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Gisele Is the World's Smartest Breastfeeding Supermodel

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Remember this week in history, folks: A supermodel said something exceptionally smart. (Well, she's also a mother, so of course she's smart.) I'm talking about that gorgeous Brazilian creature named Gisele, who famously gave birth to her son eight months ago, without medical intervention, in a hot tub. Now she has rattled the likes of the ladies on "The View" with a statement she made to Harper's Bazaar U.K.: Breastfeeding "should be a worldwide law."
Gisele Bundchen
"Some people here [in the U.S.] 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?'" the brainy beauty told the U.K. magazine. "I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months." 

While the idea of saddling mothers with legal pressure to nurse isn't feasible in a culture that puts up so many barriers to breastfeeding, I do think that Gisele is on the right track in terms of wanting some form of legal intervention that puts infant health first. So, if I may explain: What Ms. Perfect Body meant to say is that the World Health Organization's breastfeeding code should be made international law! 

The WHO code removes some of the "booby" traps that make it hard for women to do a natural and relatively easy thing that our bodies have done for millions of years. It muzzles the makers of artificial infant food and keeps them honest about ingredients and breastfeeding benefits. More importantly, the WHO code ensures that governments
encourage and promote breastfeeding throughout the culture. 

We need to make it easy for women to nurse. In Canada, every mother gets a full year of maternity leave at 80 percent of her salary, presumably so she is free to nurse. The Canadian government knows that paying women to breastfeed still saves them millions in healthcare costs. Mothers should not be arrested, fined or punished for not breastfeeding, but large corporations that make it hard for women to work and nurse do need a kick in the pants. And I personally would like to see the lanky, toned leg of Gisele kicking them in the derriere with a perfect stiletto. You go, girl! I mean ... you go, hot mama! 

next: Healthy Habits That Make the Grade
42 comments so far | Post a comment now
Angie August 4, 2010, 10:57 AM

I am not sure I agree with making it a law- just another way the government controls a person- BUT I totally agree that women should breastfeed and that is best for their children. I also think that Canada’s moms “stay home for a year with 80% pay” is awesome. I think that right there would make it easier for women to breastfeed. One more thing on this topic- that model is very smart with her “chemical” comment- it is completely true and maybe if children were strictly nursed there would be way fewer obese kids and special needs. That is my two cents

Anonymous August 4, 2010, 11:36 AM

I don’t need a law to tell me how to feed my child (yes, I bfed both) At the rate our government is now, they should just moved one governemnt employee into every home so they can oversee EVERYTHING that we do! please

anonymous August 4, 2010, 12:51 PM

“While the idea of saddling mothers with legal pressure to nurse isn’t feasible in a culture that puts up so many barriers to breastfeeding”

Wow…just wow…how about the idea that saddling mothers with legal pressure to nurse isn’t ETHICAL? Pay attention to your word choices. You should know better.

While I agree with the argument that international adoption of the WHO code would be a giant step forward for moms and babies everywhere, Gisele’s comments have done absolutely nothing to promote positive breastfeeding advocacy. You can keep trying to spin her stupid comments all you want.

Acia August 4, 2010, 1:12 PM

Um, 1 year off at 80% pay? Not quite. We get 55% of our salary, but only up to a certain amount - the max is $790 every 2 weeks, I believe. It’s better than nothing, but not as amazing as this article makes it out to be! And other European countries offer MUCH more substantial mat leave packages.

Also, if the purpose of our 1-year mat leave is to breastfeed, it’s news to me. While it certainly seems as though it’s more endorsed here in Canada than in the US, I still raise a few eyebrows when I say I’m still nursing my 11-month-old. And some hospitals, unfortunately, still push formula.

Jenny August 4, 2010, 1:25 PM

I had trouble breastfeeding. A lot of women can’t physically do it for one reason or another. I find her comments—-and your blog entry—-offensive. Let’s make everyone who has trouble breastfeeding feel bad about it.

BFmama August 4, 2010, 2:32 PM

While some women may have a medical issue that prevents them from breast feeding ~ most women have the ability to breastfeed…it’s how we, as mammals, are designed after all. I would venture to say that most of the women who do not breastfeed or “say” they have a problem are just too lazy to do it. It isn’t easy!

Every mother has a right to choose whether to breastfeed or not (and it should stay that way) but at least be honest about your reasoning if you’re going to give a reason at all.

Lia August 4, 2010, 2:53 PM

It’s way to easy to decide not to breastfeed (other than legit medical reason) and part of the problem are folks/media/doctors/nurses who don’t want the mother to feel guilty for not breastfeeding. It’s ok to feel guilty!!! It’s a normal feeling because breastfeeding is how you are suppose to feed your young babies. Gah!

BF is not easy and mothers need more support, not “here’s some formula, I don’t want you to feel bad about not bfing”.

Rachel August 4, 2010, 3:16 PM

Did Miss Thang also mention that she only breastfed for a few weeks?

MartiniMama August 4, 2010, 5:41 PM

Gisele came out on her blog and said that her comment didn’t come out right and that she never meant literally that it should be a law. Obviously, a mountain has been made out of a molehill.

