Olivia Wilde Says Breastfeeding Photo Shoot with Son Was Not Planned: ‘I Did Not Intend to Shame Women’

07/07/2016 at 03:00 PM ET

Olivia Wilde never imagined the backlash she’d receive after her son’s magazine debut when he was just 3 months old.

The new mom posed with her baby boy in a spread for Glamour in 2014, which featured the actress, dressed in a Roberto Cavalli dress and a full face of makeup, nursing son Otis Alexander while sitting in a diner-style restaurant booth.

“I’ve learned a lot about [the breastfeeding] debate since that [September 2014 Glamour] photo shoot and certainly since becoming a mother,” the expectant actress and mom to now 2-year-old Otis told Yahoo! Beauty. “One thing that is very clear to me is that it should be every individual woman’s choice what she wants to do.”

She continues, “It was an interesting experience because that photo shoot came out of a very organic moment of having to feed my son because it was just my choice to breastfeed. But I did not in any way intend to shame women who had chosen not to breastfeed for whatever reason. It’s a complex issue, but the one thing that’s not complex is that people should be allowed to breastfeed wherever they want, whenever they want.”

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In fact, the Vinyl actress and fiancée of Jason Sudeikis is 100 percent supportive of her fellow moms, and doesn’t think any woman should have to answer to anyone but herself and her own child when it comes to making sure the latter is fed.

Wilde, 32, continues, “But once she makes that choice, she should be publicly permitted to do that in whatever way she needs to. Certainly there should be no pressure on women to breastfeed, or they are made to seem like they are terrible mothers. I think that’s really unfair.”

It seems Otis is following in his mama’s footsteps in the sense of bringing the women around him up.

“I like to think [Otis is] already a little feminist. And he is. He’s a really good guy,” she says. “I want to promote the idea that the definition of feminism is equality and it’s something that’s not difficult to teach children because they are born with that sensibility.

“They are only taught to separate people and value them differently once they get older,” she adds. “Luckily, I’m just embracing the perspective he was born with.”

Travel buddy. #flywhileflying

A photo posted by Olivia Wilde (@oliviawilde) on

Aside from acting, parenting and humanitarian work, Wilde is also the current face of Revlon. When asked by Yahoo! Beauty how her makeup routine has changed since becoming a mother, she doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that she has to be quick and resourceful.

“I certainly have less time and I think I’ve just gotten a bit more efficient about getting ready, whereas before I would have a few more minutes to experiment with different looks,” the Tron: Legacy actress confesses. “Now I kind of know what I’m going to go for and I’m good about getting it done in five minutes.”

And though Wilde admits she’s been “pretty lazy” during this pregnancy compared to her first, she has adopted a mantra that has taken her far in terms of staying healthy.

“You have to be forgiving of yourself and realize you are doing something and working hard building a little human,” she advises. “Most of the time, I focus on eating well … I’m making baby steps towards a healthy lifestyle this time around.”

Jen Juneau and Anya Leon

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Showing 37 comments

Kristen on

I’m wondering when we can shut up about breastfeeding. Celebrities talk about it way too much.

Rachel on

I’m confused. Why would a picture of her breastfeeding her son, be in any way shaming women who can’t or choose not to breastfeed? If she had been bottle feeding him, would that be shaming those that breastfeed?

Isa on

Rachel, because in that picture she was all glamorous, it was a fashion picture. So some moms were like offended that she portraied breastfeeding that way… I thought it was just a cute picture of a mom and her baby, but people tend to complicate everything…

KiKi on

What’s a shame is that she even has to offer up an explanation! Peeps need to get over it!

seabot on

If someone felt shamed by that, that’s on them, not Olivia. Who gets offended by that photo?

Anna on

I think we have become hypersensitive on all sides of this topic. There are so many sanctimonious moms that over-promote breastfeeding that people are starting to get easily triggered by anyone doing it. This was clearly not meant to be offensive but people are so on edge. We need to chill. Decent people in the world (Olivia apparently included) understand that breast milk is not curing cancer and formula is not poison.

catfite on

People should really stop looking for reasons to be offended and/or apologize for non-issues. Moms who can’t or chose not to nurse their babies – so what? That’s their decision. Moms who nurse their babies in no makeup, full makeup, naked, dressed in a parka with one side down – so what? It’s time that we as a society pull up our big girl/boy pants and get over ourselves.

goodie on

A breastfeeding mom doesn’t offend a non breastfeeding mom. Nor does talking about or taking a picture of it. If it does than that other woman in an idiot!

nelle on

@Kristen, I agree everyone talaks about it too much! Do it or Don’t it, your choice we don’t need an annoucemnet, facebook post or pitures about it.

