Gisele Bundchen, the Brazilian supermodel, has called for mothers to be forced to breastfeed for the first six months of their baby's life.

The 30-year-old, who lives in the US, risked controversy by saying there should be a law preventing mothers from using formula milk. Asked about keeping her figure, Ms Bundchen told Harper's Bazaar magazine: "I think breastfeeding really helped. Some people here [in the US] think they don't have to breastfeed, and I think, 'Are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?' I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months."

Her comments came after Denise van Outen, the actress, said she gave up breastfeeding her daughter, Betsy, after less than a month because she did not want photographers taking pictures. "I probably should have persevered a bit longer than three weeks," van Outen said last month. "But I can't be sitting in Starbucks and breastfeeding, because the [photographers] are taking pictures."

Ms Bundchen, who is married to the American footballer Tom Brady, had a natural birth at their home in Boston in December after meditating throughout her eight-hour labour. She was modelling swimwear within six weeks of the birth of their first child, Benjamin Rein.

She said she considered daily meditation a necessity in the run-up to giving birth: "It prepared me mentally and physically. It's called 'labour' not 'holiday' for a reason, and I knew that. You want to go into the most intense physical experience of your life unprepared?

"I was ready and I thought 'OK, let's get to work'. I wasn't expecting someone else to get the baby out of me."