Recommendations that babies should be breastfed for six months, without introducing solid food or other liquids, is considered “unrealistic and unachievable” by many families, experts from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Stirling argue.
Well, that’s why they are ‘recommendations’, and not ‘edicts’ or ‘instructions’.
If you can’t achieve them, for whatever reason, no problem! Right?
Well, no. Not in our increasingly infantilised world, it isn’t. Not in the ‘all must have prizes’ culture we’re eagerly building:
They say that the “ideal” – as set out by the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health – is “perceived as setting parents up to fail”.
Well, perhaps these parents need to grow a bit of a spine, then, maybe thumb through a dictionary to find out the difference between ‘recommendations’ and ‘mandated edicts’..?
The experts found the “mismatch between idealism and realism” could mean mothers feel pressurisedinto breastfeeding.All the women in the study intended to breastfeed and were keen to try, but the researchers found a range of views emerged, including that families saw sharing the responsibility of feeding as an opportunity for fathers and grandparents to bond with the baby.
Some found expressing milk difficult, time-consuming and distasteful, while others said breastfeeding in public was difficult. Some families felt that waiting until six months before giving the baby solids went against their intuition. Antenatal care was also found to paint an unrealistic picture of breastfeeding, while NHS staff were not always available to help with feeding in the early stages.
So, basically, lots of people found the government advice not particularly helpful or fitting with their circumstances, and so didn’t follow it.
The authors, writing in the journal BMJ Open, concluded: “Adopting idealistic global policy goals like exclusive breastfeeding until six months as individual goals for women is unhelpful.“More achievable incremental goals are recommended. Unanimously, families would prefer the balance to shift away from antenatal theory towards more help immediately after birth and at three to four months, when solids are being considered.”
Rather than try to tinker endlessly with the guidance in the forlorn hope of finding some form that meets 100% of the requirements of the audience for it, why not just simply say ‘These are our recommendations. If you’re too damned thick to understand that that’s all they are, recommendations, then you’re probably too damned thick to be breeding in the first place!’..?