What is it with the crazy parenting theories springing up everywhere nowadays? When did we decide that what our parents and grandparents did was not good enough, and we had to reach back to the dawn of human history and emulate cavemen?

Getting abreast of things. Pic: AP

Behold free birthing, which goes a giant step further than home births: delivering a baby unassisted, sans midwife or any medical specialist in attendance - and sometimes completely, deliberately, alone. Free birth fanatics may argue that non-intervention delivery is how nature intended it… but since when has Mother Nature been so obligingly predictable?

Even with modern medicine in attendance, child birth can be deadly for mother and child, which unsurprisingly makes unassisted deliveries - as the NSW deputy state coroner found in a recent tragic case - extremely risky.

Even if you’re expecting a trouble free home-birth, what unrealistic sense of optimism makes a woman decide not to acknowledge the possibility that something can go wrong - and take precautions against it? Women’s bodies may be designed to give birth, but it isn’t a flawless design.

The logic, apparently, is that as long as it’s natural it’s bound to be better - a credo which informs some of the more interesting parenting methods which have recently been brought to wider attention by a swathe of Hollywood mums. (Apparently the kooky kids’ names alone don’t cut it anymore.)

Celebrity mothers used to be synonymous with the sort of poor parenting that would guarantee their child a lucrative tell-all book deal in adulthood. Now they are vying to be role models for alternative parenting trends which take the notion of “nature is best” to the extreme.

Alicia Silverstone likes to chew food and spit it, mumma-bird-like, into her infant son’s eager mouth. Horrors. Maybe that’s what our mud hut-dwelling ancestors did when they were weaning junior. Maybe. But we have food processors now. Potato mashers.

Even a fork.

A few stars stuck their heads up a couple of months ago in defence of Jamie Lynne Grumet, the young mother who appeared on the cover of Time magazine breastfeeding her three-year-old son, for an article on attachment parenting.

It was a confronting image; there cannot be many people who did not let out a little yelp when they saw it.

(It’s the type of discomfort Little Britain zeroed in on, in its typically extreme way, with its “bitty” sketches of a grown man helping himself to his nonchalant, elderly mum’s boobs as his horrified girlfriend/acquaintances watched.)

It does force you to question why we find it so abhorrent.

Though in the case of the Time magazine cover, people perhaps responded just as much to the provocative pose as the age of the child (take away the child and you have a sexy image that would grace any fashion catalogue. As one feisty single mum I spoke with put it, you’re a pervert if you can’t see something wrong with the way that photo was styled! Discuss.).

Breastfeeding is a no-brainer for women who can sustain it. But just because women can biologically maintain breastfeeding until the ages of five, even seven, should they? The argument gets pretty slim for kids who can forage for their own snacks - heck, climb a tree to pick an afternoon apple. Can’t lots of cuddles and affection achieve the same bonding?

Prolonged breast feeding made absolute sense (and still does) to supplement a toddler’s diet when food was scarce and unreliable, and a hungry belly needed filling. I’m pretty sure the main concern for parents then was survival, not the need to bond with their four-year old.

You cannot just talk about “natural” and what our bodies are capable of, and what humans used to do, and import it wholesale.

It may be what cavemen, or our pre-industrial forebears did, but we don’t live in those societies anymore. We live in a society that does a double take and freaks.

Which is why these decisions - while ostensibly for the child’s benefit - can be selfish ones when taken to the extreme. All this talk about a mother’s right to choose, or their faddy way of bonding with the child seems to focus on the parents’ needs as much as, or more than, the child and any repercussions for them. They are surely the ones left dealing with the embarrassing ewwww factor as they get older.

In the case of the boy on the cover of Time, his school peers won’t be thinking about the anthropological history and biological theories behind his mother’s decision to breast-feed him until he was learning his times tables.

Mayim Bialik, a star of the Big Bang Theory - who has a PhD on neuroscience and also practices attachment parenting, leapt to Grumet’s defence. Alanis Morrisette is another advocate, writing: “If a child’s needs during this stage of development are not met, he or she will be staving off a haunting sense of cellular disconnection and loneliness for a lifetime. They will not have effectively internalized a loving nurturance as their own love-style.’’

So what you’re saying, Alanis and co, is that a child needs nurturing, security and affection - ie, good parenting. Another no-brainer.

Good on them all for trying, but why the need to go OTT? Good parenting is good parenting, and all the psychobabble bells and whistles is not going to produce a more secure and well-adjusted child.

Parents of their own happy, social and well-adjusted offspring would know from experience, not a text book or fad theory, that giving a child love, attention, boundaries and stability can achieve the same ends.

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    • Bertrand says:

      06:20am | 04/07/12

      In Afghanistan under the Taliban about 1 in 7 women would die during childbirth, due in no small part to the absence of medical attention.

      This is the plain fact about free birthing.

      As for how to raise your children? Well, as long as you love them, feed them, protect them and teach them some manners and right from wrong, you’re doing fine. While I personally disagree with putting infants in institutionalised daycare and will argue against it in a debate, at the end of the day how you raise your kids is your call and don’t let anyone let you think otherwise.

    • KH says:

      07:44am | 04/07/12

      As recently as 100 years ago, this was the general statistic for all women everywhere.  Medical advances have reduced that level, and a lot of people are here today that should count themselves lucky that medical advances allowed them to live, along with their mother.

      As for this crap about the kid growing up feeling disconnected - what a load of garbage.  Where is the evidence for this assertion?  A lot of people look pretty darned normal to me and didn’t get breastfed until they were 5.  If they are ‘disconnected’ I doubt it has to do with how long they were breastfed.

      I disagree that people should do what they want though - as a society, I believe we collectively have some right to intervene when it is clearly in a childs interest to do so - after all, in the end, we all have to live with the product of these peoples idiocy, and all I can see is a generation of even more selfish spoiled brats than we have now -  a generation of people who never socialised normally and have no negotiation or compromise skills and no patience because they are used to getting what they want whenever they stamp their feet and sulk a little.

    • Tom says:

      08:44am | 04/07/12

      Bertrand and KH, great insights.

      Thanks for taking on the word “normal”, KH. That was an act of bravery, but I totally agree with you.

      Someone else below used the word “grandstanding” and I suspect that attention seeking plays a major part in the decisions of these mothers. I know that as teenagers have that propensity to confront, but is a little bit creepy that a grown person feels the need to do that.

    • Keith Hammersmith says:

      09:53am | 04/07/12

      I dont have a problem with the breastfeeding image, that hurts no one, but free birthing is just moronic. Are these people aware of infant mortality rates in the ‘caveman’ days and how modern science and hospitals have done to reduce that.  I think these woman should be charged with child endangerment.

    • Zac says:

      11:23am | 04/07/12

      @ Bertrand,

      I thought we were talking about the western world not Afghanistan.

      “Free birth fanatics may argue that non-intervention delivery is how nature intended it”

      Has this got any connection with darwinian fundism?

