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When actress and model Molly Sims gave birth to her first child, she had to come to terms with the fact that she wasn't able to produce enough breastmilk to keep him fed and healthy. On an episode of the Mom School podcast, Sims told host Kristen Kelly that her decision to feed formula to her son, Brooks, who is now 8, caused a lot of mom guilt and shame from other mothers.
On the podcast, Kelly talks with guests about IVF, breastfeeding, and “postpartum truths.” In the August 2nd episode, Sims said that her struggles with breastfeeding lead her to work with a lactation specialist named Linda Hanna. After trying "18 herbs," a breast pump, and other aids, it was Hanna who tried to quell her fears about feeding her children formula.
“[Hanna] goes, 'We got to feed this baby some formula...We're just going to need a little,'" Sims told Kelly, adding “[Hanna] was really such a constant and I cannot thank her enough, because that about put me under. I was really depressed over it."
Sims continued, "I always say to women, 'They come out of you, and you automatically have mom guilt.'"
The actress and model talked about comparing herself to other moms to whom breastfeeding came more easily.
"I would see these women, and they just stick that baby on the boob, and I watched it," she said, and then she referred specifically to her friend who has three kids identical in age to her own. “I watched her breastfeed...I was like, 'I'm so sorry, Allison, but did you just really make that much fucking milk?' And she was like, 'Yeah.' And I was like, 'That would take me nine feedings.’”
She also opened up about feeling shamed for her formula decision, saying that the pressure from other mothers was as if she were feeding her son "poison."
A post shared by Molly Sims (@mollybsims) on Jul 4, 2020 at 1:11pm PDT
By the time Sims and her husband, Scott Stuber, had their third child, Grey, in 2017 (after having Scarlett in 2015), Sims was more comfortable with formula, but she still convinced Hanna that she wanted to keep trying to breastfeed.
"And I just don't make milk. I made a little bit, and finally by the third baby, [Hanna] goes, 'Are we really going to try this?' I'm like, 'We're really going to try it,’” she said. She didn't note how it turned out, but we hope that she was able to do whatever worked for her as a mother.
Aside from the formula stigma, Sims said she still lives with a lot of fear and anxiety as a mother.
She said that talking to a therapist really helped her deal with her anxieties and reduce any potential “spirals”—including those induced by the dreams she's had in which her kids are drowning.
And, as is true for most things, Beyoncé lent a helping hand, too. “It got me out of my head, and this is going to sound crazy, but Beyoncé helped me," Sims told Kelly. "It was like, 'I love you Beyoncé, so much.' I would just start singing."
As long as your kids are being fed and growing healthy and strong, it doesn’t really matter if their sustenance comes from breastfeeding or formula. That decision is between parents and a healthcare provider. Take it from Sims: Mom guilt is real, but hopefully, with her candor, she can help others struggling with the same pressures.