Eva Amurri Martino was worried about mommy shaming when she made the difficult decision this month to stop breastfeeding her son.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends mothers breastfeed their babies until they are at least a year old, many women are unable to do so for health or other reasons—or simply choose not to, and are often criticized for it. In a recent post for her Happily Eva After blog, Eva recalls the problems she faced nursing her youngest child, 3-month-old son Major.
The actress said that after the boy cracked his skull when his night nurse accidentally dropped him when he was five weeks old, her "breastfeeding journey got totally thrown off."
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Eva had revealed her son's accident in a blog post earlier this month, saying the incident caused her to suffer "some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, possibly linked to some form of Postpartum Depression."
In her new post, Eva said her milk supply has diminished since her "post-partum anxiety" began.
"What made this even worse is how much I would blame myself for it all," she said. "I would put so much pressure on myself to battle the anxiety so that my son's food source wouldn't suffer. When I would fall short (which you always do when you try to strong-arm anxiety!), I would feel even worse for 'failing' my son."
She said she felt "like the Breastfeeding Police were going to somehow know the second" she made the decision to switch to baby formula and blame her "for not trying hard enough, for not battling through and finding a solution."
Eva had breastfed her eldest child, daughter Marlowe, and transitioned to feeding her formula when the child was just over four months old after battling a "super nasty case of Mastitis," or breast inflammation usually caused by infection, and Shingles. The actress said that her "feelings of self-doubt and guilt" wouldn't allow her to view formula as an option for Major.
When her son was 11 weeks old, she said her husband, Kyle Martino, stepped in and asked her to "stop torturing" herself, saying she could taking some things off her plate if she began to feed the baby formula.
"Even though it made me emotional, I had to agree," she said. "Freeing up my time would allow me to seek therapy and get more fresh air, as well as start to implement a little more self care– all things I needed if I was going to begin to get myself back on track mentally."
"When I gave him the first bottle of formula, I was fighting back tears," Eva said. "I felt like a failure and was worried that he wouldn't accept the change. But Major took a few gulps, and then he pulled away from the bottle, and looked up at me. He cooed a bit and then gave me the biggest smile. My heart just burst with gratitude. I felt in that moment like he was telling me it was ok—not to worry, and that he knew how much I love him."