    • Kika says:

      01:46pm | 04/07/12

      Again, this is plainly a first world problem. The third world would love to have the doctors and hospitals we have to help mothers give birth safely - yet we’ve got these muppets running around convincing themselves that medical intervention is unnecessary. Yeah, maybe for a few. But I can tell you that 2 of my 3 friends who gave birth around the same time may not be here today if it wasn’t for the fact they were in a hospital and able to access emergency caesarians or to be induced and putting the baby into quarrantine because he contracted an infection during birth. Both those babies may not be here today if they chose to go it alone. 

      But… these women seem to think they are above that and they forget all the women and babies who have died in the past trying to go it alone.

    • Stickler says:

      07:10am | 05/07/12

      Actually, according to the World Health Organisation, maternal mortality rates in 2000 (under the Taliban) were 1,800 per 100,000, or roughly 1 in 56. Still one of the highest in the world but a far cry from 1 in 7. Also, as these numbers are not presented or categorised by cause of death (including pre-existing conditions - malaria, hiv, etc. -, unsafe abortions, violence against women etc.) then there is no reasonable basis to make conclusions about free-birthing from these numbers.

    • Brian says:

      12:27pm | 05/07/12

      Stickler - that’s per pregnancy, which is not what Bertrand was talking about. Assume each woman has 8 kids, and you’re at that 1 in 7 (well, the maths isn’t quite that precise, but close enough for our purposes). Average household size in Afghanistan appears to be around 7-8 (by quick google search), so 5-6 kids, leading to a rough level of 1 in 9 to 1 in 11.

    • S.L says:

      06:48am | 04/07/12

      That poor kid being on the front cover of an intenational news magazine with his grandstanding mothers boob in his mouth. What will he think of the photo when he’s older?

    • T-rev says:

      07:49am | 04/07/12

      Oh to be that boy’s friend at his 21st birthday party… it would be hilarious!

    • Joan says:

      07:52am | 04/07/12

      You bet that pic will haunt him right through his school days. Hope he has some self esteem left by time he is an adult. There will always someone ready to to drag it out for a celebration, significant birthday etc. - he has been marked for life.

    • acotrel says:

      08:47am | 04/07/12

      Oh to be that age again ! When he is a teenager, he will be the envy of his peer group !

    • Sniper says:

      09:15am | 04/07/12

      I’d take it!

    • Agent Lana Kane says:

      09:31am | 04/07/12

      @ T-rev

      I don’t think this poor kids is going to get a 21st birthday party. For that to happen, the mother would have to acknowledge him as a seperate person to herself.

    • Jolanda says:

      09:56am | 04/07/12

      Personally I wouldn’t do it but if it were my kid I would teach my son that the best way to deal with the aftermath of the photo when he gets older is, if anybody asks or tries to tease him about it,  to tell them that he was paid a packet to do it and that when he is driving in his brand new car and vacationing overseas compliments of that shot, that he will be very happy that he was given the opportunity.  Kids understand money and will be able to see the sense in that :}

    • Alfie says:

      10:30am | 04/07/12

      His best come back line could be:

      “Hey…she wasn’t actually my mother”

    • Mark G says:

      11:37am | 04/07/12


      That’s like and older women trying to use the defense “yes I was a prostitute in my earlier days but hey I got stacks of money for it.” and thinking that people will not think ill of here ore still give her crap for being a prostitute. Before you say it, I am not saying that this kid is a prostitute but my point is that saying that you got paid for its doesn’t really diffuse the situation when someone is giving you crap about it. Despite having a bit of cash, he was still the three year old who was photographed sucking his mums tit.

    • M says:

      12:02pm | 04/07/12

      If it was my kid I’d take him to boxing class.

    • Rose says:

      01:05pm | 04/07/12

      A woman I know breast fed her child until the kindy teacher told her that she really need to think about stopping because she was copping flak from other four year old’s and it wasn’t appropriate for a child’s development to be breast fed and at school at the same time, particularly as mum encouraged it even in public.Thankfully mum listened.
      Fast forward 20 odd years and you have a child who took the first available exit to go and live interstate, and last I heard, contacts her parents mainly by Facebook and occasional phone calls, visits being incredibly rare.
      What that illustrates to me is that breastfeeding is not the be all and end all to attachment. The be all and end all is parents being so connected to their children that they are able to put the best interests of their children before their own needs. In my example I feel mum wanted to keep that connection with the child because that was definitely going to be her last child and also because at that time her relationship with her husband wasn’t great and she had limited contact with extended family, in other words mum needed to feel needed, rather than mum focussing on her child’s real needs. The other thing being that breastfeeding locks everybody else out, it becomes mum and child’s own little domain and sometimes mums like that sense of ownership over the child.
      Attachment is not based on breastfeeding, it is based on giving the child a safe, secure place from which they can explore the world, including exploring relationships with other people outside of the family unit, in full knowledge that their safe place is there to catch them should they need it. Attachment is more like being a child’s safety net than their puppeteer.

    • Moon Doggy says:

      07:09pm | 04/07/12

      I see nothing wrong with the picture (it’s natural), but I have heard many cries of “foul play” from certain Libertarian groups who either don’t like women, or like women a little too much. While on the other hand Parading and Grandstanding around city streets in skimpy underwear is just dandy, and all must be bared.

    • Robert Smissen of Rural SA says:

      01:26pm | 07/07/12

      I question whose needs are been served here? ? I strongly suspect that it is the woman’s gratification being served here

    • M says:

      07:16am | 04/07/12

      “he or she will be staving off a haunting sense of cellular disconnection.”

      Anybody who takes Alanis Morrisette seriously after reading that line is just as retarded as she is.

    • gobsmack says:

      07:46am | 04/07/12

      And will develop a lifelong obsession with women’s breasts.

    • M says:

      08:32am | 04/07/12

      Pretty sure that’s a genetic thing Gobsmack.

    • Joan Bennett says:

      07:42am | 04/07/12

      Women’s bodies were designed to give birth to babies with smaller heads, apparently (Origins of Us on the ABC a few weeks back).  So we need some sort of assistance to give birth nowadays, thanks to our enormous heads!

    • acotrel says:

      08:31am | 04/07/12

      I see that you believe in ’ intelligent design’. Having your kids must have been an enormous problem ?

    • Robinoz says:

      09:39am | 04/07/12

      My wife is a midwife and she tells me the incidence of mixed-race pregnancies has created many problems not previously encountered because of the different physiologies of races. For example, Asian women are slightly built with small pelvises. They have children with Caucasian Australians who are larger and therefore the neonates tend to be larger. Heads get stuck getting through the smaller pelvis. My wife and her colleague midwives believe in as little midwifery intervention as necessary, so many hospital births can be without drugs and medical intervention unless something goes amuck. It’s always good to have a backup plan when dealing with a far from perfect system.

    • Alfie says:

      10:33am | 04/07/12

      Acotrel’s mother must have had a helluva tough time.

