Ashley James Breastfeeds on The Jeremy Vine Showby Laura Driver
I believe in the right to choose how your baby is fed and that fed is best, whether that be breast or bottle. No one should be shamed for where or how they choose to do that.
The stigma and judgment cast upon mothers breastfeeding their children while going about their day to day lives could explain why the breastfeeding rate in the UK is so low. This week Ashley James breastfed live on The Jeremy Vine show.
The presenter and DJ appeared on the show, alongside Talk Radio host James Max, to discuss the difficulties mothers face balancing work and parenting and whether they should take their children to work.
She was going to leave Alfie in the green room, with her partner, during the segment, but needs must and six months old Alfie wanted to feed. So Ashley fed him during the show, without pause.
She said, "This wasn't planned, he was meant to be in the green room, but I guess this is the thing when you've got to feed, you've got to feed, and I didn't want it to get in the way of my career". Jeremy asked Ashley if she wanted privacy, but Ashley refused, and they moved on with the show.
Ashley and Jeremy then listened to journalist Angela share her view on why she thinks breastfeeding is "intimate". Angela said, "These babies grow up, and it is not chip paper anymore. Things you post online live forever". Angela added that she thinks her adult children would be horrified looking back at breastfeeding photos of them that had been shared online.
Shocked by the comments, Ashley commented, "I think you're proving why there's so much stigma and shame around breastfeeding, the thought that we would be horrified to find out that we were breastfed! Boobs have been so hyper-sexualised. We can look at a lingerie advert, that's fine, but we can't feel comfortable breastfeeding?"
Ashley added "I think it shows why the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world because there is still so much shame and stigma around breastfeeding. When I have spoken to other mums the thought for them of having to breastfeed in public is one of the reasons why they don't carry on breastfeeding."
Ashley went onto discuss how difficult it is for some women to manage their career and motherhood "54000 every year are having to walk away from jobs, can't get part-time or flexible working."
This isn't the first time that Ashley has come under fire for breastfeeding. Earlier this year, she was trolled for posting selfies to her Instagram feed. Ashley said, "it's not attention-seeking. It's feeding a hungry baby."
We'd love to know what you think. Do you think mothers should breastfeed in private or feed their children wherever they are? Should Ashley have stopped her appearance and left the studio to feed Alfie?