Thanks for the mammaries … and the years of therapy

When we moved into the inner-west, I knew that a fair number of our neighbours – lovely folk that they are, except for the Jew-haters now largely dispatched from Council – would be of the peace, love, and mung beans variety.  So it didn’t come as any surprise this morning to see that when the Sunday Telegraph were looking for some hippy-dippy Earth-mother type who’s breast feeding her kid until he gets his first job as an assistant producer on a Radio National cultural show, they just went down the road to Dulwich Hill:

Melissa MacLean, 41, from Dulwich Hill … is still happily breastfeeding her three-and-a-half-year-old son Chet.

“He only feeds once at night before he goes to bed,” she said. “It helps him sleep and it helps him reconnect with me at the end of the day. I think it is very good for his immune system as well.”

She says she has discussed stopping it with her son, but at the moment plans to continue for at least another six months: “I am having conversations with my son about it. I am just going to see what happens.

“Everyone has been positive – I haven’t really had any negative comments. People do what they think is best for their family. It’s a personal choice and if it’s working then why not?”

Hang on – she’s discussing it with her son? Apologies if this seems judgmental, but what the hell? When a child can form and articulate a position on the question, “Would you like to suckle at mummy’s tit?” I think you have the answer to whether or not it is a good idea. And doesn’t this kid have teeth?

In cloaking her own insecurities in the mantle of “personal choice”, MacLean is supported by Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik (you may also remember her as Milhouse Van Houten crush-object Blossom) who has used her acting credentials to write a book about “attachment parenting” (a.k.a. the “hovering hippie” school of smother-mothering). Though flipping to the Telegraph’s Sunday competitor, the Sun Herald, we read differently:

A paper published in a peer-reviewed journal suggests that four months may be a more appropriate age.

Australia’s infant feeding guidelines, prepared for all mothers by the National Health and Medical Research Council, a government agency, recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months followed by the introduction of solids.

The guidelines are currently under review, and the agency said that it will stick with the six-month recommendation once they are finalised this year. This is despite immunologists here and overseas suggesting that the introduction of solids at four months may help protect children against food allergies and coeliac disease.

So much for the “immune system” argument – and one wonders where “attachment parents” come down on immunisation, though the phrase “personal choice” again likely looms large. This is one case, however, where I’m happy to let the science be settled.

In any case, young Chet and his ilk shouldn’t be on the breast. They should be taking cocaine. Because that’s what middle-class Australians do.


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2 Responses to Thanks for the mammaries … and the years of therapy

  1. I’m probably the furthest thing from a hippy you’ll ever find, but I attempted a sort of attachment thing. I didn’t wean Magilla until she was 2 – it was easier and saved me a crapload of money on food and formula. It also helped that I still had enough milk to wetnurse twins when she was 18months old.

    Tried the co-sleeping thing and while it’s nice and snuggly and seriously convenient for feeding…… she’s 9yo and prefers my bed to her own.

    My friends are all great and told me that I’ve got rocks in my head. They still can’t believe I fed her for so long.

    In my defence, I’d also like to state that I am a strict parent who follows through, so I’m not raising a sooky-lala

    My kid knows that Julia Gillard is a liar, and likes Andrew Bolt, so I’m doing something right.

    The problem with the attachment parenting brigade is that they are using Third World practices in a First World situation. Native peoples breastfeeding until the child is about 6? What else would you do if you don’t have the ability to duck down to Woolies for a few extra groceries? Everyone in the same room? Well that’s because they only have one room. To do everything in.

    And I mean…. EVERYthing. Kids do survive and bond quite well with parents who don’t wrap them up and fuss over them. Kids like parents who let them take risks.

    And kids respect parents who put firm boundaries in place and STICK TO THEM!

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