Archive for June, 2009

New Dr. Who Alien?

June 29, 2009


And now for some comic relief (hell, even I can’t rant aaaaaall the time!)
A galactagogue is a substance that increases milk supply. 
But a more humorous take on it was the subject of a recent discussion between my husband and a friend:
>A galactagogue sounds rather like a Dr Who alien.








>>Wow, it could threaten to make the whole of London lactate therefore breaking the Thames flood barrier. The Doctor could feed it a roast diner involving sage stuffing [sage and other herbs can reduce your milk supply] and it would shrivel to nothing. It would be shaped like a giant breast. I’m just riffing here, but I think we’ve got something.


update from Mother&baby, NCT shocker?

June 26, 2009

In her reply to my long, ranty letter about the Mother&Baby breastfeeding survey, Ms. Blake told me:

“The survey was run by Mother & Baby and askamum. NCT endorsed the survey to such an extent they put it up on their website to help drive responses.”


I have not been able to verify whether this is true or not. The survey is not on the NCT website now. For people outside the UK reading this, the NCT is the National(Natural?) Childbirth Trust, one of the 4 orgs that train breastfeeding counselors but they are not BF-ing only, they do a lot of childbirth classes and that sort of thing. They are also by far the most mainstream BFing org and have been often criticized by other BFing activists for things ranging from accepting funding money from babymilk manufacturers, to less-than-stellar BFing support, to compromising BFing activism in the mainstream media. If it is true that they supported the M&B survey, I personally think they must be called to account. It is totally unacceptable for such an organization to completely undermine all our hard work in this way. However, as I said, I have not been able to verify the veracity of the statement, yet.

Complaint form letter (BFing in public)

June 26, 2009

Because I hear from so many women who have had some sort of negative BFing experience but don’t have the experience or the shall we say ‘moxy’ for complaining, I am drafting form letters. This one is to register a complaint if you have been asked to stop breastfeeding, or to leave a public place because you were feeding your child. Please copy freely and use it often! (Please note this is UK-specific but could easily be adapted to other countries.)



[your name]

[your address]

[your email address]

[your telephone number]


Dear [name as appropriate, preferably the highest-level manager available, also copied to the actual person you dealt with],

            I am writing to express my outrage at how my baby/child [delete as appropriate] were treated at your establishment on [date of incident]. [Provide further details and description on the incident here if you want to.]

            We were approached and I was asked to stop feeding my child. My young child, who was receiving his food, his drink, and his comfort, was apparently in danger of causing ‘offense’ to ‘someone’. This is because my child was receiving all of these essentials things in the most natural way possible. I cannot imagine you would ever ask a mother to stop bottle-feeding her baby, but because I breastfeed my child, you seem to think it’s acceptable to discriminate against us. Let me assure you, it’s not. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it is against the law in this country to interfere with a mother breastfeeding her child in a public place.

            Attitudes and actions such as yours are responsible for a lot of emotional grief and hardship at a very vulnerable time in the lives of young children and new parents. It is appalling and sad that they are still so prevalent. I am writing you a letter firstly to complain about my own experience, but also to demand that you review your policies and procedures and ensure that all of your staff are aware of the law regarding this matter. For myself, I think that a written apology is the very least that you can do. For other families in the future, you must take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that such discrimination and harassment of breastfeeding families never happens in your establishment again.

            If you require guidance into how you can make your establishment truly breastfeeding and family-friendly, I am sure that any one of the four national breastfeeding organizations would be happy to help. They are: The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, La Leche League, The Breastfeeding Network, and The NCT I would also like to point out that all of these organizations have active campaigns to eliminate discrimination such as what I experienced, and if I do not receive a satisfactory response from you, I will be contacting them with my story, as well as the local and national media. [If you intend to contact them anyway, change the wording slightly.]


Yours sincerely,

[your name and signature]


‘Watch your language’

June 26, 2009

This is a mildly interesting internet journal article about causes of obesity.

