Breastfeeding is hard. For new moms, it can mean pain and exhaustion, engorgement and blood. It means nights spent at home — or nights spent out with a breastpump along. It is the toughest job ever, no matter how long it lasts.
These are the truths for every mom, and a glamorous job and hefty paycheck doesn't take away the problems. But a celebrity spotlight can bring the truth to the forefront and help spread the knowledge to the general public. Breastfeeding moms need advocates, and what better advocate than a celebrity mom who has gone through it herself?
We have respect for celebrity moms (OK, most celebrity moms). They have to do the hard job of motherhood while all eyes are watching. And every decision and moment will be questioned, examined and bashed, probably by both sides. Luckily, they have a big microphone to share their side of the story. From feeling the backlash of breastfeeding in public to shaming the shamers who make women feel bad for turning to the bottle, celebrity moms like Chrissy Teigen, Coco Austin and Alyssa Milano are helping spread the cause and normalizing the act that has nourished babies for centuries.
Here are 15 celebs who are for the normalization of breastfeeding.
One of the best ways to normalize breastfeeding is to be honest about the struggles and that's one reason why we love Chrissy Teigen. Model, mother and wife of John Legend, Chrissy hasn't been shy about sharing the highs and lows of pregnancy and motherhood, and she's been honest about the hard stuff, including breastfeeding.
Chrissy told the peeps at People that she was still Googling about breastfeeding a full three months after the birth of little Luna because she wasn't sure if she was doing it right. We've all felt that way. And it helps us all feel a bit less inept when we realize that we are all in the same boat.
Like so many other new moms, Chrissy has felt like a fish out water, but the poor thing has to do it in the celebrity spotlight. We appreciate how hard she is working to get things right for her family.
No matter how glamorous the occasion, breastfeeding moms know that there is always a moment that will bring down the evening — when you have to break out the breastpump. That even happens for celebrities, as Kristen Bell reminded us after the birth of her first daughter Lincoln.
Kristen debuted her gorgeous post-baby body at the CMT Country Music Awards, but while mothers were envious of her postpartum curves, they realized how motherhood is normal for everybody when Kristen posted a social media pic of her backstage activities. Yes, that means taking time out from the lush Hollywood life to pump some breastmilk for her daughter.
Every new mom knows that whether the baby is there or not, the milk will come in the most inopportune times. Even if you are a starlet surrounded by the top country singers in the world, you have to take care of business. And that normalizes breastfeeding for all of us.
Whenever a mom sees a baby in need, her heart goes out to them. For some breastfeeding moms, when they hear a baby cry, they have a milk let down. And both happened for Salma Hayek, when she was nursing her daughter Valentina.
During a goodwill trip to Sierra Leone, Salma met a mother who was undernourished, and because of that she wasn't producing enough milk and her newborn was starving. Salma had milk to share, so she did.
The act made national headlines and a lot of people criticized the movie star. But since the 2009 incident, milk sharing has become a lot more popular. We think that Salma may have had a lot to do with that. With her public spotlight, she helped normalize an act that has gone one for centuries in some parts of the world, where there isn't an option to formula feed a baby.
Even in this day and age, when we know that breastfeeding is best and its been decades since we forced new mothers to stay home for months after the birth of their babies, some people still get upset about breastfeeding in public. But luckily, some women speak up — and some go on national television and do so.
When the mom of two appeared on Wendy Williams' talk show, the hostess said that she thought public breastfeeding was gorgeous. Luckily Alyssa spoke up and even threatened to "whip them out" to show the world that feeding your baby is normal and shouldn't be feared or loathed.
Alyssa also made a public statement when her pumped milk was confiscated at the airport. It's good to have such a public advocate making our case out there. Alyssa has a spotlight that can bring attention to the issues, and she is doing what she can to make sure everyone knows how normal it is.
We know that some people think Gisele Bundchen has done as much to hurt breastfeeding advocacy as she has done to help it. But the supermodel has put her public status to the task of letting people know that breast is best.
