Gisele Bundchen, We Don’t Need a Breastfeeding Law — Mothers Need Resources and Encouragement

by Dagmar Bleasdale on August 15, 2010

I was sitting next to The Feminist Breeder and the Crunchy Domestic Goddess, watching Annie of PhD in Parenting on a panel about “radical” blogging a week ago at the BlogHer conference, when I first heard about the uproar that resulted from model Gisele Bundchen calling for a “breastfeeding law.”

I adore those three bloggers for being eloquent breastfeeding advocates — I was so excited I got to meet and chat with them — and we all participated in the No Nestle boycott at BlogHer and educated others attendees about it.

Apparently, this quote by Gisele appeared in an interview for Harper’s Bazaar UK:

“To Gisele Bundchen, breastfeeding isn’t just beneficial… it’s essential, and should be international law. “I think breastfeeding really helped me keep my figure,” Bundchen, 30, tells Harper’s Bazaar UK. … She adds, “Some people here (in the US) think they don’t have to breastfeed, and I think ‘Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?’ I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.” [Us]

Since there obviously isn’t going to be such a law in the United States, I’m not even going to get into that aspect. (Although, this just in: Indonesian mums who do not breastfeed may face jail Yikes!)

I don’t know if her quote was taken out of context. I assume Gisele, as a new mom, is just exited about being able to breastfeed her son and passionate about her experience with breastfeeding, and since I can relate to that, I’m going to give the woman a break. It sounds like she wishes more women would breastfeed, and I’m all for that.

I don’t know Gisele, so I won’t speak for her — I’m just glad that breastfeeding gets a lot of attention right now because of her comment and has people talking. I hope that by breastfeeding being covered more in the media, there will be more information about it and that we will finally get to the point where more moms breastfeeding their children (longer) and nursing in public (NIP) becomes a common sight and the norm.

As you know, I am a HUGE, outspoken breastfeeding advocate, and I hope that all this uproar leads to the one thing I have been adamant about and working for since starting my blog: moms need more support and education and (free) resources to facilitate (extended) breastfeeding.

Although The World Health Organization now recommends breastfeeding a child for two years for maximum benefits, and the American Academy of Pediatrics promotes “exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond,” most of society still doesn’t seem to be aware of these recommendations or doesn’t take it serious enough. Sadly, myths like breast milk not having any nutritional value after one years pervade and persist in the collective conscience.

I didn’t have an easy time with breastfeeding in the beginning, and if I wouldn’t have found the right lactation consultant after two weeks of painful feeding sessions and little sleep, who knows, I might have given up. I am SO glad I didn’t. I’m still breastfeeding my now almost 4 year old and it’s one of my proudest accomplishments in life that I’m able to nourish him and comfort him and give him this great start in life with it (please note that I specifically didn’t say “best” start, I don’t want to get into that discussion with formula-feeding moms.)

Unicef has official numbers about how important breastfeeding babies is: according to them, promoting breastfeeding has saved 6 million babies per year – that’s 3,000 per day.

A recent study says that 900 US infants could be saved each year — along with billions of dollars of health care costs — if breastfeeding was more common (ie. 90%), which means that almost three babies die every day primarily because they were not breastfed — in the US! Here is just one quote from the Associated Press article:

“The magnitude of health benefits linked to breast-feeding is vastly underappreciated, said lead author Dr. Melissa Bartick, an internist and instructor at Harvard Medical School. Breast-feeding is sometimes considered a lifestyle choice, but Bartick calls it a public health issue.”

 

And please don’t forget, there are so many health benefits for moms who nurse their babies! As you can read in that New York Times article, women who breastfeed more than a year “were 20 percent less likely to have diabetes, 12 percent less likely to have hypertension, 19 percent less likely to have high cholesterol and 9 percent less likely to have had a heart attack or a stroke…” I also have a much lower risk of certain cancers because I breastfeed my son, and all those benefits increase the longer I nurse him.

 

McKMama, just posted her thoughts about Gisele Bundchen’s — and Bethenny Frankel’s — comments, and I’m glad that she did since she has a huge audience. As of today, that post generated 362 comments! Naturally, I poured over the comments and as expected, many of them are from moms who express how distraught they are about not being able to breastfeed their children for various reasons. As I have seen countless times since educating myself about breastfeeding over the last four years, many moms who end up feeding their children formula feel guilty and attacked when breastfeeding is being hailed as the only right thing to do for their children.

