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,”
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.