She took a lot of heat for making the statement that there ought to be a law that women breastfeed instead of using a bottle — and rightly so, since some babies would starve without the nutrients that come in formula. Plus, women shouldn't feel like failures when breastfeeding doesn't work for them.
But Gisele has done what she can to make sure that her own babies are well-nourished, and that even involved taking the to work. She released photos of her breastfeeding while getting hair and makeup done, and many people said that presented an unrealistic version of the act. But when your job is being a supermodel, is it much different than breastfeeding while sitting in front of a laptop working? Gisele is normalizing breastfeeding in the only way that she can, by doing it in her everyday life, even when her everyday life is nothing like ours.
When you have a baby, even a vacation is still work. When baby gets hungry, you feed it, no matter what. And that's true even if you are a rockstar, a fashionista and a world traveler.
Gwen Stefani has marveled us with the way she normalizes breastfeeding with each of her three sons. We will never forget the photo of her nursing Zuma while big brother Kingston was playing on the playground, just like every other mom of two in the world. So we knew that with her third, Apollo, she'd give us #momgoals again.
Gwen shared a gorgeous shot of her feeding her newborn while traveling in Switzerland, with the beautiful mountains in the background. After all, you can't take a vacation from being a mom.
Any mom who masters breastfeeding deserves an award, but for the mom of twins who manages to make it is even more praise-worthy. That's why we give major props to Julie Bowen. The Modern Family mom used her public persona to share the good and the bad about nursing for two.
“It’s like two little liposuction machines on you,” said on George Lopez's talk show. “They suck the fat out of you. They call it the ‘double football hold.’ You hold one here, and here, like two footballs. They’re doing God’s work right there, helping me return to my [pre-pregnancy] weight.”
Julie also showed off a photo, which she said The View wouldn't show. But this is normal, everyday life for a mom of twins, and we are grateful that Julie told the world about it.
If a women thought she was hungry when was pregnant, she should wait until she starts breastfeeding. Nursing takes more calories than ever, as the baby's even bigger and the nourishment is still coming from mom.
That's something that Emily Blunt understands, as she keeps up with her second daughter Violet (oldest is Hazel) with John Krasinski. Sometimes, mama just needs some food. Emily told InStyle that she feels hungry all the time while breastfeeding, and sometimes snacking just won't do.
“After we got home from the hospital, I didn’t shower for a week, and then John and I were like, ‘Let’s go out for dinner,’” Emily said. “I could last only about an hour because my boobs were exploding. When the milk first comes in, it’s like a tsunami. But we went, just to prove to ourselves that we could feel normal for a second.”
To hear from some moms, breastfeeding is a magical, amazing time when everything is happy and awesome. But on a normal day, things aren't so rosy. Things can be messy and exhausting — and you can even suffer physically. And that's the reality for Coco Austin, personality and wife of Ice-T.
Coco got real about breastfeeding her sweet daughter Chanel, and how hard it can be, especially in the early days.
“They told me breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed,” Coco said to People “But the first week, they were like, ‘The first week is hard, but once you make it over that first week, it’s going to be great.’ That first week my nipples were bleeding and scabbing over. I was like, ‘No one tells you that your nipples bleed!’"
Talking about the hard times makes it even more normal for us, so we appreciate that Coco is sharing her true experience.
Even if your job is something out of the ordinary, that doesn't mean that you aren't a working mom. And working moms are busy. Sometimes, you can be caught out and about with a hungry baby, and there isn't any choice but to feed it, as Mila Kunis knows.
“There were many times where I didn’t bring a cover with me, and so I just did it in a restaurant, in the subway, in the park, at airports and in planes,” Mila told Vanity Fair about feeding her first-born Wyatt Isabelle. “Why did I do it in public? Because I had to feed my child. She’s hungry.”
“It took us a little back because people actually looked at us in a shameful [way], and we were like, ‘Oh my God,’ because it’s so not a sexual act. ... If it’s not for you, don’t look.”
