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Momhood is all about rolling with it haha I had such concrete plans to breastfeed and little miss just said no. After many MANY tears and wrestling matches…she made her choice and she’s such a happier little lady now. Thank you @PhilipsAvent for making mom life easier for me and baby life easier for miss @drewhazeleast #ad
Oh my gosh, can everyone just leave poor Shawn Johnson alone! Not you guys, you guys are cool, but all the Judgey McMommersons out there who feel compelled to weigh in on her parenting. We just got done talking about how Shawn was criticized for playing with her daughter at the beach. In that same post, we found out that Shawn is so used to criticism, she puts disclaimers in her captions when she posts them. But it isn’t limited to her social media. Shawn was made to feel guilty for *checks notes*, making sure her daughter is nourished. And what’s worse, these insults came from a lactation consultant they’d hired, who shamed Shawn in her own home.
Shawn Johnson East and her 3-month-old daughter Drew Hazel have gotten a rhythm down when it comes to feedings, but it wasn’t an easy journey.
The Olympic gold medalist, 28, opens up to PEOPLE for this week’s issue about the process she and husband Andrew East went through that led them to supplement with formula for their baby girl, after she initially breastfed for the week they were in the hospital following Johnson East’s cesarean section.
“It was a wrestling match every time,” says Johnson East, who was recently named the first-ever spokesperson for Enfamil. “I would be bawling, she would be bawling and screaming ’cause she was hungry, but she wouldn’t eat and she wouldn’t latch anymore.”
The new parents even called in reinforcements in the form of a lactation consultant — a decision that didn’t exactly go the way Johnson East and her former NFL player husband, 28, had hoped.
“I had a really bad experience with a lactation consultant and I all but kicked her out of my house because she basically said that I had ruined my child’s life because I gave her a bottle and formula,” she says of being “shamed” by the consultant. “I was like, ‘You know what? I can’t listen to this anymore.’ “
Johnson East recalls the feelings being a “baffling experience of a desperate mom trying to take the best care of her child and getting shamed for it,” compounded by “guilt” and “innate fear” of doing it wrong as a first-time mom.
“You have this natural feeling of responsibility that you have to provide for your baby and part of it is supplying milk, and when you can’t give that to your child in whatever way or reason, you already feel a little guilty,” she tells PEOPLE. “You feel like you’re not setting them up for life, and when people give their opinions and say ‘breast is best,’ it just makes you feel like a failure. I hated that.”
As for the mom shaming comments Johnson East has received both online and in person since welcoming her baby girl on Oct. 29, she’s learning how to roll with the punches and “trust [my] gut opinions that, as a mom, I’m doing the right thing for my kid” — plus soaking up every moment of new motherhood in the meantime
Disclaimer: I know there are many wonderful lactation consultants out there and that probably several of you benefitted from their counsel. So this is not meant to be an attack on lactation consultants, but – mine made me feel like crap too. I took a class, I did not hire one privately, but they gave us their cards so we could call for support (at a cost) if we needed it. In the class, they dismissed me publicly because I was having my baby at Cedars Sinai, which, I guess, they found too impersonal for birthing. Plus, I thought they gave erroneous advice on a visual cue for suction. They stood by their technique when I called to clarify (at a cost – and three days of them not answering their phone) but my son did not get fed properly until I went with my gut and ignored their advice. So it sounds like both Shawn and I got bunk consultants, which is unfortunate because trying to get your kid fed is terrifying in the beginning. Plus, as Shawn said, the guilt, fueled by hormones and SuperMommies, is crushing.
Later in the article, Shawn’s husband, Andrew, said that he’d been prepared to be left out of feeding time for the first few months. So when Drew needed to switch to formula, it allowed him to pick up half the feeding schedule and he couldn’t be happier about it. As we reinforce on here: Fed is Best. If you need to use formula for any reason, do it. And if someone wants to make you feel bad about that, send them here – we’ll deal with them while you and your baby have lunch.
Photo credit: Getty Images and Instagram