Stormin Lorna on

It’s not the act of breatfeeding. It’s the practice of not covering up when you do it in public. If it is such a loving, special, bonding moment I would think a mother would cover up out of respect for herself and her baby.

Anonymous on

My first instinct was to question why anyone would feel shamed by this photo, but then I put myself back in the shoes of women who are unable to breastfeed- the shoes I was in with my first child. I had planned to breastfeed him, and I couldn’t, therefore I failed. There was a sense of failure, which compounded by postpartum hormones and overly-enthusiastic lactation consultants, left me feeling sensitive. Rather than complaining about those who feel pressure for whatever reason, we should empower other women and other parents who are devoted to and love their children

mindy on

It’s ridiculous that she should feel that she has to apologize for being photographed breastfeeding. Women don’t need to apologize for this. Breastfeeding is not shaming women who can’t.

And Anna, while it may not cure cancer, breastfeeding can reduce the incidences of certain types of cancers🙂

123Disqus on

These celebrities think they invented breastfeeding Millions of women all around the world do it naturally every day without giving it much thought or taking selfies and posting it on social media. Celebrity egos and narcissism are really disgusting.

amanda on

“I want to teach him about equality” as he sleeps in a house with more bathrooms then bedrooms while people struggle for food just miles away because his parents get paid more than people make in a life time to act a few times.

guest on

I think there are too much debating about breastfeeding, it’s a private matter, if someone wants to breastfeed then go ahead in private. It shouldn’t be a constant debate matter in public or social media.

Callie on

I HATE this chick so much!!!! She is such a big mouthed POS. I swear she is a closet lesbian. I can’t believe Jason finds this b*tch attractive in any way, shape or form!

Callie on

I HATE this chick so much!!!! She is such a big mouthed POS. I swear she is a closet lesbian. I can’t believe Jason finds this b*tch attractive in any way, shape or form!

Callie on

I HATE this chick so much!!!! She is such a big mouthed POS. I can’t believe Jason finds this b*tch attractive in any way, shape or form!

Laura on

We need to talk less about breastfeeding issues, more talk about how to raise the kids to be future productive citizen.

Anonymous on

I can’t believe people can’t get over themselves. This is a very beautiful, natural part of being a mother and if you don’t like it…don’t look!

blessedwithboys on

@Mindy
Breastfeeding doesn’t reduce cancer. Formula feeding increases it.

#breastisnotbestitsnormal
#normalizebreastfeeding

delores on

My reaction of the picture was that it was staged. You never see a dressed up Mom sitting in a booth breastfeeding a baby with no clothes on. That doesn’t happen.

Julie Clarity on

Why do women keep shaming we who breastfeed. Look, it is your choice to rob your children of 10 pts of IQ, it is your choice to continue in the tradition of so many US families and put out a third or fourth generation of never breast fed humans, you decided not to breastfeed your child so get over it. I know of women who really wanted to breastfeed and are heartbroken they could not, that is what I assume, I don’t assume you are lazy or selfish, though all this shaming of we women who actually feed our children with our very own mammal milk nature intended for human children makes me wonder if you should have bothered to have a child in the first place Women who choose to not breastfeed just because STOP SHAMING THOSE OF US WHO BREASTFEED. I’m sick of y’all and your tiny skinny little sickly looking babies and toddlers. It is very obvious even into the first grade who was formula fed, and I can tell who weans early, nowadays, too. If you want to be accepted for putting chemical made formula down your baby’s craw because it is your ‘choice’ to defy nature and to feed your baby whatever you want, then quit shaming breastfeeders.

I’m a bit emotional about it because my family threw me out for breastfeeding. They are on their fourth generation of never breastfed humans, and it shows. Formula was created to save a very small percentage of babies whose could not breastfeed, not be a staple diet for generations of children. I’m sick of the shame the USA puts on its women in general, but I’m extra sick of the shame the USA puts on its women regarding how we feed our baby, and I’m sick of the anti-woman crusade the women are on warring against their very own kind.

I’m also sick of the Stay At Home Parent/ Work For Pay Parent debate. No one bothers to ask us why we chose to afford a SAHP, instead they use it as their excuse to think we are something we are not. It is obvious the USA hates its women so much it attacks us for the most fundamental things and it is women leading the attack.

Choice is a virtue on

The problem isn’t breastfeeding. The problem is that people will always creat their own problem when something isn’t done to their specific standard or ideals. Newsflash: Not everyone likes to be stuffed into the same uptight box and it is our right to decide how we conduct/express ourselves. You can easily keep your mouth shut and remove yourself from whatever you deem offensive.

