Recently one of my favorite authors made a comment on her fan page regarding Gisele Bundchen Brady’s remarks about breastfeeding. Although her comments were likely paraphrased, Bundchen remarked that there should be a “worldwide law” that mothers should breastfeed for the first six months.
The author, although her comments were glib, somehow managed to create an attack of insults, claws, and uneducated attacks on Gisele.
Here are some of the reactions from commenters:
“She needs to eat something and shut her mouth.”
“The point is that she is a celebrity who is clearly using her status to advocate for something completely irrational and ill thought out. She has no training or education that makes her an authority on any issue regarding parenting at all.”
The irony is, that Gisele isn’t that far off. If her comments were taken literally, it does seem extreme. I am guilty of saying that letting your child grow a rat tail should be illegal, that doesn’t mean I am writing to congress about it.
In light of a recent report published in Pediatrics, the goal of some huge health organizations, including the WHO (World Health Organization. Yes, world) and the CDC is to create between 80-90% compliance to the breasfteeding code for the world (again, worldwide. A lot of vicious posters criticized her for including the world, saying it would be impossible). According to the report by Pediatrics, “Even 80% adherence would save $10.5 billion and prevent 741 deaths each year”. A policy is not a law, but be ready to see the push.
Posters also attacked her for having an at home, in tub, water birth. To get an idea of where their comments were stemming from, I had to search for the actual interview she had with Vogue. I found her comments to be touching, honest, and straighforward. She describes the birth as “the most amazing experience of my life, feeling him come through my body. And once he was born, I never felt so empowered as looking at him and thinking, Oh, my God, we did it together!”
Why do some people find that so offensive?
She also mentions how she continued her activites such as yoga up until a couple weeks before delivery (which, doctors now recommend in order to prepare your pelvic floor muscles) and ate “mindfully” (which, doctors also recommend, and tell expectant mothers to have 500 extra calories of healthful food a day). Because of this, she only gained 30 lbs during her pregnancy and lost it easily. But, as a lifelong athlete and model her body had been conditioned differently than other people. That’s just science. She playfully comments that for a month after she had her baby, she didn’t even look in the mirror or wear a speck of makeup, something that seems easy to relate to for many moms.
So, why are people so spiteful and hateful of her? For wanting control of her pregnancy, the birth, and choosing a natural option? For not gaining a lot of weight? She never says that everyone should do it; she simply says it was a great experience for her.
I think if some of these moms had actually read the interview with her, and read the research on breastfeeding and natural birth options, they wouldn’t be so vicious in their attacks against her. Maybe she comes across as judging or makes it seem overly simplistic and less sympathetic towards people who did not have it as easy. Even if her comments are bold, you shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Pun intended.
For more information: Read the full interview with Gisele Bundchen at http://www.vogue.com/feature/2010_April_Gisele_Bundchen/. Read the latest research on breastfeeding awareness at http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/Parenting/19367. Contact Catherine at [email protected]