La Leche League Exec Barbara Emanuel Responds to Gisele Breastfeeding Quote

womanly art of breastfeedingWe've all got an opinion on Gisele Bundchen's breastfeeding quote. Someone says breastfeeding and law in the same sentence and a firestorm erupts -- well, only if that someone is famous. In case you missed it, Gisele said, "I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months."

I wanted to know what Barbara Emanuel, Executive Director of La Leche League International, thought about Gisele's comment.

Like me, Barbara was able to see the positive within the now infamous (and divisive) statement.

"One mother doesn't have to be wrong so that another mother can be right," Emanuel told the New York Post. "There are lots of choices out there, and La Leche League respects those choices."

Read on for my exclusive interview with her and learn more of her thoughts on this topic.


Wasn't Gisele's core message positive?

Barbara Emanuel: Yes, I think she is a new mother who is in love with her baby, and the connection that is enhanced by breastfeeding her baby. Her comments sound like a fulfilled mother who wants other mothers to experience the same joy.

Do you think Gisele has brought a positive light on breastfeeding or negative?

It is always positive when a mother feels so strongly about the benefits she has found in breastfeeding. Unfortunately, her enthusiasm has been picked up in a negative and judgmental light. La Leche League strongly supports each mother to get good information, to help her make the best choices for her family.

Breastfeeding is the most natural and best thing for baby, yet some people almost seem to be anti-breastfeeding. Has Gisele's comments furthered those who seem to be anti or unsupportive? What message do you think Gisele was really trying to make?

Gisele's comments have been used by those opposed to breastfeeding; however, if taken in context they show her to be, at heart, just another mom in the long line of mothers throughout the ages who have found that breastfeeding is the perfect way to nurture babies, both physically and emotionally.

Thank you, Barbara. For more information on LLLI, please check out their website,, and their latest book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Can you see the positive behind what Gisele was trying to say?

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