Mothers’ anger at breastfeeding confusion
Mothers used internet forums and radio phone-ins yesterday to express their frustration at the latest scientific controversy about breastfeeding.
In a review of existing evidence published yesterday, a team at the University of London's Childhood Nutrition Research Centre suggested that mothers should not follow official advice recommending that they exclusively breastfeed for the first six months.
Instead, the study claimed mothers could increase their baby's protection from allergies and increase their chances of eating a healthier diet later by introducing solid food at the age of four months. While maintaining its six-month advice, the UK Department of Health said a scientific study already investigating infant feeding would look into the research.
The Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and National Childbirth Trust criticised the new paper and backed the status quo.
Stuck in the middle, mothers debated the merits of both sides, with many airing their irritation at the confusion.
“The thing is these things always change,” complained one
mother on Mumsnet. “I knew this six months thing would be discredited at some point. Then a new idea will come along and that will be discredited and so on and so forth.”
Joanne Leaver-Cole, from London, emailed the BBC: “What should I do? This is extremely stressful as the evidence is so polarised. I have even received mixed messages from healthcare professionals.”
The Government introduced the guideline eight years ago after the World Health Organisation backed breastfeeding to six months following a review of 16 studies.