    • Kate says:

      10:49am | 04/07/12

      I saw that too Joan.  Not Intelligent Design, Acotrel, but evolution.  Homosapians’ heads have got bigger faster then pelvises have, so whilst most other species can give birth no probs, us humans get a bit stuck.  Simple biology.  Whilst I gave birth to my kids naturally, I did it in a birth centre in a hospital.  When all was going well, I wanted to make it as relaxed and natural as possible, but if something went wrong, I wanted teams of medical professionals to be no more then a few doors away.  Seems a pretty good compromise to me.

    • Nick says:

      07:45am | 04/07/12

      Seems like you need to distinguish between fads that are genuinely dangerous like free birthing and fads that are comparatively harmless like attachment parenting.  In the former it is the reckless disregard for everything we have learned about how to reduce mortality that is distressing, whereas in the latter case it is the holier than thou of the practicioners that makes my skin crawl.

      But there, I feel that the whole breast feeding thing has become a massive fad.  The pressure to breast feed put on new mums is distressing to watch.  Yeah yeah, I know the arguments so save your proselytising.  I also know that millions of perfectly healthy, smart, well-adjusted adults were bottlefed as babies.  In our society I think the decision to bottlefeed or not is one of the less critical aspects of raising a child but the way people carry on you’d think it was a life or death decision.

    • Anne71 says:

      12:28pm | 04/07/12

      Hear hear, Nick.  Honestly, the carry-on of the breast-feeding Nazis is getting beyond a joke. I’ve known young mums who’ve been in tears because they felt like a “failure” for being unable to breast-feed because the pro-boob crowd keep telling them that anything less is Bad For The Baby!  And if you don’t do it, you’re selfish and a Bad Mother, m’kay?

      Funny thing is, the babies didn’t seem to care either way. They were still in Mum’s arms (in fact, they could be in Dad’s, too) while being fed,  and still ended up with a full belly. They grew up being just as “bonded” with their parents as any breastfed child, and just as intelligent and healthy. And in the end, isn’t that all that matters?

    • Cynicised says:

      01:49pm | 04/07/12

      Not forgetting Anne71 and Nick that women who have real difficulty breast feeding for whatever reason are keeping their baby alive by bottle feeding! Ii know of cases where BF zealots have publicly chastised women for bottle feeding, accusing the mother of neglect. The best comeback to these idiots is ” what would you prefer - I bottle feed or let my child die of starvation? ”

      Free birthing is a whole other category of stupidity. As most people would agree, gentle non-medicalised birth is the ideal, but it isn’t always practical or safe. The health of babe and mother must come first, the “experience” second.

    • James Ricketson says:

      07:56am | 04/07/12

      Agree on the free birthing. Just plain silly. On the question of breast-feeding three years olds, however, I am not so sure. 25 years ago I knew two mothers who breast-fed three year olds and my reaction was, I must confess, ‘yuk’. How embarrassing! Whose needs are being met here? 25 years down the track, however, I see two well-adjusted young men who seem to have suffered not at all from the experience. My ‘yuk’ reaction was, I think, wrong. There’s no one way to bring up kids. Indeed I think that for the most part kids bring themselves up and the parent’s role is to recognize what a particular (as opposed to generic) child needs.

    • Mark G says:

      02:06pm | 04/07/12

      “25 years down the track, however, I see two well-adjusted young men”

      Yes but who’s to say that wouldn’t have happened anyway. Thats a really poor argument. That doesn’t make breastfeeding at 3yrs right.

    • Dr McKay says:

      03:20pm | 04/07/12

      @Mark G
      But it doesn’t make it wrong either.
      Nobody seems to be able to prove this one either way, there are benefits to breast milk, but how much and when does it start to have less impact?
      Does it really affect you that much? Yet we are fine to drink all the cow milk we like.
      I am not convinced either way, but it is worth a more in depth discussion than most people are willing to afford it.

    • Bear says:

      07:57am | 04/07/12

      One of the great successes of modern medicine is the dramatic decline of still births and maternal deaths during childbirth. In the past, literature and stories are full of mothers dying in childbirth.

      As I understand it, there are many reasons why the movement is popular in the United States - a loss of faith in authority and professions there. It was explained to me recently that in the US most children are delivered by Caesarian: and the reason is due to the liabilities to which Obstetricians are exposed. If complications happen during a natural childbirth, then they are faced with a large liability: however, the liability is much less for Caesarian.

      Thus, for them it is a simple case of risk management: so choice is taken from women.

      I agree with this article that there is a lot of fads and snake oil going around…

    • Michael says:

      08:29am | 04/07/12

      If your child has enough teeth to be able to eat actual food then nature is letting you know that the time for breastfeeding has ended, continuing to do so from that point on is about the mother meeting her emotional needs not the child’s nutritional needs.

      In my male (never gonna breastfeed) opinion.

    • Jezebel says:

      09:31am | 04/07/12

      I agree with you. I have read several debates on this topic, and the one thing I have taken out of all of them is that attachment parenting is not about the child, it is about the mother and their unwillingness to “detach” from the dependency of their child.

      Personally, as someone who is yet to have a child, I am obviously no expert, and if that particular style of parenting is the path some people wish to go down then that’s fine. But for me, the thought of breastfeeding a child who has grown teeth terrifies me.

    • patsy says:

      09:41am | 04/07/12

      @Michael-In my female (never gonna breastfeed a child with teeth that bite) opinion, you are spot on.

      I know a mother who breastfed her son until the age of four. I find her an emotionally needy person as she dosn’t have her own life,  interests or job and lives her life through him. He is now sixteen and acts like a twelve year old. I know what my son was doing when he was sixteen and it wasn’t hanging around with mummy. He’d discovered girls his own age.

      Time to cut the apron strings.

    • Kate says:

      11:11am | 04/07/12

      My son is 9 months, has teeth but I am still breastfeeding.  Why?  Because of the immunity boost he gets from me.  He is in childcare 3 days per week, and I want to him to boost his immunity.  He is yet to have a day off childcare due to illness, whereas when my daughter started (after I had finished breastfeeding) she was off every second week with a cold.  He has given me the occasional bite, but soon learned that if he bit, it got put away, and he didn’t get anymore, so now he doesn’t.  I will probably keep going until he is 1. 

      So there are reasons to continue.  It is also much cheaper then formula, and more convenient - my laziness plays a big factor in my continued breastfeeding.

      But until 4 - no thank you.  If you can ask for it, you are too old for it!

    • Mattb says:

      12:58pm | 04/07/12

      It’s funny though, after breast feeding finishes most children are feed the milk of cows. WTF is with that?. Name one other species on this planet that consumes milk after infancy and then name one other species that consumes the milk of a species to which they don’t belong (not including those freak ‘dog feeds kittens after their mother dies’ news stories that pop up on occasion) .
      I think most adults would find the thought of drinking a woman’s breast milk a bit repulsive, would you drink it if offered?. Yet we drink a cows breast milk without batting an eyelid..

    • Rose says:

      01:40pm | 04/07/12

      MattB, cow’s milk is delicious, probably explains why we drink it!!

    • AFR says:

      01:47pm | 04/07/12

      Mattb, there are thousands of things that are unique to humans. What’s your point?

