This Is Not What Breastfeeding Looks Like — and Olivia Wilde Knows It

120068PCN_Awardcfda105.jpgWhat?! You don’t nurse your baby while wearing Prada stilettos? Olivia Wilde does. At least, that’s how it looks in this stunning photo of her nursing 3-month-old Otis for Glamour’s September issue.

Wilde appears to be settling in nicely to motherhood and breastfeeding. “It’s the most natural thing,” she tells Glamour.

It certainly is. Breastfeeding boosts health and bonding and is great for moms and babies. But it doesn’t come naturally to all women or to their newborns. Many new moms struggle to do what’s “best” for their babies through raging breast infections and cracked nipples. Yikes!

I don’t expect Glamour to include the sometimes harsh realities of nursing in their celebrity photo shoots. I’m happy to see that Olivia Wilde is out and proud, nursing in a picturesque diner. Good for her.

And Olivia Wilde likes the photo because it captures how multi-faceted a woman can be: glamorous, sexy, and also nursing a baby.

She explains:

You can be someone who is at once maternal and professional and sexy and self-possessed. [But] I mean, I certainly don’t really look like that when I’m [typically] breastfeeding. And there’s usually a diaper involved.” 

I’m glad she mentions this because images of gorgeous, impossibly thin women in beauty magazines are already eroding the self-esteem of women trying to live up to unrealistic images. Now we have to wear bronzer and a cocktail ring to nurse? Aye yai yai! Why can’t magazines feature photos that are beautiful and realistic? I’d love to see a shot of Olivia Wilde with her baby wearing normal “mom” clothes and no makeup. To me, that would be just as beautiful as this image and would still convey the message that Olivia Wilde is a mom and that “she’s still got it.” In fact, glamming her up and posing her unrealistically seems to suggest that without the make up and expensive accessories, maybe she doesn’t convey that message. 

Interestingly, Olivia Wilde herself has an impossible image to live up to when it comes to mothering: her own mom. Wilde’s mother is Leslie Cockburn, a television producer, writer, and filmmaker. “My mom is such a badass working mother,” says Wilde. Her mom’s ability to manage a career and raise kids inspired Wilde when she was pregnant: “I wasn’t going to sacrifice myself because I was becoming a mother.”

I totally get that sentiment. You don’t want to lose yourself or give up on your career or education just because you’re going to be a mom. This isn’t the olden days when finding yourself in a family meant retiring from the world to scrub floors and change diapers. Go girl, as they say.

But whether or not you work, there’s no way to come through motherhood without sacrificing yourself. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You don’t have to quit your sweet gig on House, for example. But making it work while being there for your child is going to be an exercise in sacrifice, which I’m guessing Leslie Cockburn knows something about. I’ve gone without sleep, gained weight from pregnancies, had clothing ruined by spit-up, and given up distraction-free thinking in my sacrificial role as mother. I bet even Olivia Wilde will still end up scrubbing the occasional floor — especially if she nurses a baby who isn’t wearing a diaper.

Photo Credit: PCN photos

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