My issue is with point 3 – Baby Formula:

“What could be wrong with baby formula? The point here has more to do with the benefits of breast-feeding during the first months of life than the demerits of any particular brand of baby formula.

A number of studies have shown that children who breast-feed are less likely to be overweight or obese in their early years, which is good — because an overweight child is more likely to grow into an overweight adult. According to one study, the risk of a child becoming overweight declines the longer a child is breast-fed. By age 14, those who were breast-fed at least seven months were 20% less likely to be overweight than those breast-fed for three months.

Why? That’s a mystery, though it may well have something to do with how the different nutrients and hormones alter a baby’s metabolism.

What you can do:
If you are able, give your child a good start by breastfeeding, in consultation (of course!) with your doctor. A German study found the prevalence of obesity in children aged 5-6 decreased significantly based on the length of time their mothers breast-fed them:”

Ok, so let’s break it down. First of all, there ARE NO BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING, there are only downsides to not breastfeeding. (See this article, I highly recommend reading this!)
Breastfeeding is the biological norm, the standard. It has an artificial replacement, formula, which is not as good. Kidney function is the biological norm, the standard way for humans to eliminate waste from the body. It has an artificial replacement – dialysis – which is not as good. But no one talk about the ‘benefits of natural kidney function’ – they talk about the downsides of dialysis. 
And so, really, breastfed babies are ‘less likely to be obese’. Really, ‘formula-fed babies are more likely to be obese’.

Also, why on earth does this article stress that you need to consult your doctor before ‘giving your child a good start by breastfeeding’?!


The Feminism of Breastfeeding; A Radical Perspective

June 26, 2009

This is an article I wrote for the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers newsletter, after being upset by so many anti-BFing articles in the press. The newsletter is coming out in about a month.

The Feminism of Breastfeeding; A Radical Perspective

I was recently enraged to the point of tears by a deluge of misogynistic, anti-breastfeeding articles in the international press, culminating in “The Case Against Breastfeeding” (Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic). Her assertion that breastfeeding is, basically, pointless, was surpassed in outrageousness only by her position that breastfeeding is anti-feminist and oppressive to women. I was, quite literally, speechless. I decided the only way to deal with my anger would be to write about my experience of breastfeeding as a supremely feminist act, and I knew I would not be alone.

But problems arise straight away when you talk to women (or anyone) about feminism, because everyone has a different idea about what it means. Is it simply “an intellectual, philosophical and political movement aimed at equal rights and legal protection for women”? (Wikipedia) Which rights are we talking about, and what sort of legal protection? Is feminism about making sure that women are exactly equal with men in every way? Being allowed into the same jobs for the same pay is often mentioned. But women are not the same as men, and many women balk at the idea of essentially donning a façade of masculinity to succeed in the workplace or the world. Perhaps feminism then is about protecting and defending women’s rights – the right to work like men if they choose, but also the right to work and live differently if they choose. And about truly valuing and acknowledging what is special about women – of which our ability to create and nurture new life is one example. Ultimately, I believe feminism is about creating a fairer society for everyone, because when women are valued, supported, and fully integrated into society it will be a healthier and better place for us all. Let us not forget that patriarchy is not only negative for women in all the obvious ways, it is also negative for men, who are denied the right to expressing a full range of emotions, and subject to oppressive stereotypes in such a rigid system just as women are.

There are biological differences between females and males  – we are generally shorter, with a high proportion of fat to muscle mass than men. This fact has been used to oppress women, by excluding them from work on the basis of a smaller, supposedly more delicate physique. But such a theory is preposterous when one looks at history; women toiling in the fields and the mines alongside men; and indeed at the present day – looking after children and a home full time as many mothers do is physically challenging labour; or even recreation – how many women spend hours at the gym in aerobics classes or weight training, and seem to manage not to faint away into nothingness.

