In her latest Instagram post, Hilary Duff truly opened up about her struggles with breastfeeding and pumping and the emotional journey it sent her on.
Hilary gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Banks, six months ago and decided to breastfeed despite her busy shooting schedule for Younger. This meant pumping while at work and, as she puts it, “having your damn nipples tugged at by an aggressive machine that makes an annoying sound, that echoes through your head day and night.”
“Pumping at work sucks. I had zero downtime and am usually pumping in a hair and makeup trailer while four hands work to get me ready for the next scene with lots of other people around. Even if I had the luxury to be in my own room, it’s not even considered a ‘break’ because you have to sit upright for the milk to flow into the bottles!”
Despite all the challenges that came with breastfeeding as a working mom, Hilary was determined to breastfeed Banks until she was six months old. But now that Banks has reached that age, Hilary is done. She wrote,
“I know many women are not able to and for that I am sympathetic and very grateful that I could. For six wonderful months. But I needed a break. I was going to break.”
“I was sad and frustrated and feeling like a failure all of the time. When really I’m a badass rock star.”
And yet as hard as it all was, Hilary still felt a great amount of stress when it came to the decision to finally stop breastfeeding. She wrote,
“Deciding to stop BFing was so emotional and hard. I thought about it ALL day every day. It was a constant loop in my head. Weighing the pros and cons.”
In the end, breastfeeding and pumping were taking too much of a toll on her mental health and she had no choice.
“I cried many times and felt so depressed while weening. I wasn’t myself at all. Something scary was hovering over my brain and my heart…the part of me that I know is smart and rational. The lows felt horrible. I was missing good time with my baby.”
Since she stopped breastfeeding, Hilary has fortunately been able to successfully recover mentally. She’s spending more time with her daughter and her family (she also has a 7-year-old son Luca from her first marriage to Mike Comrie) and is getting more sleep.
So often our conversation on breastfeeding focuses on the need to normalize it (which is incredibly important!). But rarely do we discuss the intense emotional component that can come with breastfeeding and pumping as well. I hope that other mothers know they are not alone and can take comfort in Hilary’s story.