Friday, January 14, 2011

Breaking My Own Rule

When I started blogging regularly last summer, I decided that I was going to stay away from negativity.  Not today.  This post is going to sound a lot like one long complaint, so I apologise in advance.  

I feel compelled to say something though, because this has been all over the news today.  [I chose to link to the BBC story merely because it's the news website I use.]

I'd just like to state first of all, regarding this new research coming from the Great Ones Who Know So Much More Than Us Parents, that I don't care a bit what anyone in the Matrix Medical Establishment has to say about breastfeeding.  Their general track record when it comes to encouraging mothers to feed their babies themselves is appalling; they've attempted pitifully to catch up in the last thirty years or so in order to redeem their preceding sixty years of ignorance.  

I've breastfed all my babies exclusively for the first five and a half months.  The Boys started having solids then, a decision which I now regret; they were definitely not ready though exhibiting the so-called "signs". Because I hadn't learned yet to trust my own instincts with them, instead hanging onto the word of the exalted health visitor who told me they "needed solids because they're sharing the breastmilk" [hello, my boobs were definitely making enough for two?!],  I began to encourage them to try solids even though they choked and gagged on every spoonful of flavourless rice porridge.  After keeping this up for about three weeks, they finally learned to swallow the gunk, even though they seemed miserable at replacing a breastfeed with a session of baby food.

In contrast, Mr J and Coo happily chose to wean themselves onto solid food [not the rice porridge - real food!] when they were ready, both [coincidence? I think not] around the time they cut their first tooth.

As for the "signs", apparently this includes "grabbing for food", "chewing on toys", and "putting objects into their mouths". 

These are also signs of teething!  I did try to feed both Mr J and Coo when they first exhibited these signs, but they were not remotely interested, spitting out food at the first try.  It was only after I could see a tooth [seven months with Mr J and eight months with Coo] that they actually welcomed food and tried to eat it.   

Food allergies?  Apparently this is one of the reasons why we shouldn't breastfeed exclusively beyond six months.

Not in this house.  My kids are allergic to absolutely zilch.  My five siblings and I were also breastfed exclusively past six months with no food allergies to be seen.  It will be interesting to see if any of us suffer in the future with IBS and all those other intestinal difficulties that so many of our generation and our parents' generation seem to be plagued with.  

It saddens me to think that the mothers who still hang onto whatever the doctor/health visitor says about breastfeeding will yet again be scrambling to follow their advice to the letter and start shoving pureed baby food into the mouths of tiny tots whose bellies aren't ready for anything but milk.   

My disclaimer is this: you're the parent, you choose what to feed your baby.  I'm not going to pass judgment on anyone for their choice to formula feed or give solids before six months.  I understand that every new mother's situation is different.

However, I am curious, just for interest's sake, which formula and baby food companies threw funding behind this new medical research.  (see note)

I'm also interested in hearing what any of you have to say.  Any sign of food allergies or iron deficiency in your babies who've been exclusively breastfed past six months?

Back to happy blogging tomorrow.  Big love to any of you non-parents out there who actually finished reading this!

Note: As commenters have pointed out, this was not "medical research" but the opinion of experts from three child health institutes in London, Birmingham, and Edinburgh after "reviewing scientific research on feeding babies".  They were writing about their opinion in the British Medical Journal.  It's important to note that the review itself is quite extensive and the press have been very selective in their reporting, focusing almost exclusively on the breastfeeding negative factors.  Here's the information about funding, and the other side to the story for those of you who are interested, from Baby Milk Action.  [Thanks, Olivia!] 


  1. It wasn't actually the results peer assessed study, it was an opinion of the professional.

  2. And that's exactly why I'm throwing out my opinion here! I strongly believe that the professionals don't always get it right. :)

  3. tracey Stanton10:01 pm

    well said Erin..i love your strong opinions on NATURAL as best....because i truly believe IT IS....
    you have certainly tried and tested these ways and i am very proud as a mother-in-law to see how you bring up our grandchildren in such a healthy way..all be it different to my own even as a mother 'following the system' so to speak. i would sure do different these days......
    Good old fashioned ways.....but there is a lot to be said for the health issues attached because of todays ways.
    There is a lot to be learned from you Erin..thank you for some of the changes to our lives because of your influence and knowledge of better and healthier living...
    we love you very much mrs maley x

  4. Thanks, Tracey; and we really appreciate the way you've supported what we've chosen as parents even though it's been different from what you knew! Thanks for all your encouragement... :)

  5. Erin,this is a post close to my heart. I breastfed my oldest daughter for ( here comes potential gasps) two 1/2 years.
    I breastfed exclusively up to 14 months because she vehemently refused solids for 14 months. When I tried, she projectile vomited them up. No matter what she ate.
    Her weight was wonderful, she was happy and healthy. I worried when an on duty doctor told me my baby was not happy and healthy but was, in fact,"milk fat".
    My regular doctor was appalled and told me that my child was indeed perfectly fine.
    She never had any problems at all with allergies or iron and when she started eating at her own pace, she ate everything with no problems at all!
    I still get looks of astonishment and sometimes disgust when the subject is brought up. I just did what I felt was best for both of us. I ate really healthy food during that time and therefore so did she :)

  6. Madwife11:25 pm

    As becca wasn't a piece of research! Think the way it has been reported is criminal.

