She's a character, she has opinions.

Gisele Bundchen and her privileged breasts.

with 2 comments

“I think breastfeeding really helped. Some people here 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?’ There should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.” [Gisele Bundchen in Harper’s Bazaar, qtd. in The Daily Mail]

Hi, Gisele! I’ll try to speak loudly because I’m not sure you can hear me all the way up on top of your mountain of privilege: NOT EVERY WOMAN CAN BREASTFEED. NOT EVERY WOMAN WANTS TO.

Now, I’m not a mom, I’ve never had a baby latched to my breast, so I can’t speak about personal decisions. At any rate, they’re personal, which means they aren’t mine to make for anyone else. (You following me, Gisele?) But off the top of my head I can think of many reasons why some women would be unable to breastfeed for six months.

Babies born with galactosemia absolutely cannot tolerate breastmilk. I think it’s great that your baby is healthy but some aren’t and it’s probably a good idea to remember that sort of thing when you’re proposing worldwide laws based on your own sense of superiority. We wouldn’t want to harm “your child, when [s/he is] so little” by feeding him/her the very thing that causes illness, would we?

Sometimes it’s mom’s health that prevents breastfeeding. Mothers with HIV can transmit the infection through breastmilk. Mothers with untreated and active tuberculosis also should not breastfeed. And mothers going through chemotherapy or taking Tamoxifen should not breastfeed. I know, I know, you aren’t HIV-positive, you don’t have TB, and you aren’t going through chemo, but do remember, dear, that you’re saying “worldwide” and in some places of the world TB is still a huge problem, as is HIV. What’s your recommendation here? Don’t have babies if you aren’t in perfect health? Don’t have babies if you can’t predict with 100% accuracy when you will be diagnosed with a disease? If you are diagnosed with a disease–even during your pregnancy–don’t receive medical help for it?

Then there’s time and money. Now, you’re a supermodel and your husband is a hunky quarterback and I’m pretty sure you both have money to spare. You can hire help, you can take time off from work, you can do a lot of things that ease the burden of breastfeeding. But sometimes other people can’t. I know, it’s pretty shocking. Sometimes mothers have to go back to work before that six months of yours is up. Sometimes they have to go back way before that. Maybe it’s really hard for them to take time away from a demanding job to pump while they aren’t at home. Maybe they can’t afford to be tired at work because they’ve been up at all hours feeding their precious bundle of joy. Maybe they’re poor, maybe they’re single parents, maybe they’re just exhausted.

I know I’m barely touching the tip of the iceberg of reasons why some women can’t or won’t breastfeed for Gisele’s recommended six months. My point is that you can’t know a woman’s reasons for not breastfeeding and you absolutely shouldn’t judge.



Written by tldegray

August 3, 2010 at 10:12 am

2 Responses

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  1. Love this, and love you. So glad I found you through Twitter. Great response to the biggest bunch of crap I’ve heard in awhile. 🙂

    Fearless Formula Feeder

    August 3, 2010 at 10:29 am

    • Thank you! It was an amazing pile of BS, wasn’t it? I love that the Daily Mail called her smug right in their headline. Nicely done, Daily Mail!

      To this day it still surprises me when people don’t think past their own experiences. I suppose it shouldn’t, but it does.


      August 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

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