Look, give me a minute, will you? I need to finish breathing into this brown paper bag before I can even start today’s blog post because I am so enraged that I have actually shat out my spleen. See, the charidee Save the Children is urging the producers of infant formula to cover one third of its packs with labels warning that the contents of said packs is inferior to breast milk. And no, I’m not making that up.
According to its Superfood for Babies report, Save the Children claims that 830,000 babies’ lives could be saved annually if they were breastfed from birth. Fair enough. The problem is that the charidee thinks that the way to crack this particular nut is to plaster tubs of formula powder with warnings about what could happen if your newborn isn’t offered a tit within moments of exploding from its uterine nook.
Like the tumorous images on fag packets and the liver-saving warnings on vodka bottles, Save the Children thinks that infant formula is deserving of the same treatment. I dunno, perhaps it’d like to treat parents to pictures of withered, sobbing and limping orphans on formula tubs rather than the usual glowing images of mothers and babies.
What really makes me want to take a big shit in the collection envelope that Save the Children shoves through my door, though, is the supreme ignorance that this campaign demonstrates. Seriously, does the charity really think that women in this country aren’t aware of the whole ‘tits are tops’ movement? Women are clubbed over the head with the breastfeeding propaganda even before the sperm has located the egg. They as sure as shit don’t need a tub of fucking formula to club them over the head yet again.
More than that, does Save the Children really think that these labels will change a parent’s mind about feedage while they are nonchalantly wandering the supermarket aisles? In my experience, when women decide stop breastfeeding or not breastfeed at all it is after all manner of 3am agonies. They fret about the health of the baby, the health of themselves and the sanity of the entire family. They aren’t decisions that are made with the same insouciance with which people buy blocks of cheddar.
In fact the Save the Children campaign reminds me of the same shade of flippancy afforded to women who have abortions, as if the decision to terminate is only ever taken for selfish, craven reasons. If Save the Children thinks that most parents lurch from breast to formula in the same way it is as ignorant as it is misguided.
When I stopped breastfeeding three weeks into motherhood it was because my depression had made me suicidal, Kraken Junior was starving and Conjugal Kraken feared for the relationship my wrists were having with his razor blades. At that point Save the Children and its propaganda could have gone and fucked itself because all that mattered was the survival of our family. In fact formula milk didn’t harm our little family. By switching to it, it kept each and every one of us alive.
And what will these labels really do? They’ll stab parents with the knife of guilt every time they make a feed, even when their decisions to use formula milk are based on what is best for them and their child. As if being new parents isn’t enough to make you sob desperately in a corner, now parents will get to sob every time they sterilise a bottle.
So thanks, Save the Children, for helping babies but only by throwing their parents under the bus to do it. Oh, and thanks too for not understanding that the health of the parents is inextricably linked to the health of their babies and for forgetting that parents are just about up to here with the Nazism of the tit. So how about we plaster those tins with warnings about breast bullying instead? Yup, I think a third of the size of the tub should do it.
So what do you think? Is Save the Children on the right track? Or am I on the wrong one? You know how to find the comment box…