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!