Jamie Oliver criticised by women for declaring he will campaign for breastfeeding

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

Kashmira Gander
Friday 18 March 2016 11:47 GMT
(Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

After successfully campaigning for quality school dinners and the introduction of a sugar tax, Jamie Oliver has announced he will now turn his efforts to encouraging women to breastfeed.

But some women have not reacted positively to the celebrity chef’s latest project.

After Chancellor George Osborne announced in the 2016 Budget that he would impose a sugar tax on the soft drinks industry, Mr Oliver told LBC radio: “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.

"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.

“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.

A recent report published in The Lancet journal found that over 800,000 children could be prevented from dying worldwide if more women breastfed. It also revealed that fewer than 1 per cent of babies were breastfed up to their first birthday in the UK.

In a call to LBC radio, a woman called Robin suggested that Mr Oliver’s comments were unnecessary and that mothers do not need his help.

“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?

“It’s the most bizarre thing.”

Other women took to Twitter to air their concerns, and highlighted that Mr Oliver risked shaming the many women cannot breastfeed, including those who have experienced breast cancer, as well as those who choose not to. Some accused him of "mansplaining".

LBC presenter Iain Dale later mirrored the caller’s comments, and accused Mr Oliver of being “very patronising”.

“There are plenty of campaign groups, there are plenty of people who are putting the case for breast feeding. Why would it be that Jamie Oliver should be the next face of persuading women to breast feed? I don’t get it.”

Mr Oliver’s announcement came after he and his wife Jools Oliver confirmed that they were expecting their fifth child.

The couple are already parents to Poppy Honey Rosie, 13, Daisy Boo Pamela, 12, Petal Blossom Rainbow, six, and Buddy Bear Maurice, five.

The TV chef, 40, told the Daily Mirror he was "really pleased" that his family was growing.

He said: "I thought we'd have a couple of kids but that's about it. Basically I do what I'm told but she's an amazing family maker and I just go with it."

But he added that he expects this to be their last child.

"I mean, it's just getting ridiculous otherwise," he said. ”This was not expected, I can't even believe I'm saying it. I think my own family were like, 'Really?“'

The couple celebrated their 15-year wedding anniversary last year.

Additional reporting by PA

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