Mila and her husband Ashton Kutcher recently welcomed baby No. 2, a boy named Dimitri, so we're certain that she will keep up the work to let people know that breastfeeding is totally normal.
With a new baby, moms often have to sacrifice some of the things that they love to do. Going on a girls' night out may not work in the first few months of breastfeeding — or if you are a movie star, you may have to miss the Golden Globes.
Brooklyn Decker reminded us that normal sometimes mean staying in and missing out on a big night when she stayed home with son Hank. Instead of a glam night out in true Hollywood fashion — makeup and hair to die for and a dress that shows off all her best assets — Brooklyn shared a selfie from that night with her hair pulled back and a fresh, clean face.
She shared her story in hashtag form: "#notgoldenglobes,” “mykidsuckinonagoldenglobetho.”
We've all had to skip out on something special to stay home with our baby, but there is usually not a red carpet involved. Brooklyn proved to us it is the same story for everybody.
Normal is a relative term, and the breastfeeding experience is different for every woman. And we can thank Adele for reminding us of that.
"It's f---ing ridiculous, and all those people who put pressure on us, you can go f---yourselves, alright? Because it's hard. Some of us can't do it," the songstress said at a concert. "I managed about nine weeks with my boobs... Some of my mates got post-natal depression from the way those midwives were talking. Idiots."
She went on to share her own message of acceptance for new moms. "Breastfeed if you can but don't worry; Aptamil [formula]'s just as good," she said. "All I wanted to do was breastfeed and then I couldn't and then I felt like, 'if I was in the jungle now back in the day, my kid would be dead because my milk's gone.' It's not funny that's how some of us think."
Fed is best, we agree. No mom should feel shamed for getting her baby nourished, although it is totally normal to struggle with it. Adele's message helps us remember that.
Between the bonding and the bleeding, there are other incredible struggles that come with breastfeeding. Model Molly Sims knows this all too well, after her baby Brooks was born with a tooth. It's not all that common, but it's pretty normal for some people.
"I did nipple shields, nipple guards, supplemental nursing system, it was horrible," Molly said on Anderson Live. "He was literally like a vampire on me for three months; it was unbelievable. Cut to: I'm not breastfeeding and I'm proud of it."
Sharing the struggles of nursing makes everyone feel better about going through the experience. It makes it feel more normal, and makes us feel more normal too. So thanks to Molly and little Brooks, tooth and all.
We've talked about the struggle of breastfeeding moms when her milk doesn't come in, but celebrities have also talked about the struggle when it fills up. And just like many normal moms, Amanda Peet got engorged.
Peet's prankster husband shared a photo with The Ellen Degeneres Show that puts on display the not-so-glamorous side of breastfeeding that happens even in glamorous Hollywood.
"After the babies are born [and] the milk comes in, some people get very painful engorgement and you can put cold cabbage leaves on your boobs and apparently it stops the milk," Peet explained of the pic, that showed a few leaves stuffed in her bra while she brushed her teeth. "This is my husband being very amused by my porno boobs even though I'm in excruciating pain."
Whether it comes easily or is a daily struggle, getting through the first six months to a year as a breastfeeding mother takes commitment. And Chelsea Clinton reminded us all of that when she talked to Today's Parent about being a working mom.
"I still was breastfeeding and I was pumping and I was so committed to ensuring I could keep doing that for Charlotte, and balancing those logistics were really hard," Chelsea said of feeding her firstborn, echoing all of the thoughts in the head of every working mom. The former first daughter is now also mom to son Aidan.
"I figured it out, but it took a while to figure it out," she added. "It also just took lots of, like, swallowing my pride and being comfortable with pumping in airport bathrooms and kind of wherever I needed to get it done."
Living a celebrity life doesn't preclude moms from the struggles of breastfeeding, but using their public spotlight to talk about it can help to normalize it. We appreciate all the celebrity moms who do their best to take care of their little ones while helping us feel a bit more normal along the way.