“GMTV has reportedly sparked complaints to media regulator Ofcom after a programme expert claimed that breast milk can be “as bad as cola”.
Midwife Clare Byam-Cook made the remark yesterday while being interviewed on air by Lorraine Kelly, The Mirror reports.
She is quoted as saying: “Breast milk beyond the age of 2 isn’t necessarily good because it’s very, very sweet. The fact that it’s breast milk doesn’t make it any different to a glass of Coca-Cola.”[…]
GMTV’s ability to be impartial on the subject of breastfeeding has been called into question in the past as its weather slot is sponsored by baby-milk maker Nestlé.
A spokesperson for the morning programme insisted: “This item was fair and balanced.””
Yes, she said that. Word for word.
You can view the whole segment here at The Lactivist. Sorry, no transcript yet. In summary, it’s a panel with Ann Sinnott, who wrote a book on Breastfeeding Older Children, Nicola Harris, who is tandem breastfeeding her four year old and infant, and Byam-Cook. Sinnott and Harris come across as remarkably practical and level-headed, in contrast to Byam-Cook’s discomfort. I particularly like Harris’ response to “Why do you do it?”, which starts with a simple, “Because she asks. Because I can.”
During the show, on the subject of breastfeeding past two, Byam-Cook says “I don’t see why mothers need support.” She compares breastfeeding beyond the age of two to a toddler sitting up till midnight watching TV and eating lollies. She also gets quite agitated about breastfeeding as “snacking between meals”, which she believes preschoolers should not be allowed to do. Cos, y’know, FATTY MCFATFAT. She says over and over and over again, with a screwed-up disgust face, “breastmilk is very sweet. Very, very sweet.”
Note that her assertion that breastfeeding leads to higher rates of tooth decay is debunked. Breastmilk, in fact, contains ingredients such as lactoferrin that actively fight the bacteria involved in tooth decay, and there is no evidence of a role for full-term breastfeeding in the genesis of caries. The idea that children who have breastfed for more than a few months are FATTY MCFATFAT and have disturbed relationships with food is also straight out of some bizarro opposites-world.
Byam-Cook also writes for the Gina Ford website. The site and Ford’s books have been widely excoriated for an insistence on strict scheduling (including a bald declaration that normal babies feed no more often than every 3-4 hours), leaving young babies to cry, routine very early bottle-feeding, and not “spoiling” those horrible manipulative infant with things like excessive love and human contact. Ford also appears to have a nasty habit of suing chat forums for allowing participants to snark at her methods.
I’d like to see Byam-Cook try to raise a kid on 750 ml of Coke a day and nothing else.
* Water, sucrose or HFCS, caffeine, caramel, phosphoric acid, flavours.
* Water, lactose, fat (including various essential fatty acids), protein, phospholipids, oligosaccharides, nucleotides, amino acids, immunoglobulins (for whatever current environmental threats there are), lactoferrin, lysozyme, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, chromium, manganese, iodine, selenium, fluoride, molybdenum, vitamins A, C, D, E, K, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), B6, B12, niacin, folate, biotin, hormones, a variety of growth factors, enzymes, probiotic bacteria, antiviral mucins and glycoconjugates, cytokines, live white cells, and possibly around 100 other ingredients not yet fully characterised. Composition changes from hour to hour, day to day, month to month and year to year according to demands/needs.
Wait, no, I wouldn’t recommend that. THOUGHT EXPERIMENT ONLY. Don’t try this at home.