Jamie vs Adele: We Need To Talk About Breastfeeding

First Jamie Oliver, now Adele, my social media feeds are ablaze with angry mums and dads and once again breastfeeding is at the heart of the upset. Jamie Oliver gave a really brief interview in which he mentioned that women who want to breastfeed need more support and information. But one word in his whole statement which was otherwise so spot on has left so many people feeling furious, Adele included. 

I love Adele. She's fabulous, funny and so down-to-earth. At a recent gig she launched into a tirade about Jamie, and mentioned that a certain brand of formula milk was just as good. Taglines like that have gotten that brand into trouble with the Advertising Standards Agency in the past.  I'm sure all she was trying to do was support fellow mums and that is brilliant. But... A mum who wants to breastfeed needs support, not misinformation. We can't just stop talking about breastfeeding. 


JAMIE IS RIGHT


Take the word "easy" out of Jamie's statement and he is right. Women in Britain are being let down by society because there simply isn't adequate support available when it is really needed. There isn't enough information available. That's what he said. He didn't say anything negative about mums who choose not to breastfeed nor did he say anything about mums who can't breastfeed. He didn't attack or vilify parents who don't breastfeed and he didn't label anyone a bad mother. He didn't try to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't be doing. He quite simply said that women who want to breastfeed deserve more help, more support and more information. Because  it's true that women who want to breastfeed aren't always getting the help, support and information they need. So those women who want to breastfeed are being let down and that isn't right. 

I'm seeing people arguing literally every single day on my Facebook feed about breastfeeding and one thing that pops up a lot is that "everyone knows breast is best". Do you know that breastfeeding is the best start for your baby? How did you know that? Because someone told you, right? So, if we stop talking about breastfeeding, then what? How will anyone know? 

NOT EVERYONE KNOWS


People will end up like me. Before becoming a mother I thought babies were simply formula fed nowadays, and that breastfeeding was something women did in ye olden days before the marvelous invention of formula milk. Why? Because no-one told me otherwise. We didn't learn about breastfeeding in school, I didn't have my mum around to tell me and I didn't hear much about breastfeeding while I was pregnant other than horror stories from people. No-one told me that breastfeeding reduces the chances of ear infections, diabetes and obesity for the child, no-one told me that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer for mum. And I know from speaking to other mums that I'm not the only one that was in the dark about this.

We have to keep talking about breastfeeding, and we have to keep spreading a positive message about it. We can't stop just because some people are "sick of hearing about it." Future parents deserve the chance to make an informed decision about how they plan to feed their babies. Future mums deserve support, help and information when they need it. And not just to think that it's something that women used to do.

11 comments

  1. Amen!!! If I hadn't been lucky with a baby who breastfed like a pro from day 1, I would've given up. I actually almost did about a week in, because even the midwives and health visitors didn't tell me about nipple shields; my mother-in-law did. The resources need to be there! I remember being in the postnatal ward and being the only woman on the ward over 2 days who left breastfeeding because when women couldn't get a good latch or had issues, the midwives didn't have the time or resources to help them, other than giving them an electric pump to use. It's sad and true, and it could be so much more natural and easy if women simply had more SUPPORT. Thank you so much for posting this! I'm going to share it!!

    Dani
    Munchie Mummy

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    1. Oh thanks so much for your comment Dani! Support is so so important and it saddens me that a lot of women just don't have any x

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  2. Thanks for the article. Support is vital but confidence in yourself can't be underestimated. I breastfed my eldest until she was 13 months, she went straight to a cup; my second had a bottle introduced at 9 months on the advice of my GP but I continued with breastfeeding as well until she was one. My third- and fourth- were twins! I breastfed them too though it was a whole different ball game with two babies. However I managed it until they were 11 weeks and was pleased with this. So basically I'd say each baby (ies!) is different, and what works with one may not work with another. Just give it your best, if you want to, and relax........ :-)

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    1. Thanks so much! Wow twins, amazing! xx

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  3. I completely agree - information and support is really important. If a parent has made a decision not to breastfeed, then that should be respected, but if a parent does want to breastfeed and is let down by lack of support or resources, then that is a problem. I think what Jamie was saying when he said that breastfeeding is easy is right, in terms of once you have got to grips with it, it is. When you and your baby are confident and breastfeeding is established, it is far, far easier than bottle feeding. But it's getting to that point that can be difficult for a lot of people.

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    1. Yes you are absolutely right about that, and I do think that is what Jamie Oliver meant, too. Mums (and Dads) having the support and information they need is so vital, it can really be the make or break for some people's breastfeeding journeys x

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  4. Fantastic post Sian!! Well done and thank you for posting. You are so right. I was so so lucky that we have an amazing breastfeeding support service near us, with one particular leady with years of experience who was there whenever I had a problem. She is truly amazing. But I had to go searching for the information. Like you say, I just thought it was something archaic. My Mum never breastfed and I didn't know anyone else who had for more than a few weeks.
    My little boy is 20 months old now and I am still breastfeeding, and I trained as a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter myself a year ago because I was so determined to try to give something back. As you say, we have to keep talking about it and making sure the information and support is there for those who need and want it.
    Lovely post X

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    1. Thank you so much, Rebecca! The support can make such a difference to so many mums, but having the information there in the first place is really, really important. Someone said I was stupid to have thought that breastfeeding was old-fashioned, but without anyone to pass on the knowledge and in the face of so much advertising, how would I - and others - know? xx

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  5. I wholeheartedly agree. I also think mum's should be educated on the fact that sometimes it doesn't work and support put in place when this happens. I was under the impression from my NCT course that once I got the latch sorted it would be easy. I was taught all the benefits and had hopes of feeding my little girl for a year just like my mum fed me. No one warned me that sometimes your milk supply isn't enough. And sometimes however hard you pump very little comes out. I've been combination feeding for 15 weeks so far and feel like we're coming to an end which I'm not emotionally ready for. Much more support is needed for mum's that choose to breastfeed.

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  6. I wholeheartedly agree. I also think mum's should be educated on the fact that sometimes it doesn't work and support put in place when this happens. I was under the impression from my NCT course that once I got the latch sorted it would be easy. I was taught all the benefits and had hopes of feeding my little girl for a year just like my mum fed me. No one warned me that sometimes your milk supply isn't enough. And sometimes however hard you pump very little comes out. I've been combination feeding for 15 weeks so far and feel like we're coming to an end which I'm not emotionally ready for. Much more support is needed for mum's that choose to breastfeed.

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  7. I recently posted on my local bumps & babies Facebook group seeking support about breastfeeding after a breast reduction. I received 3 replies on a group that usually replies into the hundreds. The ladies who replied just copied and pasted some information from the web. No one on the group had advice.

    When I was pregnant with my first, my NCT group had no wise words of wisdom, neither did my midwife or GP. Again I was left with information via the internet. Predominately American sites.

    I agree there is not much help out their for women wanting to breastfeed. So when you can't, or don't know how too. When someone shouts 'breast is best' at you, you can't help getting mad and upset. And you place that anger at the Mum rather than at the lack of education.

    Every woman should be offered help before and after birth to make the right decisions for them and their baby. And we should celebrate that our babies are being loved and fed the way we know best x

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