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Eric Benet

Bellyitch Rewind: Eric Benet’s Wife Manuela’s Tender Belly Dedication

Bellyitch Rewind

In a very brave and courageous promotion of breastfeeding, singer Eric Benet, shared a photo of his newborn daughter Lucia nursing on his wife Manuela Testolini via Instagram, a new innovative and popular iPhone app used for enhancing and sharing images with friends.

Lucia was born on December 21, 2012 E! News reports.

Ideally, people who see this image would be encouraged and understand how natural and beautiful the act of nourishing a child is. Sadly, breastfeeding isn’t always celebrated and appreciated, even though research says that breastfeeding is the best for newborns and babies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 26% of babies are never breastfed. Breastfeeding is healthy and is used to transfer critical antibodies and immunity to babies. The benefits of breastfeeding are endless.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics research, human milk feeding decreases the incidence and/or severity of a wide range of infectious diseases including bacterial meningitis, bacteremia, diarrhea, respiratory tract infection, necrotizing enterocolitis,otitis media,urinary tract infection, and late-onset sepsis in preterm infants.

In addition, postneonatal infant mortality rates in the United States are reduced by 21% in breastfed infants and research indicates that breastfed babies

The CDC also reports that African Americans are less likely to breastfeed their children. The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report that Blacks stop breastfeeding sooner than other races, setting up their children for higher incidences of illnesses and diseases that non-breastfed children succumb to at a higher rate than those who were nursed. The report links higher rates of infant mortality and low birth weight to lack of breastfeeding.

There is a taboo about it among the black community, perhaps, and those who nurse for too long are not encouraged and are sometimes egged on to stop breastfeeding after a few weeks or months. Shorter breastfeeding times are also linked to low income mothers who have to report to work earlier and have shorter maternity leave and/or work in settings where they do not have a private place to pump and store their milk for their babies.

Kim Durdin-James, national president of the African-American Breastfeeding Alliance (AABA), summed it up well in saying, “In the best of times, breastfeeding is the optimal feeding choice for young children because it provides babies with all vital nutrients for growth and development, but in times of disaster, breastfeeding can mean the difference between life and death.”

So Benet sharing this image may spark dialog and conversation about nursing. Unfortunately, some may see it as over-sharing and too private an image to be sharing with the world.

But if the purpose was to share with the world a piece of two of his most favorite girls (his mom and daughter India probably being other favorite females) doing a natural act that is his prerogative and he should be celebrated and applauded for doing so not discouraged and lambasted.

A few weeks before the birth, Benet tweeted this wonderful belly pic of Manuela:

It reads: Your heart beats because of our love Our love beats stronger because of you. Lovely!

Trend: Manuela Testolini’s Baby Bump Message From Years Ago Is Thing

 

Back in 2012, R&B singer Eric Benet (Halle Berry‘s ex-husband) shared a photo (which has since been deleted) of his wife Manuela Testloni on Instagram while nursing their daughter Lucia while she was unknowingly holding up the universal sign for peace.

He shared the photo and it went viral but for the best reason in that it became a de facto advocate for breastfeeding.

There was a lot of debate about the appearance of breaspt in social media and it sparked a bunch of controversy, online discussion and some public shaming of public breast exposure during breastfeeding.

The Benet family including his daughter India and Luciana, with his then-newest daughter born in 2015.

Around that same time, he also shared a super cool photo of Testolini with a sweet message written on her belly (see above)

It has taken off and since then, I have noticed that quite a few women have followed her lease and written phrases, sayings and scriptures on their bellies and incorporated the image in their maternity portraits.

Here are a few from our Pinterest page which you can check out for image source and credit info:

Idris Elba & Eric Benet: Celebrity men who’ve shared photos of their breastfeeding partners in social media

First Eric Benet in 2012 and now Idris Elba in 2014.

In April, Elba welcomed his first child with partner makeup artist Naiyana Garth and last Saturday, he posted a photo on his Twitter account of little Winston innocently flipping the bird while breastfeeding with the hilarious caption, “I’ve been drinking, I’ve been drinking…Drunk in Milk” as a parody to a lyric in Beyonce‘s song “Drunk in Love” off her last self-titled album.
Funny stuff!
A couple years prior, in January 2012,singer Eric Benet (Halle Berry‘s ex-husband) also shared a photo (which has since been deleted) of his wife Manuela Testloni on Instagram also nursing their daughter Lucia  while she was unknowingly holding up the universal sign for peace. 
Both celebrity men shared the photo because they found amusement in the finger gesture their respective babies’ were holding up when they snapped the pic, not knowing, perhaps or thinking in doing so, they would be de facto advocates for breastfeeding.
In fact, back in 2012,  Eric’s share sparked a bunch of controversy, online discussion and some public shaming of public breast exposure during breastfeeding. If it’s taboo when its seen in the general public, it’s become doubly taboo when shown in social media for many more to see. It’s a topic which we’ve seen come alive again recently when last March 2013, a famous athlete’s model girlfriend did the same thing and was virtually shamed off the web, accused of doing it out of pure vanity, not for the purpose of promoting nursing.
It looks like we may have evolved since 2012 and/or the vocal opponents to such natural images are realizing to keep their trap shut and deal with it and/or the image got buried in all the other news items that have been dominating our minds and news feeds. 
Anyhooo. All are sweet and endearing and we encourage more of this type of sharing by celebs to help destigmatize public breastfeeding. 
Kudos Idris and Winston (and mama Naiyana, of course)! 
Winston is Elba’s second child; he has a daughter, Isan, from a previous marriage to Dormowa Sherma.

