For mamas who have complicated feelings about breastfeeding, August can be a challenging time. It starts off with #worldbreastfeedingweek, turns into #breastfeedingmonth, and can leave some mamas feeling like they don't have a place in the conversation everyone seems to be having.
It can be difficult to see a flurry of social media posts in your feeds celebrating something that you wanted to do, tried to do, couldn't do or chose not to do because it wasn't what was best for your particular baby in your particular circumstances.
That's why it's important (this month and every month) to remember that while breastfeeding is recommended, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also also officially recognizes that a baby's mother "is uniquely qualified to decide whether exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding or formula feeding is optimal for her and her infant.
There's more than one way to feed a baby, and these five celebrity moms prove it.
1. Jessica Alba
The Honest Company founder started off breastfeeding all three of her children before eventually turning to formula to feed each of them. In July she told Motherly breastfeeding her new son Hayes has been especially challenging due to milk supply issues.
"I felt like I had the most milk with Honor and then it got less with Haven and even less with Hayes. And so that was just tough for me," she explained.
Demanding work schedules were a factor in Alba not being able to breastfeed any of her kids for as long as she would have liked, but she did what worked for her family, and she wants other mamas to recognize that in themselves, too.
In her book, The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You, Alba writes: "Whatever you do, trust that you're doing the best that you can for your baby."
2. Kim Kardashian
The mom of three has been open about how breastfeeding became difficult as she was transitioning from being a mom of one to a mom of multiple kids. It can be difficult when your attention and time are divided, and in 2016 Kim shared how she stopped breastfeeding her second child, Saint, pretty early as she worried her oldest, North, was feeling left out.
It just goes to show there are a lot of reasons why a mother may stop breastfeeding, and no reason should be judged.
3. Khloe Kardashian
When baby True was born Khloe breastfed like her sister Kourtney, but eventually followed in Kim's footsteps and switched to formula.
She revealed the change during a Twitter conversation with a follower who asked if she pumped while at work. "I had to stop breastfeeding," Kardashian responded. "It was really hard for me to stop (emotionally) but it wasn't working for my body. Sadly."
She shared some more details that many mamas who've made the switch can relate to. "I fought and fought to try and continue but then when I actually stopped, I didn't realize what a relief it was for me to not stress and worry anymore," Khloe wrote. "Any sec I had of downtime I was stressing to produce more for the next feeding."
Without that stress, Khloe is now spending her downtime enjoying her time with True.
4. Tia Mowry
Like Alba, Mowry planned to breastfeed her eldest, son Cree, for longer than she did, but her body had other plans.
"Wasn't able to breastfeed Cree for long because of low milk supply! However, this time around I have plenty," she captioned a recent photo of herself and baby Cairo.
Mowry believes "lots of teas, water, #fenugreek, and a high protein diet" are helping her out this time around (but researchers don't put as much stock in fenugreek's milk boosting power as Mowry does).
5. Whitney Port
"I just hit a breaking point," the star explains through tears, "and [I] said, 'I can't do this. It feels as though someone is slicing my nipples with glass.'"
The physical pain she experienced was challenging for Port, and so was the emotional pain, because reality wasn't lining up with Port's expectations. "I tried and tried and suffered from that self-imposed guilt from quitting that so many of us new moms suffer from," Port later wrote on her blog.
"For some reason, I told myself I wanted to make it to 6 months, but 5 months came and I really couldn't do it anymore. I was sacrificing too much of myself and it was only at the expense of me. It was at the encouragement of my husband that I finally decided to stop torturing myself and find an alternative route that would nourish Sonny just as beautifully," wrote Port.
Mamas, though it may feel like everybody around you is exclusively breastfeeding, remember that is not always reality, as these celebrity mothers show.
Whether you exclusively breastfeed, exclusively pump, supplement with formula or feed only formula, you are feeding your baby in the best way you can. That's what matters.