My stance on that: every mom wants to do the best for her child, and if you gave breastfeeding a try and you ended up using formula for one reason or another, only you can judge if you did everything you could before switching to formula. If you know you did  the right thing for your child’s and your own (physical and emotional) well-being, then there is no reason to feel attacked.

I’m not going to judge women for using formula — but I’m going to continue fighting for women to have more information and (free) resources about breastfeeding to increase their chances for success with it, because as most women find out, it’s not that easy.

Reading all the comments about McKMama’s post made one thing very clear again: most women want to — and do — give breastfeeding a try, but they don’t have enough support and resources when they run into problems with it. Those moms who gave up breastfeeding don’t love their children any less, they mostly just weren’t armed with the right information at that critical time — during the first few days and weeks of their baby’s life.

I sigh when I read “I couldn’t produce enough milk” or “it just hurt so much” because most likely those moms could have been easily helped. There are things one can do to increase the milk supply, like nursing exclusively and on demand especially in the beginning to establish a sufficient milk supply or drinking Mother’s Milk tea. I’m not a lactation specialist, but I have read and heard enough in the last four years to know that the most common problem with breastfeeding is a poor latch. Having personally experienced how easily that can be remedied (in my case by a well-trained, knowledgeable lactation specialist), I know that many other moms would have benefited from help with their baby’s latch and could have continued to nurse without discomfort. Also, having the number of your local La Leche League leader handy before the baby’s arrival can make a huge difference. This organization is lead by moms who volunteer to help other moms — for free — with breastfeeding.

How sad it is that we so rarely see a nursing mom in public. Moms shouldn’t feel ashamed to breastfeed in public or around family members — they should be applauded! I am so proud to be breastfeeding my son that I have always done it in public — without covering up — but not every new mother is that comfortable with it and could use an encouraging glance instead of raised eyebrows.

We don’t need a law to mandate breastfeeding — new moms feel overwhelmed enough and torn into so many directions, especially if they have to go back to work after only a few weeks at home with their baby. This is what we need:

  • We need to educate boys and men about the advantages of breastfeeding so they support women in their breastfeeding efforts
  • We need to educate all doctors — especially male ones — so much more about breastfeeding; many of them are not correctly informed (no, cavities are not caused by breast milk!)
  • We need gynecologist to encourage breastfeeding and arm expecting moms with easily accessible information and resources (like the free support of the La Leche League)
  • We need a law that lets new moms stay at home longer with their babies to facilitate (extended) breastfeeding (in Germany, new moms can stay at home with their kids for up to three years and their job will be held for them during that time!)
  • If we as a society are truly committed to do the best thing for mothers’ and babies’ health, we need a ban of formula samples. What about formula companies only being allowed to give out information about their products if they also provide women with brochures filled with information and resources about breastfeeding (not written by formula companies but the AAP, WHO, or La Leche League)? My doula gave me a great tip I have repeated many times to expecting moms: if you are given formula samples, decline them or throw them away. Don’t have formula in the house, then you won’t be tempted to used it when you run into problems with breastfeeding
  • I’d love to see employers give nursing moms extra break time for pumping. Having to spend their break for pumping leads to many moms giving up breastfeeding because they never get a break and are exhausted

While researching for numbers on how much formula costs have increased in recent years — it’s something line 200 percent — I came across this report: “Concerns About Infant Formula Marketing and Additives” by the California WIC Association (March 2010). It states:

“Troubling pricing trends and marketing practices in the infant formula industry continue to threaten basic public health… Infant formula companies battle for market share against a unique product: breast milk, a living food that contains hundreds of active biological substances that cannot be manufactured and are not present in infant formula. As breastfeeding rates have slowly and steadily increased, particularly among low-income women, the formula industry has grown more aggressive in its attempt to regain market share, particularly by pushing formula supplementation… In 1994, the United States signed on to a nonbinding International Code for Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes of the World Health Organization, which prohibits direct marketing of infant formula to mothers and health care providers. However, there are increasing reports that U.S. formula companies are violating this WHO Code through a number of means: routine and widespread direct marketing, including saturation advertising to mothers with billboards and magazine ads; detail marketing to healthcare providers; and provision of free formula to new and expectant mothers via discount coupons, direct free shipments of formula, and hospital discharge packs…growth in the domestic infant formula market is primarily being driven by price increases, not by the quantity of formula sold. To maintain profitability, formula manufacturers have raised their prices by creating a dizzying array of new product lines and additives that come with attractive—though scientifically questionable—health claims… The most disturbing direct advertising for these more expensive “new” formulas subtly undermines the obvious and proven superiority of breastfeeding by positioning formula as more and more equivalent to breast milk…”

The bottom line is this: it is in all our best interest that babies get breastfed by their mothers. Breastfed babies are in general healthier, and their mothers are healthier as well (decreased chance to get certain illnesses and cancers). Millions of dollars in health care costs could be allotted for other illnesses if more babies were breastfed. Did you know that the U.S. cost of treating respiratory viruses resulting from not breastfeeding is $225 million a year alone (Mothering Magazine article)?

