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Thread: UK - Channel Four's 'Extraordinary Breastfeeding'

  1. #1
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    Jan 2006
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    Default UK - Channel Four's 'Extraordinary Breastfeeding'

    So I've just watched the programme 'extraordinary breastfeeding' broadcast in the UK on Channel 4.
    Although a couple of things disappointed me, overall I thought it was very positive and quite sweet. Families with extended nursers were presented as loving and kind with perhaps a few eccentricities.

    For anyone who didn't see it the programme focused on a few families:
    a family tandem feeding twins aged 2+ in Bath, England.
    a family with a 4 year old boy still feeding, going through the process of adopting a baby from China.
    a young mum feeding her 19 month old while working to promote breastfeeding in an community in Lancashire with traditionally low breastfeeding rates
    a family from Cumbria with 2 older girls - one self-weaned at 5, one weaning at 7.



    The family with the twins were weaning them 'cold turkey' after they had been feeding them on demand. After a couple of tough days and nights the twins were accepting it and were now happy to have their little mugs as an alternative and were having 'hugs' on demand. It was sad to see them so unhappy initially though.
    The mum with the 4 year old boy was presented as a kind and genuine person. She was hoping to breastfeed her new daughter from China and we saw her first unsuccessful attempts.
    The young mum/activist also came across as very well-meaning and enthusiastic.
    The family from Cumbria were about as extreme as it gets. The older daughter who had weaned several years before was still drawing pictures of breasts and the whole family were clearly breast fans. The 7 year old feeding was a big girl and you saw her feeding several times. Yet even this was presented with the best of intentions. There was a reference to breastfed babies having high IQ and the families got a chance to express themselves with a supportive narration.
    In all cases fathers mentioned were supportive. The only bit that I was really disappointed by was the reference to the father from Cumbria 'joining in' with the breastfeeding. and the idea this 'is common in breastfeeding families'. I really really don't think that is true.
    I would still like a programme about 'ordinary breastfeeding' but it was a lot better than I had feared it might be. It was genuinely quite sweet in places. Breastfeeding was presented as something a loving family might choose to do. They mentioned the World Health Organisation recommendation to feed to at least 2 years and even the 'extreme family' were given a chance.
    What did anybody else think?

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: UK - Channel Four's 'Extraordinary Breastfeeding'

    I also thought the program had been done quite tastefully. Having read the write-ups for it in TV guide/mags I was expecting it to portray a more negative image of breastfeeding- but as you say, even the more extreme of the families was given a non-opinionated view... My partner was a little shocked when it was meantioned that 'husbands join in'- I told him that this would definately NOT be happening!!!

    mom to one year old
    Staffs

  3. #3
    LLLSueAnn Guest

    Default Re: UK - Channel Four's 'Extraordinary Breastfeeding'

    I have been thinking about this all day, since I read about it earlier. It sure sounds like an interesting program. I wonder if we'll ever get a chance to see it over here in the US. I don't think they would let the older nursling part appear here, but I could be wrong.

    It does sound like, perhaps, they went a little far in their generalizations of what is "common" in breastfeeding families in their attempts to be open minded, but it is sort of refreshing in a way!

    I sure wish I had could have had a chance to watch this, and thank you so much for posting about it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: UK - Channel Four's 'Extraordinary Breastfeeding'

    Quote Originally Posted by sam'smum
    In all cases fathers mentioned were supportive. The only bit that I was really disappointed by was the reference to the father from Cumbria 'joining in' with the breastfeeding. and the idea this 'is common in breastfeeding families'. I really really don't think that is true.
    That is seriously weird! I cannot imagine that broadcasting this idea will do the plight of breastfeeding any good!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: UK - Channel Four's 'Extraordinary Breastfeeding'

    Someone sent me this article. It talks about the show:
    http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/vi...aspx?id=328277

  6. #6
    LLLSueAnn Guest

    Default Re: UK - Channel Four's 'Extraordinary Breastfeeding'

    Well, don't *I* feel foolish--I have received an email from the person in the television show whose husband made the "helping out" comment. I guess things posted on this board get sent all over the place. Well, at least that means this service I worked so hard to bring to you mothers is working out well so far!!

    So, to the woman in the documentary, please accept my apologies for saying I thought the show might have gone overboard with that. I didn't mean to insinuate that your family practices were "wrong" or anything--just I don't run into many people who talk about it, and I have met a lot of breastfeeding families in my job.

    The mother in the documentary's experience is opposite from mine (and we do live in different countries), but both are "right" -- all our experiences are perfectly valid! Mothers have a wide range of experiences and meet different kinds of people--maybe I have just met more reticent folks. And of course I, and others, realize that in a documentary they only pull out certain comments out of lots and lots of footage, and they pick content that will be exciting or interesting to the audience!

    Anyway, I was asked to share her comments here, which I am happy to do! I assume anyone who wants to contact her (I hesitate to put her name and info here, as I guess if she'd wanted to do that she would have posted for herself) could contact the magazine she refers to in her note!

    Sue Ann

    PS: I am sorry I didn't have time to post this yesterday so more people could see her on Good Morning America--I had a big project to finish during the work day, and had to do child activities in the evening (I have two sons, 15 and 12).

    Quoted material:


    I'm the woman on the documentary who allowed her children to self wean. You might be interested to know that I'll be on Good Morning America (ABC news) this tuesday. It will be highly likely that the documentary will air in the US as a result.

    I've been slightly amused, if not confused, by how many people assume that my husband breastfed all the time. It was very clear that our comments were referring to him helping me from time to time when I needed to express because my breasts were overflowing from tandem nursing two children.

    My comments that this is 'common in breastfeeding families'...well, our experience, personally and professionally (I edit The Mother magazine), is that this is the rule rather than the exception. I'm genuinely sorry if this makes some mums and dads squirmish...

    I'd be grateful if you could post these comments to the group so the topic can be cleared a little. It is worth people remembering too that when making a documentary there is so much footage involved..in this case, weeks and weeks...what the viewer sees is a distillation of many things.

    Yes my kids draw breasts but I can assure people it isn't their favourite past time. Despite appearances, they're actually normal kids!
    Anyone wishing to read more on full term breastfeeding can look here

    http://www.themothermagazine.co.uk/e...stfeeding.html

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: UK - Channel Four's 'Extraordinary Breastfeeding'

    Although I may not agree with all she says I think the Cumbrian mummy was practising what a lot of us 'preach' with regards to child-led weaning. It would be very sad if she felt she had to defend herself on a LLL site. That should be the last place. Sorry for causing any offence.
    The shortcut below leads to an article by the mum where she gets a chance to say "So, for the record, here is what I really feel about extended breastfeeding. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!"

    http://www.iwantmymum.com/forums/ind...les&article=29

    I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it with more people. She expresses herself very clearly.

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