Sunday, July 08, 2007

Am I a Lactivist?

I know that FF is necessary in some instances. That there are many women who are devastated that they can't BF, who have issues with attachment, who have medical problems, who generally were planning on fully BF but then find that they can't. Those women have my absolute deepest sympathies.

However it is truly sad to read that in Australia, in 2001:
* only 54% of infants less than 3mths of age were fully breastfed
* only 32% of babies less than 6mths were fully breastfed and
* 21% of babies at 12mths are being breastfed in Australia (this is not exclusive)

Apparently the major two reasons given for not continuing with BF were 'not producing enough milk' and 'felt it was time to stop'. I wonder how many of those in the former group sought out help? Or information on how to increase their supply (eg: feeding more frequently)? Or how much support they had from their partner and/or family?

So when should you stop BF? There is a 'danger period' around the age of 9-10mths where babies may seem to 'wean' but in fact have other issues going on. The average age of weaning across the globe is, what might be surprising to some, 4.2yrs. During natural, child-led weaning, most children will wean between the ages of two and a half and three years. The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of two years breastfeeding your child for optimum health. When I tell people this (usually just after they have asked when I am planning on weaning Harriet) they all seem genuinely surprised. Now that's not that big an issue at all, except for when these people are also parents. I mean, didn't they look these things up? Research their child's basic nutritional source?

Anyway, at the base of all of this I guess I am here to say proudly that YES, Harriet is still receiving some BF throughout the day. Do they constitute her main nutrition? Not at all, she eats anything and everything (except meat of course!). Do I plan to continue BF? Of course! She's not even two yet, but being a very tall child we definitely get more looks than your average nearly two year old being BF. I'm just waiting for someone to approach me about it...mwahaha.

See where I got the info from here.


Anonymous said...

Hi Cass. Mum8 here. Keep up the good work BFing Harry. The weaning ages of mine have ranged from just shy of 3 to 4 and a half, influenced by the effect of another pregnancy on my milk supply. If he's the last, Liam may never stop!!!!

Crazy Mumma said...

Hi Cass. Wow, I'm really saddened by those statistics, but not entirely surprised :-( I really thought BF had a lot more appeal these days but just over 50% at three months? Again, wow.

I hope someone does say something soon - I want to read about them copping an educated earful *evil grin*.

Oh and isn't Harry's hair getting long? She'll in pig tails soon, such a little girl now, no baby left!


HipbubbyMama said...

Those stats are sad huh? yk I *used* to be a real lactavist, until i had a baby who couldn't bf-having a cleft palate makes it a physical impossibility. Still, I worked hard to express for her and I'm so happy she made it to 21 months of breast milk (7 of those exclusive b/m. Having to bottle feed has given me a new perspective, being that I both understand and empathise more with those who truly cannot feed, whilst simultaneously getting pissed off at those who can't be bothered. *sigh*