But of course the biggest biological difference is women’s ability to conceive, gestate, and lactate – we can grow and nurture life, men cannot. This is a simple biological fact, which does not lead necessarily to a destiny of oppression: biology does not oppress, culture does. Denying our biology and physiology is denying who we are at the very core – it is fundamentally to denigrate ourselves. I wish to clarify here that while these are irrefutable facts of biology, they are only a starting point, for we can make conscious choices about what to do with out bodies. Choosing not to use – or even choosing to actually change a primary biological function – is a completely valid choice when freely made: however it is also completely different from denying that function to begin with. We cannot deny these facts of nature, and I must ask why should we want to?

We don’t need to make ourselves more like men; we don’t need to aim for physiological parity and identical behaviour. I believe firmly that anything which goes against fundamental physiological truths is ideologically suspect, not to mention physically damaging for mother and baby and psychologically damaging for individual mothers and society as a whole.



In The Politics of Breastfeeding, Gabrielle Palmer talks in detail about how women’s roles in society have changed in the last few centuries, under the processes of industrialization and urbanization, and how much these have taken away from most women – economic security, health, and the chance and desire to breastfeed their own children. “Excluded from more and more occupations, as the ideology of the ‘home’ became established during the 19th century, women became increasingly dependent on men, and this altered the power structure of the household.”(p193) Alongside women being excluded from new, industrial jobs, came another blow – the stamping out of wet nursing, which had been a respectable wage-earning job (not to mention the only safe way of feeding an infant other than maternal breastfeeding) for millennia. “Over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries a means of employment unique to women [wet nursing] began to disappear; both doctors and commerce played a key role in this redundancy.”(p189) Wet nursing was ultimately eliminated because of many factors including industrialisation and class issues – but also, crucially, because something which was unique to women was replaced by something invented by men. “This unease [about the relationship between a wet nurse and her client] also led to the search for artificial foods: “It’s easier to control cows than women,” said a 19th century US doctor.”(p188)

But the fact is that women are controlled, all the while congratulating themselves on being liberated. “In the 20th century, women were presented with an illusion of liberation through the artificial feeding of babies, only to find their breasts appropriated by men and popular culture.”(p3) When women talk about ‘getting their body (or breasts) back’, what do they mean? They mean to take it back (i.e., away) from their baby, to make themselves and their milk unavailable to the person for whom it was designed. And who for? Some women talk about feeling ‘touched out’ and a need for less physical contact with their babies. But at the heart of this argument is often that same assumption that a woman’s breasts are objects for sexual gratification, often not hers so much as her partner’s.

Over the last few decades, women have campaigned for ‘women’s rights’. But what does this mean? In large part, the women’s movement of the 19th and 20th centuries was concerned with political and employment parity: first, winning the right to vote and thereby in theory have input into political decisions that affected them, and then fighting for workplace rights. Or at least some workplace rights. Certainly, women should be paid the same amount of money as men for the same job. But how did ‘women’s rights’ become exclusively ‘women’s right to work’? In the US, the National Organization for Women has lobbied Congress for laws which would make companies provide ‘mother’s rooms’. Great. Only, these are not rooms in which mothers can take time to nurse and reconnect with their babies. They are rooms in which women can use technological products (breast pumps) to extract a natural substance and package it in plastic and silicone, so that someone else (generally, an underpaid woman who may have had to in turn leave her child in someone else’s care) can feed their babies. Whose interests do these rooms serve, when some of them actually forbid babies and children from entering? Surely, suggesting that a mother can choose only between having someone else feed her baby artificial milk, or her own milk expressed via pump, is no choice at all, and not in her best interest nor the baby’s. Who does such a system benefit? Truly, only the bosses who can then count on a woman’s continued productivity in the workplace, to which in many cases she is forced to return within weeks of giving birth.

