Throughout pregnancy, moms-to-be are reminded over and over again: breast is best. Between the health benefits for both mom and baby, the antibodies that help ward off sickness, the reduced risk for SIDS, and more, it's difficult to argue against the evidence. With that said, breastfeeding isn't always easy or possible for new moms. Certain health conditions, a rigorous work schedule, a low supply, latch issues — or perhaps all of the above — can make establishing and maintaining that nursing relationship a huge challenge. Yet the pressure to live up to "breast is best" remains. Just ask one former reality TV star. Because as it turns out, Lauren Conrad said struggling to breastfeed made her feel like a "bad mom." And she's certainly not alone.
As E! Online reported, the former The Hills alum recently opened up about the challenges she faced while breastfeeding her son, Liam. Although her only child — whom she shares with husband William Tell — is now 22 months old, those early moths of motherhood definitely weren't easy for her.
"I, like a lot of moms, thought that breastfeeding would be the most natural, beautiful thing in the world and that it would just come really easily to me and I would just kind of know what to do because that's what my body is made to do," Conrad, 33, said in her new podcast Asking For a Friend. "It was, without a doubt, the most difficult part of becoming a new mother."
Conrad's breastfeeding journey actually started out pretty well, as she explained in the podcast. It wasn't until Liam was about 4 months old that she started experiencing issues with her milk supply.
"I had this one, really sad half-full frozen bag of breastmilk sitting in my freezer and it had a tiny little martini glass drawn on it because it was from the one time I had a martini and I couldn't give it to him," she explained. "But I also couldn't bring myself to throw it out so it just sort of sat there next to the popsicles mocking me. Besides that, I had nothing and I couldn't keep up with him."
The new mom pulled out all the stops in an effort to increase her supply. There were lactation pills, cookies, teas, drops — but nothing seemed to help. She explained:
I felt like I was failing at something that should come really naturally and it was really difficult for me. I felt ashamed and it kind of made me feel like a bad mom.
It's worth noting Conrad isn't the first mom to feel this way — not by a long shot. In fact, a recent poll asked more than 1,000 UK women who have had a baby in the past decade about their breastfeeding experiences, according to the Daily Mail . The poll by BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour showed that half of mothers who breastfed struggled to do so. What's more is over a third of women in this poll who formula-fed their baby said they felt guilty or embarrassed for giving their baby formula, according to the Independent.
In April, Conrad announced that she's expecting baby number two, according to ET Online. "It’s been hard to keep this one to myself! Very excited to share that our family will be getting a little bigger this year 👶🏼," she wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of herself resting her hands on an already visible bump.
If Lauren Conrad choosing to give breastfeeding another go, hopefully her journey with baby number two goes a bit more smoothly. And if not? She's still a fantastic mother — no matter how she feeds her child.