Lets do everything in our power to facilitate that new moms get the best chance to succeed with breastfeeding!

For free resources, information, and a list of blogs about breastfeeding, check out the Dagmar’s momsense breastfeeding page.

Here is Dr. Jay Gordon’s take on the Gisele breastfeeding law controversy.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Bee August 22, 2010 at 9:42 PM

Great post! I still have a breastfeeding post in my drafts that I started during world breastfeeding week but haven’t gotten around to finishing it.
I consulted with lc’s a plenty, but could never achieve an adequate supply. However, I am still nursing at just shy of 18 months, and have been pumping my body with “a bunch of drugs to hopefully squeeze out a few drops of so-called “natural” breast milk”, as well as having to supplement with formula. I thank god every day for formula. I know my little girl would have died without it since I could not, despite drinking the teas, pumping, taking the fenugreek, taking the drugs, etc., supply my little girl with an adequate supply. I was also thankful for being able to bring formula home with me from the hospital because it ended up coming in very handy.

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semi-crunchy mama August 20, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Excellent post! Well researched and well thought out. I couldn’t agree more.

We’ve encountered more problems than I expected nursing #2 (colic, recurrent thrush, food intolerances) and it definitely hasn’t been as easy of a journey as I thought it would be. I am so thankful I have a strong support system. I wish everyone did!

To the mom who says free formula samples are a “god-send,” what about when those samples run out and you have to pay for insanely over-priced formula? Companies give out samples for one reason only and that reason is to lure you in to buying their product. And giving samples out haphazardly is not only again WHO code, but places doubt in the minds of moms who are trying so hard with breastfeeding. That’s why mine disappeared with #1. Somehow I never got any with #2.

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sue August 17, 2010 at 8:05 AM

As an adoptive mom, I am exceedingly grateful that the formula companies have developed products that are safe and extremely nourishing for infants.

And I am glad that they all strive to make their products as close to natural breast milk as possible, and that the market forces keep them incented to continually improve. If you ban formula, or make it very hard to get, then you will only see sub-standard products on the market. And that does nothing to improve the health of the millions of babies that cannot be breast fed – perhaps because they are adopted, perhaps because their mother is on medication that would make her milk toxic, or perhaps because the frustration of unsuccessful breast feeding is overwhelming the new mom with anxiety.

As an adoptive mom, you would think I’d be exempt of the judgements of the breastfeeders — after all, I CAN’T breastfeed my son as I was never pregnant and did not give birth to me. Yet, that did not stop countless people from scolding me as I bought bottles at the store, or from La Leche types suggesting that I pump my body full of non-FDA approved drugs in an attempt to induce lactation. And that’s where I know the “health” and “natural” isn’t necessarily what’s underlying some of the pro-breast fervor, but instead a competition as to who is the best mom and cares the most about her child. Seriously, these folks would suggest I do something that is incredibly unnatural — take a bunch of drugs to hopefully squeeze out a few drops of so-called “natural” breast milk? Are you kidding me?

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stephanie August 17, 2010 at 12:17 AM

Dagmar,

I saw this story when I came it out and I do believe that more support is needed to enable women to nurse that desire it. One thing would be to start lobbying for paid leave in the USA. It is often hard for women who must and I repeat must go back to work to be available to BF.I know that one clause of the new health care bill was to require employers to provide a place for a woman to pump. While good in theory I dont see how this will be feasable to some businesses especially small ones, seems paid maternity leave at least for 3-6 monthes minimum a year would be ideal would work best than pumping every few hours. But I dont oppose the new mandate only time will tell how it works out. As far as formula lowering the infant mortality rate. When it was invented in the late 19th and early 20th century, women were still dying in childbirth frequently and supply issues were an issue then too. If one was not wealthy enough to hire a wet nurse because of these circumstances the child often passed from starvation even though some may have survived on goat milk etc.Less infants died because of failure to thrive after the invention of formula. One does take into improvements in sanitation and vaccnination that combating the common diseases that children died from as well. I dont view formula as medication but as food, the same as breastmilk. The difference is one is sythentic and one natural. Breastmilk is only as good as the diet and habits of the mother. Formula would be superior than the BM of a woman who smokes, doesnt eat properly or uses illicit drugs etc. I personally am dismayed that groups like LLL advocate BF while smoking over using infant formula. While BM may be ideal for some it may not be better given the circumstances.

