Posts Tagged ‘Abuse’

Oh, come on, Queensland – women who don’t breastfeed are more likely to neglect or abuse their children? The fact that you’ve managed to correlate these two things does not mean that one is directly responsible for the other. Many women choose not to breastfeed: some for medical reasons, some out of personal preference, some out of necessity. The fact that abusive mothers go down a similar path, however, is not a rational choice, because for whatever reason, they are already emotionally disconnected from their children; and if this disconnect is caused by external or pre-existing problems, then breastfeeding will not solve them. In fact, if those problems concern substance abuse, alcoholism or chain-smoking, then breastfeeding could well harm the child in question. Fancy! 

So, no, Lane Strathearn: promoting breasfeeding is not a simple and “cost-effective” way of preventing abuse and neglect. The act of suckling a child will not cure post-natal depression, alcoholism or nicotine addiction, nor will it negate the consequences emotional trauma, poverty, single parenthood or poor education. Those are many and various battles; none of them simple. By all means, promote breastfeeding in public; educate women about their choices; help addicted mothers come clean. But don’t lay guilt on good, happy, bottle-feeding mothers by wielding poorly reasoned conclusions about their propensity for child abuse.

That kind of idiocy helps no-one.