Celebrity Mom Causes Debate with Breastfeeding Shot in Glamour

Photo by Patrick Demarchelier, Glamour Magazine, Sept 2014

Olivia Wilde isn’t the first celebrity mom to make a point of showing off her choice to breastfeed, and she won’t be the last, but some are saying that this beautiful shot in the Sept ’14 issue of Glamour is doing more harm than good.

“I was working—I was shooting the cover of Glamour, and I needed to fed my son Otis. So he came to work and I had to feed him. Either I was going to do it off camera or on, and I thought, you know what? Shoot it, because this is part of my real life.”

See the interview

Rather than helping to normalize breastfeeding, a group of parents and experts are stating that it’s just another example of a celebrity working mom (who has an unusual amount of flexibility and support) making something that many moms struggle with look too easy.

People aren’t talking about how challenging the au naturel feeding experience is. “There’s been a big movement to help people breast-feed more, and it’s created a bit of a myth about how easy it is,” says Dr. Christine Proudfit, an ob/gyn at NYU Langone Medical Center. “People don’t talk about how hard it is.”

“You walk into this mothering thing and you think, well, the baby knows what to do, my body knows what to do, this is natural … and no one tells you that it’s f—–g hard,” says Amy Palmisano, 39, from Harlem, who faced double trouble when breast-feeding her twin girls Tallis and Vivian. “Everything does not go perfectly from the start.”

Read more on NY Daily News

What do you think? Are shots like these helping to normalize a natural act…or are they misleading and discouraging for moms who don’t find the process of breastfeeding an easy one?

21 thoughts on “Celebrity Mom Causes Debate with Breastfeeding Shot in Glamour”

  1. I’m confused. So what else would they rather people do? Only share stories of “failure” at breastfeeding, or only stories where it was a lot of work? How about we start with just being ok with people seeing breastfeeding photos, period….it gets the conversation going. Once the conversation is going, nursing mothers can share their struggles. For some people, breastfeeding is relatively easy. For others, it’s not. It’s that way with everything in life. I had one child that was fairly easy to breastfeed (after the pain of the first week), and one that was special needs and struggled in a lot of ways….but ultimately what made me determined to keep nursing was because i was exposed to it, a lot. It was normal for me, and formula, except in an extreme emergency was not going to be an option. I think it’s great that more women who have a platform to speak from are sharing their choice to breastfeed, period.

  2. I don’t understand how anyone can be upset by this. It is a picture of woman breastfeeding. Her circumstances are irrelevant. It’s not like she’s fake-breastfeeding. The more exposure breastfeeding gets, the better. Even in Glamour.

  3. I’ve breastfed 3 babies, wherever and whenever was necessary. But I would never have nursed a naked baby in that dress!

  4. I’m one of the moms that have a awful struggle to breastfeed and I am happy to see this photo. However, I’m healed and grown and wiser from the experience. It might hit a soft spot with some where it is still a fresh wound but I would rather see breastfeeding normalized in pics like this because it paves the way for better help and more knowledge in the long run. If everyone is doing it than it is more likely everyone will be in on the ups and downs of it.

  5. Yes, it’s hard until you get the hang of it, but so is pregnancy and delivery. The more normalized it is, the better. Kudos to her for starting another conversation, our country is the only one that still has debates about this and it’s ridiculous!!

  6. Unable to pull up the article, but I did see the interview on the Today Show. Olivia stated that she never looks this good while breastfeeding, and that her son usually has a diaper on while nursing. I just love how writers throw in inflammatory words like “debate” to get people thinking this is actually a controversial subject. A beautiful mother is feeding her baby. No DEBATE there. Find something real to write about.

  7. Hard. .. difficult. .. many parts of life are ! That’s how we learn and grow !!
    Alternatives to BF easy ? Not so much !..In a variety of ways.
    Having had 6 babies. .. pregnant/nursing 19 years of my life… was precious and such joy (even with the learning curve).
    Love the photo.
    Deborah Norville lost a high profile news anchor job after she was on a magazine cover with a nurturing breastfeeding pose. I still find the thought of that injustice upsetting !

  8. I think this picture is great! If you read the actual magazine article that went with this photo shoot, Olivia says the baby did in fact pee on the dress. I love that she just rolls with it. Flexibility and going with the flow are musts when you have babies 🙂

  9. While I’m for breast feeding as our women in Barbados do it everywhere, it’s not an issue there. It quite natural and normal; however I can ‘t but feel that this is just deliberately stage. She’s dress like she’s at the Academy Awards but in a little cafe type place, that empty and the child is naked. Please stop insulting the public like this, come on now are you Polititcians or what. Get real by doing it real. How about the young Bkack Sister who breast feed get child at her graduation? Now that was real and in public and the child was not baked. This thing just looks so fake. But power to the women who push for the natural right to breast feed in public just Like it’s done in Barbados.

  10. This makes it look easy??? How can anybody look at one picture – literally a microsecond of this breastfeeding relationship – and claim it to be easy? Or hard? Or ANYTHING??? People don’t know what her experience is and nobody should be making any assumptions and/or judgments based on what they think is going on before, during or after a single snapshot in time.

  11. The only thing I thought was off was the naked baby–I’d say most moms would not normally do that to avoid getting peed on! Otherwise, seriously? Chill out with the over analyzing! Yeah, the first 2 months of nursing were HARD for me, but the next 10 were pretty much a breeze! I certainly don’t look like a super model but I’d like to think I looked that effortless eventually! It’s a photo, not a movie clip! It’s only one second of a longer, complicated process! What is it supposed to look like–should she be grimacing in pain?? Because that’s not super motivational!

  12. I struggled with breastfeeding both of my boys, one for 2.5yr and another currently at 16mo and going strong. I’ve breastfed in narrow medication aisles of a pharmacy where I worked and countless other places. I think it’s rarely super-easy for anyone but PLEASE, any public photography of breastfeeding is a good thing. People want to wear whatever celebrities wear and buy what they sell, why not breastfeed because they breastfeed? Sure, maybe not the “breast” reason in the world (haha!) but good for babies!

  13. Its a beautiful picture. I agree with the posters, whats not to like? While i may not be a model like she is, i totally relate to the photo in the sense of nursing your baby while you’re in the middle of something else, and you dont have the right kind of clothes on the cover up the breast, so it hangs out…. and that is us, human beings! Nurturing our young!

  14. This seems to be a variation of “they’re making me feel bad/guilty/less than” because I’m not breastfeeding/breastfeeding didn’t work/I choose not to/I couldn’t/etc. People will continue to jump to conclusions based on their own point-of-view regardless of the reality of what is depicted. I look forward to the day when the masses don’t take every last. Thing. Personally.

    1. I read your comment and just wondered. How is a beautiful moment between mother and child attacking your parenting choices? Advocating for breastfeeding should never be an attack. It is just an educational opportunity. If someone has insulted you about this issue before than that is not advocacy and I am sorry you had that experience. Advocating for breastfeeding is providing info for moms to make an informed decision about their children’s health and nutrition.

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