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Dagmar August 17, 2010 at 4:57 AM

Hi Stephanie,

thank you for your comment, but I need to clarify one point: breast milk has always the same composition, regardless of mom’s diet! I can’t speak for how smoking affects breast milk, but if the diet of the moms isn’t good, that doesn’t affect the baby’s, only the mom’s health. I’m sure the La Leche League, with their many years of education and research, would not advocate BF while smoking if it wouldn’t still be superior than giving formula.

Dagmar

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Em August 16, 2010 at 9:07 PM

“Formula lowered the infant mortality rate.”

It did not. Here is just one article about it (from CBS news): http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/05/health/main6364292.shtml

Formula is a tool that is necessary in some situations. I look at it as medication. A mother would take herself and/or give medication to her child to save his/her life, even if there were side effects. The mother would have to accept the side effects and move on. Formula absolutely has side effects and raises the risks of many things. Breastfeeding is just the baseline – it doesn’t make illnesses go away, it just makes people who they were meant to be. I have friends who struggled with breastfeeding and had to use formula – and they understand the risks they introduced, and they are still breastfeeding supporters. More support for moms and more information for the world at large is needed. Thanks for your post, Dagmar.

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Stephanie August 16, 2010 at 6:43 AM

“Stephanie who said “formula samples are a godsend for those who are on a limited income as it is expensive”. BREAST MILK is FREE!! Enough said.”
Natasha,
Im low income and guess what I couldnt breastfeed because of medication I was taken and I had to go back to work at 4 weeks PP.Of course there are plenty of lactivist who would call me a failure for refusing to pump 150 mg of Effexor into my sons system. Breastmilk may be “free” but breastfeeding isnt without its cost,mainly time and energy on a new mom. I guess for me putting food on the table and a roof over my families head was more important than BF. What good was breastfeeding have done him if we didnt have home and I couldnt eat to make that precious breastmilk. Lets not mention that Im a survivor of sexual assault and that was another major impediment. If BF mothers dont want the formula samples if offered say NO. I think its bad that our society think moms are so dumb that they need to have the choice made for them. Its a matter of will power and saying no ladies. Its not really that difficult. I tried BF my son in the hospital..I hated it and when my doctor found out I had attempted it she told me NOT to do it,the medication wasnt safe. My son is now 7 yrs old and was happily FF and is intelligent, where he should be physically and has only been to the doctor for a sick visit half a dozen time in his life.I think thats pretty darn good. My cousin has had 3 children all exclusivly BF and her middle son has allergies, asthma and is constantly sick. She is nursing her 6 month old son and I support her fully even when he was repeatly biting and she didnt know what to do. I sent her some links from LLL to help her out because I support her choice, but I told her if she wanted to stop it was ok.
Women should have the choice over what they do with the bodies in regard to birth control, choice of prenatal care, how they want to birth and how they feed thier child. Its nobody elses business and I applaud those who want to educate about breastfeeding without being pushy like Dagmar does. Sadly there are people who want to take a womans right of choice by pushing or forcing breastfeeding on a woman who isnt willing or cannot medically because they cant get away from their agenda and look at these women as human beings with feelings and lives. All they see them as are breasts and as robots. I equate this with forcing a woman who doesnt want to have a csection by getting a court order. That has happned,Is that going to be next on the militant lactivist agenda? Do we really want to follow the example of Indonesia? Before formula was invented babies died because of failure to thrive either because mom died in childbed or had supply issues, if one couldnt afford the services of a wet nurse the baby would starve to death. Formula lowered the infant mortality rate. In this day and age I would be hesitant to use a wet nurse because of AIDS which wasnt an issue in the old days,I rather use formula because I dont trust someone that much to give my child their milk, but thats just me.

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kate August 16, 2010 at 4:12 AM

I am a huge breastfeeding advocate, but I also thought that Giselle’s comment was completely insensitive and I was perturbed. Some moms (namely me) wanted to breast feed so badly, but their bodies would not produce enough milk. I saw every consultant under the sun, but it wouldn’t work. So I cried every single time I had to give my daughter formula because I was feeling so much pressure because of comments from people I knew about how I am killing my baby with the chemicals. Okay……so was I supposed to just let my daughter starve? Anyway, sorry for the rant, I just wanted to put it out there that some woman who want to breast feed but can’t are really irritated with this comment. It isn’t a simple battle over which option is healthier, but which option is possible.