    • Michael says:

      02:05pm | 04/07/12

      nothing wrong with breast milk, tastes a bit like the milk that is left in the bowl after you eat toasted muesli for breakfast or oat milk.

      Drinking cows milk is no more weird than eating oysters, sea urchins intestines or offal, the other weird one is drinking the waste product of yeast fermenting sugar to get drunk, literally sucking the piss down with a smile.

      Ants milk aphids or some other small insect for the sweet secretions they release as a waste product of drinking sap, the ants herd and protect their “stock” also.

    • Mattb says:

      06:03pm | 04/07/12

      ” AFR says: 01:47pm | 04/07/12
      Mattb, there are thousands of things that are unique to humans. What’s your point?”

      my point is that we are quick write off a woman who is still breastfeeding her child at three, yet those women who aren’t are probably ‘breastfeeding’ their children with the milk of another species. The more natural of the two situations is the one we deplore

      doesn’t this seem odd to you AFR??..

    • Elizabeth1 says:

      08:00am | 05/07/12

      I really like your post Mattb. I hadn’t really thought about the whole human milk versus cows milk thing. I am fascinated by beliefs and how they work. If we gain these early, in this case through culture that drinking cows milk is good but feeding 3 year old children human milk is bad, we just accept it.  If we applied logic, considering milk is specifically made to feed for development of young and changes in composition according to development stage, we would have to go with human milk. But we know what we know.

    • LiViN says:

      08:35am | 04/07/12

      I would have died with each of my children, if they hadn’t been born in hospital for different reasons that were not apparent in pre-birth checks. Thanks very much to the doctors and midwives!

      The reason I chose to breastfeed was because we had so many allergy, eczema and asthma issues in our families.  I chose to feed my first child until he decided to wean at 4. I was simultaneously also breastfeeding his 2 year old sister, who weaned the week before him, because she was sick. My youngest was forced to wean at 1.5.

      I encountered a lot of negativity about breastfeeding beyond 6 months. But I’ve got to say, that although there may be a lot of other factors involved, my eldest is now 14 and remarkably healthy! He bounces back from colds and flu incredibly. He has never been as sick or as eczema prone as his siblings. For the possibility of increased health alone, I would do it all again and face the wrath of society. I don’t understand why we wouldn’t support extended breastfeeding. Perhaps we just need more people to prove that it can and should be done.

    • Zaan says:

      09:04am | 04/07/12

      I breastfed my children for 1 year, one is 15 the other 18, they are both extremely healthy, no allergies and both only suffered a mild case of chicken pox. So your point is?

    • Lilly says:

      10:42am | 04/07/12

      Apparently I breastfed till I was 2. I am allergic to EVERY DAMN THING.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      11:16am | 04/07/12

      ...and the Mummy Wars begin…frightening and awe-inspiring at the same time.

    • Zaan says:

      11:33am | 04/07/12

      Scothchfinger, no mummy war, do what you want; no skin off my nose, but why the need to justify with bullshit?

    • TracyH says:

      11:36am | 04/07/12

      I didn’t breast feed either of my kids (now 25 and 26). Neither have had any allergies , skin problems or any health issues. My daughter had a couple of colds as a child, my son never even got colds. They are both healthy, tall strong adults now. I’m just saying that breastfeeding in’t the be all and end all. I also do think there is a link between kids who are introduced to solids later having more risk of allergies. WHO are changing their recommendations because of this (down to 4 months, from their original 6 month recommendation).

    • Zaan says:

      12:16pm | 04/07/12

      TraceyH I tend to agree, started my kids on solids at around 5 mths. Good on you for saying you bottle fed, sick to death of the breastfeeding Nazi’s. Not everyone can or wants to breastfeed.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      12:21pm | 04/07/12

      I don’t know ladies, reading Punch comments over the years I suspect lots of the blokes here have issues with early weaning. For the sake of future wives-to-be, please let baby boy decide when he’s ready to give up the boob.

    • OddCreature says:

      09:17pm | 05/07/12

      This is the main reason I can’t bring myself to support extended breastfeeding - it’s not the ick factor, it’s the complete lack of hard evidence that it benefits children, or mothers, in any way.

      We’ve all heard stories along the lines of “my baby was XYZ-fed until blah-blah-age and they’re so healthy”. But it’s all anecdotal, so it doesn’t actually prove diddly squat.

      My child was bottle-fed from birth, and rarely gets sick. And I could be all smug about it and say she’s some sort of undeniable proof that formula isn’t all bad. But it seems far more likely that she’s just a robust kid who doesn’t tend to get sick.

    • Ronnie29 says:

      09:01am | 04/07/12

      If only parents would just parent their children and not get caught up with all the media articles and parenting guide books we would not be having this discussion. However because we have moved so far from the supportive society that we had even 50 years ago, parents are now forced to turn to books for their information rather than their community.
      How you chose to birth, feed and parent your child is your choice to make int he best interests of your family.

    • Rose says:

      02:51pm | 04/07/12

      Oh please, there have been parents screwing up parenting for generations, centuries even. Society 50 years ago wasn’t terribly supportive for a lot of people anyway, cruel and judgemental would have been the way a lot of people experienced it. Take of the rose coloured glasses, society 50 years ago was good to those who fitted the mould, everybody else was screwed.
      The reason that more people look to outside sources of information is probably because there is far more information readily available, even forced onto people because it’s unavoidable. Some new information is good, there were a lot of “old wives tales” that were in fact quite dangerous although most were probably at least partially useful.
      People also go on about attachment theory as if it is some sort of new age bunkum, it’s not! Take out those that seek to confuse it, and those who seek to put a new spin on it (usually to dress it up into a whole new saleable package to make $$$$) and strip it back to it’s bare basics and it makes perfect sense. The quality of a child’s attachment with its primary carers determines, to a large extent, that child’s ability to feel secure and to have enough confidence and resilience to find it’s own place in the world. Attachment theory is more about giving a child the tools to make it in the big, wide world than is about cocooning the child within the confines of its parent/s. A child given too much freedom and autonomy and not enough love, affection and boundaries suffers from a poor attachment. A child always kept with mum and dad and not allowed any freedom suffers from poor attachment. A child who is made to feel like a bad person just because they did something wrong suffers from a poor attachment. Strong attachment allows a child to be disciplined with out being blamed or shamed, but the child still gets the message that they did something unacceptable.It allows a child to make strong attachments with others without it making parents feel insecure. It acknowledges that a child sometimes doesn’t get it right, that they will get told off but that’s OK because the child knows that mum & dad love them regardless, they don’t have to be perfect to get affection, they get affection because they are who they are.
      Attachment theory is really, love your child, let them grow and develop and screw up, catch them when they fall and set them straight up again with a little direction to the best path. It’s not new age leftie feel good crap, its pretty much adopting good parenting strategies proven over generations!

    • Elphaba says:

      09:03am | 04/07/12

      Any woman choosing this option when they have the other option of midwives, nurses, a sterile environment and the best possible chance of a healthy baby, is a moron.

      Some things are that black and white.

