Breast is best

Last updated: 23/03/2015 11:19 by SheenaLambert to SheenaLambert's Blog
Filed under: MummyBloggers
So breastfeeding has made the news again. Any time I read a new headline on the subject, a little wave of anger washes over me. There are never any warm, fuzzy breastfeeding news stories; rather they tend to vacillate between militant and despotic. Of course it is important to acknowledge the benefits of any scientifically proven feeding regime, be it breastfeeding, or low-fat diets or whatever. I just wish that every article on the subject wasn’t peppered with digs at those who, for whatever reason, didn’t breastfeed their babies.
 
The latest thing to feel guilty about it your child’s IQ and (Lord preserve us) their earning abilities. Apparently, based on a study of fewer than 4,000 Brazilian babies, our kids will have higher intellects and fatter pay-packets the longer they breastfeed. And over the past decade (I can’t say I took any notice in the subject before that) there have been many other studies with similar pro-breast milk results.
 
While that’s all well and good, sometimes, just for scientific balance, I wish someone would publish the findings of a headline-garnering study on what exactly is in our breast milk.  Because if I’m to believe the scientists, most of what I eat and drink these days is contaminated by fluoride and chlorine (tap water), pesticides (vegetables) and antibiotics (meat), not to mention the sulphites in red wine (is nothing sacred). So why is it that the same breastfeeding ‘experts’ who told me not to eat a curry because it might negatively affect the taste of my breast milk, have never warned against the possibility of any of these other nasties getting into my baby’s feed?
 
I’d like to hear the other side of the story for once – how scientifically engineered baby formula might just have a few benefits over the milk produced by our own bodies, contaminated as they are after years of breathing polluted air, and eating polluted food, not to mention the partying we did in our twenties…
 
So here’s a shout out to the mothers who didn’t or couldn’t breastfeed for no inherently selfish reason. To all those mothers I say I tried to breastfeed my two and was unsuccessful with one. That same one got straight 10s in his Drumcondras (primary school achievement tests), is healthy, sporty and super good fun.
 
I can’t comment on his future take-home pay, but you know what? I couldn’t care less.
 
Sheena Lambert is the mum of two boys from Dublin. Her second novel The Lake is now available for pre-order from HarperCollins Killer Reads.
 
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