Breast is best. Bottle is fine. Blah Blah Blah. Can’t we just stop talking about the subject?
Jamie Oliver recently hit the headlines with his controversial comments on breastfeeding. If you read what he actually said, it really isn’t all that shocking.
Lets just be clear about what he really said shall we?
We have the worst breastfeeding in the world. If you breastfeed for more than six months, women are 50% less likely to get breast cancer. When do you ever hear that? Never. It’s easy, it’s more convenient, it’s more nutritious, it’s better, it’s free.
Not exactly ground breaking was it? It’s mostly facts that anyone with half a brain already knew – although I admit it’s slightly dubious for a man to state that it’s easy. Nobody is chewing on his nipples after all.
When I was pregnant (both times) I was bombarded with information from my midwives, doctors and health visitor on breastfeeding based on medical facts and good solid research. As most pregnant women do, I also googled the subject and found a wealth of information at my fingertips. After weighing up my options I chose to bottle feed one of my children and I chose to breast feed the other one. I made these decisions based on a mixture of the information and how I felt at that time. And guess what? Both of my children are thriving, healthy and happy and there is no way you could tell which one had formula and which one had breast milk.
The point I’m making is that once women have been provided with the factual information that breast milk is a healthier option for mother and baby (stop hating me, it’s a fact) by their health care professionals then why can’t we just leave it there. There doesn’t need to be any more debate on the subject – the majority of women are more than capable of making their own decision about what is best for their babies, bodies and mental health as a whole without being cajoled and emotionally blackmailed into feeding one way or the other. I’m not referring to support here. If a woman has made the decision that she wants to breastfeed her baby, then she needs and should be provided with plenty of support. In fact, whatever way a woman decides to feed her baby, she should be provided with plenty of support.
It’s the debate over which method is best that I am referring to. I challenge you to walk into any school and pick out which children were breast fed and which were bottle fed. Name any influential, inspirational or brilliant person you can think of. Do you ask if their mother breastfed them? No. You can’t tell and ultimately, whilst one is marginally better for babies, it doesn’t matter.
Give the mother the facts. Let her make the decision that is best for her and her baby and lets do away with all the debate that goes on around feeding babies because quite frankly, it’s getting on my tits.