Gisele, Gisele, Gisele. Tsk, tsk, tsk. You have a lot of nerve. Don't you know most women already hate you well, because you are you?
You are probably a perfectly nice person and I know your intentions are good, but you might as well be a man giving advice about having a baby. Because realistically, I am sure everything you do is much easier and seamless, because once again, you are you. I am sure you have a team of nannies and nurses available at your fingertips to assist you in everything from wiping your babies ass, to wiping yours. It is likely that you can hand your baby off to a member of your entourage to go workout with a personal trainer to shed your baby weight and shoot the cover of a Vogue 6 weeks after having a baby.
So, you can say women should be required to breast feed for 6 months by law, but maybe you should know what REAL women go through when they have babies and breast feed before you start drafting the bill.
Yes, this post is about boobs. Tits, teets, racks, breasts, boobies, bubbies, whammers; whatever you want to call them, to me they are just utters.
I'll start by saying that I breastfed both my kids, Madelyn for 9 months and Colin for a whole year. Since Madelyn and Colin are exactly 23 months apart, which means that for 39 of 48 months my body has supported another life in one way or another. I am now past that stage and happy not to have anyone literally feeding off me. I am a firm believer in breast-feeding, but I am the last person to go all La Leche League on other women who decide not to.
I am definitely not one of those wacko women who loved being pregnant. I didn't have especially difficult pregnancies, but having my body, my mind, my emotions and other various areas stretched, pushed, shifted, and turned upside down wasn't my idea of fun. And as relieved as I was to not be pregnant anymore, there was the next phase of having no control of my body. Never mind the lack of bladder control, or that I still looked 4 months pregnant, I'm talking about the two massive pistols protruding from my chest. Sexy? No. Probably nice for Tom to look at, but if you dare touch them...watch out. It's all fun and games until you get a shot of breast milk in your eye.
No, they have nothing to do with sex. They are big and painful at times. They are uneven and hurt from a little leach sucking on them all day. And I do mean ALL DAY and night for that matter. See, because feedings take at least a half hour if you include fussiness, burping, cleaning up spit up, etc. Then they eat every 2 to 3 hours and that time goes from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next. You also hear a lot of women proclaim that they enjoyed the bonding experience that nursing provided, especially in the middle of the night when it was "the baby and I" and the house was quiet. Call me selfish, but all I could think about was getting back to sleep.
And the time you spend nursing, while a great opportunity to catch up on old episodes of CSI, doesn't allow you to get up and cook dinner, clean the house or get a sippy cup of milk for your 2 year-old. You can't have your husband or mom take over feedings for you without a well-orchestrated system having milk available and then pumping at some point to make up for the feeding you missed. And that is assuming your baby takes a bottle. In Colin's case, he decided at a very early age that he was more of a "breast guy" and wouldn't take a bottle unless he was starving. And then one day when he was nine months old, he decided he was "too cool" to nurse and would only take a bottle, so I spent the next 3 months attached to my breast pump so I didn't have to fork over $30 a container for formula.
I will say, I did get pretty good at multi-tasking the second time around. At one point I sat on the back porch and did sidewalk chalk with Madelyn while breastfeeding. Sanitary? Nope, but too many times she had to watch TV while I nursed and I had to do what I had to do. I even drove 30 miles with my breast pump attached to me because I wanted to get home after being away all day, needed to pump and thought I could get the job done before I got on the expressway. They say texting and driving is unsafe, try detaching a milking device while driving.
And then there is the chance they can get infected. Oh yeah, because it isn't painful enough, they can get clogged and you can get Mastitis which includes a large painful mass in your breast accompanied by fever and chills. And as if you don't feel utterly exhausted (no pun intended) already. another symptom is fatigue. Luckily after antibiotics and warm compresses, the pain subsides unless you burn your boob with a warm compress, then you get a blister on your already infected tit. Again, it kind of takes away from the sex appeal of boobs. Speaking of sex appeal, after all is said and done when you are finished nursing; you are left with what I like to refer to as "low hanging fruit." And in my case that fruit would be raisins.
With Madelyn, I went back to work when she was 12 weeks old and lugged my 20-pound breast pump with me to work every day. When I got back to work, I had to convince my employer that expressing milk in a bathroom with a toilet 3 feet from me was not acceptable. I even had to go so far as to bring the Illinois State law to my HR director who wasn't aware that state law required employers to provide an acceptable and private place for breastfeeding mothers to express milk and that restrooms weren't considered private or acceptable. My argument was, "Would you eat your lunch in the bathroom? Then why should my daughter?" Needless to say, I got blinds put on an empty office that had two windows on it so people couldn't see me.
For as much of a stink I put up regarding pumping in a bathroom, that all changed when I ended up potty training Madelyn when Colin was 5 months old. I can't tell you how many times I either nursed Colin in the bathroom while coaxing Madelyn to go pee or had to bring her in to the bathroom with my breast pump attached to my chest because she would proclaim she "had to pee!" If you've ever potty trained a two-year old you know there isn't a huge window of time between that statement and an accident. At that point, standards of cleanliness went out the window...or down the toilet for that matter.
I walked around my house with my boobs out or with a damn breast pump attached to me so much, I was worried that some day I would answer the door or leave the house like that and not even notice.
Now, while I think Gisele is pretty bold in saying that there should be an international law, I do understand that her take on breastfeeding is probably a lot different than what we in America are used to. I know a lot of women who have breastfed, but it is always discreet. I know more women who did not breastfeed.
I think what was most difficult for me was not getting the baby to nurse, or the other details, but more the isolation it created. It prevented me from just running out whenever I wanted. It prevented me from hanging out with friends because in most cases I couldn't just whip my boob out and nurse. Hooter-hiders were out of the question, because Colin didn't particularly like being smothered by a piece of cloth while he was eating and ultimately people were still uncomfortable knowing what I was doing under my "shroud of secrecy" which happened to be bright turquoise with polka dots. I did have several friends who were accepting, but for the most part, I spent most parties, gatherings, and holidays in a room by myself nursing the baby or pumping.
I know they say "Breast Is Best" and I did choose to nurse because I felt it was the best thing for my babies, but they didn't reach any milestones faster, both got ear infections and ultimately are no different than any other babies we know who were bottle fed. Now maybe down the line, Madelyn will be accepting a Nobel Peace Prize and thank me for breastfeeding her or Colin will dedicate his Heisman trophy to me for my efforts, but I'm just glad that chapter of my life is over.
As for Gisele, I would recommend she concentrate her efforts on making America a more accepting place for nursing mothers first. Maybe she could stage a breastfeeding "nurse-in" at one of her husband's football games. That would give Janet Jackson and her wardrobe malfunction a run for her money. Or maybe she should start a campaign for all sports arenas to have Mother's rooms so nursing moms can enjoy a day a the ballpark without worrying about lactating all over herself or pumping next to a drunk girl in a stall? O.K., O.K, maybe that is a bit extreme, but my point is I think her time could be more well spent educating the public rather than dictating what women should do with their bodies. Seems pretty counter-productive if you ask me.