Kim August 4, 2010, 6:07 PM

As much as I wanted to breast feed my child, I could not. My body did not produce enough milk. I find this whole article and comments offensive. I get the impression that breast-feeding mothers think their children are better off than mine. Guess again.

Mom2Be August 4, 2010, 6:08 PM

BFMamma - you are right, it is a woman’s choice, and a personal one at that. But who cares what the reason is? Whether it be for medical reasons, personal reasons, religious reasons, or whatever - a woman shouldn’t feel that she needs to defend why she is not breastfeeding in the first place. It’s none of your business. And NO ONE has the right to call another woman “lazy” because she exercised her constitutional right to choose what to do with her OWN body. Get off your high horses and mind your own business.

Carol Wyatt August 4, 2010, 7:08 PM

I think this statement was taken out of context.
But, here we are yet again…Women arguing with women. We need to stick together.

It is time to change our seriously non-family friendly America to a family friendly country that puts children (they are our future) above corporate greed. It is the corporations that spew rhetoric against family and promote endless drugs, genetically modified food, and deny women AND men proper family leave. Whether a woman should nurse or not is a personal issue. But, our children’s welfare is constantly undermined by poor food in schools, corn syrup being added to every possible food, and arguments like this. It is still a man’s world and we are not helping anyone by arguing with one another.
In Sweden men and women both get maternity leave so the mother and father can switch off staying home with their newborn. The government is behind this because they value a healthy country and their future leaders…
Which is exactly what children are.
If all we care about is making a buck, but ignore the negative effects of corporate greed, we will have the most un-healthy rich country ever.

Rachel August 4, 2010, 7:52 PM

Carol — There’s no “will have” about it. We do have un-healthiest rich country ever.

BFmama August 4, 2010, 8:54 PM

Relax Mom2Be ~ I have the right to say whatever I want. A right granted me by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Again, I said that IF a woman is going to give a reason ~ be honest about it.

I was simply responding to an article and giving my opinion. Take a deep breath ~ you don’t have to agree with me.

Bettina at BestforBabes August 5, 2010, 5:43 AM

If Gisele had said, “Moms need more support to succeed at breastfeeding”; no one would have cared. It’s only because her statement was inflammatory that the media and the public reacted; and that provides an opportunity to talk about the REAL barriers to breastfeeding that keep women from making it through the first few days, let alone 6 months. 86% of expecting moms WANT to breastfeed and the fact that they are being actively prevented by health professionals that lead them to believe they “don’t have enough milk”—which is rarely true—is a violation of constitutional and human rights.

Michelle August 5, 2010, 8:43 AM

Half of you women APPAUL me. I was unable to breastfeed both of my children because I DO NOT produce milk..thanks for making me feel like a HORRIBLE mother because I didn’t have a choice. Also.. just and FYI ~ both my children.. are very smart.. in excelerated classes.. NEVER been sick.. not even an ear ache.. they are physically fit and not fat like one of the comments said about formula fed babies… so before you go an condemn mothers of formula fed babies get a clue! I am pregnant with my 3rd and guess what.. he is going to be formula fed as well! And I can guarantee you.. he is going to be just as good as the breast fed baby.. if not better! So before you think you are better than the next because you could breastfeed, I suggest you think about what you are going to say this how you are going to teach your children? Be rude to others that aren’t like you or do what you do? Because that is EXACTLY what you are doing.. you are being IGNORANT.. and there is enough ignorance in this world already.

Yoshimi Battles August 5, 2010, 8:45 AM

Wow. What a sexist headline (“A supermodel said something…smart!”) followed by sexist and presumptuous content inside (“If I may explain, what [she] meant to say is…”). You have no idea what she *meant* to say. Your article is undermining to women from start to finish.

SS August 5, 2010, 9:36 AM

I tried to comment yesterday but it didn’t show up. I also cannot breast feed because I don’t make enough milk. I tried EVERYTHING: taking prescription drugs that caused horrible side effects and wound up not increasing my milk supply after all, taking every supplement in the book, meeting with multiple lactation consultants, pumping after nursing to increase supply, etc… After a few short weeks the small amount of milk I made dried up.

It is a myth that all women can nurse. If not for formula my child would be dead.

Should I be in jail? On probation? Should I lose custody of my child?

Even if the reason I didn’t nurse was because I just didn’t want to it’s nobody else’s business.

MartiniMama August 5, 2010, 7:29 PM

It apalls me that there seems to be this implied assumption that a breastfeeding mom is somehow “superior” to one who doesn’t. Women go through enough with the pressures placed upon them in this society without us picking each other apart. ALL moms need support - we all love our children equally. Let’s stop ripping each other apart and start supporting each other!

darcy August 5, 2010, 7:35 PM

I’m sorry but a LAW forcing women to breast feed. Isn’t the women’s movement about not letting government/men tell us what to do with our bodies. I personally don’t think every mom should breast feed, I’ve seen ladies smoke a cigarette and then breast feed their children, or drink all night and do the same! I’m sure that is great for the baby, just like anti depressants and other prescriptions tell me that those are better than formula. GIVE ME A BREAK.

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