Kathryn Blundell, the deputy editor of Mother & Baby Magazine in the U.K., has caused quite a stir with an essay on why she skipped breastfeeding and went straight to formula for her baby. She’s not the only mother to do so and it’s not a bunch of sancti-nursers attacking her for giving less than the best to her baby. Rather, it’s how she characterizes breastfeeding, her assumptions about it and, mostly, her blunt language.
She calls breastfeeding “creepy.”
Oh sisterhood of motherhood, how could this be happening!
Actually, rather easily. It turns out a lot of women think breastfeeding is creepy — or dirty or damaging to precious young eyes or sizzling hot sex lives. Blundell’s got some big ones to go ahead and say it.
The BBC quotes her particularly outrageous lines:
“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 wanted her “body back” and to give her “boobs at least a chance to stay on my chest rather than dangling around my stomach”.
And the money line:
“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.”
Breastfeeders and support groups have responded, some with outrage. Totally fine. A lot of women have written in with support for the Blundell’s sentiment and thanking her for writing what they dared not speak aloud. Also fine! I think it’s great that Blundell decided to blow up this sacred cow (ha, ha) and tell us what she really thinks. How we talk about breastfeeding — whether we hate it our love it — is very limited. Party line (at least for now) is “breast is best.” But the party line only covers best breasts until, say, a year old. Maybe 18 months. If your nursling is much older, well, you’d better be prepared to defend yourself! (Or go into hiding.) If you don’t want to be trapped at home, you’d better be willing to cover everything and everyone up — better to go into the bathroom! — than disclose this personal and “creepy” relationship you have with the kids to the general public. I mean, I’m all for breastfeeding but …
Blundell’s sentiment is a danger in the minds of many, who think her words will be too discouraging for women who want to breastfeed. But how determined to breastfeed could a woman be if she’s so easily swayed by a woman unwilling to allow her fun bags to moonlight as feed bags for a few months.
Pregnant women don’t need to be shielded from opinions, they should have the chance to hear them all. It’s only a matter of time before someone calls them creepy to their face.