It must be something about pregnancy that triggers a surge of hormones in Jamie Oliver. Wife Jools is pregnant with a fifth Baby Oliver so, once again, we have to endure her hubbie getting on his soapbox.
Move over Turkey Twizzlers, step aside fizzy drinks this time it’s breastfeeding because, of course, Jamie is an expert on why we need to encourage more women that “breast is best”.
This is not breaking news. From the moment they find out their pregnant to the time they deliver, mums-to-be are bombarded with information about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding for six months can cut a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer by 50%. Bottle-fed babies are at risk of long-term ill-heath, stunted growth and obesity.
It’s a totally one-sided viewpoint, a form of propaganda, hammered home by the Natural Childbirth Trust, midwives, health visitors, GPs at every stage of pregnancy.
This is totally at odds with Jamie’s belief that the reason women don’t breastfeed is due to a lack of awareness. Despite what the celebrity chef may suggest, it’s a woman’s prerogative whether she chooses to breastfeed or not. Sometimes that choice is made for her – the milk doesn’t come in, the baby doesn’t latch.
I struggled with breastfeeding with Master A. I persevered because I was a first-time mum and trusted my health visitor when she insisted everything was OK, everything would come good.
She was still pushing me to breastfeed even when my baby’s weight dropped below the healthy percentile. That’s when my instincts kicked in.
Breastfeeding just wasn’t working for us. I took matters into my own hands and, despite my health visitor’s lack of approval and support, I heated my first bottle of formula.
A woman should never feel pressurised into breastfeeding. It’s not a badge of honour. And any woman who decides to go down the bottle route shouldn’t be shunned by society – or face being patronised by a chef who made a career out of the word “pukka”.