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Really Gisele? A Breastfeeding Law?

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Really Gisele? A Breastfeeding Law?

By Heather Sobieralski, originally posted on

When the supermodel Gisele made a statement this summer that it should be a law for all mothers to breastfeed their babies for six months, it got me thinking about my own experience with little ones at my breasts. I had very different feeding journeys with my two children. My second child latched on immediately. He made sweet suckling noises, stared into my eyes and paused his nursing only to smile at me. It was beautiful, natural and exactly how we are brainwashed that it should be. But it is amazing that I had tried a second time at all, as trying to feed my first child was at best, mechanical. I needed eight arms, 17 contraptions, tea bags for my nipples and a big box of tissues for my tears.

I was firm in my decision to at least try to breastfeed. I had read (just like every other anxious and overly informed first-time mother) that breast is best. So if I was going to be the best mom I could possibly be, I was going to try my hardest — despite infections, blood, puss, and completely losing my freedom, body and confidence, damn it!

Breastfeeding is NOT always so natural

I had a hell of a time right off the bat. My baby would suck my breasts like a high powered Hoover Vac for four seconds and pull off (nipple still attached in mouth) flailing, grunting and stretching me before releasing my injured nipple to let out the most unbearable scream as if to say,”YOUR MILK SUCKS, MOMMMMMMYYYY!!!” We tried this ritual every two hours on the dot for the next two days. I had nurses, lactation consultants and friends with “breasts made for feeding” come and try to help the situation. No luck.

My baby was so hungry in the hospital that all she did was cry — literally, that is all she did for two days. But the “good mother” that I was, I refused to give her formula or a bottle because all of my “handy books” said that bottles would result in nipple confusion — and we both seemed confused enough, thank you very much! The nurses talked me into taping a tiny tube to my breast down to my nipple which would run formula into my baby’s mouth, as she was “breast feeding”.  Um, no luck there either — the only difference was that I got a belly button full of formula.

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9:09PM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

Thank you.

9:08PM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

Thank you.

12:37AM PDT on Aug 30, 2011

Thanks for the article.

10:08AM PDT on May 18, 2011

Although unrealistic, Im glad that a high-publicity person like Gisele made that comment. We need more prominent people out there promoting the acceptability of breastfeeding so that hopefully one day we might get back to a more balanced view of the naturalness of breastfeeding.

11:04PM PDT on May 7, 2011


9:09PM PDT on May 7, 2011

Making an informed choice is all you can do. You can't make a law about this, we're not living in Gattaca or Libria.

3:21AM PDT on Oct 13, 2010

I guess I am a lucky mum. My two sons were (are) naturals on the breast. Both of them latched on perfectly from the very first feed and are thriving at 5 and 21 months, respectively.

That said, I sympathize with women who can't. One friend of mine, her firstborn was born with a milk allergy. He's about 8 now and she's still discovering new allergies he's got. When her doctors told her not to breastfeed and put him on a special lactose-free formula, my own mother was horrified. I remember being very confused... if breastmilk is supposed to be tailored to your child's needs, was her body supposed to be producing lactose-free breastmilk?

Now, with that in mind... please explain to me, why all the fuss over something a stupidmodel said? Oops... supermodel? Does ANYONE in the world take ANYTHING one of them says seriously? Their job is looks-based, not brainpower based! Get over it! Nobody is going to make laws based on their thoughts, or anorexia would be a legal right and lifestyle choice by now.

3:34PM PDT on Oct 9, 2010

I had a similar experience to nursing. When I had me son, I wanted to breastfeed but my son never latched on correctly, my nipples were flat, and it resulted in hour after hour of pain for me and constant crying from my son. He cried nearly nonstop when he was in the hospital and the first few days we brought him home. Five days after he was born I had cracked bleeding nipples. We started him on formula and I continued to pump though we didn't want to give him bloody milk so I just threw it out. My son was a totally pleasant baby after switching to formula. Two days later my left side flow stopped and I started running a high fever I called my midwife who told me that "women often imagine pain in order to justify formula but I just needed to put the pain out of my mind." Two days after that I woke up to an oozing sore on my breast that turned into an abscess. I ended up in the hospital, almost lost both my left breast and my life. I never went back to that ignorant closed minded midwife and I happily gave my son formula. Would I have rather nursed without problem and saved myself tons of money spent on formula, sure, but my life and my health were more important and the fact that my son became a happy content baby the second he started getting formula tells me that perhaps breast wasn't best for us. I will not try nursing again. I applaud women who nurse, but being a mom is hard and you have to make the choices that are right for yourself and your family.

11:59AM PDT on Sep 20, 2010

Unfortunately when I breast fed no one taught me how to do it. I just stuck the baby up there and she went to work. It is not something we learned in nursing school at that time either. For all four children the first few minutes were excruciatingly painful. My toes curled, I stiffened up and tears came to my eyes as I waited for the pain to pass. It wasn't until my daughter had my first grandchild and she was taught the correct way for the baby to latch on could I say "Oh that's how you do it!" I am angry that I was never taught and that it was such a difficult experience due to the lack of knowledge. As for a law? We have too many laws to begin with. Breastfeeding should be encouraged but not mandated.

11:26AM PDT on Sep 17, 2010

Women really need to understand that while "breast is best" it is not as "natural" as its made out to be and like the author some women really struggle. If thats the case they really shouldn't be judged for having tried. Its the women that won't even consider breastfeeding that need to be reached, but I don't think it should be LAW as anything thats forced is not a choice. At least Giselle's "Supermodel" status is bringing attention to this issue...

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