Chrissy Teigen is as known for being brutally honest and relatable on social media as she is for her funny jokes, her parenting anecdotes, and her cooking. On Sunday, November 30, Teigen made good on her reputation by bringing up a stigma in motherhood that is not talked about enough, just months after breaking down barriers in the public discussion of pregnancy loss. This time? Teigen is here to end the shame associated with formula feeding babies.
“Ok I’m gonna say something and you all are definitely gonna make it a thing but here goes: normalize formula,” Teigen wrote on Twitter. She added: “normalize breastfeeding is such a huge, wonderful thing. But I absolutely felt way more shame having to use formula because of lack of milk from depression and whatnot,” she said. “…people have trouble breastfeeding and all you hear as a new, anxious mom is how breast is best.”
Teigen is correct. New moms — especially moms who are parents for the first time — often hear the phrase “breast is best” ad nauseam from doctors, from mom friends, and the general public writ large. The World Health Organization, alongside other health bodies, have long argued that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their lives due to the benefits associated with breastmilk. And they’re not wrong.
But breastfeeding isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to feeding children, and for moms who are figuring it out, the failure to be able to breastfeed might also feel like a personal failure — when in reality every single mom is different. Moms who have to go back to work very shortly after giving birth, for example, which is common in America where access to paid leave depends on where you work, might not be successful with pumping and might have to use formula. Some women just don’t like breastfeeding. Some moms literally don’t produce milk or struggle to get their babies to latch. Some infants are adopted; some parents become parents through surrogacy. All of these realities are valid. Breastfeeding is not accessible for many reasons for new moms — and it’s important that people realize that.
ok I'm gonna say something and you all are definitely gonna make it a thing but here goes: normalize formula.
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) November 29, 2020
“The stress of it, combined with the guilt that you cannot do nature’s most natural thing for your own baby is too much,” Teigen said, perfectly encapsulating why the stresses of trying to breastfeed can push many new moms to the brink. Breastfeeding comes with a host of benefits — bonding time, health reasons, etc — but the reality is that a fed baby is a happy baby, however that baby is fed.
In the end, breastfeeding is great, but formula feeding is great, too. Whatever ensures that you maintain your mental and physical health and the health of your baby without feeling guilt or shame is the best way to feed your baby. Full stop.
“I just remember the sadness I felt and want you to know you are doing it right if your baby is fed, mama,” Teigen said, topping off the viral thread.