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Natasha/Natural Urban Mama August 16, 2010 at 3:55 AM

Thanks Dagmar, this was a great post. I have been keeping out of this whole frenzy over Gisele’s comments up until now, but I have a couple of things that I want to say.

To Stephanie who said “formula samples are a godsend for those who are on a limited income as it is expensive”. BREAST MILK is FREE!! Enough said.

I’m not a fan of making breastfeeding a legal issue at all. Mothers feel so much pressure as it is to get it all right and adding a criminal aspect to this will just mar the whole breastfeeding experience in my opinion and THAT we do not need. Education, education and more education is what is needed. For the physicians, for the nurses, for the general public and for policy makers as well-so that these formula companies that keep violating WHO code can be made accountable for the countless babies lives that are lost every year because of their products. And that my friends is were I think a LAW needs to be written and enforced!

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Yakini August 15, 2010 at 11:35 PM

Beautiful post, Dagmar! I definitely could have used more support the first time around when breastfeeding my son, and am sooo glad this time has been such a different, positive experience! Kudos to you for not being afraid to speak on this very important issue!

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Michelle August 15, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Hello there, I am new to your blog and enjoyed reading your take on this issue. I wanted to add my two pence for what it’s worth as I am not yet a mum and have never breastfed a baby but am starting to prepare for conceiving in a few years and have gone a little research crazy to say the least.

So simply put – I support everything that Gisele has been “quoted” as saying. I know that this might be radical to say but

– THERE ARE BENEFITS TO BREASTFEEDING, THERE ARE ONLY (IMMEASURABLY GREAT) RISKS TO FEEDING A BABY A FORMULATION OF CHEMICALLY ENHANCED NON HUMAN MILK.

Formula is the LAST feeding ‘option’ recommendation by the World Health Organization for a reason and that is because of the unbelievable risks it poses to the health mums and babies.

Breastfeeding is the standard, the norm and should not be promoted as a choice or something special for babies. For this very reason, I hate the phrase “breast is best”, urgh it’s just maddening!! This is why I do agree that breastfeeding should be made law – but not against mothers rather to protect them from those who interfere with the process (namely to varying extents the government, the hospital chiefs, obstetricians and (most of all) the directors of formula companies). I also think that it would give the public a lot more ammunition with which to fight the battle of severely inadequate maternity leave and social support for families.

So what about (the incredibly minuscule percentage of) mothers who truly are medically, physically or even psychologically unable to breastfeed and/or produce breast milk? Well, I think in most of these cases a mum would be aware of their personal problem and could therefore seek help before baby’ arrival for the others there are milk banks which would most likely be well stocked by the increased numbers of breastfeeding mums.

I liken this ‘proposed’ (“mandatory breastfeeding”) law to that of child car seat legislation or on driving under the influence. Now many people could argue that it is their own personal choice to not bother using an infant/child car seat as they “turned out, ‘just fine'” not using one. Similarly, some individuals may argue that they can chose to have as many drink as the are comfortable with before driving as they “know their personal limit” – but the law states other wise. The law has taken the ‘choice’ out of peoples’ hands, and forced government officials, car manufacturers and dealers to be innovative in providing the education, support and (mostly free) resources to insure that these laws are upheld.

As radical as this all may sound; I think it could stand as an incredible landmark in legislation. Done correctly it could result in a real and significant change and improvement in maternity care and continued support for all mums and babies worldwide.

But anyway this is all just theory, as I do agree that this law would never get passed.

Why?

Because while it would create an uproar among mothers who would be ‘kept busy’, debating Gisele’s creditability to make such claims and/or resurrecting the classic (and tired!) breastfeeding vs formula feeding argument; formula company bosses and those who stand to gain financially from their sales would quietly and diligently be working very hard to ensure that it would be stopped in its tracks so they could protect their profits as I think the real bottom line is – there is no substantial ‘money to be made’ in normal, natural breastfeeding.

Sorry for such a long comment :(, but things like this I could rant and rave about all day :)

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Karyn Climans August 15, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Simply put, it was a joy breast feeding my babies. They’ve grown up now (19 & 17 yrs old and they’re both 6’3″) but I will always treasure the memory of holding them to my breasts. Even today, I get a pang of jealousy and longing when I see other moms breast feeding.

