Good TV shows to watch on these topics;

Channel 4 --> Dispatches

--> The Great Formula Milk Scandal

--> Breastfeeding Uncovered

What factors influence women to stop or never start breastfeeding?2

  • Many women want to breastfeed, evident by the 80% initiation rate in the UK. 
  • Exclusive breastfeeding rates;
    • 69% at birth
    • 46% at one week
    • 23% at 6 weeks
    • 1% at 6 months.
  • Education and support is about giving those mothers who want to breastfeed a fair opportunity at doing so. 
  • Medical: maternal, infant.
  • Cultural and societal: attitudes and taboo.
  • Psychological: post-natal depression.
  • Inconvenience: lack of support at work to express milk or breastfeed, not wanting to breastfeed in public.
  • Lack of support/ knowledge or inaccurate knowledge of benefits/risks.
    • Mothers may experience practical problems in establishing breastfeeding.
    • Concerns about infant not receiving sufficient milk.


Formula milk multinational companies. 15,16,17

  • Globally, breastfeeding is the most cost-effective intervention for protecting infants against diarrhoea and all causes of mortality. 823'000 child deaths each year could be prevented by near universal breastfeeding.
  • Infant formula may be reconsituted with water that is not clean, and dirty water may also be used when washing bottles.
  • Data suggest a five-fold increase in formula industry financing, three times faster than the global economy.
  • Save the Children analysis shows 6 companies spend £5 billion on formula milk marketing alone every year.
  • Many companies, including Nestlé and Danone, routinely violate the WHO code created to combat immoral marketing.
  • Advertisement influences behaviour. The industry spends millions of pounds every year marketing their product, encouraging mothers not to breastfeed and to use formula milks instead. 
  • Debate topic; Should formula milk only be available on prescription as a last resort?
    • Consider autonomy, freedom, who suffers/dies, health cost savings, onus on individual not multinational. 
Key points to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes.17
  • The code is an international health policy framework created to regulate breastmilk substitutes marketing with the aim of protecting and improving breastfeeding rates.
  • Published in 1981 by the World Health Organisation.
  • It is internationally agreed and is a voluntary code of practice.
  • The code is to protect the health of infants worldwide and to ensure that decisions are based on full, impartial information.
Baby Friendly accreditation requires health services to implement the requirements of the code:18
  • No advertising of infant feeding products anywhere within public services.
  • No contact between company personnel and pregnant women or mothers.
  • No items bearing company logos on premises or used by staff.
  • No free samples to health professionals or mothers.
  • Only scientific and factual information, free from commercial bias, used in the care of babies and their parents.





Culture, taboo, and feminism20

  • Breastfeeding rates in the UK are some of the lowest in the world. (Exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months: U.K = 1%, world average= 40%.)
  • Sexualisation of breasts make women (and people around) feel uncomfortable to exposing their breasts in public or even around family and friends.
    • 40% of women who stop breastfeeding by 6 weeks cite feeling judged, discouraged and shamed in public as a main reason.
  • The prevalence of breastfeeding is particularly low among very young mothers and disadvantaged socio-economic groups, potentially widening health inequalities.
  • Public breastfeeding requires a woman’s self-confidence and self-reliance to trust in the power of her own body.




Battle of the breast

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