As I'm watching an avalanche of upset mothers descending on social media to tell Jamie Oliver off for daring to bring up the subject of "breast is best", all I can think that Jamie totally missed the trick. But then again I think he doesn't know that trying to convince a mother that her parenting choice was, god forbid, bad for her kid, is frankly pointless.
I mean, we are all like it. You try and tell me that co-sleeping is bad or dangerous, and I'll show you a bunch of research articles that say otherwise. If I try to convince you that having a 6 month old sleep in a separate room is bad for their cognitive development (or whatever, I totally made it up just now) you will show me an equally impressive heap of research that proves your parenting choice was the best one.
Parents - and mothers in particular - will ALWAYS defend their parenting choices, no matter what. I think it's nature's way of ensuring we don't kill ourselves. Because we all know how overwhelming mother's guilt can be. I mean I'm typing this up right now as little one plays Minecraft downstairs and I feel so GUILTY. But if you come to me and say "playing computer games is bad for your kid" I will show you a recent research paper that says it's actually beneficial (no kidding, here it is).
So, dear Jamie, you totally missed the trick here. Don't try and convince mothers that breast is best. You will either be met with resistance from those that chose to - or had to - bottle feed, or will end up preaching to the preachers.
Instead, do what you do best. Talk to kids. Campaign for better breastfeeding and parenting education in schools, so every girl thinks about breastfeeding as their first choice. So every boy will know everything there is to know about breastfeeding and will support their partner when the time comes, and not dismiss her struggles and push for the bottle because they want her breasts for themselves.
Or campaign for tighter regulations of formula advertising, so our kids are not bombarded with the vision of happy bottle fed babies and don't know any better.
Do that Jamie, and everyone will thank you.
This post has originally appeared on Antonina's blog at mamzenko.comSuggest a correction