Some APers are incensed when they come across this blog. Not only for the AP heresies it espouses (OMG She thinks CIO is OK!!!), but because the idea that mainstream parents need, or more likely deserve, support for their parenting practices really irks them for some reason. This comment (culled from a mommyboard) is typical:
Thank god those mainstream parents have you estherar. Its so difficult doing what everyone else is doing. They really need your support. (rolleyes smilie)
Your blog comes off pretty douchey.
As I put it in my very first post, I do feel there is a need to support mainstream parenting as a practice, and mainstream parents as individuals, because AP ideology has been encroaching upon the mainstream for quite a while now. Support for mainstream parents involves not only moral support – reassuring them that despite what they’ve read in The Baby Book or Mothering Magazine, they haven’t destroyed their child’s trust forever by following their hearts and vaccinating/CIO’ing/formula feeding her. This blog also, and perhaps mainly, deals with informational support – providing a fact-based response to those who would feel ‘sad’ for mainstream-parented children because they will not know the ‘joy’ of attachment/’natural’ parenting.
And while support of either type may not be needed in the amounts that those oh-so-beleaguered (now it’s my turn to insert a rolleyes smilie!) APers feel they need, there are new people arriving at this blog every day by typing “mainstream parenting” into search engines. Some of them even like, and refer others to, information they find here. Imagine that! 😉
I thought again about the issue of support for mainstream parents when I encountered this review, entitled “Mothers’ experiences of bottle feeding: a systematic review of qualitative and quantitative studies”. While formula-feeding would definitely fall into the category of mainstream parenting – most mothers in the developed world end up at least partially bottlefeeding their child for a variety of reasons – the practice itself has fallen out of favor in the eyes of medical and child advocacy organizations the world over. Thus, though many women bottlefeed, there is little support or information to be had for women who do so.
The researchers searched exhaustively through online databases and refererence lists, also contacted authors of relevant papers on the subject, and came up with 23 papers (6 qualitative and 17 quantitative) involving a total of 13,263 participants, all dealing with the mother’s experience of bottlefeeding in developed countries – mainly the USA and UK.
Despite the fact that the studies varied quite a bit in design, focus and quality, several themes ran throughout the literature on the subject:
* The experience of bottlefeeding was fraught with negative emotions. Guilt about not breastfeeding and feeling pressure from others (mostly healthcare professionals) to breastfeed were a common theme in many of the studies, as were worry about possible negative effects on the baby from the formula, as well as a sense of failure and shame over the act of bottlefeeding – especially if the woman had originally planned to breastfeed. On the other hand, many women concurrently expressed relief once the decision to bottlefeed was cemented; this was especially relevant if the mother was previously concerned whether her baby was receiving enough nutrition, or found breastfeeding an arduous task.
* Women often felt they were not given enough pertinent information on how to bottlefeed correctly, leading to feelings of uncertainty and initial mistakes. In one study reviewed, both breastfeeding and bottlefeeding mothers agreed that the midwives spent far more time with breastfeeding mothers, teaching them the ropes, whereas bottlefeeders were often left to figure out the mechanics of feeding for themselves. Because mothers perceived healthcare professionals to be unsupportive of bottlefeeding, they often avoided asking them for information, instead relying on their friends and family.
The study also notes that while many mothers would have appreciated being able to make a fully informed decision about feeding methods in advance, the WHO code discourages health professionals from actively disseminating information about bottlefeeding before a woman has given birth and/or actively decided to bottlefeed.
* As noted earlier, mistakes in the preparation and administration of formula were very common. Use of warm water straight from the tap (instead of boiled water) to prepare formula feeds, formula reconstitution errors (feeding either over-concentrated or over-diluted formula), and warming bottles in the microwave occurred in a significant percent of cases.
The authors also noted that over-concentration of feeds could be a possible reason for a baby’s rapid weight gain in his first six months, which is a risk factor for obesity later in childhood.
Since the vast majority of babies receive at least some formula milk during the first year of life, it is important that this is prepared and administered safely and correctly. While it is important to increase the initiation and duration of breastfeeding, it is also necessary to minimise the risks associated with bottle-feeding by providing adequate information and support in a sensitive and non-judgemental manner to parents who choose to bottle-feed their infants. As suggested by Mozingo, ‘‘when the decision is made to start formula-feeds, mothers should be reassured that bonding, attachment and infant health are not irreversibly damaged, and the quality of their mothering should not be questioned because of the feeding method chosen.’’…
…healthcare providers should ensure that the needs of parents who bottle-feed are not overlooked.
Sounds like Peggy Robin was on to something way back when…