Breastfeeding is perhaps one of the most talked about topics among new moms. In an era of breastfeeding advocacy, there are plenty of moms who feel the pressure of "breast is best" — even though breastfeeding doesn't work for every mother and baby relationship. That's what makes a recent viral Instagram post so powerful, and for some, controversial — in which a mom said she wishes she hadn't breastfed her baby. But before you cry foul, the mom who made the post also makes a litany of great points to back up her sentiment.
Maddi Carter, a former contestant on the Australian reality TV show House Rules, posted her bombshell statement to Instagram last Wednesday: "I wish I never breastfed my baby. A strong statement and many would disagree," Carter's caption read in part. Her Instagram photo shows a picture of her holding her youngest son, Marlow, who was born in October. The 30-year-old Aussie is also the mom of another boy named Carter, born in August of 2015. Her lengthy Instagram post continues with a long list of reasons why she chose to wean her baby at three months old and, to be honest, it's one amazingly refreshing and candid list of reasons.
"I am a completely different person," Carter writes on Instagram, a little under a month of having fully weaned her son. Her post continues:
I'm a better mum and better wife. I have more energy. I actually have gaps where bub is NOT on my body so I get to miss him a little. I have more time for my other son. I am more affectionate towards my husband. I don't dread going out in public. I enjoy my clothes again as I'm not leaking everywhere or having to wear uncomfortable maternity bras. I'm able to leave the house by myself without getting anxiety. I'm able to go to the gym again. I know I will cop alot of negative comments about this post but I think its important for mums to know that they have choices. There are so many different ways to be a mum. But what many mums forget is that MUM HAS TO BE HAPPY TOO.
In the age of "Mommy Wars," Carter's post definitely feels like shots fired, but her bravery in speaking out is to be celebrated instead of judged. Breastfeeding is not easy, as ubiquitous a practice it may be among moms now. Nursing a baby is not the intuitive Mother Earth Goddess act that it is so often depicted to be: there's lots of boob jiggling, baby wiggling, and milk leakage that no one really likes to tell you about before you start breastfeeding. To put it bluntly, breastfeeding is just plain hard as it doesn't always come naturally.
Not all women breastfeed — some women can't due to hormones or their own anatomy, while others just don't feel comfortable or want to — and that's perfectly OK. I had major breastfeeding troubles for my son's first three months because no one noticed his huge tongue tie, which caused latching issues. When I did wean him at 10 months, it was a fraught decision for lots of reasons: I didn't make it to a year like I had hoped, but at that time, it's what felt right for me and my son. It's what worked for us at that moment — and that's what makes Carter's Instagram post so important.
Carter laid out some incredibly valid reasons for choosing to wean when she did — but the frustrating fact is that she shouldn't have to justify whether she's going breast or bottle in the first place. Props to Carter for taking a stand and getting real about breastfeeding and motherhood. At the end of the day, we're all just trying to be the best moms we can — other moms' judgments be damned.