People shouldn’t care if someone wants to breastfeed or formula feed. Worry about yourself and your own.
People shouldn’t care if someone wants to breastfeed in public with or without a cover. Don’t like? Have some “proper manners” yourself and don’t look! Because regardless Mom and Baby are bonding…they aren’t looking at you gawking at her like you’ve never seen breasts. Get over yourselves.
People shouldn’t care if a woman wants to post a breastfeeding pic. Don’t like? Theres this modern concept of “blocking” just for that too.
All the “problems” of this generation are so narcissistic and pointless and only distract from the real world wide issues at hand. Where are the articles about dangerous exponential growth of the human kind? Where are the articles about the corruption of the IMF and our indebted government? Why do people ignore that Hillary Clinton should be in prison for endangering national security? Why I ask? Oh, that’s right! Because there’s some harlot of a blasphemous woman over there breastfeeding her child *gasp* with makeup on and no cover. How DARE she -___- she’s surely going to ruin our economy and planet!

Choice is a virtue on

The problem isn’t breastfeeding. The problem is that people will always create their own problem when something isn’t done to their specific standard or ideals. Newsflash: Not everyone likes to be stuffed into the same uptight box and it is our right to decide how we conduct/express ourselves. You can easily keep your mouth shut and remove yourself from whatever you deem offensive.
People shouldn’t care if someone wants to breastfeed or formula feed. Worry about yourself and your own.
People shouldn’t care if someone wants to breastfeed in public with or without a cover. Don’t like? Have some “proper manners” yourself and don’t look! Because regardless Mom and Baby are bonding…they aren’t looking at you gawking at her like you’ve never seen breasts. Get over yourselves.
People shouldn’t care if a woman wants to post a breastfeeding pic. Don’t like? Theres this modern concept of “blocking” just for that too.
All the “problems” of this generation are so narcissistic and pointless and only distract from the real world wide issues at hand. Where are the articles about dangerous exponential growth of the human kind? Where are the articles about the corruption of the IMF and our indebted government? Why do people ignore that Hillary Clinton should be in prison for endangering national security? Why I ask? Oh, that’s right! Because there’s some harlot of a blasphemous woman over there breastfeeding her child *gasp* with makeup on and no cover. How DARE she -___- she’s surely going to ruin our economy and planet!

Mendocino on

I like her . She is a very intelligent lady who is a good actress , and is very funny. She seems to be a fantastic mother and a sister to all the other ladies out there . Now if we could stop giving each other a hard time about our choices on to breast feed or not . We would be doing great . Best wishes to her and her new baby . My bet is the baby is a girl . 🌟

vm on

I think it’s a personal preference on breastfeeding, some people breastfeed, some don’t, it’s just a personal choice. As long as they do it in discretion in public, that’s fine.

Dawn on

This is just absolutely ridiculous to me!!!! Any woman who choose’s to have photos,photo shoot,whatever ud like to call it that’s her prerogative. So what she is an actress so what she had make up on & was dressed to the nines. Are we all not aloud to make our own choices & decisions about ourselves now let alone our children. I just don’t get this society who had made a conscience choice to tell everyone else what is acceptable & what is not. Who decided these other people had a right to tell everyone what was right & wrong? Acceptable & unacceptable, I just find this absolutely ridiculous & appalling. So what if my children were still little ones & I decided to get dressed up, put makeup on,have a photographer ik come over & do pics of myself & my child & I nursed n those pictures I am somehow “shaming women” absolutely absurd. Why is it we cN no longer do what’s best for ourselves, our children, our families n general, or just what’s wrks for us, b cause u disagree, u find something deplorable, or it isn’t your cup of tea the rest of the world who views differently than u are all wrong, all “feminists” which somehow has a negative connotation also, we should all b required to conform to what the majority believes? That’s BS I am who I am, there is no one else like me, their is no one that will ever convince me Olivia Wilde, myself or or anyone else who breast feeds, bottle feeds, takes photos with makeup & a beautiful outfit nursing, no makeup n sweats, n public, @ home, n church, n a gay club, n a coffee shop I could go on infinitum. The only people I see with the problems r those trying to force others to conform & see & feel as they see & feel. Why can we no longer have differences of opinions without calling it shaming, without offending everyone, people don’t have to bash & rip to shreds other people just b cause they feel diff about a topic or situation. I will say the only people I really have zero tolerance for & thst I will not accosiate with, or ever agree with n anyway are pedophiles , people who claim to b Christians or men of God or claim to b anything related to their God, but spew hate, terrorism, & openly speak of how they pray victim’s of shootings or other violent crimes how they pray they die from their injuries & that they suffer while doing so b cause they r n their words as a man of the cloth an abomination & do not deserve to live amongst us & they deserved to b killed, raped,tortured anything that must happen so he can pray they die. Anyone who is against abortion which being against abortion is fine that’s ur belief I am ok with ur belief but then u go & bomb clinics b cause u believe they r killing babies & killing babies is wrong but killing everyone n the clinic is ok n your mind. This world is crazy I love me I love my thoughts opinions ideas & I WILL NEVER CONFORM, I shouldn’t have to no one should.

