Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's breastfeeding comments land him in hot water
The dad of four is criticized after claiming breastfeeding is 'easy' and 'better'
The renowned chef is known for advocating healthier eating habits in his shows and bestselling books.
He is also known for the work he’s done for children’s nutrition and school lunch reform in the U.K.
But his recent interview LBC radio where he shares his views on breastfeeding (as a result of his nutrition studies) has sparked controversy.
“Probably the most upsetting thing for me at the moment, and I’m desperately trying to scrabble around to get more information on it, is breastfeeding. We have the worst breastfeeding in the world,” said Jamie, referring to low breastfeeding rates in the U.K.
“If you breastfeed for more than six months, women are 50 per cent less likely to get breast cancer. When do you ever hear that? Never. We need women to do it more,” he added.
This irked many mums for a variety of reasons. For starters: Though many agree that it is a wonderful experience if women choose it, the last thing mums need is a “man preaching about it”.
“It’s easy, it’s more convenient, it’s more nutritious, it’s better, it’s free,” continued Jamie.
Though he does make valid points. This understandably did not sit well with the radio show’s mum listeners.
Sobbing mum desperately tries to latch on her screaming baby, her raw nipples bleeding
Jamie Oliver: You’re not trying hard enough, treacle
— Amanda (@Pandamoanimum) March 18, 2016
Wow, if only I’d had Jamie Oliver to tell me breastfeeding was easy and convenient when my baby wouldn’t latch and got dehydrated!
— KJ Charles (@kj_charles) March 18, 2016
Pondering the etiquette of expressing milk in front of 8yo’s best mate. If only Jamie Oliver was here to advise
— Glosswitch (@glosswitch) March 18, 2016
And him somewhat declaring breastfeeding better alienated bottle feeding mums.
Many felt that Jamie overlooked how difficult breastfeeding can be for many mums: cracked, bleeding nipples, waking up every hour to feed your newborn, struggling when your child just won’t latch–these are just a few hurdles breastfeeding mums face.
It’s neither easy nor convenient. And it’s not in his place to declare it’s better than bottle feeding.
Jamie has yet again fired up an ongoing debate that’s constantly brewing.
Jamie’s response to the backlash
A few days after his radio show appearance, the dad of four aired his side by way of a lengthy tweet.
I’m not planning on starting a campaign around breastfeeding. pic.twitter.com/vRGi1ud8By
— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) March 18, 2016
“I understand that breastfeeding is often not easy and in some cases not even possible,” he wrote. “But just wanted to support women who do want to breastfeed and make it easier for them to do so.”
He clarified that launching a new health campaign was not his intent but that breastfeeding was “simply an area of interest” for him.
“As a father and father-to-be,” he continues, confirming that he and wife Jools are expecting their fifth child. “I would never wish to offend women or mums as I knows [sic] how incredible they are and I would get a kicking when I got home!”
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