    From memory I think it's around one percent of women in uk who exclusively bf to six months....pls some sane person explain how we can possible compare the iron levels of a bf baby who has had what it's body was designed to have, to that of a baby given reconstituted cows milk full of lots of 'extra' vitamins? Seems logical that a bf baby may have lower levels BUT how can we guage this as being abnormal? Also, is anyone looking at the effects of delayed cord clamping and iron levels? The effects of maternal diet????? Utter rubbish.

    Whilst I'm still on my soap box, every excl bf baby led weaned infant/ child/ adult I know does NOT have a reduced palate! There is no evidence to support their claim, just another ill informed opinion.

  7. Glynis - I'm really glad you were able to do what you felt was right when you breastfed your daughter, and weren't swayed by the professional opinion!

    I've just re-read the BBC article again, and the e-mails parents are sending in response are incredibly already swayed by this ridiculous piece of reporting.

    "What should I do... the evidence is so polarised..."
    "My baby is 10 months old now and it's too late to change my habits, as I exclusively breastfed him until 6 months..."
    and my favourite, the usual "in all cases of weaning you should consult your doctor or health visitor"! (What about trusting your own instincts as a mother for a change?)

    Madwife - "Is anyone looking into the effects of delayed cord clamping and iron levels?"

    My thoughts exactly. It's scary the way people -and the media- run like sheep after the latest opinions that are bandied about by teams of experts, while remaining ignorant of other issues that are potentially damaging.

  8. I don't know a lot about this. I'm not a mom, but I have a lot of close Christian friends who are drs. Really good, compassionate, smart, and wonderful drs. I don't think attacking the researchers, dr. or government is helpful in this debate. Respect is required of us and from them. Even though God designed our bodies we are effected by the fall. Sin effects everything, even our bodies, even your milk. It is wholly possible that some or most babies do not get enough iron after a certain age. This is OK. It doesn't mean we should just do what he govt. tells us, but it doesn't mean we should ignore the science either. Science is not evil. A lot of good things have come from science. Aren't there supplements that can be taken to increase iron levels and cont. to breastfeed?

    I'm sure you guys have a lot more wisdom than I do, but I just wanted to point out that you can read the full journal article on line. Here.

    And this is what they state about funding.

    Competing interests: All authors have completed the Unified Competing Interest form at (available on request from the corresponding author) and declare that no external funding was received in connection with the preparation of this manuscript; MF, AL, and DCW have performed consultancy work and/or received research funding from companies manufacturing infant formulas and baby foods within the past 3 years; their spouses, partners, or children have no relationships that may be relevant to the submitted work; and the authors have no non-financial interests that may be relevant to the submitted work.

  9. Oooh, I'm just feeling all riled up now! I'm right behind you. As a registered nurse, I wish that the medical world could get behind moms and give them the support they need. Breast is best! And my 3 boys, all breast fed are thriving, happy kids!

  10. Thanks, Corrin... I appreciate your comment and agree with you that there are a lot of great doctors out there.

    I actually did read the entire review online after reading the BBC article and dashing off my initial post. After all the comments, I've included a note at the end of my blog post with the link.

    Please don't get me wrong. I'm not attacking doctors or science! I'm a thinker, not a feeler, so science makes sense to me. I want the best for my kids and am willing to concur with medical opinion... but not all the time. :)

    Sometimes I think it's best to rely on my own God-given instincts as a mother, or on the advice and opinions of other mothers who have been there and done that.

    I knew when I blogged about this that I would sound critical. It's because I am! I'm saddened at the way the God-created rhythms of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding have been boxed in by the medical and scientific minds of our day.

    For a question-inducing overview of what I'm trying to express here, particularly regarding birth, check out the documentary "The Business of Being Born". There will probably be a copy of it in your local library if you are in the USA or Canada. I have it if anyone near me wants to borrow it!

  11. Also, please check out the Baby Milk Action link I added in the note! Good reminder that there's always another side to a story.

  12. Anonymous1:34 pm

    I was not breast-fed and have had bad allergies, rhinitis, exzema, asthma, food intolerance, lack of appetite etc etc etc....

    I am also from an almost exclusively medical family!

    My siblings were breast-fed and do not have ANY of the child or adult conditions I have experienced.

    Yes this could be down to other contributing factors, but as we are siblings... thats as close as you can get to scientific study.

    Fortunatley I do believe in healing too - so any mistakes we might make, God is very able to challenge the consequences. Many of my health symtoms have been healed, some remain in low levels, but with increased awarness from friends like Coffeebeings I am able to make better choices with food and life style.

    Some times these choices have had the delay switch attacthed to them - it's hasn't always registered first time. I am not a parent - but I did read the whole blog and associated comments!

    Raking in the love right now! :)


Please don't hesitate to comment if this post has provoked your thoughts! I enjoy reading what you have to say.