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Serena Williams opens up about being told to stop breastfeeding by her male coach

Marie Claire Dorking
Yahoo Style UK
Serena Williams has opened up about being advised to stop breastfeeding by her tennis coach [Photo: Getty]

Since returning to the tennis court after her maternity leave, Serena Williams has been busy balancing motherhood with being one of the world’s best female athletes.

But, she hasn’t always found the transition easy.

In an honest new interview with Time, the new mum, to daughter Alexis Olympia, opened up about making the difficult decision to stop breastfeeding, after being told by her male coach it would help improve her game.


The tennis star discussed her decision to nurse her daughter for her first eight months, despite believing it may have hindered her return to peak physical form.

But when she resumed her clay-court training in France, her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, suggested it could be time to stop breastfeeding. Advice, that Serena was unhappy with at first.

“It’s absolutely hard to take from a guy,” Williams told the publication.

“He’s not a woman, he doesn’t understand that connection, that the best time of the day for me was when I tried to feed her. I’ve spent my whole life making everyone happy, just servicing it seems like everyone. And this is something I wanted to do.”

“You have the power to sustain the life that God gave her. You have the power to make her happy, to calm her. At any other time in your life, you don’t have this magical superpower,” she added.

But eventually, Serena decided that quitting breastfeeding was the right thing to do for her family and her game.

She didn’t make the decision without discussing it with her baby first though.

“I looked at Olympia, and I was like, ‘Listen, Mommy needs to get her body back, so Mommy’s going to stop now,’” she remembered. “We had a really good conversation. We talked it out.”


It isn’t the first time Serena Williams has opened up about her the work/life juggle.

Earlier this month, she penned a candid Instagram post admitting to her followers that she is suffering from “postpartum emotions”. 

“Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk,” she wrote. “Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 [sic] years if not dealt with. I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal.”

“It’s totally normal to feel like I’m not doing enough for my baby.”

And last December Serena Williams turned to the Internet to ask for breastfeeding advice. 

The new mum also recently revealed all about her difficult birth telling Harpers Bazaar that she was forced to undergo an emergency caesarean while giving birth to Alexis, and had to have surgery for blood clots in her lungs.

“Honestly, sometimes I think I still have to deal with it,” she told the publication.

“I think people have to talk about it more because it’s almost like the fourth trimester, it’s part of the pregnancy.

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