Last week was one of many when social media, the tabloids and personal blogs were awash with the endless debate over how we feed our young.
A male – yes male (shock horror) dared to suggest that infant nutrition was something we should care about. When Jamie Oliver suggested that his next focus following the sugar tax might be how important Breastfeeding is but that he needed to do further research first everyone went mad.
Half the country were outraged; How dare he? How dare he dictate how babies should be fed? How dare he suggest breastfeeding might be a good thing for our children? Breastfeeding easy – he wouldn’t have a clue! He’s mother-shaming.
The other half were excited that maybe just maybe this was someone who could really change the tide around in terms of the support & education around breastfeeding. They offered him support and encouraged him to do his research.
Everyone seemed to have an opinion to share (me included it seems!). The same arguments erupted as they always do. “There’s too much pressure”, “My child turned out just fine”, “How dare you look down on me”, and the classic name calling began which I’ve explored previously here Sticks & Stones & Breastfeeding Support.
Those that couldn’t breastfeed were quick to explain why with an air of “so there bet you feel bad now don’t you”. A very small percentage of women cannot physically exclusively breastfeed. A huge number of women are in situations were things are made difficult even nigh on impossible for them, due to societal expectations, poor support and a truck load of miss-information. Does that mean we stop talking about Breastfeeding? Does that mean we should stop supporting women who wish to breastfeed to do so? Does that mean we should stop sharing information and research about Breastfeeding? Of course not. Sharing information is just that – it’s not a dig at someone, it’s not a judgement.
One thing all the reams of articles and posts seem to have in common is this – support. Support for those breastfeeding and support for those who long to breastfeed but for whatever reasons things don’t work out as planned. When you wade through the anger, the guilt, the pain what you come out with is scores of women who felt unsupported or miss-informed with their choices. I really wish we could look beyond our own personal experiences and beyond the here and now and instead look ahead. I want to research and be informed and lay foundations as a country that mean the health of my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren and all the generations to come are as good as they possibly can be. I don’t care if you have boobs or not, if you have children or not, infant nutrition is and should be everyone’s business and we should each be thinking way beyond our own personal experiences.
Jamie Oliver – I hope you still go and do your research and that you are able to look beyond the anger & pain surrounding infant feeding and can instead help us all to focus upon the science and the health of our future generations.