Hey, here's another extract from the Extremely Over-Protective Mummy's Handbook.
The world of food is full of strange unsettling facts, like the fact that Worcestershire sauce is made from dissolved fish guts, or that a jar of peanut butter contains a big bunch of rat hairs, or that infant formula milk (blow me down with a fucking feather ladies, you’re not gonna believe this one) is NOT, I repeat NOT, actually poisonous!!!
I, for one, am a little pissed off. You see, for three months prior to the birth of my first child, I was told that feeding my daughter any kind of formula milk - even as an emergency measure - was exactly the same as feeding her a ginormous bottle of raw sewage. Bottle-feeding, explained the NCT lady, would condemn my daughter to a life of constant shitting (caused by massive gastro-intestinal dysfunction) as well as (prepare to grow pale with fear at this next idea) turn her into a Totally. Fat. Fucking. Dufus.
So I breastfed.
Within a week or two, one of my nipples hung by a jellied nerve end from my aureole; the other was Missing Presumed Fucked (although, I did find traces of it in a hawked-up fur-ball next to the cat bowl.) My daughter lost close to 10% of her own bodyweight on a weekly basis, whilst I was forced to follow an emergency feeding regime that allowed me to sleep for 20-minute-bursts, day and night, for a month. (Ha ha ha ha ha … ha ha ha ha ha …. please help me…why are there so many talking snakes? please make the scary voices go away mummy, please, I think I’d like to sleep now … ) You know the kind of thing, right, RIGHT? Anyway, after four weeks of this hell, my partner gave our daughter a big fuck-off bottle of formula milk while I slept. When I woke, he fessed up.
My memory is hazy and unclear (and forever compromised by a further eight long years without sleep), so to this day I don’t know exactly what I said, or did. But I think I stood there, on the upstairs landing, with my patchy hair standing on end, and my huge milky tits bobbing up-and-down and from side-to-side, screaming about how the milk supply-and-demand thing was now fucked-up FOR-EV-A. I also mentioned, yeah, I’m sure I did, that the baby was mine as well as his … and how he didn’t have the right to give her formula milk a.k.a poison. I may have asked him what he intended to do about the beautiful nutritious milk now curdling in my tits … bespoke milk that my body had lovingly and painstakingly made for OUR baby and was now TOTALLY UNWANTED???? I may have also suggested, just in passing, that I loved our baby more than he did … and I may have asked other questions, too. Did he at least wash the bottle beforehand in hot soapy water and then sterilise it in the steam sterilizer for twenty minutes? Did he at least use the sterilised tweezers to insert the teat into the bottle? Was the milk at least organic formula milk with a unique blend of prebiotics, was it, WAS IT? And did he definitely use one of those BreastFlow double teats that simulated real nipples, because of the massively underrated but real and present danger of Nipple Confusion? And was the water he used to make up the formula fresh water that had been boiled, and then cooled down to not less than 70 degrees, and had he even considered the risk of constant shitting, or off-the scale cardiovascular disease, or worse still, the hideous neverending shame of our daughter, our precious firstborn, being a regular guest on the Jeremy Kyle show because she was now going to be obese and also mental?
You know how it is girls, right!
To which my partner calmly said, “Formula milk is not actually poisonous.”
Yeah, I know that. Smug motherfucker.
PS: None of this is to excuse Nestle, who aggressively market formula milk in the developing world, in places where there is not always access to clean water, and in spectacular breach of international marketing standards. They are, unequivocally, bastards.