Shawn Johnson East has been a mom for all of three months, and she's already endured multiple bouts of mom-shaming, one of which came at the hands of a lactation consultant. Speaking to PEOPLE, Johnson East explained that she decided to supplement with formula to feed her daughter Drew Hazel formula after the infant had latching issues and called in a consultant for help.
"I had a really bad experience with a lactation consultant and I all but kicked her out of my house because she basically said that I had ruined my child’s life because I gave her a bottle and formula," the Olympic medalist recalled, adding that she felt "shamed" by the consultant. "I was like, 'You know what? I can't listen to this anymore.'"
"You have this natural feeling of responsibility that you have to provide for your baby and part of it is supplying milk, and when you can’t give that to your child in whatever way or reason, you already feel a little guilty," she explained. "You feel like you're not setting them up for life, and when people give their opinions and say 'breast is best,' it just makes you feel like a failure. I hated that."
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Johnson East shared that she initially breastfeed her daughter during the week she was in the hospital following her C-section, but that it eventually became a "wrestling match every time."
"I would be bawling, she would be bawling and screaming 'cause she was hungry, but she wouldn’t eat and she wouldn’t latch anymore," she said. The new mom now uses a mix of pumping breast milk and formula.
"When it comes to traveling and working and doing everything, it's really hard to keep caught up, so I started doing at least two bottles a day that are half and half breast milk and formula so I can save up breast milk in the freezer and just keep things on rotation, give myself some freedom," she added.
The 28-year-old shares baby Drew with husband Anderson East, who said that the new feeding plan allows him to be more involved in his daughter's mealtimes.0comments
"Before Drew was born, I received a lot of advice from my close friends. They told me that I probably wouldn’t have a huge role in the first few months because Shawn would be doing a lot of the feeding," he said. "But since our situation required us to bottle-feed and supplement with Enspire, I'm playing an equal role. I also get to spend feeding time bonding with Drew, which I love."
Photo Credit: Getty / Robin Marchant