Jamie Oliver, breastfeeding isn’t ‘easy’!

Jamie Oliver, you’re a man; no breasts, no opinion

Jamie Oliver, stop shaming formula feeding families

Jamie Oliver, we don’t need another breastfeeding advocate

Late week, Jamie Oliver won his Sugar Tax crusade, but he didn’t waste any time in finding a new bee in his bonnet – BREASTFEEDING!

“We have the worst breastfeeding in the world.”

“If you breastfeed for more than six months, women are 50% less likely to get breast cancer. When do you ever hear that? Never.”

“It’s easy, it’s more convenient, it’s more nutritious, it’s better, it’s free.”

~ Jamie Oliver


As you can imagine, a lot of people have had a lot to say about this.

Breastfeeding isn’t easy!

A big fixation has been placed on this little word. And rightly so, breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ‘easy’. There are often a whole host of challenges facing breastfeeding mothers, especially in the early days. It takes a lot of support, encouragement, and an inordinate amount of perseverance, to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship.

Sadly, these aren’t always available. This is why Jamie Oliver is talking about breastfeeding, because the support to make it ‘easy’ (which it often does become, in time), is scarce. Because of funding issues, council breastfeeding clubs are being closed, moved, and neglected. Busy labour wards mean midwives don’t have time to help mothers in those first few hours, in the community, midwives don’t have time in those first few days, and, with formula companies posting endless reams of leaflets, samples, and stuffed polar bears through your door, the lack of support is replaced with encouragement to move to the alternative.

It’s not ‘easy’, but it’s being made a hell of a lot harder than it needs to be.

You’re a man; no breasts, no opinion.

I certainly can’t argue with this, Jamie Oliver is definitely a man, but ‘no breasts, no opinion’?, I’m not sure.

He’s a father, a son, a member of the public. That public that so many are nervous to breastfeed among, that public that dish out nasty looks when you cover your nipples with a baby’s head instead of a low cut top, that public who are quick to celebrate a scantily clad woman on an advertising bill board, but shun a woman trying to feed her child.

Gender equality is about all of us fighting for each other, not women fighting for women, men fighting for men – this is just war. We need men to wade in on this issue, we need men to tell women that they won’t judge them when they nurse in public, we need men to be engaged with the positives of breastfeeding so they are involved in the conversation of how to feed their future children, we need men to be prepared to support their partners during those not so easy days.

He may not have breasts, but his opinion most certainly DOES matter.

You’re shaming formula feeding families

Not once have I heard Jamie criticise women for formula feeding. I have heard him talk about the lesser discussed benefits of breastfeeding, the lack of support available to those who wish to breastfeed, the questionable practises adopted by formula companies; but no criticism of mothers who don’t breastfeed.

I have a personal policy of #SupportNotJudgement and, though I am a massive advocate of breastfeeding, I have no judgement of those who don’t breastfeed. It might be that you weren’t able to breastfeed, you might have wanted to, but didn’t have the support to enable you to succeed, you might have just not wanted to breastfeed – and that’s fine!

There are a lot of decisions to make when having a child, if you have found an option that feels right for you, I 100% support your right to take that option. Sadly, not everyone is being given that option. With the lack of support necessary, some are doomed to fail to breastfeed, and that is not an option they are choosing.

The shame here is being directed to the lack of support that is failing our Nation’s mothers.

We don’t need another breastfeeding advocate

Really?!! Do we have the billion pound budget that the formula companies have? No. Do we have the decades of vigorous marketing campaigns? No. Do we have the societal ‘norm’ to lean on? No. What do we have? We have the LOWEST RATES OF BREASTFEEDING IN THE WORLD. THE WORLD!!!

We need everyone, ANYONE, willing to play a part in normalising breastfeeding. We need them promoting the benefits, not just in the first 6 weeks, but for the first 2 years of a child’s life, for the life they’ll live after, for the Mother’s health, for the future generations. We need them speaking up for everyone who has been failed by inadequate support so far, and will be failed in the future if we don’t do something now.



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