In The Case Against Breastfeeding, Rosin talks about getting back to ‘productive work’, by which she means, of course, getting back into the wage economy. For she is complicit in the great hoodwink of modern western society – we have all been deluded into the idea that raising children somehow doesn’t count as productive work, and that to be a valued member of society you need to earn and spend money. Palmer says that: “The interpretation of woman as mother can be harmful if it is perceived as exclusive and excluding. To be a good mother, a woman is supposed to devote herself entirely to her children (and often to a dependent and childlike husband) and to do so she must be set apart from ‘normal life’. Consequently she is separated from control over her economic survival and social independence.” (p158) Of course, in a society which segregates mothers and families from everyday life and in which mothers are constantly told that they need to get back into productive work, it is easy to feel that breastfeeding and childrearing are oppressive. But it’s not the breasts, the milk, or the baby – it’s the society.

It is a sad truth that most breastfeeding mothers, certainly in western society, will at some point be confronted with someone who tries to impede their breastfeeding relationship with their child. A (usually male) doctor who, not understanding the fundamental facts about lactation, says that she doesn’t have enough milk and must supplement with artificial milk: he is telling her that her body has failed. This is highly unlikely to be the case – it is too much interference in the natural, instinctive breastfeeding relationship, too much modern, ‘scientific’ management that usually leads to breastfeeding problems like these, but the blame is passed onto the woman, disempowering her and empowering the mostly male medical establishment. Personally I find it more upsetting when such discouragement comes from other women – the mother-in-law who clucks her tongue when the baby wants feeding again, and suggests a bottle would fill her up. I suppose because I have some underlying optimistic belief that women should be supporting one another, but of course that mother-in-law is a product of her society – a victim of the elaborate conspiracy – for that is what we must call it – of the medical profession and commercial interests to eliminate knowledge about breastfeeding and confidence in it, thereby creating more potential clients for both artificial milk and the medical services it necessitates.

After surviving so many attacks on all fronts, a mother may then be confronted by the attitude which lead me to write this article: that all her effort and determination to breastfeed her child against the odds, which are immense, were not only in vain, but actually somehow against her own best interests – that by breastfeeding she is complicit in her own oppression, a tool of… well, that’s not clear. Rosin hasn’t managed to figure out who could be at the heart of this bizarre theory.

How did feminism become a tool to further embarrass mothers and limit their choices? Rosin compares breastfeeding – a natural act that evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, the very act by which we define our place in the animal kingdom – to the vacuum cleaner, a la Betty Friedan – a tool of women’s oppression: “it was not the vacuum that was keeping me and my 21st-century sisters down, but another sucking sound.” She can’t wait to get back to ‘productive work’. I wonder if she’d be in such a rush if that work involved, say, vacuuming other people’s houses for 16 hours a day? But of course this isn’t something she’s ever likely to face, just as she’s unlikely to acknowledge that it is her privileged class position that allows her the luxury of a choice she doesn’t even appreciate.

Rather than concentrating solely on fighting for the right to work (and attendant ‘rights’ such as pumping rooms, refrigerators, and day care, all of which emphasise a mother’s economic role rather than her nurturing one), those who are truly concerned with women’s rights should be demanding the right to be truly valued and acknowledged as productive members of society for their work in raising the next generation.

My mother’s generation and women before them fought hard to be able to compete with men at work, but I think they lost something too. What if I don’t want to compete with men at work, what if I don’t want to buy into the very same patriarchal, capitalist system that destroyed the rights of women, children, and families to begin with? We must demand the right to be who we are – mothers – and to do what is naturally our domain, not an arena for science and technological marvels – birth our babies and feed them. This does not mean that we should be hidden away from the world, sequestered in hearth and home, but it does mean that mothers who choose not to participate in the wage economy deserve respect, support, and full participation in society, rather than the pitying title of housewife or stay-at-home-mother (I don’t know any mothers who ‘stay at home’ as though locked in a modern-day bower).

Feminism must support unequivocally the rights of every woman. Where ‘choice’ is discussed it must be a real choice: a mother ought to be able to choose to not work, and to feed and mother her child, but this too requires support from partners, state, and feminists. The rights of women must include the right to choose what I’ll call for want of a better word ‘natural parenting’ (focussing on the needs of the child as part of the family unit), alongside the right to choose not to be a mother, the right to choose unconventional approaches to parenting, and to choose both motherhood and career. But claiming ‘choice’ and then denouncing motherhood and breastfeeding as the shackles of the unenlightened and deluded, is deluded! It is no choice at all.