    • M says:

      10:27am | 04/07/12

      “But it’s OUR choice” scream the hippie collective.

    • Elphaba says:

      10:45am | 04/07/12

      @M, true.  They’re still morons though.

      Honestly, I don’t get it.  And the term ‘birth rape’ - I cannot tell you how much that sh*ts me.  Sometimes, babies get stuck on the way out.  Sometimes, the only way to get them out is with instruments/hands that need to be inserted.  Deal with it - it is not ‘rape’, and it trivialities real rape.


    • Tolomy says:

      11:11am | 04/07/12

      @M, Seriously you need help. SO many thing can go wrong during child birth including the mother dying (Go have a look at the history books) so why would you put yourself and your baby at risk?
      “But it’s OUR choice” yes it is, but don’t expect any medical assistance is something goes wrong.
      I know a lady who had 4 child in hospital without ANY issues or problems. Her fifth got into trouble and if she hadn’t been in hospital both she and the baby would have been lost, and this from an experienced mother!
      Please don’t put yourself and you baby at risk.

    • M says:

      11:23am | 04/07/12

      I was being sarcastic Tolomy, I think women who do the home birthing thing are inherrantly selfish.

    • Elphaba says:

      11:26am | 04/07/12

      Er, Tolomy, I think you failed to notice the sarcasm in M’s post…

    • Elphaba says:

      12:07pm | 04/07/12

      Crap… *trivialises.


    • Tolomy says:

      12:33pm | 04/07/12

      @Elphaba, Oh (Red faced)

    • Mark G says:

      01:47pm | 04/07/12


      I actually think some women free birth because they want to exercise their right to choose rather than actually considering what the ramification of that choice actually are. They want to be able to stand on a pedestal and say see, look at me, look at me, I exercised my rights as a women. It’s kind of arrogant and pig-headed in many ways.

    • M says:

      03:12pm | 04/07/12

      MarkG, There’s another entirely plausible reason. It still comes down to selfishness on the mothers part in the end, no matter what the reason, and it’s slefishness on the part of the mother to put her emotions and/or freedom to excercise choice over the best interests of the child.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      05:21pm | 04/07/12

      Or they use this, from the article: “Free birth fanatics may argue that non-intervention delivery is how nature intended it…” Where as my argument would be that using our brains would be how nature intended, ie using the technology that our brains have helped develop. If humans are a part of nature, then anything we create can be perceived as ‘natural’, therefore home birthing or free birthing or whatever are no more natural than using the technology we have developed over time to assist birth. So yeah, morons.

    • Eleanor says:

      09:32am | 04/07/12

      “Women’s bodies may be designed to give birth, but it isn’t a flawless design.”

      In fact, it’s a bloody terrible design. Us becoming bipedal came at the expense of shrinking the birth canal, while our heads were also getting bigger and bigger. The result of which is now a shorter gestational period. Human babies are born with something like only 20 per cent of the brains developed, where chimps are born with their brains at around 40 per cent developed.

      Evolution is a harsh mistress.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      09:57am | 04/07/12

      yes, we got the bad deal and the chimps won out. Damn, when can we have a go at being the dominant species? I’m sick of being patronised by chimpanzees - ‘come on, peel the banana… you can do it…oops, try again…’

    • M says:

      11:00am | 04/07/12

      Scotch, don’t you believe in creationism?

    • Scotchfinger says:

      11:40am | 04/07/12

      sure do M, but I’m looking for the ‘missing chapter’ of Genesis that deals with epigenetics, mutation, genetic drift etc. Plus how Dawkins was allowed into the world, despite humans being supposedly wondrous creatures. Got my passage booked for Jerusalem as we speak. Tell you what, there’s room for you and a big motorbike as well, come along my friend! I’ll need a wingman.

    • M says:

      12:51pm | 04/07/12

      Supply a brick of blow and you’ve got yourself a deal.

    • Mark G says:

      01:54pm | 04/07/12

      It is a false assertion in the first instance to say that evolution produces perfect species and processes. In fact the opposite is actually true. Imperfection is what drives evolution. In the case of birthing, a perfect birthing process would be counter productive because no baby would die irrelevant of its (or its mother’s) inherent flaws. Weak sickly women would birth as easily as strong healthy women and there would be a reduced propensity to natural selection. Evolution doesn’t work to a birthing plan.

    • Eleanor says:

      02:10pm | 04/07/12

      “a perfect birthing process would be counter productive because no baby would die irrelevant of its (or its mother’s) inherent flaws.”

      So, you mean like birthing today with medical intervention? raspberry

    • M says:

      03:15pm | 04/07/12

      Elanor, what does that even mean?

    • Eleanor says:

      03:46pm | 04/07/12

      It means, at least in developed countries, we have a near-perfect birthing process. Ruling out extenuating circumstances, most mothers will give birth and survive it, and their babies will survive*. So, when Mark G says: “Weak sickly women would birth as easily as strong healthy women and there would be a reduced propensity to natural selection.”

      Well, that’s kind of already happening, thanks to modern medicine, isn’t it? We’ve usurped evolution and started to pave our own future as a species. Whether its to our own betterment remains to be seen.

      *Citation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mort.svg

    • Mark G says:

      03:48pm | 04/07/12


      Exactly like modern birthing. Modern Birthing is counter-productive to the continued evolution of the Human species. This is one of the reasons that genetic dieses are becoming more common in our society and is also the reason why Humans are unlikely to evolve naturally all that much in the next few thousand years. Our species has largely been removed from survival of the fittest. From an ethical standpoint that is not necessarily a bad thing though.

    • M says:

      04:14pm | 04/07/12

      But of course modern medical science is interfering in evolution.

      MarkG, i doubt the next few thousand years is going to be an issue. Humans haven’t changed all that much on a genetic level for the past few tens of thousands of years.

    • Tolomy says:

      09:51am | 04/07/12

      If you want to “Free Birth” that’s fine. But that choice would negate your access to medical assistance should something go wrong.
      Child birth is the most dangerous thing a women can do so why would you not have available medical assistance available on offer right there.
      Breast feeding past 12-18 months is not required and the nutriants gained by the child are not sufficient to sustain them, So 1 might ask, why do these mothers do it?

    • Lilly says:

      10:46am | 04/07/12

      What about women who don’t choose to freebirth but accidentally end up giving birth on the side of the road. Should they be denied access when some nurse or doctor decides that they must have been ‘freebirthing it’

    • Agent Lana Kane says:

      12:07pm | 04/07/12

      @ Tolomy

      The World Health Organisation does advocate breastfeeding a child until the age of two.

      What a lot of people in developed countries forget however, is that the WHO developed these guidelines with women and babies from third world countries in mind- places where unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation/nutrition mean that formula isn’t usually an option.

    • Tolomy says:

      12:40pm | 04/07/12

      @Lilly, I consider that “freebirthing” is done by mothers who plan to not have a baby in hospital. Doctors and nurses aren’t silly and if that happened Ambulance staff would get to hem long before hospital staff, but i do see you point.

