Gisele backtracks on her “mandatory breastfeeding law” comments


Earlier this week, parts of Gisele Bundchen’s interview for the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK began to trickle out. Her most notable comments – the part of the interview that got the most coverage and drew the most outrage – was about breastfeeding. Gisele told the magazine: “I think breastfeeding really helped (me keep me figure). Some people here (in the US) 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?’ I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months.” Yeah, that whole “there should be a worldwide law” part really upset a lot of people.

So Gisele decided to publicly eat sh-t for her comments by posting a statement on her blog. But, being Gisele, she didn’t want to just issue a simple apology, something like, “I’m sorry my comments were misconstrued, that wasn’t what I meant” or “On second thought, I was wrong to say that.” And she didn’t just flat-out blame the magazine, which is kind of nice – you know a lot of celebrities would have pulled a “Harper’s is SO MEAN!” No, Gisele’s backtrack was actually kind of thoughtful. She’s basically saying that in the course of the interview, she was talking to the interviewer like she would talk to a girlfriend about breastfeeding, and that “It’s unfortunate that in an interview sometimes things can seem so black and white.” She also puts down her insufferable bitch persona long enough to say “I understand that everyone has their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge… I think as mothers we are all just trying our best.” Here’s her full statement:

“My intention in making a comment about the importance of breastfeeding has nothing to do with the law. It comes from my passion and beliefs about children. Becoming a new mom has brought a lot of questions, I feel like I am in a constant search for answers on what might be the best for my child. It’s unfortunate that in an interview sometimes things can seem so black and white. I am sure if I would just be sitting talking about my experiences with other mothers, we would just be sharing opinions. I understand that everyone has their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge. 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.”

[Gisele’s blogpost, from her website]

Do you forgive her? I think it’s good that she answered her critics and backtracked on the “law” part of her original interview. I also think Gisele is a very effusive, emotional, high-strung woman, and I could totally see that she would say something hyperbolic, like, “I think there should be an international law against Clive Owen wearing pants, for real” and everyone gets upset. Do I still think that Gisele is sitting there, judging all mothers who she doesn’t deem as up to her exacting, painless, potty-training at six months and mandatory breastfeeding standards? Yep. I read a veiled layer of condescension in her comments, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.


Gisele in Brazil on June 13, 2010. Credit: WENN. Gisele and baby Ben on July 12, 2010. Credit: Fame.

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51 Responses to “Gisele backtracks on her “mandatory breastfeeding law” comments”

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  1. lisa says:

    She should just model..that’s it. And since when have models given all these interviews. I thought it was supposed to be about the cloths.

    Kaiser..sorry to break it to you. Clive has a bit of a knock knee thing going on. Not sure he actually has great legs under those pants.. I like him..but not working for me when he walks..

  2. kiki says:

    I completely agree with your assessment, Kaiser. Whenever she talks about motherhood she comes off as very condescending. You can just tell she thinks she doing it better than the rest of us.

  3. Fefa says:

    Gisele is full of sh*t. She thinks she is the best mother in the world. Silly.

  4. cara says:

    my goodness this woman is irritating. seriously. show some respect for time-poor mothers everywhere and say sorry in a sentence, two max.

  5. The Hamm is My Dream Man says:

    I don’t think she sounds condescending at all. When I read her comments, I smiled and said to myself “I’m sure a lot of moms agree with her”.

    Why on earth would anyone think she had any kind of clout when it comes to international policy? Why on earth would any take her absolutely seriously when she said something so obviously hyperbolic?

    I don’t particularly like the woman, but I can see that she was talking about her own great experience with breastfeeding and wants the whole world to know that feeling too. She shouldn’t have to say she’s sorry for being a bit overindulgent about her personal happiness with breastfeeding.

    I think it should be international law that people stop overreacting to simple comments as though the comments personally refer to them and their lives. I don’t have kids yet-was Gisele saying I had to go retrieve one ASAP so I could breastfeed??? But her comments were directed towards me right???

    PS I also think that it should be international law that only I get to marry Jon Hamm and have his mini-Hamms.

