Straight to jail – and do not pass GO

In today’s news, Gisele Bundchen – supermodel and new mother – has called for a new law: that all women should be forced to breastfeed for the first six months.  You can read the article here

Yes, you read correctly.  She wants to force all mothers to breastfeed.  Oh bless her, and all her infinite, non-stretchmarked beauty.

Perhaps beauty she has much of…and wisdom, not so much?           

In all fairness, in Brazil where Gisele hails from, most women do not even attempt to breastfeed.  According to government figures, only 8% of Brazilian women breastfeed their baby for the first six months of its life. 

From what I’ve read, there seems to be two main reasons for this.  Apparently vanity plays a big part – Brazilian women don’t want saggy boobs; and in poorer communities, formula is still viewed in the way it was 30 years ago – that it is more beneficial for baby than breastmilk.  This is due to lack of education and awareness.

So I get why Gisele may have pushed the breastfeeding bandwagon a little too far.

But suggesting a worldwide law for breastfeeding?  The girl must live in a bubble.

What about the women who do try to breastfeed, and for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work out?

Despite my many repeated attempts to consistently breastfeed – twice – it wasn’t to be.  The first time round, I expressed exclusively for five months which was, quite frankly, utterly exhausting.  The second time around, I encountered the same problems, but was not going to exclusively express when I also had a 2 1/2 year old to care for. 

So I chose to enjoy my time with my kids rather than be a slave to a breastpump – and have absolutely no regrets about bottle-feeding my second child.

Talk about breaking the law!  I can hear Gisele now: straight to jail, and DO NOT PASS GO! 

I’m guessing that if Gisele had encountered some of the problems women face when trying to breastfeed, she wouldn’t have suggested forcing a breastfeeding law upon us.

Problems like having a premature baby too tiny to suck, a heavily jaundiced baby, severe mastitis (requiring hospitalisation in some cases), continual attachment difficulties, insufficient milk supply, post natal depression. 

Or perhaps – dare I say it? – a woman may simply choose not to breastfeed, despite being educated and knowing all the facts.  Maybe it just isn’t for her.  Or, she may choose to breastfeed for a couple of months.

I considered why I was so annoyed when I read that article today.  And I realised it was because it reminded me of how much mothers still continue to judge one another.  Not just on breastfeeding, but on many other choices we have to make as mums.

Motherhood should be about coming together and sharing experiences, supporting one another – regardless of what individual choices we make.  Each to their own I say!

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8 responses to “Straight to jail – and do not pass GO

  1. Pingback: World Wide News Flash·

  2. I am so glad I just read this post.

    Gisele’s comments about breastfeeding took the attention off Jacinta Tynan’s artticle on motherhood being easy, which I posted on yesterday. I felt I had shown support for her underlying concept of motherhood being positive for her, but wanted to bring to her attention the implicit judgement in her story. Tonight she told me via email that she felt I was unprofessional and not very ‘Sunny Mummy’….and that right there, is why I am so glad to read this post tonight…it is GREAT!

    You have shared your personal views and ended with the words every mother, including Jacinta, need to read and re-read time and time again “Motherhood should be about coming together and sharing experiences, supporting one another – regardless of what individual choices we make. Each to their own I say!” Don’t tell us we HAVE to breastfeed Giselle and don’t tell us to quit our moaning please jacinta, you are mothers like us and we are all doing the best we can.

    Thanks again for a great post, you are a girl after my own heart, keep up the great writing!

    • Thank you for your comment Stacey…there’s been some debatable things said publicly lately – I too read Jacinta Tynan’s article last weekend. I agree when it comes down to it, there seems to be too much being said with a notable amount of judgement involved. It’s OK to for us to be different in our choices (we are human after all!). Wouldn’t it be a different world if we all actually stopped judging and just supported one another… Alison

  3. Oh dear Gisele. Luckily for me I only had a few struggles breastfeeding. I had to breastfeed and express then feed that every feed for a few weeks with Will because my supply was so low due to stress. That was nothing compared to what some people have gone through. You are so right about mothers judging, and its these sort of comments that get flung out by celebrities and the media that make it worse and have mums laying more guilt on themselves. Great post!

  4. Oh now I understand it! If I’d had Gisele’s body I would have had bountiful supplies of milk! 😉 Unfortunately after four months of feeding and expressing every two hours around the clock, and still needing to top up with formula, I had to accept that it just wasn’t going to happen. Sometimes it feels like the biggest battles you face in motherhood comes from the judgement of others.

  5. hey – great post and perspective of the differences in Brazil. I found breastfeeding the most challenging thing about pregnancy and motherhood. Finn ended up on the bottle when I went back to work despite my grave attempts to keep going.

    Mothers passing judgement is an interesting issue that often intrigues me. I try to avoid talking about issues with friends and acquantainces that I know have different views. I find that those who openly pass judgement and quite insensitive and times tend to ignore their own backyard.

    I think Gisele should stick to modelling. Maybe her and Jacinta Tynan can hang out together.

  6. I’m so with you Alison, I know we shared lots of the same battles with breastfeeding and the nightmare of expressing. I remember feeling so judged when feeding Finn out and about, wanting to scream at strangers “Its expressed milk” when I was bottle feeding him in public and they were giving me tut tuting stares. However I mentioned that to a successful breastfeeding friend and she got the same looks for breastfeeding in public. You just cant win! There will always be someone judging but in those sleep deprived, hormonal days esp as a first time parent its hard to see that your decisions are yours and your family’s only……..

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