What We Told the Birth Trauma Inquiry

Earlier this year, we submitted to the Birth Trauma Inquiry. The inquiry published its report this month.

We focused on the role of exclusive breastfeeding promotion in our members’ distressing, even traumatic, experiences. We shared experiences around three areas: postnatal care and rooming-in; inhumane breastfeeding advice; and avoidable infant complications.

We highlighted a lack of evidence that exclusive breastfeeding promotion practices and the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative are safe or tolerated by patients. We questioned why they have been allowed to dictate the care of vulnerable patients and foster a culture of total disregard for women’s postnatal needs. This is what we wrote:

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Women’s Feelings Are Not The Problem – The Policy Is!

This paper, ‘Perceived pressure to breastfeed negatively impacts postpartum mental health outcomes over time’, was sent to me by someone I love and respect. They thought that as a clinical psychologist, I would be impressed by it. Having discussed with them why I see this as yet another another example of psychology gaslighting women, I thought I’d share my thoughts here too.

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How Long Before Infant Feeding Research Has to Conclude that Fed is Best? (The RCT Edition)

We all know that breastfeeding is supposed to have a gazillion health benefits and will save the world from certain disaster. So, it is perplexing that recent trials looking at the effect of interventions to increase exclusive breastfeeding in Uganda and Guinea-Bissau found not only an increase in exclusive breastfeeding, but also an increase in severe growth stunting and wasting.

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Breastmilk is Sufficient…But Babies Might Become Dehydrated

‘Exclusive breastfeeding is endorsed for the initial six months in newborns. It is sufficient for every nutritional need…such that there is no need to give anything above breastfeeding.’

So begins a study looking at dehydration in breastfed newborns.

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Prejudice Masquerading as Science and the Mothers (and Grandmother) Fighting Back

A government-funded research team recently investigated whether the packaging of formula milk complies with certain regulations. They undertook the task of inspecting every single formula product on the UK market. Boring, yes, but bear with us, because what transpires is a lesson in absurdity.

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Preventing Newborn Hospital Admissions for Jaundice and Feeding Complications: a Formula

The government recently announced an inquiry into prevention in health. The Health and Social Care Committee asked for submissions from organisations and individuals to highlight issues the government should be looking at. We submitted a proposal for how to reverse the alarming rise in newborn admissions to hospital for jaundice and other feeding complications in the early days of life. This is what we wrote:

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If You Think George Eustice MP is Sexist, Wait Till You Hear About NHS Infant Feeding Policy

There has been understandable outrage about MP George Eustice’s comments that women are ‘biologically hardwired’ to stay at home and nurture babies and children. But sexist ideas like this aren’t just the purview of the odd Tory MP who is stuck in the past. They are embedded in NHS infant feeding policy and postnatal care!

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Who is the Monster Here?

Have you ever wondered why those who wish to promote breastfeeding spend so much energy on the formula industry?

Breastfeeding advocates tell us that all women really want to breastfeed. They tell us that breastfeeding is so beneficial it will address health inequalities, it will foster beautiful mother-baby bonding, it can tackle racism and environmental concerns and it will even create a more peaceful society. It’s so good! Why, oh why, don’t more women do it?

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