Jamie! Leave Our Tits Alone!

feeding

Pregnant women of the UK, your time of fear and uncertainty has come to an end!

Are you considering breastfeeding, but you’re worried because you’ve heard it’s difficult? Or you’re not convinced of the benefits, even by the constant bombardment of how great it is from the moment the pee dries on the pregnancy test?

Well, fear no more! Not content with ruining the childhoods of millions of British primary schoolers, Jamie Oliver has turned up, our knight in shining armour, bringing lactation to the nation!

With a revolutionary air that suggests he’s the first person to ever think breastfeeding is pretty okay actually, he’s been quoted as saying that breastfeeding is “easy and convenient”.

Unless he said this while feeding a baby copious liquid gold from his ample bosoms, allow me to be one of many parents reacting with a cry of “bullshit!”. It’s mansplaining, pure and simple, but it’s also beyond that – it’s just really, really patronising.

If you’ve tried breastfeeding and found it super-easy and took to it like a duck to water, great. I’m really pleased for you, and I’m sure you feel very lucky to have found it so easy. But that’s what it is. It’s sheer luck as to whether a woman will take to it instantly, or take weeks and months to establish it comfortably, or never really establish it, or not try. That’s the whole basis for this stupid “mommy war” over breastfeeding – a fire that Jamie Oliver has just poured a whole heap of sugar-free, organic, expensive fuel onto.

I’ll be honest, I never saw the hype around turkey twizzlers – I didn’t like them in primary school, and now just the thought of all that gluten brings me out in a cold sweat – and I’ve never really had an opinion on Jamie Oliver either way. Lots of people swear by his recipes and think he’s great, lots think he’s irritating, false and not that great a chef. I’ve never really cared. This, however, is one debate where I think he needs to pipe down.

I’ve got no issues with people celebrating the benefits of breastmilk, and I am a vocal supporter of encouraging more useful, practical support for mums, to help them to breastfeed, as I know I would’ve benefited from that. I do, however, have a problem with some random chef bloke off the telly deciding he can tell us what we should be doing with our breasts – and telling us that it’s easy, too!

It’s like me saying “Why does anyone have wet dreams, they’re so easy to avoid!”. I can say it until the cows come home, but until I grow a penis, it just makes me sound a little bit dim. Or very dim, in the case of Jamie’s comments on something he has never done and will never do.

I’m sure breastfeeding is easy, when you’re the wife of a millionaire and you’re surrounded by people to help with the kids, can afford as long a maternity leave as you want and all the equipment and counsellors in the world to make it simpler. For us mere mortals, however, being forced back to work early, unable to afford expensive equipment and private counsellors and trying to care for other kids at the same time, I’m not sure “easy” is the right word to describe it. Ditto for “convenient”, “cheap” and “simple”.

So sorry Jamie, but I’m of the opinion that your words hold very little weight, and make you sound like – all things considered – a bit of a prick. I’ll consider retracting this statement when I see you feeding a child with your breasts.

Until then, stop presuming the right to tell me what to do with mine.

If this post has filled you with dreadful rage and you want sweet, sweet revenge, please read my latest post In Defence Of Breastfeeding before you start your quest for vigilante justice. 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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13 thoughts on “Jamie! Leave Our Tits Alone!

  1. Faye Elizabeth says:

    Boom! Suck it Jamie Oliver, you just got told!

    Brilliant, yet again, Maddy! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I agree, having to listen to men and their opinion on breastfeeding is wrong, and you’re right, patronising.
    Thanks for sharing x

    Like

  2. Becki - The Mum From Brum says:

    Nail on the head there!

    If bfing is so “easy and convenient” then why are there thousands of lactation consultants, thousands of bfing support groups? We didn’t bf for long, as it turns out it isn’t “easy” when your kids sucking mechanism is a bit weird and doctors refuse to give you bf friendly antibiotics for a post natal infection.

    Whether comments like that come from eejits like Oliver or anyone else for that matter, you realise just how small people’s view of the world is. Just cause something is easy for one person dosent make it easy for everyone. Like they used to say on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” – the questions are only easy if you know the answer.

    Like

  3. mumzilla says:

    No tits, no opinions. Or maybe we could cheese grate his nipples for 6 weeks – which is what it felt like in the 6 weeks it took me to get the hang of it. That was really f**king easy, Jamie! Idiot.