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holly August 15, 2010 at 8:58 PM

I breastfed both my kids for the first year of their lives, so I definitely support BF 100%. However, I do get a little angry when women pronounce it as the only way to feed our children. I have several friends and family members who embraced the idea of breastfeeding, but for some reason could not do it. Whether it was for physical reasons, not producing enough milk or psychological reasons and a fear of the unknown, they had to stop — or maybe they never chose to try. We can all decide how we want to feed our children. My sister-in-law never had the desire to BF but I never judged her for a moment. I am against formula being out at trade shows, I received a sample in a bag at BlogHer. However, I think that women have options and they should be taken away from them.

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TheFeministBreeder August 15, 2010 at 6:41 PM

I liked what Dr. Jay Gordon had to say in response to Giselle’s comment. I do think it may have been taken out of context, and I agree with her that there SHOULD be a law – not a law for moms, but a law for society to support breastfeeding. What would happen if we REQUIRED all health entities to actively support breastfeeding? Might it change our national health? Certainly so. That’s where there needs to be some more legislation.

You make some great points though. It’s so hard for me to hear the “I couldn’t breastfeed” stuff when we know that there might have been a way for the majority of women if they’d only been given real tools, time, and resources to get the job done.

I’ll never understand why people are so defensive though. Being a formula feeder is what made me a lactivist. I never defended my need to feed my first son formula. I admitted that I did it, that it sucked, and that I’d try harder next time. Which I did. And you know the rest…. :)

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Yvette August 15, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Excellent post Dagmar! You have made many excellent points here and given us all a lot to think about. I personally get so frustrated with the breastfeeding / non-breastfeeding divide and you made great arguments for both, regardless of your personal stance which I commend.

The bottom line is women need to make the choices that are best for themselves and their families and forget what anyone else has to say about their choices. I too have seen the posts of women who couldn’t breastfeed for whatever reason and they are already feeling dejected and disappointed in themselves and maybe in their capabilities as women. Maybe things could have gone differently for them with a good LC and early education on what to expect -THIS, as you rightly point out is where our focus should be.

I do agree that this whole Gisele thing has been blown out of proportion – ditto to your comment that this would never fly in the US. Though in all honesty, the last thing women need is the further subjugation that would happen with mandatory breastfeeding laws -shhhh, maybe we need to let this Gisele thing blow over before anyone gets any ideas ;-).

What we DO need is more meaningful education and resources available across the board.

Thanks again for a great post!

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Lara/MamaPear Designs August 15, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Stephanie,
You have made a mistake in your interpretation of the article. Gisele did not quit breastfeeding after three weeks, that was another model.
“Her comments came after TV star Denise Van Outen said she gave up breastfeeding her daughter Betsy after less than a month because she did not want photographers to take pictures.
”I probably should have persevered a bit longer than three weeks,” she said last month. ”But I can’t be sitting in Starbucks and breastfeeding, because they (photographers) are taking pictures.” ”

So Gisele is not a hypocrit, and she is certainly free to speak her mind. If she said, I think formula is great, all moms should try it because it allows them to get away from the baby for extended periods of time, and not have to be tied down (which if that is how you feel you probably should not have kids at all), I doubt anyone would be upset. If she had said, you should only feed your kids organic food because conventionally grown food is like poison, then would people be freaking out?

Two things bother me here: the fact that people are up in arms over the mention of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months – this is not a new idea, Gisele is not recommending something that the AAP does not already say to new moms. The fact that more people do not know what the AAP recommends is a little frightening. And the fact that people think she is not qualified to comment on this matter, despite the fact that she grew, birthed and is now nourishing the baby with her own body, because she is a beautiful woman who is famous. I have heard nasty comments that she should just stick to the catwalk, inferring she can’t possibly be smart enough to give *real* advice on the matter.

And formula companies DO give out free samples, a violation of the WHO code. I received countless samples, coupons, and promotional items from Similac/Enfamil. If a mother chooses to formula feed, I don’t mind, but I hope for she and the baby, that it is an informed decision that was taken very seriously, and is an educated one.

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Stephanie August 15, 2010 at 6:56 AM

I was speechless when I heard that Gisele had said this and shes hypocritcal given she only BF for the 1st 3weeks because she did not want the media to have pics of her nursing. If she was so dedicated she would not care about that stuff. I also have to disagree with banning formula samples. If a woman is adamant about nursing than by all means decline them, I have yet to hear of samples being pushed on moms. Formula samples are a Godsend to those who are on a limited income as it can be expensive. All it takes is the power to say no.

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