Updated Jan. 23, 2020: Kate Upton took to Instagram on Wednesday to explain that her breastfeeding comments in the Editorialist were specifically related to how she felt about exercising after having baby Genevieve.
“When asked about getting back in shape after pregnancy I discussed the major pressures that are out there for new moms to ‘snap back’ right after having a baby,” she wrote, saying that she felt that pressure and pushed herself to do so. “I realized quickly that between breastfeeding, healing, little-to-no sleep, off-the-charts hormone changes and experiencing everything for the first time that those weight-loss pressures are extremely unnecessary, and I decided to turn my energy towards my family.”
Upton may have written this because it seemed in the article that her quote about “breastfeeding sucking the energy” away from her was a negative remark about nursing her baby. (Which, by the way, it’s totally okay for mothers to feel that!) But instead she said she was talking about feeling too drained to exercise and diet the way she thought others expected her to.
“My energy was drained but my heart was extremely full, and I decided to not let others’ opinions and expectations get in the way of my own personal timeline,” she wrote in this update. “In my opinion, enjoy the moments with your new baby and growing family, allow your body time to heal and make sure to go at your own pace.”
Original story, published Jan. 17, 2020: Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift of nature and healthy for babies and healthy for moms and a beautiful way to bond with an infant and so on and so on. We never want to detract from that message. But also, it is hard and often draining, and it is such a relief to hear someone like Kate Upton say so, loud enough for all the tired mamas out there to hear.
“[T]he reality, for me, was that breastfeeding was sucking the energy away from me,” the model told the Editorialist in her cover story this month, relating how much pressure she was feeling to breastfeed while “on the go.”
Upton and husband Justin Verlander welcomed daughter Genevieve Upton Verlander in November 2018, and both mom and dad have still kept up their professional lives. But Upton said her experience as a mother has been teaching her to be easier on herself.
“I realized I needed to calm down, to allow my body to recover,” she told the magazine.
Upton isn’t alone in feeling drained by the physical and emotional demands of nursing a child, even while simultaneously calling breastfeeding a “superpower” as she did in an Instagram post last March.
First of all, no matter how you feed your child, postpartum fatigue is normal. But when you nurse, your body, which is used to only consuming food, now has to produce it as well. Then when you throw in the need to stop what you’re doing every couple hours to feed or pump, that’s just a lot. Plus, if you experience difficulties in the early stages of nursing, you may be at a higher risk for postpartum depression.
That’s why, even though the WHO encourages parents to breastfeed for at least six months and for up to two years or beyond, mothers should also consider their own health in this decision. And they should not have to feel one ounce of guilt over quitting. Babies do best when their mom is healthy and happy, too.