Great Britain

Chrissy Teigen reflects on ‘shame’ over breastfeeding struggles: ‘Normalise formula’

Chrissy Teigen has written a Twitter thread aimed at normalising formula feeding while opening up about the struggles and pressure she and other new mothers often experience with breastfeeding.

On Sunday, the Cravings author began: “Ok I'm gonna say something and you all are definitely gonna make it a thing but here goes: normalise formula.”

Acknowledging that normalising breastfeeding is “such a huge, wonderful thing,” Teigen continued the thread explaining that it also made her feel “way more shame” about having to use formula because of a lack of milk production “from depression and whatnot”.

“I remember pumping my ASS OFF,  highest mode, so often, because I didn't trust milk was going into their mouths if I breastfed,” the cookbook author recalled of trying to breastfeed her and husband John Legend’s children Luna, four, and Miles, two. “It drove me mad to the point I could only get an ounce. An ounce!

“The stress of it, combined with the guilt that you cannot do nature's most natural thing for your own baby is too much.”

However, as Teigen noted, there are a number of reasons new mothers may find themselves unable to breastfeed, or simply choose not to, which can lead to shame or guilt due to the stigma around formula feeding.

“People have surrogates, people have trouble breastfeeding and all you hear as a new, anxious mom is how breast is best,’” she wrote.

“‘Normalise breastfeeding’ is great. ‘Normalise formula’ is great, too! So yeah. That's all!” Teigen continued. “Normalise formula! Your baby is gonna be BEAUTIFUL, PERFECT, AND OKAY.”

The mother-of-two concluded the thread with a message of encouragement to other mothers, writing: “I dunno why this is my crusade now. I just remember the sadness I felt and want you to know you are doing it right if your baby is fed, mama.”

The thread resonated with Teigen’s more than 13m followers, with many, including actress Jenna Dewan, praising her for using her platform to speak out against the stigma around formula feeding.

“A great thread for mother’s… I too had trouble producing milk the second time around with Callum and wasted too much time feeling unnecessary anxiety and guilt about it,” Dewan tweeted.

Another person commented: “Thank you for this Chrissy! I felt so much shame and sadness not being able to nurse my daughters but I just never produced enough milk to do it and so all three of mine were formula fed and all three turned out completely healthy and perfect! You have to do what works for you.”

“Thank you for saying this! It is so important to get this message out there! My baby would not latch and I spent the first few weeks of his life feeling like a failure as a woman and a mother! Fed is best,” someone else wrote.

In October, Teigen penned an emotional essay on Medium in which she thanked her fans for their support and shared details about the loss of her and Legend’s child.

“I wrote this because I knew for me I needed to say something before I could move on from this and return back to life, so I truly thank you for allowing me to do so,” she wrote. “Jack will always be loved, explained to our kids as existing in the wind and trees and the butterflies they see.

“Thank you so much to every single person who has had us in their thoughts or gone as far as to send us your love and stories. We are so incredibly lucky.”

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