Time to ditch breast is best?

I haven’t been on the blog for a while as to be honest I haven’t been feeling all that funny. Anyway I’m back with a post about the politics of breastfeeding which let’s face it is a goldmine of comedy material.

Classic bants. Or whatever the youngsters are saying these days.

Let me make my position perfectly clear from the start. I have boobs. Two of them, they’re fantastic. I would post a picture of them skipping joyfully through the garden but we have elderly neighbours. My fabulous bazoomers have fed two children. Don’t worry both those children were mine. It was hard work but I didn’t mind because I once went to a drop in breastfeeding clinic and saw another mum with infected nipples and I realised should probably just shut the fuck up.

My position is this: I do not give a shit how anyone else chooses to feed their baby.

But I do worry that the politics surrounding the way we choose to feed our babies is making the whole experience even more stressful for new mums. On average every 30 minutes a new mum will be thinking about the following things.

  1. Is it normal to be this tired?

  2. Am I doing the right thing for my baby?

  3. I’d really like to hear what Simon Rimmer off of that thing that’s on on a Sunday thinks about those amber teething necklaces.

  4. Wow my baby is fucking gorgeous, I feel bad for all the other mums with their averagely cute babies, they must be looking at mine and shitting their pants.

  5. Is my baby feeding enough?

  6. I wonder what I’m missing at work? I’ll just log into Facebook – Oh God it’s all kicking off, someone’s been eating Sue’s gluten free biscuits and the phones are down.  Glad I don’t have to deal with all that important stuff I’ll just stay on the sofa and concentrate on raising an entire new fucking human being.

  7. Mmmm biscuits.

  8. Oh God I really hope I’m doing the right thing for my baby. Am I eating too many biscuits?

  9. Maybe tonight will be the night my baby sleeps through.

  10. How the hell did my mum manage all those years ago without Netflix?

  11. Ooh Sally is wearing makeup, how has she managed that? Shit! Is her baby already sleeping through?  Oh and Jen has had her hair done. Fuck! Everyone else is doing better than me, I think I forgot to brush my teeth this morning. Is there a minimum dress code for playgroup? Am I the worst parent here?

  12. Hmm I wonder what Marco Pierre White thinks about co – sleeping?

What new mums need from society is a big warm hug, a cup of tea and a biscuit. What new mums get is a constant stream of people telling them they’re doing it wrong.

I don’t have a problem with Jamie Oliver’s comments, but then I wouldn’t would I? I was lucky, I got to make a choice I was happy with.  The backlash against him is coming from women defending their choices. People who clearly perceive that they are under attack. Why is this?

My babies were born in north London where breastfeeding was pretty much the norm,  it was only when we moved to West Yorkshire where I first  found myself the only mum breastfeeding at playgroup.  (I was also the oldest mum by almost two decades – Yay!)

I think the issue we need to deal with is this – how can we support women so they can make a choice about feeding that they are happy with?

Personally I think it’s time to ditch breast is best and start promoting choice. Knowing all the facts, applying them to your situation and then making a decision about what works for you is best. Breast is best implies that all other options are inferior. That as a mum you have offered your child cheap crappy supermarket value brand custard cream instead of a china plateful of Duchy Originals.

But breastfeeding is not just about what is in the milk. It’s also about how that milk is being served. Your Duchy Originals might not look so appetizing thrown at you by a waitress who is tearful, stressed and appears to have cabbage sprouting from her bra.

I said I don’t give a shit how anyone else chooses to feed their baby. The important part of that sentence is the choice. Allowing new mums to make a confident decision about how best to feed their baby so that when someone in the public eye makes a comment about breastfeeding no one feels like they’re being attacked.

Let’s not keep kicking Jamie Oliver, there is an issue here, why do we have such low rates of breastfeeding?  I’m quite happy for Jamie to use his position in the public eye to support my tits, like a comfy celebrity shaped bra that could knock up a tasty dinner.

Seriously who wouldn’t want one of those?

4 thoughts on “Time to ditch breast is best?

  1. Jamie’s position ignores the fact that some women don’t breastfeed because they can’t. I simply didn’t make enough milk with my first child. My doctor passed the issue off matter-of-factly: “Just give her formula.” But the internet, and judgy outsiders, had me doubting myself; had I really tried hard enough? So I struggled for four months, causing both of us extreme stress, before I finally gave up and let her drink her formula in peace. We were both happier for it, and she grew up to be an extremely healthy child. I didn’t forgive myself, though, until I had a second child and finally produced more than a few drops of breast milk. Only then did it sink in that my inability to nurse my daughter wasn’t some failure on my part.

    I would say, having been on both sides of the issue, that we need to stop declaring “breast is best” (and for Pete’s sake, get that slogan off the formula ads — I felt guilty enough as it is) and start supporting breastfeeding mothers more. Seems like people want babies to be breastfed, but not from actual breasts. (Maybe that’s just an American thing?) Sorry…my kid hates bottles. And I can’t just stay home until he weans.

    Everywhere I go, I see people eating. Not just in restaurants, but in stores, cars, on the street. Everywhere, really, but bathrooms. I never see anyone eating in a public restroom. (Not even in college, where you see all sorts of odd things.) Yet I am supposed to go feed my son there? Yeah, no. And the nursing cover thing only worked for me until my son gained sufficient hand-eye coordination to throw the cover into my Mexican dinner. So I nurse wherever he is hungry, and just ignore the glares I get for daring to show a little side-boob in an unsexy manner.

    Rather than “breast is best,” Jamie might try reminding people that babies are people, too, and that breasts exist to feed them. If everyone could simply wrap their minds around those two concepts, we might actually get somewhere.

  2. What Jamie Oliver could do which would be super useful and helpful would be to work on ditching the stigma of breastfeeding in public. There are still too many people out there who get offended by it for some reason despite this being 2016. Making it acceptable would go a long way to supporting nursing mothers. I’m pretty sure that “not being able to go out when I want in case I have to find somewhere private to feed the baby” is a turn off for some who would breastfeed.

    And for the record, Jamie Oliver has said he’s not starting a campaign on this. It seems LBC were mixing things as usual for clickbait.

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