Supermodel Gisele Bundchen (super good looking and married to the super hot Tom Brady) has dipped her perfectly pedicured toe into a big pile of dog crap. Bundchen, mother to 7-month-old Benjamin, told Harper’s Bazaar UK that she thinks there should be a “worldwide law” mandating women breastfeed for the first six months of their child’s life. OHHHH-KAY. Giselle, here’s a bit of advice from Good Enough Mother. Stop talking!
I am going to assume that Bundchen’s comments stem from the complete euphoria one feels when nursing a baby. I know that feeling, I did it twice and there is no high like it. It’s something so special between you and your baby; it forces you to take a step back and appreciate this amazing creature that you had a hand in making. I am a big proponent of breastfeeding and when asked will share that position. But a LAW? Surely she was kidding?
My breast-feeding experience was good but not great. When I had Casey, I thought, well this ought to be pretty easy, right? I mean I have the equipment, how hard can it be? Answer: REAL HARD! God gives us the tools but not necessarily the know how. So when I left the hospital with this little bitty baby I was lost. Ultimately I hired a “lactation consultant” to spend a day with me. The three of us, the consultant, my mother and me, spent hours hovering over a swollen and sore breast begging this kid to “ latch on”. Seriously I don’t know who was crying more, the 7-pound baby or her exhausted, frustrated mother who felt like a complete failure.
Ultimately, Casey and I learned how to read each other, and like dance partners, embarked on a mutually rewarding experience. (I did not have these same issues with Cole because by the time he came along I was more confident and knew what I was doing).
I nursed Casey for 5 months. But honestly, in that time, rarely a day went by that I didn’t feel like one of those giant, stainless steel milk machines in the corner of the school cafeteria. And breast milk shoots through that baby pretty quickly so they’re hungry a lot! I ended up feeding that baby in the back seat of my car, balancing on the toilet of a public restroom, just wherever I could find a semi-quiet place to sit down and pop a nipple in this kid’s mouth. I became pretty adept at doing things with a baby attached to me, like answering the door and signing for a UPS package. Hey, I got mad skills!
When I went back to work, I had to carry around a machine that looked a little like the device used in a heart lung transplant (discreet much?) and pump several times a day. I could barely make it through the newscast, feeling like my chest was expanding and due to explode any minute.
My experience as a working, nursing mommy was probably very different from that of a multi-million dollar super model. Instead of taking a big black car to photo shoots with a nanny watching over my baby on the set and me able to stop everything when he gets hungry, I dropped my kid off at daycare, drove myself into the studio, wrote for the newscast, did the newscast, ran to the (public) restroom to pump, stored the milk in the communal refrigerator and then raced home again to be with my baby. I suspect my reality is a bit closer to most.
If breastfeeding is what you want to do and it works for you and your schedule and the baby and you can swing it (and sometimes it is not easy in the beginning) then go for it. But there are many mommies, for whatever reason, who either choose not to or cannot nurse. That is cool too.
Giselle, we are happy that you are happy but honestly, being a new mom is hard enough, without the pronouncements from a pampered supermodel.