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May 7, 2005

british boob freakout

British newspapers are going nuts over reports about Rosie Stamp, a woman who recently cut a trip to America short and flew home (3,500 miles) to breastfeed her baby. The one-year-old was refusing expressed milk (or any other liquids) from a bottle. Apparently, their Dr. said the infant was at risk of dehydrating. Rosie flew home and was back breastfeeding within 36 hours of leaving the home. Now Rosie is asking British Airways to refund the extra ticket she had to buy as she considers this a medical emergency. British Airways has different ideas... and the UK press is having a real field day with this story.

Mostly there are reactionary articles ranting on about how unnecessary (and bad) "extended" breastfeeding is (even though one year, according the AAP, and WHO, is not "extended," but recommended). On the other side, there are breastfeeding advocates talking about how it's "natural" for us to feed wellbeyond a year. As usual, both sides are firmly planted on extremist ground: you're either suffocating your baby with smothering attachment, or you're denying her the nutrition, trust and connection she needs.

As a breastfeeding mother, I read this and immediately thought such boring thoughts as "Had she introduced a bottle prior to leaving?... Did the husband try feeding her with a sippy cup? Had they never been separated before?" Maybe this was an emergency—the doctor seemed concerned, for one thing—but maybe it could have been avoided if Rosie had prepared the kid for the separation. Unfortunately, all these details are not getting any airtime so I can't attempt to break it down, pick apart Rosie's weaning strategy with La Leche League-like precision. I did, however, have the urge to write Kate Sharp, a Lactation Consultant and LLLI member, and ask her if she had any comments (from a technical stand-point). Here's what she had to say:

"It really depends on the mother and baby. If the baby was breastfeeding extensively at one year, and was not a large person, she could become a little dehydrated. Some people recommend " a trip away from baby so you can wean without fuss". Of course, this combines separation anxiety with the denial of the physical sustenance of nursing: common sense would say that there is a cruel element to this advice. This is not a nursing strike, it was an enforced sudden weaning, most likely. If the baby was fed soupy liquids it would seem the danger was minimal, but individual cases could exist."

by thenewmoms at 7:00 AM
in baby | media momming


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