I hear on the radio that there has been yet more research into breastfeeding. And lo, the medical profession doth say: children who are breastfed are better behaved than those who are not. Fact. Oh for fuck’s sake. Can we please have a moratorium on breastfeeding research? I think mothers may have the picture by now. Breastfeeding is good. Super-breasty-duper. But does all this research really persuade more mothers to breastfeed? Does it really win over those floating nipples? (Which are a bit like floating voters, but with a much higher propensity to lactate).
Mostly, this research seems just to make mothers who can’t or won’t breastfeed feel like pariahs who are going to raise stupid, disease-prone, ill-behaved morons. Mind you, I guess it does provide an alibi for bad behaviour. The next time E tantrums (it happens on a regular enough basis that I have turned it into a verb) I shall just sigh, look down with a woeful expression at my breasts and say: “He would be such a well behaved boy if my boobs had not been a bit broken and I could have breastfed him for longer.”
And just how much money, in these cash strapped times, are the government pumping (to stay with the breastfeeding lingo) into research? I do not go out of my way to read up on the latest missive about how the benefits of breastfeeding are practically verging on the miraculous – I managed three months, which means my boobs should at least be in line for beatification – but I have read countless reports in the newspapers of new research.
“So, Trevor, how much have we got this time?”
“Let’s see, breastfeeding research fund…here we are…a hundred grand.”
“Excellent. So we could track a good representative section of babies from birth, both those who are breastfed and those who are fed formula…”
“Watch your bloody language, Nicholas.”
“Sorry Trevor. Those who are fed ‘the unmentionable’ – then we can track behavioral traits, conduct regular reasoning and cognitive tests, off-set the data against identified affluence, class and nurturing factors…we could really advance the breastfeeding debate this time.”
“But we won’t.”
“Nah. Can’t be fucked. All those babies, dribbling milk and puking. God, it turns my stomach. Not to mention all those hormonal new mothers. Jesus. And let’s face it, we both know what the results will be.”
“Christ, don’t they teach you anything in medical college these days? Look, we just need to identify a few attributes that will guilt new mothers into breastfeeding, preferably those that will seemingly solve a couple of societal ills… you know, breastfed babies are less likely to wear hoodies, if you breastfeed your baby exclusively for a year they won’t get in-growing toe nails, only two percent of rioters were breastfed… that sort of thing – and that’s it. Job done.”
“Oh…right. Well, in that case, pass the Digestives.”
“Digestives, Nicholas? Digestives? We have a hundred grand at our disposal. I have three cases of Duchy Original Shortbread in the stationery cupboard.”