    • Josh Rogan says:

      12:53pm | 04/07/12

      The WHO recommends breast fed exclusively for 6 months then breast and solids for up to 2 years or beyond. By the way, is putting babies in daycare considered one of these potentially harmful fads as well?

    • Mark G says:

      10:15am | 04/07/12

      You touched on two of the most abused concepts in modern culture. The first is the idea that “what is natural is always good and what is good is always natural”. The second is “that if they did it in the past and have done in for thousands of years, then it has to be good”. Most of what you have discussed is based on an abuse of one of these two principles.

      The first one is flawed for two reasons. Firstly in a complex world it is actually very difficult to effectively define what is really natural. Let me give you an example. By the generic definition of natural being something that forms naturally without human influence it can be said that crude oil is actually a natural product. It forms naturally under the ground. All humans do is dig it up. With a wider definition of natural being things that are refined from natural products (ie vitamin supplements) it can be argued that Petroleum is a natural product because all we do is refine it from crude oil. You can easily see where the definition can become a little deluded, contradictory and most of all selective. The second point is that most things in nature are actually toxic to the human organism. Some examples. Alcohol, tobacco, arsenic, marijuana, poison ivy, snake venom….. I am sure I could go on. They are all natural products and all have negative effects. This means that the natural products that are in fact good for you, go through the same flawed human-based analysis to determine if they are in fact good or bad for you in the first place. Then there is the concept of Natural processes. That is even harder to define because pretty much every process that is easily achievable occurs somewhere in nature. People say nuclear power is not natural but nuclear (fusion and fission) reactions occur all over the universe. A star is basically a nuclear engine.

      The second misused concept is also normally a false one because it is based on a glorified view of the past and a hatred of the present (particular when the present involves an apparent smartarse authority figure who thinks he knows best). The idea that better people than us came up with a treatment in the past, so therefore it must be better is just wrong. NO people in the past were not better than us. They had the same flawed human traits we do and to top that off they also had less knowledge and technology. Its easy to remember the glorious past as a place where kids where happy and bonded and mother’s gave birth a will without any help. The reality was quite different. People have short memories. In the poorer parts of western Europe there was a time when the childhood mortality rate was as high as 40%. This included deaths from bad births as well as childhood deaths from diseases and starvation. This is why poor Irish families tended to have more kids. Because they expected to loose half of them before adulthood. People also forget about medical traditions like bleeding. where physicians would slit someone’s wrists to drain out the bad blood. Later replaced with leeching. This was practiced in Europe for thousands of years. That doesn’t make it right.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      12:48pm | 04/07/12

      There goes my supply of Leeches…...

    • Loxy says:

      10:15am | 04/07/12

      Opening up the punch this morning and seeing that repulsive picture again is not a good way to start the day. Honestly, if that woman wants to breastfeed her kids to whatever age it’s her choice, however we don’t need to see it!

      Even worse, I feel so sorry for that poor kid. The humiliation, teasing and bullying he will almost definitely cop at school because of a choice his mother made is so sad – shame on the mother using her innocent child to promote her own beliefs.

    • AdamC says:

      05:12pm | 04/07/12

      Loxy, I wouldn’t say that picture is ‘repulsive’. It is tacky and desperate, on the part of the magazine, though. And the mother clearly has quite a narcissistic streak, too.

    • BruceS says:

      10:21am | 04/07/12

      The Age of the Chronic Malcontent, don’t ya just luv it!

    • Mark G says:

      11:48am | 04/07/12

      Yes. Very much so. In the absence of anything to complain about just complain about everything.

      Massive global conspiracies normally work well.

    • M says:

      11:01am | 04/07/12

      She still has a great rack.

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      03:14pm | 04/07/12

      yeah, I actually wish she had the photo taken without the kid.  The kid’s mouth blocks my view of the whole breast and that’s what I find most offensive about that photo.

      Boobies forever !!

    • PaxUs says:

      11:15am | 04/07/12

      The de-evolution of humankind.  Looks more like child pornography to me.  Why all the fuss over circumcision when these kids also don’t get a chance to say how they want to be raised or what embarrassments are to be bestowed upon them?  The same logic applies, as daft as it is.  People are cloning their lives based on what celebrities do and how they act.  Celebrities are some of the most unstable people on the planet.  A child’s needs?  Glad I was never a child in this era.  I had more freedom and love than these kids will ever have, so how is this an improvement?  We’re progressing alright.  Progressing towards disaster.

    • Kev says:

      11:17am | 04/07/12

      I wonder if those who support free birthing are the same people who think that vaccinations are bad for their children. This seems like symptoms of a society that has had it so good for so long that people take things for granted.

    • Mark G says:

      11:56am | 04/07/12

      That and the Anti-Authority attitude instilled in Gen-Y and Gen-X by the baby boomers. Doctors are just seen as another know-it-all, power-tripping, academic, ivory tower dwelling authority figure. That’s why people driven to silly natural methods and alternative medicine. Because the fundamentals of these practices are a free-for-all of people’s opinions on how to treat people. It fits better with hippie mentality.

    • marley says:

      12:31pm | 04/07/12

      @MarkG - to be fair, we older boomers remember what the world was like before vaccination for polio and common childhood diseases -  and everyone I know who is my age is an ardent proponent of vaccination.  It tends to be younger people, who don’t remember what measles can do, who oppose vaccination.

    • M says:

      12:53pm | 04/07/12

      Anti Authority? Gen Y? Surely you jest.

    • Mark G says:

      01:28pm | 04/07/12


      Yeah I agree, that’s kind of my point but the baby boomers still hold some blame for instilling those attitudes and morals in their kids.

    • kitteh says:

      01:32pm | 04/07/12

      This to the fourth power.

      The idea that (gasp!) an authority figure like a doctor may actually know something they don’t really grinds their gears. I’m not suprised when it’s a celebrity like Jenny McCarthy or Miranda Kerr - they are used to people telling them how brilliant they are, and their level of education is usually low, so of course they believe they know everything. This attitude has spread to the ‘real-world’ parent (ie: mother) because of the constant reinforcement of the idea that birthing a child makes you an innately superior person that intrinsically ‘knows better’ than a doctor, scientist, teacher….

      marley, you have a point. I’m Gen-X, but early enough to have one parent from the Depression era, and the other from a developing country. Their terror of disease is based entirely on experience - having a parent close to death from childbirth-related sepsis; their own nightmarish experiences with pertussis and dysentery; childhood friends with polio legs or viral brain damage or that simply never got to their tenth birthday. Having a parent tell me about those things probably had a lot to do with my fiercely pro-vax stance long before I became a scientist.

    • Kev says:

      02:55pm | 04/07/12

      The worst thing about the anti-vaccination or anti-modern medicine crowd is that whenever they jump on the comments section of a news website to sprout their hatred of vaccinations or love for alternative medicine is that they always start with the words “I did some research ... ” as if that alone validates their opinion. Heck if that’s the case I should go get my degree from the University of Google and forget about anything else.

