The science underpinning the importance of breast feeding has been well documented and cannot be overstated. In 2003 the Lancet published a series on child survival emphasising that exclusive breast feeding, if universalised, could save 13% of all under five deaths, (an estimated 1.3million in the 42 high mortality countries).
If you gave birth recently, did you feel you had real freedom? Freedom to choose where you gave birth, who was present, what interventions took place and how you delivered your baby? Were you given access to all of the facts needed to make your choices truly informed? Who was the most powerful person in the room at the moment of birth? And did the experience leave you feeling exhilarated, disappointed, or downright traumatised?
What did you learn about breastfeeding in school? Chances are - not much. Whether you were a pupil in the 1950s or the 1990s, it's unlikely you were told anything at all about nursing a baby, because breastfeeding has never ever been a statutory requirement on the National Curriculum, and it still isn't, even today. Teenagers are taught about alcohol, emotions, contraception, cultural diversity and more as part of their PSHE lessons. But breastfeeding?
I was exhausted, depressed, utterly obsessed with making it work and insanely jealous of the women who made it look easy. I asked every woman I knew who had children about breast feeding and was surprised but also heartened to discover that I wasn't alone. My new world of parenting was littered with devastated women who eventually, with heavy hearts, had to throw in the towel...
They say a week is a long time in politics, but what about sport, not to mention finance? The past seven days have been remarkable if for nothing more than their volatility, with headlines changing faster than terrorism alerts on British motorways. Is mentioning the tennis a bit like mentioning the weather? So obvious a topic as to make this entire blog worthless, and likely to jinx any chance of a sunny outlook?
If we look at what we as parents are actually trying to achieve - healthy, happy adults - we need to ask ourselves, does this have to mean sharing our beds with our children or letting them self-wean? I think not. Because what really matters, what is really absolutely crucial to healthy child development, is not 'Attachment Parenting', but 'Responsive Parenting.'
Who'd be a mother these days? Forget the exhaustion of broken sleep, it's all the arguments and wrangling over what's right and wrong that looks most painful. In a week when expectant mothers were told they should actually be dieting rather than eating for two and when celebrity mothers were told they "owed" it to their fans to lose their baby weight, David Cameron saw fit to announce the launch of a new government-backed website offering free parenting advice.
A mother allows herself to be photographed for the cover of Time, breastfeeding her three-year-old son, presumably in the spirit of breaking down barriers and encouraging greater freedom of choice. And how does the world respond to such a pioneer? 'Highly disturbing', 'Disgusting', 'Unnatural', 'Abusive'.