Monday, 5 September 2011

Breast is Best

Well at least I have your attention and, no, this is not some politically incorrect debate by drooling males over which female limbs or organs are better than another.

This is about the Government and NHS dogma over breast feeding. My second child is now 6 weeks old and one of the best strategies my wife and I have on sharing duties of care is to supplement the young child's intake of breast milk with formula, namely SMA. We also have the same strategy still with my 17 month old son who drinks the SMA 2 follow on milk. In fact, my daughter is progressing so well that my wife couldn't possibly keep up with her and so she has 'Hungry' version of the milk.

It's a small thing but it illustrates the 'Nanny State' going to the nth degree. The Government and the NHS have decreed that 'Breast is Best' and no one would disagree with that position about breast feeding. However, to promote it as rabid dogma is just stupid. In our case, if we followed that line solely,not only would our daughter fail to thrive but I could not share in feeding duties particularly at night when exhaustion for my wife is a huge threat.

What prompted me on this diatribe? Would you believe it is the trivial matter that in the thousands of pounds we have spent at Boots on various substances and accessories for our children, they don't issue rewards points for baby milk. This, we are assured, is not a Boots policy. This is a direct, Central Government and NHS decree and it is designed to stop mothers feeding their babies formula milk.

So to get this straight, Government and the NHS have interfered with the pricing of a major over the counter product to the point of discouraging its sales. Not on the grounds of safety but because it supports a dogmatic position which enforces the sole burden of feeding a baby on the mother not just for the first 4-6 months of its life, but for all of its requirements of milk. I know there are things like 'expressing' which may ease things but realistically this is probably an infringement of people's rights but also of EU Competition Law as the price of this milk is unnecessarily high.

As a father, it is great to be able to share in the duties of feeding and I am glad to give some respite to my wife at nights when she can do with the rest. It's still hard but at least it just gives a modicum of sharing. If we followed dogma on this, it would be my wife only and I just think that's both idiotic and unfair.

It's not about having the Boots points, it's about some common sense. I am no doctor or health worker but even I can see the sense of that.

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