This is not an article to shame the non-breastfeeding mums out there. This is not an article to say breast is always best as I know this isn’t always true but patience, I’ll get here. This is an article about people with a certain reputation and a fair amount of parenting experience who are using it for a noble cause and we all must see beyond grievances and regrets of our own experience.
First, I’m doubtless that Jamie Oliver’s comments didn’t come as a blitzkrieg on women who can’t or couldn’t breastfeed. I’m also convinced he wouldn’t use such a hot sensitive topic for his own publicity (as many have presupposed) but to encourage the journey itself that many of us feel overwhelmed with or sometimes don’t pay enough attention to. And I would certainly not name his call a man slapping but good advice for the British new mums community, especially for our future women generations who may face the same challenges we did yet hopefully, they will be more informed and motivated to extend the breastfeeding experience for longer.
There’s only one conclusion I got to after 2 full years of breastfeeding (now going through toddlerhood which never thought it could happen): breastfeeding is the healthiest option, but the sad truth is that many women fail to do it for various reasons. I personally know women who struggled a lot and wished to be able to breastfeed (I am excluding here the ones who coudn’t do it for any health related reasons and my heart goes to them). I know new mums who pumped day and night, read all the books they could find on this subject, went to all lactation consultants and doulas, I know women who went to church to pray hoping they will find answers. They all did everything by the book but it simply didn’t work for them. Can’t express how much respect I have for you, amazing ones! I know the process itself has ups and downs, good days, blue days, sore nipples, horrendous eye circles, terrible lack of sleep and more often, a biting teething baby attached to these all.
So you go, Jamie! They say you don’t have boobs so you shouldn’t speak but really, even though you don’t own a pair of the sore nipples to give to a hungry tiny mouth, I say you do. Because you have a wife you’re co-parenting with and you both have learnt valuable lessons sometimes the easy way, sometimes the hard way just like the rest of us. And I’m sure breastfeeding was one of them. You go, Jamie, teaching families about the goodness of cooked meals, supporting the tax on sugar, teachings children about sustainable sources, working hard on food revolution projects all over the world and now talking about breastfeeding. You were brave enough to open up on such an emotional subject and I’m overjoyed that powerful voices like yours are used to do good, your breastfeeding comments being related to a better children’s diet understanding which goes even further, towards making childhood obesity risks known. Not because you’re a chef and you’re supposed to know food like a doctor knows how to read a scan, but because you’re a parent too.If this is just the scary surface, underneath it all our genuine efforts of promoting and supporting breastfeeding will make it all worth. I thought I should add some of my favourite photos I have while breastfeeding which I already shared on a previous breastfeeding post, simply because they captured the essence of a glorious journey, despite also being a roller coaster adventure with lots of mixed feelings, white nights and a fair amount of disbelief, full of people asking or suggesting I should stop at some point. Also full of amazing supporters of its extended or public versions too (I could easily add some of the poor pixeled ones taken by my better half at 3am when nursing and complaining about having to wake up every 2 hours, yet I wouldn’t want to scare away any of the future mums, believe me, darlings, it’s not always as bad as it look…breastfeeding can be one of the best bonding moments between you and your child).
This was an article for our future mothers who should not give up breastfeeding because it may be more convenient or less stressful or simply because they don’t fully understand its benefits.
So you go, Jamie…If you need more pairs of breasts to make a better point, you can have mine. And so many other mothers’ I know.