I have written to several people about this and thought it right to alert you, as the lactivist, to something that has completely appalled me. The article in this month’s Mother & Baby magazine (July 2010)
“I bottle-fed. So what?” In which a mother chose to formula feed from
birth because “I wanted my body back (And some wine)… I also wanted to give my boobs at least chance to stay on my chest rather than dangling around my stomach”. She goes on to say “They’re part of my sexuality, too
- not just breasts, but fun bags. And when you have that attitude (and I admit I made no attempt to change it), seeing your teeny, tiny, innocent baby latching on where only a lover has been before feels, well, a little
creepy. I don’t think I’m the only one, either – only 52% of mums still breastfeed after six weeks. Ask most of the quitters why they stopped and you’ll hear tales of agonising three-hour feeding sessions and – the
drama! – bloody nipples. But I often wonder whether many of these women, like me, just couldn’t be fagged or felt like getting tipsy once in a while”
On the matter of the positive aspects of breastfeeding, she said: “…
there are all the studies that show [breastfeeding] reduces the risk of breast cancer for you, and stomach upsets and allergies for your baby. But even the convenience and supposed health benefits of breastmilk couldn’t
induce me to stick my nipple in a bawling baby’s mouth.”
In all, this diabolical article is summed up in her own words:
“Breastfeeding: the most natural thing in the world. But what if, like me,
you don’t really fancy it?”
I am completely appalled, this woman is none other than the deputy editor of Mother & Baby magazine (though this is not made clear in the article – the picture used and header “Viewpoint” would have you believe it were a
regular reader writing in).
This surely cannot be allowed, for a woman in her position to be so unapologetically negative regarding breastfeeding, sneering at breastfeeding mothers and generally spreading misinformation.
Even if nothing can be done, I think it is appropriate to alert the breastfeeding community that Mother & Baby magazine are quite obviously pro-formula (I counted no less than 16 formula/bottle feeding advertisements – some of which directly targetted breastfeeders).
Update on the 22nd June by Lactivist Admin
I set up a facebook group – Mother-and-Baby-Magazine-please-support-breastfeeding and in a day it had more members than the Mother and Baby facebook group!
The Editor of Mother and Baby has responded on that page:“This is Miranda Levy, the editor of Mother & Baby.
The lady who set up this page is reacting to a one-page opinion feature in our July issue by a writer who – for reasons explained in the piece – decided to go straight to bottle-feeding. This was her personal experience, and certainly has a place in the ongoing parenting debate. We have been inundated by supportive emails applauding her ‘refreshing’ point of view: we have made readers feel ‘normal’ and less of a ‘failure’ for managing to breastfeed -a situation which is incredibly common.
I’d also like to point out instances where we do support breastfeeding – in the May issue we had a 6 page special on getting started and sticking with it, July has a one-pager on the best breastpumps, and in August we’ll be running a trouble-shooting feature about problems in the early days.
The way you feed your baby is not a moral issue, and at Mother & Baby we seek to support all new parents in what is a glorious, but often difficult and emotional time.
I am so impressed with the strength of opinions and responses to this campaign. And it is not just the ‘breastfeeding mafia’ that think the article is derogatory, a formula mum has also posted in to complain about it.
Maybe, just maybe we can all make a difference here.