Lou on

I an not a big fans of Olivia because of all the comments she has made about her vigina and sex life with her former spouse. People need to understand that talking about private issues do not make them more popular. However, the public should stop blaming women in regards how they want to feed their infants. It is no one business. Celebrities need to be more private and stop sharing all these irrelevant personal details

Sarah on

Agree with choice is a virtue said.

lujacklvr on

When her son,Otis, is 16 or 17 years old & his friends are laughing at his mother & her “out-there” breast-feeding pics as he blows smoke rings in his therapist’s office, whining about how his mother never thought of him or his feelings or his future because she was too busy raising a “male feminist” & not even considering how her own son might feel about being the posterboy for male feminism just to promote FreeTheNipple.org & other such “progressive” organizations? Perhaps Olivia Wilde will present her son, Otis, with complementary commemorative tickets to the 50th[?] Anniversary of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues for his 21st birthday…

Sam2 on

@JuliaClarity: yikes. Read your post again and tell me who is doing all the shaming. That was a very cruel and baseless ranting. Studies have shown that breast milk is ideal but recent studies have also shown that breast fed babies are not measurably smarter or better. Calm down. Nobody should be shaming anyone on either side. Consensus: feed your baby formula AND/OR breast milk. Feed them in general.

anonymous on

so tired about the debate of breastfeeding, it’s old news.

Tay on

Wow people are sensitive. A photo shouldn’t make someone feel shamed. We all make parenting decisions based on what works best for us and our kids. Nobody should care if I breastfeed my baby and I don’t care if you formula feed yours. There’s more than one way to parent…just like if I say I’m terrified of the possibility of a c-section, I’m not putting down anyone who has had one. I’m just saying that surgery (any kind) really terrifies me and I’d strongly prefer not to go that route. Bottom line, baby is born healthy and gets fed. All that matters.

Ella on

Why would she be shamed for doing what is best for her child? Doesn’t make sense.

suz on

There is absolutely no shame in breastfeeding, you can breast feed anywhere your heart desires, but you do not deserve any praise. A stranger in a bookstore who is caught on camera without knowing, and then makes a statement with her lack of management and money, deserves praise. The thing is, she exists!!! This is every average woman who protects the right to feed her child (most if they aren’t trying to live the “celeb life.” WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU EVER PUT YOUR CHILD THROUGH THIS PUBLIC STUPIDITY?! When your son Otis is older, he is going to wonder why you chose to include him in this ridiculous declaration of spotlight and self-absorption instead of him. The key to raising adequate kids is not through being “a bit more efficient,” it is through attentiveness, protection, and love. Read some medical studies for once instead of your own bulls**t propaganda. You are just like Jenny McCarthy ( whose death count you can find here http://www.antivaccinebodycount.com/) and the other clowntowns who believe your own crap, and live your own fabulous reality. I would hope u never attempt to represent women for anything ever. I hope no celebrity, other than those with a purpose and experience, attempts to represent anyone. I feel bad for Otis and the rest of these children who will end up living a depressing, false liveliness in their parents’ shadow. Get it together people who have too much time on their hands to support people who already have enough money. Olivia Wilde, you are disgusting, but luckily, you still have at least a little time before your kid is totally messed up. How dare you even make a dime on the precious moments with that sweet little man Otis. Cherish it, you will regret missing even a single first moment in his life.

suz on

There is absolutely no shame in breastfeeding, you can breast feed anywhere your heart desires, but you do not deserve any praise. A stranger in a bookstore who is caught on camera without knowing, and then makes a statement with her lack of management and money, deserves praise. The thing is, she exists!!! This is every average woman who protects the right to feed her child (most if they aren’t trying to live the “celeb life.” WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU EVER PUT YOUR CHILD THROUGH THIS PUBLIC STUPIDITY?! When your son Otis is older, he is going to wonder why you chose to include him in this ridiculous declaration of spotlight and self-absorption instead of him. The key to raising adequate kids is not through being “a bit more efficient,” it is through attentiveness, protection, and love.

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