Complaints over GMTV breastfeeding debate comments

Ofcom is looking into complaints after a midwife suggested during a TV debate that breast milk may not be any better for older children than drinking cola.

The comments were made on GMTV, during a discussion hosted by Lorraine Kelly tackling the "taboo" subject of breastfeeding older infants, which also included opinions from members of the public.

Midwife and breastfeeding specialist Clare Byam-Cook, one of three guests involved in the studio debate, told GMTV: "Breast milk beyond the age of two isn't necessarily good because it's very, very sweet...

"The fact that it's breast milk doesn't make it any better than a glass of Coca-Cola. It does damage babies' teeth."

Ann Sinnott, author of a book about breastfeeding older children, challenged her view, asking what the evidence was.

She said: "There is no solid research on this at all."

Mother Nicola Harris, who is breastfeeding her four-year-old child, told the ITV1 debate yesterday that her daughter has perfect teeth.

Ms Byam-Cook told GMTV she is all for breastfeeding, but this became a "private decision" beyond the age of about two.

She said: "I certainly don't see why babies should decide. If your toddler decided that she wanted to spend all day eating sweets, watching television, going to bed at midnight would you say: 'Well that's your choice?' No."

It is understood GMTV received between 10 and 20 emails responding to the item, giving a range of opinions.

A spokesman for Ofcom said: "We have received a small number of complaints which are being assessed against the Broadcasting Code."

The broadcasting watchdog will look at the complaints against a rule which says factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience before deciding whether or not to launch an investigation.

A spokeswoman for the show said: "We are satisfied that we presented a fair and balanced item.

"Each guest was given ample time to express their views."