    • Mark G says:

      03:35pm | 04/07/12


      Your right there. Research to some of these people means searching the internet until they can find a website that agrees with you. Its doesn’t matter how many credible sites say its bullsh%$. As long as you can get one to agree then that is apparently proof of what you are arguing. I always laugh when someone on the punch puts a link to a site as proof of their argument. 9 times out of 10 it is to some dodgy obscure site made by people with particular agenda’s in mind.

    • Bambina says:

      04:46pm | 04/07/12

      “I wonder if those who support free birthing are the same people who think that vaccinations are bad for their children”

      In my sister-in-law’s case, yes. Freebirthing, extended breastfeeding, anti-vax, anti schooling. Everything is a patriarchal conspiracy.

      The anti-vaccine annoys me the most. Freebirthing, as ill-informed as it is, at least only affects the freebirther and her family. It’s sad that a child with no choice in the matter may end up dying or battling avoidable ongoing health issues because of it, but at least it doesn’t endanger the rest of the population. Refusal to vaccinate does! These twits are relying on herd immunity to protect their children while simultaneously causing a very real threat to it. We are seeing a resurgence of issues like whooping cough epidemics because the parents who do the right thing and vaccinate still cannot protect their children from contracting it because chances are, five or six special little snowflakes in the schoolyard haven’t been vaccinated because their moronic parents think it’s going to cause autism or something. It boggles the mind.

    • Dr McKay says:

      05:13pm | 04/07/12

      Add to that the increased corruption of medicine from kick-back taking Doctors, a decided drop in service, increase in pills, increase in cost, decerease in actual TIME with the doctor and it isn’t hard to work out why people are more suspicious of doctors.
      That said, vaccines and assisted births are great additions to this world and pepole are forgetting how bad it has been

    • amy says:

      11:21am | 04/07/12

      uuuggghhhhh…...usually I belive in prgressivenss and all that

      but are 90% of us somehow damaged because we were born the normal way?...I mean logic people…seriously

      I feel like part of this is some narissistic obession with the birth being all about “me” and being some stupid kind of “natural” thing

      natual and unatrual is not a measure of good and bad…..

    • TheHuntress says:

      11:34am | 04/07/12

      The wise words of an obstetrician always stay with me: “Babies do not care where they are born”. I have always held on to this as while I believe that a woman has the right to choose where and how she has her baby (if medically stable to do so), I don’t believe home birth should be promoted or encouraged in Australia and much less free birth (I don’t think anyone in their right mind would encourage free birth).

      I personally know 2 people who had safe home births - one was a midwife herself, the other a healthcare professional, but it still does not sit comfortably with me. I am well aware that studies overseas show homebirth to be safe, however people neglect to notice that countries such as The Netherlands have a public health system that’s geared towards supporting homebirth as the norm. The Australian healthcare system is not funded in a way to support home births, plus we have the tyranny of distance to contend with. If something goes wrong in Australia getting urgent obstetric/neonatal medical attention can easily be half an hour away and usually more.

      But, ultimately it doesn’t sit right with me to tell people how they can or can’t give birth/parent or judge their choices (except in the case of free birth, which I believe to be downright dangerous). If people choose to extend the breastfeeding of their child, breastfeed for 2 years (as recommended by WHO), breastfeed for 6 months or not at all, it’s not my business. If people choose to take on parenting fads endorsed by celebrities, rather than follow the advice of their healthcare professionals, it’s not my business. My business is to raise my own child in the best way I can. And so far I have a nice, polite, empathetic little boy who interacts with adults just as well as his peers - it doesn’t seem to bother him he was born in a hospital, via emergency C-Section and bottle fed after my failed breastfeeding attempts. The kids alright.

      Oh, that’s right. Babies don’t care where they are born.

    • HappyG says:

      11:39am | 04/07/12

      What gets up my nose is all these “celebrity” mums who come out with parenting advice 5 minutes after having their first child.Like they’re the only ones ever to have had kids. You know the ones , Elle McPherson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Pink,Alanis Morisette etc. etc. The condescending way they adise us little people gives me a large dose of the shits. Mrs Happy and I have raised 4 kids to adulthood, on our own, using common sense, love and discipline. They are far from perfect but function in society successfully and we have never ever given anyone advice on how to raise kids. I wish people would concern themselves with their own business and piss off out of mine.

    • Susan says:

      12:38pm | 04/07/12

      Very true and Gwyneth has been a particular classic on this.  Of course with nannies and various people to take over a great deal of their hands-on parenting, these folks are in such a great position to advise.  And what would Elle suggest to a child..order something from a supermarket deli and then chuck a sook because the staff member doesn’t come around and place it in your trolley for you. (News piece at the time).  Great modelling going on there in terms of creating self-centred kids with a grand sense of entitlement.

    • Tomoly says:

      12:51pm | 04/07/12

      Well put, however you forget to mention that these “celebrity mums” and lets not forget Miranda Kerr all who have Nannies, cooks/chefs, personal trainers, nutritionists, assistants and the list goes on. They think they know best when really they do very little and know even less!!!
      Yes they, like that snot nosed Miranda Kerr looks good and must feel great about flaunting her post baby body for all the world to see saying “Hey look at me” when unlike most mums she really had nothing else to do (No job to rush back to) and had an army of support people doing it all or at least most of it!!!
      Until you have been in the trenches of raising kids don’t think you know it all, I am still learning after 15 years.

    • HappyG says:

      01:21pm | 04/07/12

      @Tomoly. In regard to Miranda Kerr you are of course correct. There is one oxygen thief if ever I saw one. Pretty easy on the eye though !!! I’d love to see them for a week without the support staff, money and all the rest of the trappings. Clearly they live on a different planet to the rest of us.@ Susan. I too wonder what these precious little darlings will turn out like as adults.

    • Mark G says:

      01:35pm | 04/07/12

      The truely ironic thing about it is that most of them, in giving advice on how to raise a child, normally fail to mention the fact that they are currently employing a nanny so that they can maintain their career.

      There advice should be “so, this is how you should get your nanny to raise your kids”.

    • Susan says:

      12:25pm | 04/07/12

      I can’t see that image without thinking…urk.  He is rather a big boy for his age too.  I far preferred the parodies of adult men latched on.  Has anyone ever been at a gathering and some kid who really should have been weaned comes regularly to mum, latches on for a split second and then runs away?  It’s not needing to be fed, it’s a security/habit issue.  I’d rather offer a blankie or something than have my nipple and breast constantly yanked for nothing.  Nothing PC in my post today on this.

    • Kassandra says:

      12:43pm | 04/07/12

      Celebrity types are often narcissistic so their obsession with gratifying their own needs and dressing it up as “natural” or “good” for their child is understandable. With the “freebirthing” brigade though, this goes beyond mere narcissism and clearly they need urgent breastfeeding to remedy the haunting sense of cellular disconnection affecting their brain.

    • natweeza says:

      12:45pm | 04/07/12

      My highschool friend was breastfed until the age of seven. She is now a lesbian. Coincidence?

    • Susan says:

      01:06pm | 04/07/12

      Seven!!  Good grief.  I have to ask…north coast?

