Jamie Oliver Mansplains Breastfeeding: It's 'Easy' And 'Better'

by Maria Guido
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20: Jamie Oliver presents the award for Best Factual Entertainment at the 21st National Television Awards at The O2 Arena on January 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Jamie Oliver wants women to breastfeed more

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is known for his campaigns for healthier eating. He’s done wonders for children’s nutrition and school lunch reform. After successfully campaigning for a “sugar tax” in the UK, he’s turned his attention to breastfeeding.

And it’s seriously pissing women off.

“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,” he told LBC radio. “We have the worst breastfeeding in the world,” he said, speaking of breastfeeding rates in the UK. “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.

Breastfeeding can be a wonderful thing for women, and they should get all the support they need if they choose to go that route. No one is arguing that. Better access to education and support is a must. What we don’t need is a male celebrity chef preaching to women about it. We don’t need that at all. Not even a little bit, Jamie.

“It’s easy, it’s more convenient, it’s more nutritious, it’s better, it’s free,” said the 40-year-old father of four.

It’s easy? Mkay. Tell that to my cracked, bleeding nipples. Methinks Jamie has never had an infant try to rip his nipple off with their teeth. Or had to wake up every hour through the night to feed a newborn on demand. Or had to struggle feeding a child who would not latch.

It’s convenient? Oh, totally. It was super convenient when I had to go back to waitressing full time when my kid was two months old, there was no where to pump, and I had to go into the bathroom and milk myself over the sink so my boobs wouldn’t explode. That was super convenient.

It’s free? No. Time is money, dude. You should know that, celebrities are notorious for gouging for appearances. Nothing is free.

It’s better. What kind of argument is that, even? “I, world famous celebrity MALE chef declare that breastfeeding is better than bottle feeding. The end.”

No one is disputing the nutritional value of breastmilk. No one is saying breastfeeding isn’t great for bonding. But formula provides nutrition and you can damn well bond over a bottle. Ask any father out there. Ask any exclusive pumper. Ask anyone who was unable to breastfeed. The way to go about breastfeeding reform is not by spouting statistics at women urging them to breastfeed. There are so many factors involved in they way families decide to feed their children.

It’s as if Jamie read a pamphlet somewhere, had an AHA! moment, and decided that people everywhere had no clue how good breastmilk is for babies. We know, Jamie. We know. That is not the issue. If you want to campaign for breastfeeding — direct your celebrity-speak at hospitals, urging them to provide lactation consultants and support. Direct it at businesses who may not provide the accommodations needed to support new moms.

Some annoyed moms who called into the radio show after Jamie’s “women should do it more” comment hit the nail on the head:

“We didn’t know what to do with our nipples until Jamie Oliver popped his head above the parapet.”

“He’s so annoying. Who did not know that breast milk was the best thing for their baby?”

Yes, thank you for mansplaining breastfeeding to us, Jamie. Thank you so much.