I am, admittedly, a bit of a celebrity news junkie and nothing thrills my soul more than hearing positive stories from celebrities who are breastfeeding their little ones. I’m a firm believer that SEEING OTHERS BREASTFEED IMPACTS OUR CONFIDENCE TO BREASTFEED…even (especially) if those we see are the rich and famous (and media powerhouse TIME agrees!).
Here’s a round-up of some of our favorite breastfeeding stories of 2012.
Beyonce made a huge impact when she was spotted breastfeeding her daughter, Blue Ivy, while out in New York City. While it was a proud moment for all women, it was especially significant for African American women who statistically breastfeed at a lower rate than the rest of the population. Kimberly Seals Allers, a prominent advocate for breastfeeding in the African American community was interviewed by Lactation Matters, the official blog of the International Lactation Consultant Association and was asked about the impact of Beyonce breastfeeding:
“Beyonce breastfeeding in public is particularly significant for our community because we just haven’t had as many high profile African American celebrities come out and support breastfeeding. Like it or not, role models matter. Celebrities can help create a lifestyle cache and trendiness, particularly among young women, that helps broaden our ideas about who breastfeeds in the black community. When you look at the high infant mortality rate among African American infants (and we know how critical breastfeeding is to saving these babies lives and reducing their risks of respiratory infections and childhood obesity), the possibility that the power of one highly-visible black celebrity breastfeeding could potentially save one more infant and help one more baby become a healthier child is significant beyond words for me.”
Snooki was my favorite breastfeeding celebrity of the year and, contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t because I’m a huge Jersey Shore fan. It was simply because of this: she doesn’t fit the breastfeeding stereotype. While still pregnant, she spoke of her fears about breastfeeding and wondered publicly if pumping would make her feel like a “cow”. Despite a few hurdles to cross at the beginning, once baby Lorenzo was born, Snooki didn’t just answer a few polite questions from magazine interviewers, she took to Twitter and regularly sang the praises of breastfeeding her little one. And the best part? Snooki made breastfeeding work for her and her family. She’s been up front about pumping, bottle feeding and putting Little Lorenzo to her breast. Brava, Snooki!
The whole country came together to celebrate Team USA this summer for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Quite a few Olympians and future Olympians have stepped up and shared publicly about how breastfeeding has impacted their lives. We were proud to have interviewed Olympian Deena Kastor about breastfeeding her daughter, Piper. She shared,
“I think running helped in my entire approach to pregnancy, breastfeeding and raising Piper. I would focus on the desired outcome and then make choices to get to my desired goal.”
In addition, World Class Cyclist Willow Rockwell joined us as our newest Champion for Moms and was incredibly vulnerable about the emotional trauma she had experienced earlier in her life. Breastfeeding was a critical piece in her healing process.
“I chose to heal, and devoting myself to breastfeeding was part of the process. I had to completely let go of my past life and just BE there for my baby. At first, it seemed like it was mostly for her benefit, but I soon realized that her angelic presence was also nurturing me.”
Breastfeeding Beyond One Year
We are thrilled about all of the new celebrity mothers who have breastfed this year but the biggest celebrity breastfeeding trend for 2012 is open, honest conversation about breastfeeding beyond one year. The national conversation got kicked off with the TIME Magazine cover in May and several celebrities stepped up to share their stories. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant” and the World Health Organization suggests “infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.” Public health experts agree and celebrity moms are read to be heard!
Alanis Morissette let the world know, through a number of media appearances, that she would continue to breastfeed until her little one chose to wean. After the TIME magazine cover, Alanis appeared on Good Morning America to talk about the fact that she was continuing to breastfeed her then 17-month old son, Ever.
“I don’t really even consider it extended [breastfeeding]. I just consider it appropriate for that particular child and that mom and that family…I know some children who have weaned naturally at two years, some kids wean naturally a couple of years later. I mean, it’s up to every child.”
Jewel shared with Celebrity Baby Scoop about her experience breastfeeding her toddler, Kase.
“Yes, I am still breastfeeding and it is going well. Being raised on a ranch, you see what it does for the babies and their health. Kase has been perfectly healthy; he’s never had a cold or anything. So it’s been good. I hate pumping with a passion though [laughs].”
Previously, she had spoken publicly about her motivations for breastfeeding and the incredible impact that it can have on breast cancer risk.
“For me it’s for the nutrition and the fact that breast cancer decreases almost 70% for one year of breastfeeding! And it can go up to almost 90% for two years of breastfeeding. That’s amazing! That’s one of the biggest things you can do to prevent breast cancer.”
Breast cancer prevention, and not just awareness, is very important to Best for Babes and we thank Jewel for bringing breastfeeding to the forefront of the issue!
“I am still breastfeeding Benjamin and it has been incredibly rewarding and healing. It gives me so much joy to breastfeed him and I am so grateful that I am able to do it. He loves it too! Mother’s milk is loaded with so much vital protection that your child will never get anywhere else. I know that not all moms can breastfeed but anyone who wants to do it should get educated, be able to make an informed decision about what is best for themselves and their babies, and get all the support they need. I’ve been learning from Best for Babes that too many moms are not getting the right help from their hospitals and doctors, and are having to fight for their right to pump at work or be able to nurse on the go. I’m also sad to hear that so many moms are being discouraged from breastfeeding past a few months when there are clear benefits to nursing much longer.”
Check out this great video (starting at 2:19)of Kelly’s husband, John Travolta, talking on The Ellen Show about Benjamin’s willingness to share his mother’s milk!
Pink spoke several times this year about her willingness to defend herself and her daughter, Willow, against those that would deny her her right to breastfeed. While on a UK radio program, she shared a story about a dinner out with her family.
“The first time we went out to a restaurant, I had a [nursing cover] on and this guy walks by and was like, ‘Uughhh.’ He was just disgusted. I was like, ‘You didn’t get enough hugs when you were little.’ My husband said, ‘You are starting fights in restaurants?’ I said, ‘I will… I will fight, hold my baby. I think breastfeeding is healthy and natural and it’s a comfort to my baby, so I can give a sh*t what somebody else thinks.”
Her husband recently tweeted a photo of Pink and Willow, now 18 months old, while out to dinner with the caption, “Pink, Willz and I out to dinner in Paris. Looks like Willow is having the best meal!”