  6. gabs says:

    I do agree that the law part was just an exaggerration, i can forgive that.

    BUT..I basically read “My management team wants me to pretend I am sorry for saying something I still believe in and dont really feel sorry about”

  7. anon says:

    @The Hamm is My Dream Man: I agree.
    Gisele’s opinion about BF should not be that important. This is her first child, why would anyone even care what she thinks? It says a lot about women responding to her. Every thing she says is a big deal, Why? She is a model with little experience about children, child birth (she’s only had 1 baby). Ignore her opinions especially if you don’t like her.

  8. Michelle says:

    I think supermodels shouldn’t give broad-based health advice to the masses. Leave that up to the public health nurses or doctors please.
    I worked with HIV positive mothers in Ottawa (who’d come as refugees from other countries). We had a tough time educating them to completely avoid breast-feeding and use formula for their babies. There were many cultural misunderstandings about how HIV was transmitted. The mothers already feel stigmatized by their communities for being HIV positive (often infected by their husbands) so they keep their condition a secret. They’d have a hard time doing that if Gisele’s law was in place!
    Gisele…yes, there are terrific health benefits to breastfeeding, but the world isn’t as simple as you seem to think it is! You have to be responsible about what you “preach” in the public media.

  9. eja102 says:


    If you say it, own it.

    she sounds worse trying to cover.

  10. ol cranky says:

    I don’t buy her apology. I think a PR flack finally jumped in and wrote is for her. She’s made way too many patronizing comments that have lead to her being made fun of for her arrogance but none have drawn as much fire as this one and I think someone’s finally explained to her that she is damaging her career.

  11. Kitsy says:

    I know several women who could not breast-feed, the milk just wasn’t there. Sorry to bust your self-inflated balloon of perfection Giselle but stop rubbing in your motherhood perfection. Just keep your cake-hole shut from now on.

  12. Toe says:

    @ Hamm is My Dream Man
    I totally agree with your comments.
    It’s just a first mom thingy, it will pass.

  13. Delta Juliet says:

    Ugh…I hope we don’t get into the whole damn breastfeeding argument again.

    I actually like her apology. I kind of understand where she’s coming from (with the apology, not the stupid statement from yesterday)

  14. Moore says:

    Oh, please. Her first comment was not that big of a deal. People who fuss over her opinion are far more annoying than what she said to start with.

  15. Rosanna says:

    The bitch disappointed me for the FIRST time. Either she needs to get back the courage to stand behind what she thinks, or she needs to stop broadcasting her opinion. None of this “everything goes, everybody is right” bullshit.

  16. Donna Wingfield says:

    Why do people interview her?

  17. aenflex says:

    I think it’s a nice retraction. It’s true that in-person conversation allows for a much wider dynamic. People shouldbe given the chance to apologize for thier mishaps…not everyone means every single thing they say.

  18. Whatever says:

    I think people made way too big a deal out of her comments yesterday. I think her statement is fine. Most good mothers question our decisions every day and try to do what is right. So if someone makes a statement that involves something we are not doing with our kids, whether it is breastfeeding, staying home for the first year, or any other issue, if it isn’t what we are doing, it gets taken personally. That’s the real problem, lack of confidence in our own decisions as mothers. If a mother is confident in her mothering, what some supermodel says in some interview won’t hurt a bit.

  19. Whatever says:

    People shouldbe given the chance to apologize for thier mishaps…not everyone means every single thing they say.

    Agreed, nor do they mean every single thing people read into it. That’s what was happening yesterday. Nowhere did it say you should be forced to breastfeed if you are sick, need meds or don’t have milk, but that’s how so many people took it.

    The comments on that thread were the ugliest I’ve ever seen, cursing out strangers, all kinds of accusations, etc.

  20. Larissa says:

    She grew up in a family with 5 sisters. It´s not like her mother and sisters all share the same parenting style as hers and I highly doubt she is not well aware that EACH women goes through different experiences. But saying “it should be a law” sounds exactly how she would say something like that. It´s not like she meant it literally but you people are always trying to find a reason to hate on her , so go on with that crap and have a blast!

