When Did It Become a Breast vs. Bottle Battle?

Poor old Jamie Oliver he’s caused quite a stir with his statement over breastfeeding hasn’t he?  People jumping left, right and centre to slam him, or less likely, defend him.  Yep, the age old Breast vs. Bottle has reared it’s ugly head once again.

Now poor old Jamie is being slammed from all sides, from those who don’t breastfeed to those who do.

In one sense I think it’s fantastic that breastfeeding is hitting the news again, albeit in a call to arms kind of way. It’s great that awareness is being brought to an area that is lacking, the support network for those who need, and indeed, want help. The support network that is struggling through children centre closure, the hard working and passionate volunteers. The support network that needs help to continue doing the work that it is doing.

Yet in another I just think, wow. The guy hasn’t even actually spearheaded a campaign (yet…), has only mentioned that the UK has lower rates of breastfeeding in comparison to the rest of the world, stating a fact that makes him sad.  That he is trying to get more information on.  I bet it makes a lot of other people sad too but they don’t get slammed. What gives us the right to jump all over him?

“Probably the most upsetting thing for me at the moment, and I’m desperately trying to scrabble around to get more information on it, [is] breastfeeding,”

Jamie Oliver

Is it because he’s a man?  And therefore has no right to say anything about breastfeeding because he can’t do it. Nevermind the fact that he might be Jools biggest supporter, the one who is championing her and the one who builds her up when she doesn’t think she can do it anymore. You know, those people who might not be lactating themselves but are crucial to your personal successful journey.

Or because he’s a little bit smug in general? Who knows.

The piece that is getting me is that it is a whole breast vs. bottle again. An us vs. them.

One thing I do know though is that as a mum I’ve never felt divided into an “us and them”.   I’ve never had anyone turn to me and say, oh you’re a breastfeeder you can’t join our gang.

It’s never been Breast vs. Bottle

I have friends who have breastfed, friends who have not.  Those who have tried their hardest to breastfeed and couldn’t, and those who tried their hardest and could.  Those who who have weaned from the breast earlier than I have, and those who have continued to feed long after I retired my boobs away. And guess what? We are all still friends and all still support each other no matter what our boobs are doing.

How and why we feed our children the way we do had no impact on the support we gave each other.

It had no bearing on the support offered when one of us was going through allergy testing, and the support that continued as allergy testing came back with dairy and egg intolerance.

It had no bearing on the support offered and the watching of the poo videos. The dissection and the theories. The backing gave, the voices added to the no you’re right that isn’t right. The confidence boost needed to go back to the doctors again and again.

It had no bearing on the support offered when sleep deprivation got too much, when you were facing countless wakings at night and feeling like a zombie in the day.

It had no bearing on the support offered when no matter what was tried the baby wouldn’t take a bottle and return to work was looming.

It had no bearing full stop on the friendships formed. We didn’t care if one of us was whipping a boob out and one of us was whipping a bottle out. We cared about the small talk, the big talk and all of the in-between talk. The coffee and the cake. The wine and the Prosecco. We cared about the friendships made on the frontline that is parenting.

It’s not us vs. them in any sense, no matter what people believe.  As Claire from Life, Love and Dirty Dishes so rightly says “We are not rivals.

It’s always been about support in your own choices, and whether that be from friends or those trained to help then so be it.

So Jamie Oliver, you might be getting slammed, but if you help one person get some extra support then the slamming will be worth it. Because let’s face it, at the end of the day support is what is needed – from all sides.



  1. March 20, 2016 / 11:17 am

    Thanks for the mention Laura. It’s such an emotive topic and always causes reaction and debate. I don’t understand why though? We all do our best for our babies. And in my opinion fed is best. Why is their so much judgement around this topic? And like you say, where does it come from, because like you, my friends and I never judged each other, we sympathised and supported, and most importantly respected each others choices. xxx

    • Laura
      March 20, 2016 / 1:10 pm

      Me either Claire – I always think of your article when I write about things like this, there has never been a truer word spoken xx

  2. March 20, 2016 / 6:14 pm

    I’m not a fan of Jamie Oliver, but I will say this for him – he gives me the impression he is very family orientated and I don’t doubt he is very supportive of Jools. Why this has become an issue is anyone’s guess.
    People are so quick to judge others about things that are not only none of their business, but about things that have no real bearing on anyone else.
    As long as a baby is being fed who cares which method someone else chooses? Are they happy, healthy? If so, then however they are being fed is working.
    Unless a child is showing signs of neglect/malnutrition and the parents are doing nothing to sort this out then it’s not for anyone else to get involved.

  3. March 25, 2016 / 12:32 pm

    I wrote something similar before all the Jamie Oliver stuff – I have to say i’m a little bored of the fuss to be honest. Jamie could have perhaps chosen his words better but if having someone high profile talk about breastfeeding helps in the long run and gets people the support they need IF they want it then that has to be a good thing. #effitfriday

  4. March 25, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    Here here! Yes more support is needed. I fear though that even if it is offered that some people still don’t take it. I’m a breastfeeder, I love it. I attend a breastfeeding group most weeks even still at 8 months as I like to help those that come in at the early stages see that it can be done and to give reassurance! Some weeks a mum will attend that hadn’t realised the support was there, how did it take her 3 months to realise that there was a bf network in her town, she’d struggled alone for ages! rant over!

  5. March 25, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    Back again from #effitfriday 🙂 Thanks for hosting Laura

  6. March 25, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    I have read several posts throughout the week about this guy that I haven’t heard of. Either I’m watching the wrong news (which has been all about the Brussels attack), or American TV just isn’t caught up on this piece of news but I don’t know who this man is or why this whole thing is an issue. I do agree with you though that I never judged anyone who chose to bottle feed their babies. I never even thought about it. I breastfed both of my boys but only for a short period of time. My sister bottle fed her daughter. This isn’t something that we parents need to be fighting about because we all need support, as you said. Parenting is hard enough. We need to be in each other’s corner and not bashing each other! Thanks so much for hosting #effitfriday

  7. March 25, 2016 / 9:38 pm

    An interesting take on the debate which I wrote about too this week – this issue has certainly got everyone talking! #effitfriday

  8. March 25, 2016 / 11:22 pm

    Right on – support is definitely what any breastfeeding mother needs. I too breastfed my kids & are passionate on the subject, even though ti hasn’t appeared on my blog yet! I can’t believe some of the posts I’ve read. I love your point & it’s my thoughts exactly – since when is there this war? Why are people against each other? I just don’t get it. #effitfriday x

  9. March 27, 2016 / 2:58 am

    Jamie definitely meant well, but he has unfortunately touched on an issue where there is so much hurt, and tempers easily fly. One thing for sure, that is clearly evident by the different responses I’ve come across, is the need for more support on the parenting road. I’m pleased to see a dad breastfeeding supporter, speaking about it publically. Your point about the impact of our infant feeding choice(s) on our friendship, was one that got me thinking. I might yet write about it 🙂

    Whatever the case maybe, I hope we keep a level head and show compassion towards other mums, whatever our views may be.


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