Thursday, April 26, 2012

Beyonce Breastfed...... For 10 Weeks

People magazine has selected Beyonce as their Most Beautiful Woman for 2012. It's not unexpected, as Bey is gorgeous and talented and has had an awesome year. Her album 4 was lauded by critics and of course, she became a mother in January. Celebrity moms are en vogue in a way they have been before. From bumpwatch to birth and breastfeeding, motherhood has made even the most D list celebrities household names. Hell we've all seen how motherhood resurrected the careers of many of the stars of our childhood like Mayim Bialik, Alyssa Milano and Soleil Moon Frye. Celeb moms write books and blogs, get new TV shows and papped at the park. So it's no surprise People would choose to celebrate Beyonce, a huge star who's become even more famous since becoming a mom.

Of course the biggest story surrounding Beyonce in the past few months has been her nursing daughter Blue Ivy in public. We all wondered if the gossip was indeed true. Could Beyonce really be breastfeeding?

Well, the news outlets must have gotten an advanced copy of the People magazine (it hits newsstands tomorrow) because E! featured this story today.

It seems Beyonce is being uncharacteristically candid and discussing breastfeeding. So there you have it from the horse's mouth: Beyonce breastfed. For 10 weeks.

So as breastfeeding advocates and black lactivists, how do you feel about this? Is it still a coup now that we know she only breastfed for a little over two months, and it would seem primarily as a means to lose weight? Is this still a win?

In many ways I think breastfeeding advocates can let the perfect be the enemy of the good. After Beyonce breastfed Blue, it was covered in all of the major outlets and EVERYONE on planet Earth was discussing breastfeeding for weeks. That's a score, in my opinion. But in many ways, this stings. We've held her up as a breastfeeding role model and now it feels like she never really was. She wanted to lose the 50 pounds she gained during her pregnancy as quickly as possible and she happily switched to formula at 10 weeks. It's not really the vision we had of her, right? I know many of us were hoping to see Beyonce breastfeed for at least 6 months exclusively. And how cool would it have been to have a toddler nursing Blue?

Of course it's none of our business how long Beyonce breastfed or why, but it is interesting that she didn't even make it to 12 weeks, just like the average mom in the US. Around the time that women return to paid work, breastfeeding dries up because even with workplace pumping accommodations, it's still hard to make breastfeeding and work WORK. So many of us, myself included, enjoy our work but still cried into our pillows when we had to pack our babies up and send them to daycare when our leave was over. Maybe we didn't want to stay home permanently, but we did want more time. At least 6 months or a year to be with our babies and nurse them and not have to struggle with pumping. And here's Beyonce, a woman like us who loves both her baby and her job, who could make the choices we can't.....yet didn't. She could take Blue everywhere and if a photoshoot ran long so she could breastfeed, who would complain? Most of us can't take our babies to work and if we are late because the baby needed to eat we could end up out on our asses.

It's kind of baffling to me that I live in a world where Mariah Carey breastfed twins longer than Bey breastfed, but I've had to repeat my new mantra over and over again since I heard the news: Not my body and not my baby. But if I'm being honest, I'm still a little annoyed.

So how are you feeling about Beyonce breastfeeding for 10 weeks?

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