Women’s liberation will not come from technology and commercial products which are, on the whole, designed by men with the aim of corporate profits paramount. Artificial milks and infant feeding instruments (such as bottles and teats, but including breast pumps as well) are such technologies. Liberation will only come when women, armed with all the relevant, accurate information, make truly informed choices and then demand the respect and place in society that they deserve and must have.

Choosing to breastfeed is one very powerful way in which to do this. It is taking a pro-active stance for health – something concrete women can do to improve their child’s and their own health now and in the future, and something that is totally independent of commercialised healthcare, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, artificial milk manufacturers and all who would seek to control our bodies. In addition to the proven (beyond a shadow of a doubt) risks to a child’s immediate and long-term health through not being breastfed, we know that a mother’s risk of many diseases such as breast cancer and osteoporosis decreases the longer she breastfeeds. We should also remember that breastfeeding can be an effective contraceptive, and as such is a powerful tool for women’s health that they can control themselves: fewer pregnancies further apart is one of the biggest contributors to improved women’s health. In a world where millions of women cannot access or afford medical contraception, breastfeeding a child can be both vital nutrition and life-saving contraception for the mother.

Many women I know talk about how empowering it feels to feed a child from their own bodies. At a time when ‘grow your own’ is all the rage in the gardening and foodie world, every mother has the opportunity to feel that amazing sense of achievement and power that comes from doing something raw, something real, something productive. Opting in to natural nursing also means opting out of artificial milk and all its negative impacts on health, animal welfare, and the environment. It is a vote for sustainability and against patriarchal commerce and the ‘captains of industry’. This may sound like a purely theoretical, political rant, but consider the idea of women’s solidarity. If we’re talking about a better world for all, that includes poor people in faraway places. Choosing to artificially feed in an affluent western society with good public hygiene and medical facilities may seem like a harmless choice, but the reality is that such a decision supports the companies who use brutal, illegal tactics to push their (unnecessary) products in the Majority World. As rates of artificial feeding rose in developed countries, so it steadily became entrenched in countries with no safe water, with poor medical facilities. Artificial feeding kills babies everywhere, but clearly the dangers are greater in the Majority World. Taking a stand in support of breastfeeding is an act of solidarity with women and children around the world.


Feminists need to spend less time working out the dogma of their particular brand of –ism, and who is and isn’t toe-ing the line, and more time on supporting every woman and making sure each woman has real choice in her life as mother (or not), at work, and in the home. There is no right and wrong where there is real freedom to choose, only different possibilities all equally valid.

If feminism is about creating a fairer world for everyone, it must focus on the next generation too – the only way to change deeply ingrained social mores is by educating the young. Young girls and boys need strong, empowered female role models to show them the whole spectrum of real choice and real possibilities. By choosing to breastfeed and to do so publically, a mother makes a radical choice for her own health, that of her baby, and that of society, by helping to teach the next generation about empowerment and the value of mothering.


Hanna Rosin, ‘The Case Against Breastfeeding’ The Atlantic Monthly April 2009

Available online at (28.04.2009)

Gabrielle Palmer. The Politics of Breastfeeding; When Breasts Are Bad for Business, Third Edition (Tyne&Wear: Athenaeum Press Ltd; 2009)



June 23, 2009

Here I am, then, starting a blog. I was worried that facebook might collapse under the weight of all the ranty notes and comments I was leaving everywhere, so I figured I’d better start my own little corner of the internet.

To introduce myself, I am a mama to Max, born July 2007 and I live in the UK. When he was about 8 months old I trained to become a Mother Supporter with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, and I’m now part way through training with the ABM to become a Breastfeeding Counselor. My passion for helping mothers and babies to breastfeed, and for getting breastfeeding to be accepted as the norm in our culture, combined with my radical politics and DIY ethos has led to an awful lot of ranting, which has until now been taken out on family and friends, and the editors of various publications. But now I can share it with all of you 😉

I hope to use this blog to highlight breastfeeding issues, talk about how it is portrayed in the media and in society, ways we can change that, and also to talk about specific breastfeeding and support issues.

