One thing that no one tells you after you give birth is that feeding a new baby can be so incredibly draining and stressful, especially if you dealing with any sort of complication. While simply fed is ultimately best, the underlying stigma that comes with breastfeeding being the “best” seems to be ingrained in society and ultimately falls upon a new mom as “the better way” to feed.
Moms will go to great lengths (often sacrificing their own happiness and well-being) to try and make sure their child is fed breast milk because that’s what we think we’re “supposed” to do. But the truth is that different solutions are different for different moms, babies, and families.
One mom on TikTok shared a heartwarming and powerful moment between herself and her doula after admitting that the thought of not being able to breastfeed her new baby made her feel like a failure.
Mom of two, Nika Diwa, shared the vulnerable moment on her TikTok account that turned into a viral moment that so many moms resonated with. Thankfully, in her moment of weakness, her supportive doula, Lilian Bodunrin, gave her the powerful pep talk that switched the narrative on breastfeeding.
As Diwa vents about her struggles with feeding her new child, noting that she’s struggling with not being able to do some of the things she may have done with her first born while also watching videos of moms who are breastfeeding and feeling inadequate, Bodunrin steps in to squash that negative self talk.
“You have to understand that comparison is the thief of joy,” she tells her in the clip while bouncing the precious newborn. “You have to be on your journey in the way that is best for you and your family.”
Diwa rebuttals, continuing to explain how societal standards of what it means to be a “good mom” and a “real woman” may have clouded her judgement when it comes to taking care of newborn.
“I just feel like, with the milk, I’m not going to be, like, a real woman,” she admits before interjecting her own thought saying, “I know! That’s such a lie!”
First off, before totally shutting down Diwa’s way of thinking, the doula provides a safe space for that totally valid feeling.
“I’m also gonna hold space for that feeling because a lot of woman struggle with that. It’s deeply rooted. Where is that coming from?” Bodunrin says to Diwa.
Diwa replied with the most real answer that almost every single person who has ever had a child can relate to, “I just feel like I’m failing if I don’t breastfeed.”
“That’s a lie, Nika,” the doula responds. “You’re not a failure. That’s a lie.”
Bodunrin then explains to Diwa that by making the decision to end the struggle of trying to breast feed and feeding her child in the best, most satiating way, like she’s doing, is the real success.
“You are choosing what is best for you and your family,” she says. “Your mental health matters, and this baby girl would much rather have her mama okay as a whole, and still get fed if there’s another option.”
There is so much shame and guilt around supplementing with formula or even exclusively pumping. New moms take breastfeeding classes, hire lactation consultants, and search the internet far and wide for the best tips for producing more milk or getting a baby to latch all because society says that breastfeeding is what a “good mom” does.
And, like Bodunrin, says — that is total and complete bulls**t.
How a mom chooses to feed her babies is not a measure of her value as a mother. And while it’s totally valid to have grief and heartbreak over those best laid plans to feed a baby by the breast, sometimes, things just need to go another route, and that’s okay!
This can be especially hard when society keeps reminding moms of the importance, benefits, and supposed superiority of breastmilk.
If only all of us could be as lucky to have a support system and doula like Bodunrin to help us work through those internalized thoughts of feeling like a failure.
Diwa’s post went viral, gaining over 1.5 million views, with thousands of TikTok users commenting on how amazing Bodunrin’s pep talk was and how very real Diwa’s feelings were.
“You’re so NOT FAILING! Your baby’s loved and healthy and taken care of and THATS what matter Mama 🥰🥰🥰” one user wrote.
Another echoed, “Fed is best mama. You are amazing and strong and your feelings are so VALID. This is tough thing, you got this💙💙”
One user pointed out that social media is not the best way to unwind sometimes, especially with all the exaggerated, photoshopped, and picture perfect lifestyles some moms portray.
“This is why social media can be so toxic bc of the comparisons we feel & pressures from society. Fed babies are happy babies 💕 Look at how much we do,” they wrote.