April 11, 2012 - Randy Snow, morning deejay with HITS FM, is taking a hit himself for comments made on Tuesday’s morning show.
I didn’t hear it because, really, I’m not into top 40. But Tara Bradbury, a reporter with The Telegram, did, and she paraphrased it for me. Snow’s comment came after playing the song “All That She Wants”, by Ace of Bass. Here is the gist of what he said:
“Speaking of babies, that reminds me of what I was talking about earlier today. You remember Mayim Bialik, she played Blossom, and is now acting on Big Bang Theory and in Old Navy commercials? In her book, ‘Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way’, she talks about how she breastfeeds her three-and-a-half-year-old son, Fred. What? Three-and-a-half? I had just gotten over the Alicia Silverstone bird-feeding thing with her son and now this!”
This incensed Bradbury, who is a nursing mother. I asked if she’d be willing to comment on the record, she agreed and, in no time, had emailed me the following note. I am posting it all, verbatim. Here’s her response:
“I was surprised to hear Randy Snow express his disgust at extended breastfeeding on air. I think my initial shock had to do with the fact that a radio DJ, who, because of the nature of the job, is generally not able to make more than a quick, passing comment on something, would venture to take up such a topic on air. Beyond the surprise, I'm disappointed that Randy, being in a position of celebrity in this province, would help perpetuate a stigma that our Department of Health, hospitals, public health nurses and other health groups have been busting their butts for years trying to eradicate. 90% of Canadian moms choose to start breastfeeding their newborns; in this province, only 63% do. By the time these babies are six months old, only 10 per cent of them are still breastfed.
“Breastfeeding a toddler, believe it or not, is not uncommon, though it might be less common here. The World Health Organization, Health Canada and Canadian Pediatric Society all suggest breastfeeding should continue for two years and longer (with the introduction of solid food, of course, after age six months) if mother and baby wish. Breastfeeding to ages 3 and 4 is common in many, many parts of the world. There are some immune factors in breastmilk that increase after age 2, because, naturally, older children are exposed to more infections than babies. Many studies have shown that children in daycare who still breastfeed at home get sick far less often than their peers.
“There are also psychological benefits. According to Dr. Jack Newman, a Canadian doctor who runs the International Breastfeeding Centre and a world expert on breastfeeding, the child who breastfeeds until he weans himself (usually between ages 2 and 4) is usually more independent and more secure in his independence. ‘He has received comfort and security from the breast until he is ready to make the step himself to stop, and when a child makes that step himself, he knows he has achieved something, he knows he has moved ahead,’ Newman has written.
“I have a two year old who is still nursing, and I have many friends in St. John's in the same position, some with children older than mine. Likewise, I have many friends who have chosen to feed their children formula. Why should either of us be subjected to other people's disgust at this personal choice, especially in a 30-second sound bite on radio, with no context? Randy's disgust showed a lack of information on the topic, and was, in my opinion, quite derogatory.”
Dara Squires is a writer and columnist in Corner Brook. She vented her displeasure on the HITS FM Facebook page, including this comment:
“He probably just said it to be inflammatory and get a response. But this is a province where we struggle against cultural bias against breastfeeding on a daily basis and someone in a responsible public position should not be undermining the efforts of government, health authorities, and mothers by stating such ignorance publicly.”
I think Squires is correct, that Snow was trying to be provocative. Deejays in commercial radio will sometimes say these things for the notoriety of it, and they don’t care who they offend so long as people are talking about them. Perhaps it’s good for ratings. That said, I think he was also speaking off the cuff, and his feelings of revulsion are real.
I sent a message to HITS FM, through its Facebook page, asking for a comment from Randy Snow. I will post a reply, if I receive one.
If I could ask him one question, it would be this: what does he find so shocking about a breastfeeding toddler?
UPDATE: For another perspective on this, check Dara Squires’s ‘Readily A Parent’ blog entry today. It’s powerful stuff: