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Extended Breastfeeding Bond Said to Contribute to Murder

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Now this is a strange, strange link if I've ever heard one.

Some of you may have been following the case of Leslie Ormandy Demenuik, the Florida mother recently convicted of shooting her four year old twin sons to death. In this article (registration or BugMeNot required), published last week, some of the testimony of Dr. Ernest Miller, forensic psychiatrist and former professor of psychiatry at the University of Florida is quoted. Much of it talks about the mental issues that Demeniuk was facing, but it also includes this one, strange, comment.

Ironically, Miller said, Demeniuk's "overbonding" with her children -- which included 2 1/2 years of breastfeeding -- contributed to her decision to kill them."She bonded so pathologically and strongly to her children," he said. "She believed she was saving them from a cruel, heartless, painful world.

"She thought it was more wrong for her to allow them to continue in such a (terrifying) world than to kill them.

I dunno...I think to say that this was from "overbonding" is a bit of a stretch. Blame it on post-partum depression or a combination of mental problems that came about from medications that simply weren't mixing well and I'll likely give it to you...but the overbonding thing rubs me the wrong way.

I see the point he's trying to make, but what it comes off as is a dangerous conjecture that damages the cause of extended breastfeeding and links moms that choose to do it to the mentally ill that end up going ballistic with tragic consequences.

I guess now I need to go on a hunt for some information on how post-partum rates differ for breastfeeding and formula feeding moms. Anyone know? I can't wager a guess either way...formula feeding is obviously less stressful, especially at the beginning, but it also doesn't give the same hormonal benefits that breastfeeding does...


  1. Blogger Natural Mom | 12:03 PM |  

    It won't take you long to come up with studies that show that nursing Moms are much less likely to abuse their kids. And I would argue that postpartum is still easier if you're nursing. Even with challenges that may come your way.
    And I agree with you...the overbonding thing is a HUGE stretch. The reporter is probably not a fan of breastfeeding and had to throw that in there.
    Besides, if you're OVERbonded then wouldn't that mean you have emotional issues with dependency on your kids? That would be you're mentally ill and need help.

    The "I had to save them from a cruel world" makes it quite clear that she was a disturbed woman.

  2. Blogger Meg | 1:05 PM |  

    When thinking about postpartum depression and breastfeeding I always remember something a La Leche Leader said.....If you don't breastfeed your baby then your body believes that your baby is dead. Can you imagine the hormonal repercussions?
    Concerning this article....American culture is totally uncomfortable with nursing past age 1. Even most of my friends are freaking out that I am still nursing my 25 month old (and her 7 month old brother). They are all pro-breastfeeding gals, but it is way beyond their comfort level. So, as it seems in most cases, extremes are used to validate that fear. I try to remember that positive exposure helps to inoculate lack of understanding and be brave enough to nurse the two year old in public.
    Oh, and do know of anywhere that all the breastfeeding/breast Bible verses are compiled?

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