    Like

  4. min1980 says:

    I don’t know exactly what Jamie Oliver said, but I have read several angry posts about it, so I can guess the general gist of it. I presume that he was trying to add to his takeover of the world’s eating habits by saying that breastmilk is the best thing for babies, but probably didn’t realise the minefield he was getting into. I am one of the lucky ones. I am still breastfeeding my 20 month old and love it, so I guess I would be one of the ones who found it “easy,” although it wasn’t easy at all for the first few months. It was confusing, painful and hard work-but at least i didn’t have cracked nipples, mastitis, a baby with tongue tie or any other serious impediments to breastfeeding that many others have to deal with. #KCACOLS

    Like

  5. Lizzie says:

    While I think it’s great that a high profile figure is speaking up about promoting breastfeeding and improving breastfeeding rates in this country I do feel that while we don’t want to put women off trying to breastfeed because it can be difficult making too much about how ‘easy’ it is can be damaging.

    The breastfeeding advice I received before Xander’s birth was along the lines of “it will come naturally to you both, you hold him like this and he will open his mouth like this and latch on like this” and of course, he didn’t. It took a lot of tears, hard work and an extended hospital stay with a dehydrated baby before he latched on properly, and although I was able to successfully breastfeed him for almost 2 years (with the help of some formula during the really tough periods!) I still feel like I really let him down over those first few weeks, because I struggled so much with something that I had been told was so “easy”, “natural” and “instinctive” and I believe this was a large contributing factor to my developing severe PND.

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  6. Kat says:

    I love this so, so much! Especially the bit about growing a penis. That is exactly what it’s like! For me breastfeeding was tough! I managed ten days alone (proud of that) and ten weeks combination feeding before I ran out of supply. But I could only do it in one position because I have massive boobs, I wasn’t confident enough to do it in public and it was just hard. I’d still do it again in the future when I have another baby because I want to and I think I should try again but yeah, it’s not easy for everyone! Especially someone who can’t produce any milk…#kcacols

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  7. islandliving365 says:

    Haha, I have got a very similar post going live tomorrow. He really got my goat this time. Grrrrrrr. He does good cookery books but he clearly knows nothing about boobies and breastfeeding! #KCACOLS

    Like

  8. Silly Mummy says:

    This is interesting. I’ve read several articles on it today. I read a good one in the Guardian saying basically what you’re saying here. BUT I also read a compelling article in the Independent saying that people are being a bit silly and oversensitive making a fuss over this, and highlighting that bottle feeding is not exactly a silent minority. And also that in fact we do not in most areas require – & nor would it be sensible to – that people have personal experience of something to have an opinion. I fall in the middle I would say – I thought both articles made some good points. I do think that, despite being the majority, a lot of bottle feeders are made to feel a lot of guilt because of the militancy of some of the breastfeeding campaign, and the pressure with which it is pushed. I also think the necessity and benefits of breastfeeding get exaggerated a lot. On the other hand, I do think that people often also get oversensitive. Being against pressure or bullying to breastfeed is one thing. But it is also true that the sensitivity over this can sometimes result in some people also objecting to anything that is simply intended to encourage & support more people into trying breastfeeding. That is going too far the other way. It is not fair to claim that the mere act of mentioning that people breastfeed and some find it a good experience is making others feel guilty. (My feeling is that both methods should be talked about and people should be encouraged in whatever is right for them, and everyone else should stay out of it as it really doesn’t matter.) I do agree that we need to be careful about returning to the idea that men get a deciding say in things that really only affect women, but I can also see that this does not necessarily mean that men cannot have & voice opinions on things. I think Jamie probably could have thought a little more about what he said, as it was over simplistic. Asserting that something he has not tried to do is easy and convenient, when many who have done it would disagree, was foolish. But I think (and I’m really not a fan of his) he probably did not intend it to come across as a man asserting dominance over women’s bodies and decisions – I imagine he genuinely, if misguidedly, thought this was helpful and encouraging. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rachel (Lifeathomewithmrsb) says:

    I have never breast fed so i can not really comment on how easy it may or may not be. I haven’t read his article either (thank goodness!) I do wonder why he would talk about breastfeeding through being a male? Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

    Like

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