Media – 1. Mamas – 0.

The media won again.

We all got caught up in the mommy wars of “breast is best” and “my child is perfectly healthy” and “do what FEELS right” instead of using our brains for a second and uniting against the journos looking for a quick attention grab.

I was fortunate enough to have a great Year 11 English teacher. He was also my Political Science teacher. From his dissection of mass media I learned to interrogate what I read instead of accepting it as gospel.  Every piper has a price, every media outlet has an agenda, and industry money is everywhere. I’m now a proficient user of google who’s carefully cultivated her knee-jerk reaction from “SAY WHAT?” to “WHY did WHO say THAT?”

It’s often a much more interesting question with an answer that’s less divisive. Simply put, industry want to increase their bottom line. They want to sell stuff to us. How do they do that? By creating a need for their product. Straight up, formula is necessary. There are many children alive because of it. There are many mothers with their sanity because of it. It’s like open-heart surgery; while it’s fantastic we have the ability to feed a young infant when a mother is not able to – for ANY reason, we’re not all clamouring to lie under the scalpel.

I’ve talked before about feeding your baby in public and the fact that I don’t care if you have a boob in their mouth, a bottle, a spoon, a supplementary nursing system, an IV, a nasogastric tube, JUST FEED YOUR CHILD and stay alive. That is mostly the goal of this parenting gig and everything beyond that is luxury.

What shits me is when print media presents an “expert” giving his opinion on a matter in which he’s not an expert. Brain surgeons are not routinely consulted about gall bladders. What does your GP do when presented with an intricate problem outside their scope of treatment? Oh yes… refer you to a specialist. Where was the immunologist? Where was the child psychiatrist? Where were the peer-reviewed journal articles confirming Dr Christian’s bold claim that breastfeeding after the age of six months has no effect on boosting a child’s immune system?

More importantly, why weren’t we surprised?

Our media takes every possible opportunity to incite. If that means removing information from context (as was done here) then yes, let’s not bother with that qualifying sentence. Opinions are bought and paid for by editors, who are owned by their advertisers. In this case, Closer is a British tabloid magazine published by Bauer Media Group, who recently received a nice chunk of cash from manufacturing giants Nestle. Hang on. That name rings a bell. What do they make again? Ah…

Swings and roundabouts. Just make sure you’re not pushing the mummy swinging beside you OFF her swing, or sticking a foot into her roundabout. Don’t ask me when I’ll stop breastfeeding my child and I won’t ask you what you feed yours. Instead, I’ll sterilise a teat for you, boil a kettle, and make you a cup of tea with a lactation cookie or a bottle of formula, whatever you need at that moment in time.

If you’d like to read more stats, there’s a fantastic post here at Evolutionary Parenting; there’s also a fantastic fact sheet on breastfeeding past infancy (complete with journal references) available here at kellymom.

Author: Chelsea

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  1. I find it unbelievable, archaic, dangerous, and ignorant that anyone would have a view like his let alone publish it. Shame on him and them for doing so. Good on you for responding to set the record straight. The crime is their original article will have reached someone this fantastic response does not. I learned a long time ago to not read mainstream media or the very reasons you outline above. Keep up the good work shedding light on how “reliable” journalism can be :)

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  2. Thankyou Chelsea for having a voice for those of us who wouldn’t be able to put your thoughts quite so eloquently! It angers me to read such misinformation by such highly appraised people in society (in this case Dr Christian). Knowing that his opinion is incorrect helps me easily dismiss his comment but I am lucky to be so informed, as I have successfully breastfed my son for 3 yrs (again also lucky that it worked for us that way). Many women in society are not so informed for some reason or another and unfortunately do heed the often opinion of ‘medical professionals’ which is sad if it is incorrect information they are given. Again thankyou for writing this thought provoking article.

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  3. What ever is written about breastfeeding in the media I always take with a pinch of salt (or sometimes a whole bucket)
    What is it with these so called ‘experts’ having the need to say (god forbid) that our kids will become to depended on their mum. Imagine that.. A baby/toddler depending on their mum.. At 6 months they should be able to crawl around and hunt for food, early survival instinct and all.

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