I was trying to find a suitable picture for this, but all breastfeeding pictures seem to emulate a blissful Madonna & child not the actuality of some tired woman having her nipples gummed.
So going with a “look” instead.
Jamie Oliver fresh from his success over the sugar tax – let’s not mention it only covers fizzy drinks, or that he’s given his support to a Government whose policies have increased homelessness and food bank usage because that might adversely effect his “chirpy chappie”persona – has now decided that Breast is Best.
He’s probably totally surprised at the backlash, I mean what wrong with a man telling a woman what to do with her body. It’s not like we don’t get it over every other aspect of our health and reproductive rights.
God help you when you are pregnant or planning to be, the list of foods you can’t eat, should cut down on or must eat changes daily. And lets not forget women shouldn’t drink even if we aren’t planning on getting pregnant just in case – yes that’s American advice, but it won’t be long before it comes over here, like their anti-abortion protests. It’s not much fun when all you are seen as is a walking incubator.
He says “If you breast feed for six months women are 50% less likely to get breast cancer. When do you hear that?” ALL THE FUCKING TIME YOU ARE PREGNANT JAMIE. But you wouldn’t know that because you never have been.
I do agree that breastfeeding is the preferable way for a child to be fed, but it is not always possible and the last thing new mums need is yet another man telling them where they are going wrong in their lives.
I wasn’t breastfed, my mother didn’t want to do it and talking with her I strongly suspect she had Post Natal Depression. I wanted to – putting up with breasts this size all my life – I thought I may as well use them as nature intended. But nature decided otherwise, my daughter born early, weighing 3lb 7 and put on a feeding line immediately.
So I expressed every few hours for weeks whilst she was in the hospital. There’s nothing that makes you feel more like a dairy cow when a midwife asks if you want to use use 2 breast pumps at the same time. I’m not complaining, the midwives were very supportive and when she was big enough to try feeding, they were very patient again and again and again. After a week of trying and her only succeeding to latch on once – after the midwife stuffed my nipple into the baby’s mouth and held it there for 5 minutes – I gave up.
It was stupid o’clock in the morning. I only know I was very tired, my baby was hungry and I couldn’t feed her. So I asked for a bottle and she took it straight away, no problem – meaning we were finally able to go home.
I did my best to continue, she was being fed every 2 hours so that’s how often I had to express. I was in a permanent daze – my husband gave all the support he could but when it came down to it it was my body producing this milk. Then it started to dry up which was not a disaster because she hadn’t been gaining weight fast enough and my doctor prescribed a high energy baby milk for her. The NHS being the incredible organisation it is continued to supply this milk for my daughter until she was 2. She is still small for her age but healthy and I’m not sure she would have been without it.
So yes, I think Oliver has gone about this in entirely the wrong way. There are some things it is best for a man not to pontificate over. His announcement is as likely to backfire as it is support the campaign.
The NHS I experienced was supportive over breastfeeding, women are given the information and support needed, in some cases put under a great deal of pressure to breastfeed.
If he wants to promote breastfeeding he should make sure it is seen as a normal everyday event in his restaurants and encourage others to do the same. Support women who are breastfeeding, ensure they aren’t encouraged to sit in a corner or cover up or even worse feed in a toilet. And as importantly accept that some women can’t, it’s no one else’s business why just stop adding extra pressure and guilt on to them.
Instead of telling women what to do, ask what they need to help them.