BEL MOONEY asks has the latest 'mummy brag' gone too far?07/13/2020
Has the latest ‘mummy brag’ gone too far? Taking pictures as they pump breast milk is the latest fad for celebrity mums – but, asks BEL MOONEY, are these intimate portraits of real motherhood… or just naked attention seeking?
What can that adorable baby girl be thinking — clutched uncomfortably by her mother, the socialite, reality TV star and now proud new mum, Millie Mackintosh?
‘Ow, my little head’s wobbling.’ Or: ‘I hope she doesn’t drop me.’ Or: ‘Yum — I’ll be getting traces of rosé in my bottle later.’ Or: ‘I wish Mum would just cuddle and feed me, all cosy and quiet.’
True, being only ten weeks old, little Sienna Grace probably isn’t thinking very much at all, but anyone looking at this odd image that was posted on Instagram will surely be thinking all of the above on the baby’s behalf — and more.
Kitchen drama: Millie Mackintosh shows she can multi-task, holding baby Sienna Grace while enjoying a glass of rose
Model Vogue Williams shows off her pumps to husband and reality TV star Spencer Matthews
For the picture of Mackintosh — whose great-grandfather invented Quality Street — simultaneously drinking (apparently alcoholic) wine, operating a double hands-free breast pump and holding her baby daughter is one of the oddest things I’ve seen.
What’s going on? Is this really ‘multi-tasking’, modern motherhood, or just naked showing off?
Millie’s fans have praised her for ‘getting real’ and showing she is ‘the boss’ — even though some people might think that a wealthy young celebrity, wearing a £395 designer crepe de chine dress while using a hands-free breast pump kit in her shiny kitchen, is about as ‘real’ as a Prince Harry sermon on the environment.
What’s more, claims that she is ‘normalising breast-feeding’ are surely wide of the mark. The picture shows breast-pumping, not loving breast-feeding — and anyway, none of this needs ‘normalising’.
Some women find breast-feeding easy, others don’t. For the lucky ones, it is the most sacred, maternal, private ritual of bonding with love.
Some women have too much milk and have to express; others have babies that are too small to suck.
Keeping up with motherhood: Kourtney Kardashian does it with a pout while in Vegas in 2015
Time for a selfie: Singer Pink finds pumping breast milk an eye-popping experience
Klass act? Mother of three Myleene shows off her breastpumping skills in a black bra and model Chrissy Teigen makes the most of her time in the car
Some mums like breast pumps for the convenience of allowing others (such as a nanny) to bottle-feed baby; you can go out to dinner knowing that your darling sproglette is still getting nourishment from you.
All this has been going on for years. What’s new is turning a piece of maternity equipment — the pump — into a fashion accessory.
I have nothing against Ms Mackintosh and believe it when she writes: ‘Nothing has given me more purpose than knowing that a small life depends entirely on me to feed and nourish her as she grows.’
But I’m sorry — this peculiar picture makes me think that the only thing she is ‘boss’ of is the Instagram moment.
It seems to say: ‘Here I am again — and look what I’m up to now!’ Nothing else matters.
Why else post the weird image? Is it to reassure harassed young mums that they, too, can ‘have it all’: the equipment, the clothes, the wine, the baby? Or does it brag that you must be pretty perfect to have nailed this motherhood schtick . . . no problem?
Multi-tasking: Loose Women presenter Stacey Solomon plays with her son Leighton while expressing
Taking the mic: The OC star Rachel Bilson looks ready to give a performance with her breast pump
It is yet another scream for attention — and, as such, just adds to the great splurge of me-moments, of unbridled narcissism, that constitutes the world of social media.
A few years ago, the women on this page were keen to show off their youthful attraction and flawless skin. Today they’re all mothers — and desperate to display their newfound fecundity. Hence the rise of the Mummy Brag.
The celebrity breast pump image is certainly having a ‘moment’. Most of us love to see pictures of happiness — and a recent portrait of Millie, gentle and make-up-free, cradling her newborn Sienna was simply beautiful.
There’s nothing wrong with sharing the joyful miracle of motherhood — surely part of the timeless appeal of pictures of the Madonna and child by the great artists of history. Every day Facebook and Instagram zing with celebration as families post pictures of new babies. Good luck to them all.
But the paraphernalia of breast pumps? Honestly, the expressionless face of Myleene Klass — in full make-up and with a perfect manicure — clutching a pump to her ample breast, just looks foolish.
Even more ridiculous is the carefully posed picture of the Canadian actress Rachel McAdams, all wired up and breast-pumping away.
In strangely grand surroundings, ‘activist’ Rachel is groomed to perfection and trussed in a very fancy black bra.
Is this picture ‘powerful’, as some people have claimed? Or is it grotesque?
Mum’s the word: Canadian actress Rachel McAdams expressing milk on a shoot for a fashion magazine in 2018
A day in the life: Food writer Ella Mills offers a glimpse of her routine writing while pumping
They’re all at it — the relentlessly boastful Instagram sisterhood, bragging that they’re uber-glam, even with a breast pump. Ballerina Kristin Long, models Valeria Garcia, Ashley Graham, Doutzen Kroes and Vogue Williams, singer Pink, actresses Rachel Bilson and Amy Schumer, TV presenter Stacey Solomon — and, of course, Kourtney Kardashian have all made sure the world sees them with their quirky new best friend, the breast pump. Why?
This is not about real-life motherhood — it’s about celebrities desperately seeking a way to be different so that their pictures stand out.
The breast pump is just the latest fad. After all, ordinary cleavage is so old hat nowadays. We’ve seen it all.
This way the bosom can be illuminated in a more ‘acceptable’ manner, disguised as down-to-earth realism.
Breast-feeding used to be intimate, private and special. And needing a breast pump was a bit of a nuisance, even if it was useful — as long as you didn’t mind feeling like a Jersey cow. Why this addiction to exhibitionism?
Here is a novel idea: Try privacy. Millie Mackintosh has revealed how upset she was by ‘some overly hurtful comments online about my appearance’.
She had posted a revealing picture of herself in her knickers, showing her baby weight — only to be wounded by the trolls’ mean comments.
So wouldn’t it have been better to have shown that body only to your husband, Millie? And — for now — keep your breasts for your baby?
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