DCSIMG

Dangers of rewarding mums for breastfeeding

Richard Ord column

Richard Ord column

MATHS question: What’s the difference between three and eight?

My nine-year-old, Isaac, hummed and hawed before revealing, eight has “got more loops.”

He was referring to the way the number was written in pencil, rather than the numerical difference.

He was also breastfed. According to the medical ‘experts’ this should not only have improved his health and immunity to disease but also his IQ.

A science question Isaac tackled for homework asked him to calculate the volume of a liquid in a cup. He was fuming.

“How should I know the volume of water,” he railed. “It doesn’t even make any noise!”

Breastfeeding is, of course, the most natural thing in the world. Like childbirth.

I know childbirth is the most natural thing in the world because I was told so by one of the five midwives who attended to my wife during childbirth.

The consultant said the same. As did the anaethetist who attempted to administer the epidural.

I believe it was also written on the side of the TENS machine my wife was wired up to during birth.

TENS machine! I hear you exclaim, what’s that? A brilliant invention if I may say so. It is a small battery-operated device which delivers tiny electrical pulses to the woman during labour to ease her pain.

I can’t comment on its effectiveness, but I was impressed with just how robust it was.

My wife, after a few hours in labour, ripped it off her body during a particularly large contraction and threw it across the room, into a wall.

It remained intact, fully operational, and ready to be thrown into another wall by another frustrated mum later on that day.

TENS, since you’re asking, stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation.

Like I say, childbirth, the most natural thing in the world. Like breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding, however, was extremely problematical in our household.

We’d be sitting around watching TV when all of a sudden the baby would want feeding. Latching on was the main issue. The main issue for me.

As soon as he’d latched on, my wife would start pointing out all the jobs that needed doing around the house.

No one said a dicky bird when the bairn was asleep. As soon as he was hanging onto her breast that washing up needed doing, the ironing, the hoovering. Not that I’m bitter.

Breastfeeding is in the news this week. And for a change it’s not the hardy annual of people being put off their Sausage and Egg McMuffins by the sight of a breast in public.

Breasts! In public! Don’t look up I say, just keep your head in The Sun and let it pass.

The story this time is the bid to encourage more women to breastfeed in areas where take-up is low.

A pilot scheme will see mums given £200 shopping vouchers if they breastfeed.

The dangers of this scheme are obvious. This is, for want of a better word (like reward or incentive), bribery.

And in any case, who’s to say those women won’t spend the vouchers on alcohol and cigarettes?

If they’re stupid enough to ignore the benefits of breastfeeding why should we, the taxpayer, fund their boozing and fag habits?

I’d go one further. Who’s to say they won’t sell that booze on the black market to buy guns or even shoulder-mounted surface to air missiles?

I, for one, do not want the blood of 1,000 gunned-down aircraft passengers on my conscience for the sake of a few gulps of breast milk.

There is another, less hysterical, school of thought, however, that suggests rewarding women who breastfeed might just result in more healthy and bright children for very little cost to the taxpayer. Heaven forbid.

£200 in vouchers is small beer.

If it works, why not invest £500, or more? After all, the only difference between £200 and £500 is that one’s got a couple more loops than the other.

 

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