Criticism over breastfeeding 'creepy' article

image captionBreastfeeding has many health benefits for babies and mother

An article in a magazine for new mothers that described breastfeeding as "creepy" has drawn widespread criticism.

Mother & Baby Magazine's deputy editor Kathryn Blundell said she bottle fed because she did not want to put her "fun bags" in a "bawling baby's mouth".

Breastfeeding is seen as the optimum way to nourish a baby in the first six months.

Critics say the article could have put off vulnerable mothers.

Mother & Baby magazine is read by thousands of pregnant and new mothers, with many looking to it for advice on how to manage early motherhood.

'Dangling boobs'

Although she acknowledges breast milk has the edge over infant formula, Ms Blundell says in her article that she did not "fancy it" and went straight to bottle feeding.

She adds: "Even the convenience and supposed health benefits of breast milk couldn't induce me to stick my nipple into a bawling baby's mouth."

She goes on to say that she wanted her "body back" and to give her "boobs at least a chance to stay on my chest rather than dangling around my stomach".

Of her breasts, she adds: "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 baby latching on where only a lover has been before feels, well, a little creepy."

The article in the July issue of the magazine has drawn criticism on many parenting websites.

One mother wrote on Baby Centre: "Surely putting her sexual feelings before the ''supposed health benefits' means she is a little creepy?"

Another on Mumsnet said it could have a "bad effect on someone who's feeling vulnerable post-natally and struggling with breastfeeding".

Editor of Mother & Baby, Miranda Levy, says her magazine is a "constant and vocal supporter of breastfeeding".

She said the writer was describing her personal experience and that it had a place in the ongoing parenting debate.

"We have been inundated by supportive e-mails applauding her 'refreshing' point of view; we have made readers feel 'normal'; and less of a failure for not managing to breastfeed," she added.

"The way you feed your baby is not a moral issue and at Mother & Baby we seek to support all new parents."

Health advantages

The Department of Health recommends that babies are fed breast milk alone for the first six months.

NHS leaflets given to pregnant women and new mothers say that breastfeeding protects babies against obesity, allergies, asthma and diabetes.

Breast-fed infants also have a lower risk of gastroenteritis and respiratory and ear infections, research shows.

The advantages also extend to women who breastfeed. They have a lower risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and tend to lose the weight they gained in pregnancy faster.

Figures show that eight in 10 women in England start off breastfeeding, but only one in five is still breastfeeding by the time their baby is six months old.

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