I was on my way to the gym this afternoon. The car radio was tuned to Radio 2 and Jeremy Vine was on. “So we want to know what programs us to like sweet food. Apparently we should blame the sugar that was in our mother’s breastmilk”

Wait? Say what? Slow clap for the Radio 2 production team.

Jeremy Vine’s ‘favourite doctor for all things food’ was introduced his conversation with Michael Moseley proceeded with this gem of broadcasting tripe.

“So mum is to blame?” “Well yes I’m afraid so…”

Moseley did then go on to talk about food manufacturers capitalising on a baby’s taste for sweetness by producing first foods that have a similarly sugary flavour, but in my mind it was a conversation that shouldn’t have occurred. What followed was Moseley stating that he had a breast milk sample for Vine to try. It was formula. Completely different. I switched over at this point, but for the purpose of a well-rounded blog post I listened to more of it on iPlayer this afternoon.

“Oh God the smell.” “Yes think of the baby. Think of the baby having to drink this.”

Right, so the tally of stupidity by 2 minutes into the discussion stood at:

  • Breastfeeding mums are to blame for children eating too much sugar, because breast milk is sweet
  • A sample of breast milk that’s actually formula
  • The whole “Think of the children” debacle as if parents are poisoning their babies

Apparently breast milk has the same sugar to fat ratio as a bar of Dairy Milk. Moseley’s theory is that breastfeeding mums create a taste for that ratio in their children, meaning that they will prefer – and thus eat more of – foods such as chocolate.

I’m not going to sit here and profess to know the science behind breast milk’s genetic makeup because I don’t. I can only assume that Moseley is correct with the figures he said, so my argument here is not around the sweetness of breastmilk but rather the placing of blame upon breastfeeding mums. Toby was breastfed for 4 months and Martha still is at 10 months. By some miracle they both absolutely love cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, eggs, meat; you get the picture. Somehow, in spite of my terribly sweet and delicious milk, they *shock* don’t live on a diet of Cadbury and jelly. I’ll give that a moment to sink in.

Yes, I’m being sarcastic and here’s why: Breastfeeding does not a fat person make.

Our children’s first tastes of solids were vegetables, not fruit. It was important to Phil and I that they developed a taste for them because one thing we do agree with Michael Moseley on is that early exposure to certain tastes is quite likely to form their preferences as they grow. We don’t give Toby much chocolate etc and Martha doesn’t get any yet. Fizzy drinks, squash, undiluted fruit juices are all off the menu and water is the main drink (aside from my super sweet breast milk for Martha) with diluted fruit juice or smoothies an occasional addition in the bid to promote a – wait for it – balanced diet.

What?!?! Balance?!?! Yes, we are just that freaking radical at chez Budding Smiles. Everything in moderation, education about healthy choices, openness about where food comes from, variety, neither criminalising nor glorifying certain foods. I know, I know, madness.

Why, oh why, when there’s a chance that a new mum who struggling with her baby’s latch, nipple pain, crazy post-birth hormones, the pain of her milk coming in, the stress and worry that she and her milk are just not good enough, is this crap allowed to be spoken about on BBC radio? At all, never mind with the flippancy and jovial tone with which these BFFs were conversing? This country’s breastfeeding rates are pretty rubbish and so a discussion about unhealthy tastes that begins by blaming breastfeeding mums is blatant scaremongering and potentially damaging.

I am not anti formula by the way, this is unequivocally *not* a breast versus bottle debate. This is a mum listening to two idiots and wondering why the hell they’re demonising breastfeeding when quite clearly, unhealthy eating habits have a hell of a lot more to them than breast milk. Kids being fed literally nothing but junk food (again, not anti junk food per se, I’m talking every meal), kids not knowing that carrots and potatoes grow under the ground, that cucumbers grow on plants, that apples grow on trees, that meat comes from animals and not a McDonald’s kitchen. These are the things that are leading to unhealthy eating habits as children grow up.

When will the mainstream media stop doing this? The scaremongering, the sensationalism, the air time given to morons? Sadly I fear that the answer is never, because people listen and watch and read, then they discuss. Some write angry blog posts. I’m kind of keeping Jeremy Vine in a job. Hmmm…