Breast is Best.  Anything else is just wrong.  At least that’s what the chair of The Breastfeeding Network is suggesting in this report.

Apparently, health campaigners in Britain are saying that by using the “Breast is Best” slogan, we’re actually disrespecting the “normality” of the breast.   Implying that formula is the standard, and that the slogan is simply trying and failing at “convincing” new mothers to choose the breast over formula.

Why else would you need such a smart slogan, if you weren’t trying to sell something novel?

Lesley Backhouse, chair of The Breastfeeding Network, has written to the Department of Health, calling for a change of approach.

”We’ve got to knock breastfeeding off this pedestal,” she said.

”It seems to play straight into the formula manufacturer’s hands by encouraging the view that formula is the normal way to feed a baby – whereas nothing could be further from the truth.”

She added: ”What we should be saying – and are intent on getting across – is that formula feeding is an avoidable health risk to babies.”

But what does this say about mothers who try breastfeeding and find that they can’t do it? Or have to return to work after 3 weeks, and are not allowed to take work time to pump? Or take medications that are harmful to the baby’s health? Are ill themselves?  Do not have the lactation support necessary to help them succeed at breastfeeding? Do not have the family support to continue breastfeeding?

The Breastfeeding Network’s campaign to return the breast to its rightful place of being the standard for women feed their babies, is putting a huge downer on women who have to use (or choose to) formula.  “You are actively placing your child’s health at risk if you use formula” is not the message of choice if you want to support mothers. It sounds more like a scare tactic.

Then again, Nestle’s “Good Start” campaign of “normalizing” formula is also evil. evil. You want a good start for your baby? Use breastmilk.  Nestle and other formula companies know this — and they’re capitalizing on this belief in their marketing.  So perhaps this is what the Breastfeeding Network is reacting to.  And from what I hear among my family, Nestle was successfully campaigning in Nairobi for decades.  Formula is clean. Babies get fat, and therefore healthy.  It’s convenient.  You don’t have to watch what you eat and you can lose weight faster.

Amazing considering it’s all BS and stolen straight from breastfeeding.

In my opinion, I love the “breast is best” slogan. It’s fun and I embrace it.  I don’t really think that it’s suggesting formula is a norm — but perhaps people polled are actually reading “formula is normula” into “breast is best.” Or maybe the Breastfeeding Network is over thinking things.

That all said, a catchy phrase isn’t going to promote breastfeeding. A positive infrastructure in the health community can help.  Starting with hospitals and pre/post natal programs; breast-positive pediatricians; accessible free public health programs; subsidized lactation consultants; healthy food and diet supplements for economically struggling families; family counseling and ending with support for baby and breast-positive workplaces.

At least the department of health recognizes this:

A Department of Health spokesman said in a statement that ”breast is best” was not its slogan, adding: ”Breastfeeding is good for babies, good for mothers and incredibly convenient.

”It’s crucial that mothers get the support they need to make breastfeeding a success for them and their baby.”

In Peel, 94% of mothers attempt breastfeeding in the hospital. 64% continue up to 6 months and beyond.  That’s pretty damn good.  Here we have the Formula? No Thanks campaign.   A pretty direct campaign against formula, for sure.

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