Should breastfeeding be added to the National Curriculum?

What about bottle-feeding? And is it up to schools to teach this kind of thing at all?

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When a number of leading doctors recently declared that every school pupil in the country should be taught about breastfeeding, we thought we should ask MFM mums what you thought. 

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One of the reasons behind teaching it as a school subject is that when young children were asked what they thought of breastfeeding, many replied that it was “yukky”. 

We know that the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates by 6 months:

  • 34% UK mums breastfeeding at 6 months
  • 49% US mums 
  • 71% Norway mums

So would adding breastfeeding to the National Curriculum make any difference to this?

When we asked MFM mums on Facebook, many agreed that breastfeeding SHOULD be taught in schools…
  

“At nursery and on TV, children are taught babies are fed from a bottle”

“I believe school children now aren’t exposed to breastfeeding and this is why it is taboo or ‘yucky’,” says Millie’s Mummy.

“At nursery and on TV etc children are taught babies feed from a bottle. My 4-year-old had a lot of questions when I began breastfeeding and asked why they baby didn’t have a bottle and why she was eating my boobie.

“Now to her it’s completely normal, which it is.”

“Definitely”

“Definitely, in foundation stage currently children are taught where food comes from and do ‘farm to fork’. They learn about the animals so why not breastfeeding?” says Chelsea D.

“Yes – we have so many [kids] who don’t know what breasts are for”

Rachel C agrees: “They should. We have so many who don’t actually understand what breasts are for.

“They know mammals are fed by their mother yet don’t make the link that we are mammals too.”

“Yes – it’s biology!”

And Sarah G says this: “Of course they should it’s part of human biology and evolution!!”

So what about bottlefeeding? Many of you thought this should be taught TOO…

  
“There needs to be a balanced view of feeding your baby”

Others of you, though were swift to point out that you think there needs to be a balanced view of feeding your baby. As Laura P says: “The fact they aren’t taught it already is surprising.

“But they should be taught about formula as well, and the challenges that are faced by parents regardless of which option they choose.”

“What babies need… should be taught”

“Will teaching ‘breast is best’ make children who weren’t feel they didn’t have the best start?” wonders Nikky S.

“My daughter wasn’t breast fed at any point, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with her development.

“So I don’t think ‘breastfeeding’ should be taught. But what babies need, and the many ways they can get those needs, yes…”

“There’s a huge stigma around bottle-feeding, too”

“How to feed a baby should be taught,” agrees Emily D.

“Not just breastfeeding. People talk about the stigma of breastfeeding in public etc, but there’s a huge stigma around bottle feeding too.”

But several of you DON’T agree that schools should do the teaching…
   

“Why does everything have to be up to the schools? Do they not do enough to educate our children?” points out Carrie T.

“Might be nice if parents took the time to educate their children about facts of life themselves! I am sure there are many of you who say you educated your kids about it too, and that’s great!

“So why put understaffed, underfunded and over stretched schools under pressure to teach our children a basic of life that we can teach them ourselves?

“Parents should have a role in educating their children too and stop the over reliance on our education system!!”

Gemma H agrees: “Yes, but it shouldn’t be left up to the schools; it should be talked about as and when it comes up, at home too.”

And JeanVanessa G puts it like this: “I’d rather they put the funding to more support for women who are breastfeeding.

What do you think?

Would you like to see schools teach about breastfeeding? What about bottle-feeding? Or do you think it’s up the parents to do it? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

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