South Australian comedian Anthony “Lehmo” Lehmann has spoken about his wife’s struggle with breastfeeding their baby.
He was talking to co-host Jo Stanley on their Gold 104.3 radio show about the “pressure put on new mums when it comes to breastfeeding over bottle feeding”.
“It’s everywhere. All the literature you read, the stuff issued by the government, it all says ‘breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed and here are the benefits of breastfeeding’,” Lehmann said. “But what that ignores is the pressure it puts on mothers who are unable to produce the milk and how that makes these mothers feel.”
He said his wife, television producer Kelly Kearney, tried breastfeeding and wasn’t sure it was working until their newborn son Laddie started losing weight.
"Kel tried for days and days and days and wasn't sure if it's working - because you don't know, you've never done it before. After four days, we weighed our son and he'd lost a third of his body weight," Lehmann said.
"And then Kel tried a pump and no milk was coming out so we hadn't fed him for four days. How do you think my wife felt? She's thinking: 'I'm starving my baby'."
Lehmann and Kearney have a son called Laddie Buster Lehmann who was born in July, 2016.
Their experience showed Lehmann how damaging the expectation around breastfeeding can be for new mums, and the babies involved.
He said feeding babies, no matter how it's done, should be the most important thing.
"Just feed your baby - that should be the number one guideline over and above everything else. Feed your baby," he said.
LISTEN: Lehmo talks about his wife's struggle with breast feeding. Post continues below.
His co-host Stanley, who is a mother of one, agreed. She said it's time we stopped judging women for the choices they've made, because breastfeeding can be difficult for many women for a number of different reasons.
"It may be because the baby isn't latching on and not able to feed," she said. "It may be because you're in a great deal of pain and you're not able to feed yourself or the milk isn't being produced. There're lots of different reasons."
Stanley said she wasn't breastfed as a baby and she has not experienced any of the issues - such as allergies or diabetes - that the literature often reference.
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The pair also referenced the story on Tuesaday night's episode of The Project, where one mother, Madeleine Morris, said she "was never embarrassed breastfeeding in public. I was embarrassed pulling out a bottle because of the judgement that goes along with it."
It's pressure that is heartbreaking and unnecessary and, most of all, dangerous.