An article describing breastfeeding as “creepy”, written by the deputy editor of a leading parenting magazine, has caused widespread outrage on the internet and prompted protests to the Press Complaints Commission.
Under the headline “I formula fed. So what?”, Kathryn Blundell says in this month’s Mother & Baby that she bottlefed her child from birth because “I wanted my body back. (And some wine)… I also wanted to give my boobs at least a 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.”
She concedes that “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 breast milk couldn’t induce me to stick my nipple in a bawling baby’s mouth.”
She continues: “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.”
The shockingly frank article has reignited the breast-versus-bottle debate. The Department of Health recommends that babies are fed only breast milk for the first six months of life – an aspiration achieved by only one in 100 UK mothers. Many women who are unable to breastfeed or who choose to use formula milk say they are made to feel guilty or inadequate by an increasingly vociferous pro-breastfeeding lobby.