When I get around to it, I will be linking to another blog about all the other stuff I do, too!


Letter to Mother&Baby magazine

June 13, 2009

My continuing mission… a few months ago there was this terrible online ‘survey’ about breastfeeding by mother&baby magazine that was full of questions like “what’s the worst placed you’ve ever been forced to feed?” “how humiliating was it to feed in front of your father-in-law?” Etc. The sort of thing that is so obviously skewed that you laugh to think anyone might mistake it for a subjective survey of a range of experiences. I wrote a vitriolic email that no one answered. 
Yesterday got an email from a marketing bod thanking me for taking part in the survey and asking me to ‘share any humiliating experiences of breastfeeding’ – I left an incensed phone message and she actually rang back. So after a chat (ie, me ranting at her) she asked me to put stuff in writing and said she’d give it to the editor. 
I did so, with a nice long, ranty email. She responded a few days saying she’d passed it to the editor, no other comment. Sigh. 


Dear Ms Blake,


Following our conversation on the telephone yesterday, I’m emailing with a few suggestions about the preparation of the survey. As I told you yesterday, it is painfully obvious that the entire project is anything but objective: the questions were very specifically designed to illicit a negative response, to focus on potential negatives about breastfeeding, and to scare women who are about to become mothers or who have recently had their babies. 


The way in which you phrased the email to me – “do you have any stressful or humiliating breastfeeding stories” – is a perfect example of this. It is the worst kind of biased, tabloid scare-mongering. If the publication was truly interested in hearing the whole spectrum of women’s experiences, it would have been easy to phrase things in an objective way – “can you share a breastfeeding experience that stands out in your mind”, for example. But Mother & Baby didn’t do that. 


I would be very interested to know who actually wrote the questions for this survey. Were they written by in-house, staff writers? Because quite frankly it sounds like they were written by an artificial milk manufacturer rep. There are well-documented cases of baby milk makers planting employees on parenting forums, and using aggressive marketing tactics beyond normal advertising, and this entire survey comes across as one big anti-breastfeeding campaign. I would also advise you to scrutinize the entire process in great detail, because I suspect that aspects of it might be in violation of the International Code of the Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.


I would like to suggest that the very least you could do from an ethical standpoint would be to present the ‘results’ (by the way, just how will the results be collated? will they be picked at random by a computer, or is someone going to be combing through the thousands of replies picking the worst horror stories, the most cases of abandoning breastfeeding, the best ‘all’s well that ends well’ stories of using formula? will this really be impartial?) together with a contribution from someone who is qualified in breastfeeding education, management, and support. This would be either a breastfeeding counselor accredited by the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, the Breastfeeding Network, La Leche League, or the National Childbirth Trust, or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), as these are the only professional-level, breastfeeding specific qualifications that would enable someone to be an expert on this topic. Such a contribution should be given equal weight (in terms of placement within the magazine/on the website, font point size, header size, etc) as the results. Unless the survey was run by qualified statisticians using widely-accepted methodology, which I doubt, results should be presented with the disclaimer that this is not a scientific or representative sample. If responses are not being chosen at random, but are being hand-selected, then equal weight should be given to positive and negative stories.


It might seem to you that it’s just a survey, that it’s not terribly important, and that I’m making a huge deal over nothing. Let me assure you that these sorts of subtle marketing practices undermine women’s experiences of breastfeeding every day. I have heard so many mothers say, “Well, I must be doing something wrong, because the magazine/website I read yesterday says he should be sleeping through by now” or similar. 


