To Megan Fox and other celeb mums - night nurses are a sign of flawed motherhood

Is it natural to allow someone else to take responsibility for your baby's needs?

Susan Elkin@SusanElkinJourn
Wednesday 19 December 2012 12:27

So Transformers star Megan Fox has been on prime American TV to inform the world that, aged 26, she cannot cope with looking after her baby who was born on September 27.

Fox and her husband, Brian Austin Green, have hired a night nurse so that they, the child’s parents, can get a night’s sleep.

Well, I think that’s pretty disgraceful on several counts and I am about to be Very Judgmental - so if you don’t like condemnatory views of other people’s behaviour then look away now.

Babies are born to women – whether some feminists like it or not and wish it otherwise – and nature provides the baby’s food in the form of breast milk. That milk, and suckling it from the mother’s breast, is the child’s entitlement.  Direct access to its mother’s breast milk is, in my book, every child’s human right.

That doesn’t mean extracting it with a pump and handing it over to someone else to pour into the child either. It means proper tactile feeding from the breast and all the bonding which goes with that. Everyone knows that there is nothing better than breast milk for a baby’s health and, there are benefits for the mother too – not least, it is much easier to lose the baby weight if you breast feed than if you don’t. It is also considerable less hassle – at a time when you’re tired and maybe stressed – than fiddling about with bottles which have to be sterilised. And you have it with you, on tap as it were, wherever you and the child happen to be.

If you hire a night nurse the child may be losing out on part of this and I regard that as a form of neglect.

Second, all young babies need frequent feeds, usually every two to four hours throughout the day and night. You know that – surely – from the outset. Nights are difficult and new mothers are likely to feel tired because for a while they won’t be able to sleep for more than two or three hours at a stretch either. It goes with the territory of motherhood. It always has and it always will. It’s a phase which doesn’t last long though and, with sensible management, most babies will sleep through before they are six months old – both mine did so from three months. That is why it really isn’t sensible for mothers of babies under six months to be trying to do lots of other things – such as work, having a social life or appearing on TV - at the same time. It’s why maternity leave was invented.

If you can’t accept that this is how things are – and hirers of night nurses presumably can’t - then should you really be embarking on motherhood in the first place? Not everyone is cut out for it, after all.

Third, pregnant women get fat. Not only do they have the obvious baby bump but most female bodies lay down extra fat reserves in pregnancy too. It is nature’s insurance because you need extra reserves to draw on once the child is born. It takes a few months to shed it. Breast feeding helps because you are giving away calories all the time. So do long walks with a sleeping baby in a buggy or pram.

What isn’t natural is to regain your model figure (with tight breasts – it is not known whether Miss Fox is actually breast feeding at all) in a couple of months looking as if there had never been a baby and presenting this as if it were some kind of triumph of feminism.

When a mother is very much in the public eye and makes an appearance like this it gives the impression that this is how it should be in an ideal world. Hire a night nurse, get plenty of sleep, leave your infant with someone and then look like you've spent hours in the gym. Then court admiration for your fantastic achievement.

Far too many gullible women will try to ape this – and fail. Most can’t afford night nurses or other help, even if they want them, and very few will, for whatever reason, manage the workouts Miss Fox must presumably have fitted in to look as she does.

Actually I think that to look slim, sexy, well groomed, relaxed and not tired, when there’s a baby at home under three months old is a sign of flawed motherhood rather than anything to be proud of.

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