When you have a new baby, there are a number of potential stressors. For many parents, feeding is at the very top of the list for one big reason: Newborn babies eat around the clock—and if plans to breastfeed aren't working out as hoped, it can feel like a constant struggle.
For Khloe Kardashian, the best solution for her and baby True, was to accept that breastfeeding wasn't a good fit for them. As the new mom shares in a new series of tweets, coming to that decision was initially heart-wrenching, but then helped her feel much more at peace.
Kardashian made the revelation on Twitter this weekend after a follower 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."
@stephie_baybie I had to stop breast feeding it was really hard for me to stop (emotionally) but it wasn’t working for my body. Sadly
— Khloé (@khloekardashian)
Women who had similar struggles then chimed in with what worked for them, but Kardashian says she "tried so very hard to continue" without any luck. "Ugh it wasn't that easy for me," she said. "I tried every trick in the book—water, special cookies, power pumping, massages etc."
Kardashian is far from alone: While about 3-in-4 American mothers breastfeed at the beginning of their babies' lives, only about 1-in-5 exclusively breastfeeds by the time the baby is 6 months old. Kardashian's sister, Kim Kardashian West, is among the 80% of moms who don't.
In 2016 Kim revealed how her breastfeeding journey with her second child, Saint, ended early as she adjusted to life as a mom of two. Kim was worried her oldest wasn't getting enough attention during nursing sessions, but a lot of moms have a different worry—one that's more similar to Khloe's than Kim's. Research has shown that many mothers stop breastfeeding in the early months because of concerns with the amount of milk the baby is receiving.
Of those who stopped, studies also show many report a sense of guilt, failure or "shattered expectations." While Kardashian says she can relate to that—especially after watching how "easy" it was for sister Kourtney Kardashian to breastfeed—she's also positive about the decision to switch to formula.
@KayshaMarie @stephie_baybie Oh my gosh I was the same!! I fought and fought to try and continue but then when I ac… https://t.co/Vdjaqtomv8
— Khloé (@khloekardashian)
"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," she said. "Any sec I had of downtime I was stressing to produce more for the next feeding."
While there is very good reason to promote increasing breastfeeding rates and make society more supportive of breastfeeding mothers, we would also benefit to remember that decisions about how to feed a baby are personal—and a mothers' emotional health deserves to be valued, too. For Kardashian, that meant letting go of breastfeeding so she could better embrace everything else that motherhood has to offer.