London: French president Nicolas Sarkozy has enraged mothers after he publicly described breastfeeding as ‘slavery’ while speaking out about wife Carla Bruni’s struggle to produce enough milk for their newborn baby.
The president also said a mother’s feeding ‘freed men of blame’ for not getting up at night to give the infant a bottle.
Former supermodel Bruni gave birth to the couple’s first child together - a girl named Giulia - four weeks ago.
Sarkozy made his comment while chatting to young mothers at a family benefits agency in southwest France.
“Carla is feeding the baby. I think it’s much better for protecting against allergies and illnesses,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
“But the woman, it’s both a joy and a kind of slavery. However it does free men of blame because we don’t have the problem of bottle-feeding. You don’t have to get up at night, although out of solidarity, I do open one eye.
“But you know, she is worried about not having enough milk,” Sarkozy added.
But his comments were branded as ‘macho’ by France’s popular News de Stars website.
The website wrote: “In speaking about these details of his private life, it might show Nicolas Sarkozy wants to get closer to his voting public. But it also displays a certain machismo in his views.”
Meanwhile mothers groups expressed disappointment at Sarkozy’s comments.
“It is hard enough to convince women to try breastfeeding, or to continue long-term as it is. This kind of antiquated attitude only serves to put discourage women even more,” a representative for a west London breastfeeding support group said.
“And the idea that Sarkozy merely opens one eye to watch as his wife struggles to feed baby Giulia is terribly sad,” the representative added.