  21. Jill says:

    That’s not backtracking. That’s expanding on what she already said. (Sigh)

  22. Jill says:

    How is that backtracking? That’s expanding on what she said earlier.

  23. j. ferber says:

    She’s looking wan and none-too-attractive. It’s true what a colleague once said to me: once you have a child, you look like your husband’s mother. But she was never a face model anyway, was she? Wasn’t she all about her body, what with the Victoria’s Secret affiliation, etc.?

  24. Atticus says:

    I think her statement is just fine. Her original comments were stupid and inappropriate, but I can see how they were off the cuff and not malicious. The underlying intention behind them still ruffles my feathers because I personally was unable to breastfeed my babies. I felt like enough of a failure about that without having celebrities say how it was sooo easy for them and how everyone should have to do it.

    I participated in the thread yesterday and agree it did get ugly. But I didn’t write anything I wouldn’t have said to someone’s face if we were having an in-person discussion on this. Gisele was just the instigator, the thread took on a life of its own. There is nothing more personal and no bigger chink in someone’s armor than their relationship with their children and their parenting skills, and any perception of that getting attacked or questioned is going to start a shit storm.

    There was a lot of anger in yesterday’s thread, but there was also a lot of compassion and support.

  25. endoplasmic ridiculum says:

    She so perty. Models is important peepuls.

  26. Jeri says:

    She should have a couple more kids & see how easy the births are, getting back in shape is & how they can all easily be potty trained by 6 months.

  27. Crash2GO2 says:

    She really does have the most amazing cheekbones.

    I don’t ever take comments about making things laws lightly, especially on such an important topic (not a silly one, such as whether we should outlaw pants on so-n-so :).

    If people were so offended by the outrage her statement caused on this board, why did you bother reading the posts? lol

  28. Snarky_Pup says:

    Breastfeeding is very important but so is respecting each mom’s choice. Also, Gisele has the ugliest man face ever. God awful.

  29. The Hamm is My Dream Man says:

    Atticus: And that is where the problem lies. You took something personally that was meant as a general comment. She isn’t specifically targeting you, “person who couldn’t breastfeed”, and saying that you are a failure. It’s not all about you. Gisele wasn’t talking to you. She was making a hyperbolic statement about how much she enjoys breastfeeding. She was talking about herself.

    The day when you stop taking things personally will be a great day for you.

  30. Missfit says:

    This “apology” sounds nothing like her or what she usually says or how she would usually interview. Most definitely someone else told her the right thing to say, word by word or they just did it for her. The reality is that people WILL get offensive over such a comment, and “over react.” I’m sure that the people who say that people who “over reacted”, they over react themselves with certain issues as well…depending on what the subject is and how they see it. I wonder what her next subject will be about…against or for vaccinating her child and probably how the mothers who do vaccinate are who knows what.

  31. Atticus says:


    I’m a bit more secure than to internalize a supermodel’s general comment. But even things that aren’t directed at a specific person can result make total strangers feel bad. “It was so easy for her, what is wrong with me that I can’t do it?”

    Gisele’s comment, however hyperbolic it was, said that there should be an international law mandating women to breastfeed for 6 months. It is directed at me. I’m a woman living in the same world as her, and she’s saying if she had her way I’d have to breastfeed my kids for 6 months or face the repercussions of breaking the law. My knee jerk reaction to that is, mind your own business.

    Your last sentence is unnecessary.

  32. Camille says:

    Well said Atticus. 🙂

  33. KateNonymous says:

    I don’t think her condescension is at all veiled. She needs to put a sock in it.

  34. Liana says:

    Man, own your shit or don’t say it in the first place.

    And no, not taking it personally since I’m not a mom yet and God willing, when I do become a mom, I hope to breast feed.

  35. Atticus says:

    Thanks Camille!

  36. original kate says:

    “Man, own your shit or don’t say it in the first place.”


  37. Majosha says:

    Atticus: I second Cammille’s high five — excellent response.

  38. The Hamm is My Dream Man says:

    Atticus: She’s not saying anything even similar to what you think she was saying. She wasn’t being serious is the point. You shouldn’t have a knee jerk reaction to something some supermodel said that has nothing to do with you.

