The deputy editor of Mother and Baby magazine, Kathryn Blundell, has caused controversy in mum circles by saying that 'giving your baby formula milk is nothing to be ashamed of.'
Her provocative phrasing will not endear her to the 'Mum Mafia', as she dubs them. She writes that she 'couldn't be fagged to breastfeed', found the process 'creepy, that 'even the convenience and supposed health benefits of breastmilk couldn't induce me to stick a nipple in a bawling baby's mouth' and preferred to see her breasts – or yeuch! 'fun bags' – as part of her sexuality.
But should she be condemned for stating what many mums may secretly think? 52% of mums still breastfeed after six weeks. True, the reasons may be more about exhaustion, stress, pain, and influence of family and friends than the less palatable not being bothered. But she's right – formula milk is not toxic. 'No, it's not A-grade, but neither is it powdered scum that will turn my baby into an anaemic ball of flab with a life expectancy of three. Nor is the fact that my baby suckles on silicone rather than skin going to give him a mental illness or mean we don't bond. That's just ridiculous.'
While her flippancy won't make her many fans, hers is just another voice in a chorus of approval and disapproval that new mums have to learn to negotiate. Surely, the important thing is for mums to do what works best for them and their babies?
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