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Tag Archives: Celebrity breastfeeding

  • Grace Kelly - Her Role as a Breastfeeding Advocate

    As Nicole Kidman kicks off Cannes with “Grace of Monaco” Premiere, many of us who are old enough, fondly remember the beautiful Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco. I think Nicole Kidman was a good choice as an actress to play Grace and I’m sure she has the poise and “grace” to pull it off in style, particularly with all of those beautiful dresses, hats and ensembles she gets to wear for the part as Princess Grace was well known for her fashion choices.

    Although people remember Grace as a beautiful Academy Award winning actress, a “partner in crime” actress and collaborator with Alfred Hitchcock, a Philadelphia well brought up socialite and lastly, as the esteemed Princess Grace of Monaco and dedicated mother to her three children.

    It is well documented that Grace turned down movie roles offered to her during her reign as Princess, such as Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, Marnie, which would portray her as a kleptomaniac as well as others such asThe Turning Point, directed by Herbert Ross. She very well could have expanded her movie career and added more awards and accolades to her shelf, but instead she put Princess responsibilities and motherhood above her movie career as her position limited her involvement with anything Hollywood or entertainment driven. Both the public in Monaco and her husband were opposed to her involvement in films as Princess of Monaco and she respected that sentiment.

    She did go on to use her artistic talents and passions to support the arts and improve art institutes in Monaco. Later the Princess Grace Foundation was formed to support local artisans. Grace returned did return to a form of acting in a series of poetry readings on stage and narration of the documentary The Children of Theater Street. She also narrated ABC's made-for-television film The Poppy Is Also a Flower (1966). But perhaps interestingly she took up a cause close to my heart, that of nursing women.

    Grace was one of the first celebrities to support and speak on behalf of La Leche League to advocate breastfeeding. She joined La Leche League in 1965 after the birth of her youngest daughter, Caroline.  In one of her speeches and press conferences for La Leche League in Chicago, she said she breastfeed all of her children after birth. She said, “I wouldn’t think of having a baby without feeding him myself.”

    Grace said she believed in improving the solidarity of family to help society overall and felt the best way to start this process was by focusing on the Mother’s connection to the baby at  birth by breastfeeding, “Solidarity begins with the child at the mother’s breast.” She continued, “as women it is one of our biggest prides that we have in our bodies every element that an infant needs for perfect health and growth.”

    She also added young siblings should be allowed to watch their mothers breastfeed their babies without embarrassment as it is a natural and beautiful experience for them to witness.

    The Milwaukee Sentinel documented that her 1971 La Leche League speech as attended by 1400 women and their children and caused quite a stir among the public and other hotel guests, “Passerbys looked twice as women were nursing their babies in the hotel lobby, hotel conference rooms and while walking down the aisles.”

    What amazes me is that is that is now 2014, over 40 years after this event occurred, and we still have to protest to protect the rights of nursing women in public and even to overcome the social stigma of breastfeeding outside your home. Even today we have newsworthy protests as women have “nursing” protests outside places of business, like Fitness Centers, where mothers are often regulated to nursing their babies in the restrooms. Nursing women everywhere receive dirty looks when discreetly nursing their babies in public places and are often asked to leave or relocate.

    I know I have spent many hours nursing all three of my babies on public toilets and although this can be a choice for privacy, it should not be a requirement. I believe every new mom should be awarded a card at birth which gives her the right to nurse in public for the first year of their baby’s life, sort of like a driver’s license. It should be a birthright for any baby to eat when it is hungry, particularly by way of breastfeeding as it is the cleanest most sanitary way for a baby to eat and it does not create a mess.

    Although the reviews have been scattered for the Grace of Monaco movie, I am looking forward to seeing Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Grace Kelly. I am particularly interested in the part about the hard choices Grace had to make between her roles as mother, princess (both her appointed royal role and her volunteer leadership role in her community), wife and her career. I know many of us can identify with at least two to three of those roles to balance or choose between, sometimes on a daily basis. I’m also interested in seeing if and how the film will incorporate any of Grace’s breastfeeding advocacy as she was well ahead of her time with taking a public stance on this issue as a celebrity.

  • Gisele Breastfeeding on the Job

    elle-gisele-breastfeeding-hGisele Bundchen, as beautiful as ever, recently posted a photo on her Instagram account which takes multitasking to a new level. As seen in the photo she is getting her hair brushed by a stylist, getting her eyes done by a makeup artist and her nails painted by a manicurist (who happen to wear coordinating striped tops) all while simultaneously breastfeeding her baby.

    My reactions to this scene is first, yes, how gorgeous (and calm!) she looks in the midst of this primping whirlwind craziness while she lovingly breastfeeds her child. Quelle entourage!!

    Also, how good of her to prioritize her baby by unabashedly breastfeeding her child without lurking off to some hidden corner or caring what others thought of her openly breastfeeding. Life goes on and she’s back to work, but her baby isn’t going to take second place to her high end job demands.

    My other reaction was, isn’t this the royal treatment we all could use as overworked moms, especially moms of babies and newborns? Heck I would still be breastfeeding my five year old if I had this sort attention and pampering!

    Despite a little bit of envy (and wishing I looked half as good a few months or ever after having my babies), I have to take my hat off to Gisele for finding a way to prioritize her child and show that anytime is a good time to feed a baby and anyone who judges can simply leave the room. (I would also wager a bet that the continual primping and styling surrounding you as a supermodel can get a little wearisome after a while and may not feel like the spa indulgence that us normal moms may splurge on occasionally). However I would also wager a bet that most of us would trade our 9-5 jobs for this one if we could!

    In a 2010 interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK edition Gisele raised eyebrows with her strong pro-breastfeeding stance stating that a worldwide law should require all mothers to breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life. She went on the say, “Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?”

    Although I wholeheartedly support breastfeeding and agree that it is without a doubt the best thing you can do for your baby nutrition wise, particularly for the first six months of life, I also appreciate that it is sometimes extremely difficult for every mom to breastfeed fulltime given work and other demands. Certainly breastfeeding on the job may be easier in certain professions than others, but I do like the fact (as so glamorously demonstrated in Gisele’s photo documented example) we can all get creative and try to figure out a way to pull it off sometimes.

    For example, pumping milk for a caregiver to feed your baby is a good option when nursing is not possible with your job or life demands. Many a professional mom has found that pumping (often while on a conference call) is the key to continuing breastfeeding when you need to be away from your baby by day. Even nighttime nursing alone is highly beneficial to your child and helps in your mother-baby bond if you are limited in the time you can spend with your child. Additionally, nighttime nursing also helps stimulate your milk supply more than pumping alone. In tandem, nighttime nursing and pumping for daytime feedings can often meet all of your baby’s feeding needs when you need to be at work or away from your baby during the day.

    Gisele’s more tactful follow up comments in her personal blog are far more helpful and supportive of moms in general than her initial comments:
    "I understand that everyone has their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge," she wrote. "I believe that bringing a life into this world is the single most important thing a person can undertake and it can also be the most challenging. I think as mothers we are all just trying our best."

    My thoughts exactly. We are all trying to do our best as moms day by day and as part of this parenting community we should support one another wholeheartedly in this endeavor.

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