
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