Poor Gisele Bundchen. When she told Harper's Bazaar UK that there should be a worldwide law mandating that mothers breastfeed their babies for six months, she probably had no idea that she'd hit a nerve. Or rather, a clogged milk duct.
Because nothing gets a mom's wide-strapped bra in a twist than someone telling her what to do with her mammaries. I bet the supermodel never meant to be a supermilk nazi-she has since backed down from her comment.
But in telling the magazine, "Some people 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?' " she made thousands of us who could not or did not breastfeed feel even more like unnatural women.
Maybe we have no milk (my problem with my younger son, Gus), or no means to pump while at work. We may have a medical condition that makes breastfeeding impossible, or we have messy life circumstances that make it near impossible. We have a baby who doesn't latch and we can't get the problem resolved before we're kicked out of the hospital in a day. Or-gasp-we simply choose formula, for our own intensely personal reasons.
When my milk dried up (after I was initially painfully engorged), it was as if my body failed me. And I was in a panic that without my milk my son would end up an immune-compromised pot-smoking high-school dropout. With a weight problem.
So I frantically tried to bring back my boobs' bounty. First, I called the hospital's lactation expert, who recommended I eat nuts. I bought the biggest bag I could find from Trader Joe's and ate raw nuts until my tongue swelled. When that didn't help, I called an MD who specialized in lactation. The doctor gave me two options: a drug that is not FDA approved or a stomach medication that can bring on milk-as well as anxiety and depression.
Gee, both sounded so tempting! That's when it hit me: If I had to take a drug to force my body to do this natural act, then maybe, for me, breastfeeding wasn't such a natural act after all.
Don't get me wrong, I think breastfeeding is a wonderful thing, both for mother and baby. I was incredibly grateful that I could breastfeed my first son. But I was just as grateful that when my second son's diaper was dry and chalky red because I wasn't churning out enough breast milk, I had Gisele's hated 'chemical food' in the house and could nourish him with it, and fast.