"There's so much pressure to breastfeed."
When Amy Schumer became a mom in 2019, we were so happy for her. When she posted photos of herself pumping before going to work, we cheered her on because we know how hard it can be.
And now that she is going public about her struggles with breastfeeding and exclusive pumping, we are thankful that she's sharing her story.
In an interview for the Informed Pregnancy podcast, Schumer told prenatal chiropractor, childbirth educator and labor doula Dr. Elliot Berlin about why she chose to stop pumping and switch to formula.
"I had a lactation expert; he [baby Gene] didn't latch, and I just didn't feel that push to make that happen. I pumped for the first month or something and then I was like, not for me, this is not for me, I didn't want to do it," she tells Dr. Berlin.
Over time, she reduced her pumping sessions, increased formula feeds and eventually switched to formula completely.
"I really encourage women -- there's so much pressure to breastfeed but really, it's all in your head," Schumer says in the interview, "Some people absolutely love it and I'm so happy for them but it was bumming me out. Once it occurred to me that I could stop, I was like, 'I'm going stop.'"
Schumer is right. A recent commentary in the journal Nursing for Women's Health explains that "[p]sychological pressure to exclusively breastfeed has the potential to contribute to postpartum depression symptoms in new mothers who are unable to achieve their breastfeeding intentions."
Schumer was "bummed out" and research shows that mothers who have negative breastfeeding experiences are more likely to show symptoms of depression.
Breastmilk is recommended as the first choice when feeding an infant, but it is not the only choice. It's okay if you chose to feed your baby in a way that works for you.
While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life, the ACOG 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."
When she switched her son to formula Schumer felt better, and the baby thrived. Schumer wants other women to know this.
Her advice for fellow moms struggling with their decision to supplement or formula feed is simple: "You matter. It's going to better for your baby that you're OK."