In support of Jamie Oliver… and breastfeeding

So Jamie Oliver has got himself in trouble for daring to have an opinion on breastfeeding even though he’s… a man! (I think actually he’s mostly in trouble for saying breastfeeding is ‘easy’ but it’s hard to tell among the furore!
Well I’m glad that Jamie has chosen this as his next topic to campaign over, highlighting how important it is and how it should start with support for pregnant women.
I was actually really shocked when I read the news a couple of months ago that Britain has the worst breastfeeding rates IN THE WORLD.

Only 0.5% still breastfeed after a year in Britain, our closest neighbours are female opressors Saudi Arabia at 2%. Meanwhile poverty-stricken countries like Ethiopia manage 97%! 

Why is this? Well I guess it comes down to choice… British women are asked if we’re planning on breastfeeding whereas it seems like in many African countries it’s the norm and I’d guess that only the super-rich there use formula. 

Do we think these African countries have lots of help and support when they run into problems? Maybe… But I doubt it. I suspect they persevere, keep trying and rely on their sisterhood as back-up wet nurses. 

I’m not having a go at those that have tried breastfeeding and run into problems, I say good on you! I’m saying that we need to see a cultural shift that makes breastfeeding the norm, not a lifestyle choice. It will take years, maybe a generation or two. 

Choices… I know someone who decided not to breast-feed as she wanted her husband to bond with baby… Nonsense! There are plenty of ways dads can bond with their babies! What other reasons do we hear? Wanting to have your own freedom? Wanting to drink? Being embarrassed by your body or boobs? Not wanting to be shamed by people who think it’s ‘disgusting’? 
See, we already have a lot to overcome to get people to try breastfeeding, never mind keep it up. So thank you Jamie for trying to raise the issue. We need more positive role models, people like TOWIE’s Sam Faiers… People that you can relate to so that not all the breastfeeding advocates are the mumsnet breastapo that are more likely to put people off than get them to try it!

What else do we need? Well let’s ban the formula milk companies being able to advertise their ridiculous ‘follow up’ milks so that they don’t become aspirational brands that people want to use. Give them less space in the supermarket. I’m not saying we should make it more expensive but maybe there’s a way to get those big companies to donating money to breastfeeding support every time formula milk is sold?

As for me? I’m not perfect, I’m normal, I wanted to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months but got to 3 before we started to top-up. I know I could have persevered with it. I stopped breastfeeding around the 8-9 month mark when I went back to work.

The majority of people were totally supportive of my breastfeeding but there was the odd person that pulled a face like the friend who thought breastfeeding stopped dads bonding with babies.

So let’s start a new era. Let’s talk about it. Let’s see it. Let’s make it the norm. And if you try it and it doesn’t work out, obviously let’s not shame you! #sisterhood 

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6 thoughts on “In support of Jamie Oliver… and breastfeeding”

  1. I completely agree with you!! I find it hilarious when people use the bonding thing as an excuse, we always joke that Oliver doesn’t want a bar of me now the boobs are gone 😉 He has an amazing bond with his Daddy and always asks for him. I breastfed til Oliver self weaned at 23 months. So by the thinking of your friend, Oliver should hate his Daddy really, ha! If a man can only use a bottle of milk to bond with his baby he needs to learn to ‘dad’ better!

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  2. I’m sorry but it is biggest case of ‘mansplaining’ I’ve ever seen. It’s such a sensitive issue and not one that I think many people will thank him for wading in on. In all honesty I think I preferred Jamie Oliver when he used to do what he is good at – cooking! I think this is one campaign too many sorry! And I say this as somebody who breastfed four babies!

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    1. It’s certainly divided opinion hasn’t it…. I do get what you mean, but on the other hand it’s good that he’s getting people talking about it? And he was always going to be listened to as the world and media are run by men!! I think Sam Faiers is doing a great job promoting breastfeeding at the mo, if only mainstream media have her the same coverage! Xx

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  3. I’m so with you! Most of the people who have got upset about it seem to be people who wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t find the support they needed. I get that. The support is crap. But isn’t that exactly what Jamie is going on about? I’ve seen lots of ‘actually breastfeeding is anything but easy’ comments too, but that’s so generalised. For many breastfeeding is easy. Once it’s established it feels to me very much like the lazy option. No sterilising, no making up bottles, much less stuff to carry around. As for the dad bond thing, I agree with the comment above. If you need a bottle to bond with your baby, you need to up your dad game.

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    1. Thank you lovely! I know the ‘easy’ comment is what riled a lot of people which would be annoying if you hadn’t had an easy ride but I’m like you I had no issues and overall I loved it… So it’s got to be a good thing if we can get some positivity around it shared because of him… And additional support for those who struggle! Xx

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