    • amy says:

      01:28pm | 04/07/12

      somwhat negative implication there….though still interesting

    • natweeza says:

      03:35pm | 04/07/12

      This was in Perth actually.

    • M. says:

      04:17pm | 04/07/12

      I was breast fed, and I too am a lesbian, albeit one trapped in a man’s body.

    • Wilma J Craig says:

      01:23pm | 04/07/12

      Today, in civilized society, child mortality should be at “Zero”.
      If people want to go down the nonsense track of “Free Birthing” then they should be prepared to face the full force of the Law if that baby does not survive. They should be charged with, at least, Manslaughter if not Murder.
      What if the woman birthing that child gets into difficulties?
      What if it is a Breach Birth?
      What if that baby gets caught up in it’s umbilical cord?
      In a hospital there is a good chance the baby will survive.
      In a Free Birth situation the chances are it & possibly even the mother, will die.
      Free Birthing is as stupid & infinitely more dangerous than Home Schooling.
      Both should be banned.

    • Dr McKay says:

      05:21pm | 04/07/12

      WIlma, you need to come back to Earth, 
      “Today, in civilized society, child mortality should be at “Zero”.
      “In a hospital there is a good chance the baby will survive.”

      I am afraid you have defeated your own argument here.

    • Bulldog says:

      01:27pm | 04/07/12

      Free birth? So, like in a prom night toilet?

    • gus says:

      01:30pm | 04/07/12

      The nature intended a lot of things;that we die of cholera, that kids get polio etc.
      We went against the nature and tried to stop that. So don’t tell me what the nature intended

    • gus says:

      01:30pm | 04/07/12

      The nature intended a lot of things;that we die of cholera, that kids get polio etc.
      We went against the nature and tried to stop that. So don’t tell me what the nature intended

    • Mark G says:

      02:13pm | 04/07/12

      Very true. With evolution its natural for a bunch of people to get sick and die. Thats how natural selection works. So the Natural is better arguement is kind of stupid.

    • marley says:

      04:11pm | 04/07/12

      @Mark G - but having the brains to make vaccines supports the concept of survival of the fittest, because more of our species survives.  Not because we’re stronger, but because we’re smarter.

    • gus says:

      01:30pm | 04/07/12

      The nature intended a lot of things;that we die of cholera, that kids get polio etc.
      We went against the nature and tried to stop that. So don’t tell me what the nature intended

    • Kel says:

      08:29pm | 04/07/12

      My first thought was along the same lines Gus. I just got diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer is a ‘natural’ occurrence. Should I just accept that and let it run it’s course?
      A lot of times I say just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right. I’d like to think we as humans have evolved in some way over the centuries.

    • Anjuli says:

      01:40pm | 04/07/12

      I’d hate to be the kid in the picture when his peers find out it was their mate being breast fed at 5 later in life .If his mother wants to do that in private that is her affair but to have a photo shoot of it totally bad taste——-no pun intended.For the boys sake she in my opinion was wrong to do this.

    • Kika says:

      01:51pm | 04/07/12

      I’ve never seriously heard more sht in my life. FFS! Do you think our cavemen ancestors would want to die during childbirth? Or their babies born dead with cords wrapped around their necks? Or giving birth and then haemorraghing to death? Yeah that’s attachment parenting!

      I feel sorry for that boy in the picture. The mother has subjected her son to possible endless schoolyard teasing. But better yet… I feel sorry for his future girlfriends/wife. Far out. Talk about the ‘mother of a son’ scenario!

    • Scotchfinger says:

      02:10pm | 04/07/12

      I hope his girlfriend’s name is not ‘Betty’. He may always refer to her as ‘Bitty’ whilst looking meaningfully at her chest area.

    • Bane says:

      05:15pm | 04/07/12

      The photo will be long forgotten by time he’s of an age for it to be an embarrasment. it’s not like a teenege mate is going to suddenly remember it and pull it out. He’ll barely be recognisable. But still if my mum did it I’d barely forgive her. On another note, that Mum is a MILF.

    • Kika says:

      09:25am | 05/07/12

      @Scotch - Lol! Yeah. Hahahaha. Do mothers like these ever let go? Will she be jealous of his future girlfriend or wife?

      @Bane - Yeah probably. But you know once they say about once things go on the net… they are there forever.

    • Bec says:

      02:21pm | 04/07/12

      Haha my first reaction when I saw that picture was “bitty”!
      I always think of the fact that my husband and his siblings were all breatfeed and 2 of the 5 have permanent contact with their mother (all born naturally too). My sister and I were both bottle feed for different reasons and we are both close to our mothers and I seek her advice on parenting regularly (both born by c-section too).
      For want of a better way of putting it parenting is a journey. Fed, content ( but not always happy that’s unrealistic), safe, loved children will thrive. But it can’t always be about the mother, we are after all raising adults not children.

    • Carl Palmer says:

      03:40pm | 04/07/12

      The photo is wrong at every level.

    • Esteban says:

      05:05pm | 04/07/12

      I suspect that this article is just an excuse to publish this photo for the second time in Punch.

      The photo is contaversial and probably doesn’t need the article to promote dialogue so you can save yourself a bit of time in a month or so when it comes up in the diary again.

      On the other hand there are probably some people who read the articles in playboy.

    • Fiona says:

      08:35pm | 04/07/12

      While I agree that free birthing is ridiculous, I would like to let people know that yes, birth in past times was far more dangerous for both mum and bub, a good part of the danger was in having poorly educated birth attendants, poor diet, often resulting in malformed pelvises and lack of access to decent birth attendants to name a few things.
      In third world countries these conditions still exist to a large degree, so these problems still exist there. In a country like Australia,  while still a dangerous and more risky practice, the infant and maternal morbidity and mortality wouldn’t be as great.
      BTW, for those that go on about babies dining from cords around necks, it is not unusual for a baby to come out with a cord around the neck (sometimes even twice) and as a rule, it can be dealt with pretty easily.
      As for breastfeeding, my reasons for it are: it’s free, on tap and you don’t have to cart extra equipment around. That said its good formula can be freely accessed and I don’t think anyone should be made to feel awful about it. At least the babys being fed. I don’t get those that think you should stop breastfeeding when baby has teeth. The first teeth come in at about 6 months, when the baby’s hardly eating anything. What are they supposed to have?  Get real.
      I do the Nestlé for the completely amoral way they marketed formula in the third world, knowing the serious ramifications formula could have there.
      As for vaccination, give me strength. Just do it you fools.

    • Kalith says:

      11:10pm | 04/07/12

      My daughter turned 2 a few months ago and is still breastfeeding. It has nothing at all to do with my emotional needs as I am hoping (really really hoping) that she’ll stop soon as it’s rather uncomfortable for me (Put your nipple in a peg then twist it all over the place as if what you have attached to it is trying to do somersaults, that’s what I get every time haha). She only does it once or twice a day now but I’m expecting that to drop back even more over the next 6 months.

      However, I found this article to be horribly written and full of smarmy condescension. Perhaps this is not the website for me smile.


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