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No Shame in Breastfeeding: Ashley Nicole and other Actresses & Models who Social Media shared photos of themselves Nursing

So a couple years ago, R&B singer Eric Benet shared a photo of his wife Manuela Testolini via Instagram, breastfeeding his newborn daughter. He shot the pic because the baby was incidentally holding up her fingers in what looked like a peace sign. Benet didn’t consider the fact that his wife’s breast was exposed at the time.

Well, he got the backlash of his life from people who, apparently, believe breasts should only be shown in social media when squeezed inside teenie tiny bikinis or bursting out the side of an A-lister’s red carpet dress. When shown nourishing a baby it elicits all sorts of queasiness and uneasiness among audiences. 
For too many people,  breasts are sexual and should only be shown or used as sexual objects. The idea of a baby nursing makes them uncomfortable and they simply cannot handle it. 
Take II.
Two years later, it’s 2014 and Miami Dolphins linebacker Philip Wheeler‘s girlfriend model Ashley Nicole decided to take to her Instagram page to share a photo of herself breastfeeding her baby on the run.
“Was on the way out the door but then mommy duty called,” she captioned the above photo “…Everything stops for him! #breastisbest #natureisbeaufitul”
Nice.
Not so fast, you nursing advocates.
In no time, the image went viral and all sorts of folks who apparently grew up learning to be ashamed of something as natural as nursing went to town, cursing out the mom, calling her all sorts of names on her own Instagram page which many of them had never ever before frequented.  Yeah, going all out of their way to leave whatever website they were trolling or stalking to go to this woman’s page and berate her. 
*sigh*
I could blame  sites like TMZ  and  Bossip which posted about the story asking “Is it inappropriate” and certainly siccing their legions of followers on the poor woman.
I hate people sometimes. 
Some said the photo and words were not shared to advocate for breastfeeding but to draw attention to mom who is a Ford model and was well-dressed and in shades. Why stop to get a third person to take a photo for Instagram, if it was just natural and incidental, they ask? Only, she was dressed to go out at the time as she mentioned in the photo and she probably figured while stopping to breastfeed, she might as well share the moment with her followers and promote breastfeeding at the same time. Kill two birds with one stone.
The bullying was so intense Wheeler told TMZ Sport that people should back off .

“”I wish everybody would just leave it alone,” Wheeler said. “She’s a model. She takes pictures for a living.”a

Nicole eventually deleted her Instagram account altogether!

Good grief!
According to the Center for Disease Control, 26% of babies are never breastfed.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics research, human milk-feeding decreases the incidence and/or severity of a wide range of infectious diseases including bacterial meningitis, bacteremia, diarrhea, respiratory tract infection, necrotizing  enterocolitis, otitis media, urinary tract infection, and late-onset sepsis in preterm infants.
In addition, post-neonatal infant mortality rates in the United States are reduced by 21% in breastfed infants.
It should come as no surprise that much of the “hate” came from the black and African American community which seemingly has a less than supporting appreciation for breastfeeding and especially for breastfeeding in public. The CDC also reports that African Americans are less likely to breastfeed their children. 





The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies reports that Blacks stop breastfeeding sooner than other races, setting up their children for higher incidences of illnesses and diseases that non-breastfed children succumb to at a higher rate than those who were nursed.

The report also links higher rates of infant mortality and low birth weight to lack of breastfeeding.

There is a taboo about it among the black community, perhaps, and those who nurse for too long are not encouraged  or supported and are sometimes egged on to stop breastfeeding after a few weeks or months. Although to be fair, shorter breastfeeding times are also linked to low income mothers who have to report to work earlier and have shorter maternity leave and/or work in settings where they do not have a private place to pump and store their milk for their babies.
Kim Durdin-James, national president of the African-American Breastfeeding Alliance (AABA), summed it up well in saying, “In the best of times, breastfeeding is the optimal feeding choice for young children because it provides babies with all vital nutrients for growth and development, but in times of disaster, breastfeeding can mean the difference between life and death.”

Then there are those who bashed Nicole specifically because she was not wed to her baby’s father. Some said that Gisele Bunchen didn’t get the same amount of backlash because she was married when she shared  a similar photo last November.

But Bundchen wasn’t the first.

Xena the Warrior Princess actress and model Lucy Lawless who was photographed (above) for World Breastfeeding Week in 2002.

Singer P!nk  shared a photo of herself breastfeeding via her Instagram account, although she has since deleted the image.

Australian Model Miranda Kerr tweeted a photo of herself in 2011 breastfeeding her daughter in between costume changes during a photo shoot on her personal blog, which is currently taking a hiatus.

It shouldn’t matter if she’s married or not, a model or an actress, sharing a natural  act shouldn’t be shamed or shunned. Whether it is considered oversharing or too private for Instagram or not is up for debate and up to the individual person sharing.

We say kudos to them if destigmatizing it will eventually make it less unpopular among some groups.

Keep on brave women.

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