And it might seem to you that the differences between breast- and artificial-feeding are not really that big, are more of a lifestyle choice than anything else, and that again I’m making a huge fuss over nothing. But the facts are that a UK baby who is not breastfed is six times more likely to be admitted into hospital for severe gastroenteritis, than a breastfed baby, and much more likely to die. Babies die every day, not just in ‘the third world’, that far away place filled with poor people, but right here, under our noses, as a direct result of not being breastfed. Every single thing that undermines breastfeeding and promotes artificial feeding contributes to those deaths and illnesses. 


And the issue is not just how such publications affect individual women, but how they skew ideas about breastfeeding at a societal level. I have been feeding my son for very nearly two years and have never once had a negative, stressful, or humiliating experience in public. But I am constantly being asked about them, by people like yourselves. Rather than focusing on the negatives, you should be working to present breastfeeding as the natural choice that it is, and doing your part to help society become more supportive, not less so. By constantly harping on about humiliations and taboos, you are further entrenching them in the mind of everyone who reads your publication.


Finally, as your email states that you will be publicizing the results of the survey in the national media, I would like to point out that there are four national breastfeeding support organizations (the ABM, the BfN, the LLL, and the NCT), one of which (LLL) is actually a large international organization, and that they, along with various medical associations and the UK group Baby Milk Action, will certainly be responding, in the national press, to Mother & Baby magazine if it handles this issue poorly.



Please feel free to contact me if you require clarification on anything I have said, or if you have any questions about breastfeeding, artificial milk promotion, or the Code.





Trainee Breastfeeding Counselor with the ABM



Dear Site-content editor,


I was utterly appalled to stumble across your quiz about breastfeeding. You should be ashamed of yourselves. What an utterly ridiculous pretext with which to undermine new mothers’ confidence in themselves at a vulnerable time. Questions such as ‘what’s the worst place you’ve been forced to breastfeed’ are hugely damaging, particularly as much of this content is aimed at expectant mums, who read such questions-cum-statements in horror, wondering what awaits them. 

The truth is that even in this emphatically breastfeeding-non-friendly godforsaken country, many, many mothers have a full and happy breastfeeding experience without ever being accosted by small-minded bigots such as yourselves. I for one have been nursing my son for 22 months, and sadly have never had so much as one askance view – which is a shame because I’ve been itching for an opportunity to set people right. An opportunity I’ll just have to avail myself of by expressing my outrage and disgust at your not-at-all-subtle marketing practices.


Just how much did the babymilk manufacturers pay you to print such rubbish, and thereby recruit more mothers to using their dangerous products?


Yours vitriolically,



On 12 Jun 2009, at 11:46, Jess Blake wrote:

Thank you for recently completing Mother & Baby magazine’s breastfeeding survey.


You indicated that you wouldn’t mind being contacted by the magazine.


I am emailing you to ask if you have any stories about stressful or humiliating situations you have experienced whilst breastfeeding.


If you have a story you’d like to tell – you might have been asked to leave a restaurant or been forced to feed in a strange place –  then do please email them through to me, preferably by the end of next week.


We will be publicising the results of the survey to the national media and some newspapers or TV stations may be interested to speak to real mums with interesting stories to tell – so –  if you’re happy to be contacted by me for potential inclusion in a newspaper or on TV then please let me know.


Thanks very much for your time.




Jess Blake

Head of Consumer PR

Bauer Media

Direct line – 0207 208 3424

Mobile – 07812 159260

Email –


Endeavour House

189 Shaftsbury Avenue





Bauer Media’s portfolio of over 80 influential media brands connect over

nineteen million UK adults with excellent content whenever, wherever and however

they want.  Our award-winning brands include heat, Closer, GRAZIA, Magic 105.4,

Kiss, Q, KERRANG!, PARKERS, MATCH, MCN and FHM: all delivering must-have

entertainment and information to diverse and valuable audiences. Our unique

insight into the markets and consumers we serve allows us to work closely with

our clients to develop innovative solutions that create a difference to their

business.   For subscriptions and gift offers, please




Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, Company number: 01176085 (England and Wales),

Registered Office: 21 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2DY