    To be frank, it was a JOKE. Like when you’re hanging around with your friends and you say, “It should be law that everyone eat chocolate ice cream every day!” Now, that doesn’t mean that you want to put people in jail who are lactose intolerant.

  39. Atticus says:

    Thanks Majosha!


    I never thought she meant literally women should be jailed for not breastfeeding. That said, it might have been hyperbolic but it wasn’t a joke. Even her “retraction” reiterated that she honestly thinks every woman she be forced to breastfeed. It comes from “her passion and beliefs about children” after all.

    In any case, Hamm, why don’t you bookmark this conversation and revisit it after you’ve had your experience with breastfeeding. Hopefully you’ll continue to never be able to relate to what some of us have gone through.

    In the meantime, don’t presume to tell other people what and what not to react to.

  40. excuse me says:

    Well uh, she’s blonde and a model– maybe she should stick to what she does best and try not to think.

  41. karey says:

    Good for you Gisele for sharing your story. I can’t believe so many people are being very critical of you for just sharing your birthing story and opinions.

  42. Ruffian9 says:

    Ya, well, the day I take advice from a model is that day hell completely freezes over and I find Vin Diesel attractive.

  43. Maria says:

    I really doubt she’s trying to dictate your life, your birth and whatever else so why take the interview personally? That is her opinion on breastfeeding, her birth and her body none of which is uncommon (natural birth, back to your shape quickly, breastfeeding a while).

  44. Isa says:

    She didn’t write that statement, she doesn’t speak English that well. Maybe someone proofread for her? But I doubt it.

    The “it should be a law” comment did not bother me. It’s the “Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?”

    Yea, thanks for trying to make me feel like sh!t because I didn’t produce enough milk. I gave my baby chemical food! Mothers have enough to deal with anyway. It’s constantly being shoved down our throats that breast is best (which I agree with btw) so when your own body betrays you it leaves you feeling like a failure.

    She seems like one of those “friends” that try to get in little swipes here and there. The ones that are so good at it they make you feel like their over reacting if your feelings get hurt. That it’s YOUR fault for taking it that way. She gets more and more unattractive to with every comment.

  45. Hane says:

    I love her.She sounds EDUCATED in parenting,pregnancy and childbirth.Oh and Isa jealousy is an unattractive feeling dear.

  46. Isa says:

    If she were educated in parenting, pregnancy and childbirth she would know that there is more than one right way to do each. Then she wouldn’t always be making snide remarks and looking down her huge nose at everyone else. She has a right to her opinion, but she shouldn’t be making sly jabs at other mothers to make herself feel better.

    And why is it that anyone disagreeing with a celebrity or not finding them attractive automatically makes them “OMG JEALOUS!!!!” It’s so stupid.
    The only thing this broad has that I would be jealous of is money. And I could just as easily be jealous of Bill Gates. I don’t know why they keep shoving Gisele at us like she is so beautiful. Give me Adriana Lima anyday!

  47. Hane says:

    You read too much into things i didn’t take her as being judgmental at all.. she seems more inspiring than anything to me! And don’t use the word broad or huge nose, cause it makes you look yes jealous.Thanks for validating me.
    Adriana Lima….whatever.

  48. Isa says:

    How does her having a huge nose make me look jealous?
    Her beady eyes don’t turn me green with envy either.

    I will say something nice: she does have very nice legs.

    But I am perfectly happy with my own.

    FYI I’m not the only one that thinks Giselse is dumb and ugly. I guess we’re all just jealous of her. Yea, right. You and Gisele are the only two people that believe that.

    Thanks for the laugh, dear.

  49. Hane says:

    Thanks for validating me again.Kudos to her for speaking her mind and standing up for something we all need a lesson in: basic health needs.Jealousy is a bitch. Enjoy your inferior state.

  50. Isa says:

    I’m editing this comment to just say “LOL.”
    That is all.

  51. the bunny lover says:

    giselle has made a lot of condescending remarks since having her baby. she also talked about how moms stuff their faces rather than just lose the weight. she should just model and be quiet.