If you’ve been anywhere near Twitter this morning you might have seen Jamie Oliver’s decided on his next campaign. Not happy with ruining my life by taking away Turkey Twizzlers, and now taxing my life source – Lucozade – ol’ Jamie’s now using his voice for something he is undoubtedly an expert in. Breastfeeding.
I am in complete support of women being able to breastfeed anywhere they need to. The sexualisation by idiots of a woman feeding a baby is disgusting and something that needs to be kicked off the earth right after we deal with Trump. Women who breastfeed face countless criticism and struggles in their daily lives and more power to them. But I could not be more jealous of those women.
While I agree with the part of Jamie’s new campaign that involves being able to feed as, when, and where is needed, I am exhausted by the shame on mothers that doesn’t get campaigns or viral videos. The shame on women who bottle feed.
I couldn’t breastfeed. I wanted to with all my being but we couldn’t get the latch right and spent weeks and months trying, to no avail. Pumps made my nipples bleed so I spent hours and hours hand expressing, milking myself like a cow while somebody else sat downstairs with my baby. Something I very much believe made my struggles with PND much harder. I’ll never forget the day I gave in and gave her formula. I sat on the kitchen floor and cried, no, sobbed, because formula was for lazy mums, for mums who don’t care. Because I’d listened to the countless lectures from the midwives, because I’d seen the thousands of blogs, because people like Jamie Oliver told me it would lead to childhood obesity. Because #BreastIsBest.
Shouting about childhood obesity links with formula milk is so unfair. Unfair on mothers who can’t feed and wish they could. Unfair on mothers of babies in NICU who can’t keep their milk flow up. Unfair on those who use surrogates, or who adopt. Unfair on dads raising babies alone. Unfair on those who just don’t want to breastfeed.
There is enough guilt within motherhood, we don’t need more forced upon us. If you can breastfeed, and you want to, then awesome! It is of course the best option. But not everybody can, or feels they want to, and there should be no shame in that. Love your baby, feed your baby, you’re the mother, you really do know best.
My child is five soon. She is happy and healthy. She is excelling at school and blows me away every day. She isn’t overweight and she loves helping me cook many of Jamie’s healthy recipes.
Jamie, I appreciate the things you have done to promote childhood health. Truly. But think twice before you – a middle-class man – tell a whole demographic of women what to do. Unless you want to be the cause of another woman crying on her kitchen floor?