Here’s the thing about breastfeeding and postpartum depression: Scientists haven’t yet figured out their relationship to each other. With no definitive answers out there, parents have to trust their instincts about what’s best for them and their babies. That’s why Hayley Hubbard opted to skip breastfeeding her third child with husband Tyler Hubbard, the Florida Georgia Line singer.
“I’m not breastfeeding this time around because, now looking back, breastfeeding really amplified symptoms of postpartum depression for me,” Hubbard told People of how she’s feeding son Atlas, who was born September 24. “It was never something that came easy to me or something that I honestly enjoyed, no matter how many specialists we talked to or how well I was producing milk.”
Though she exclusively breastfed her daughter, Olivia, she had to supplement with formula for son Luca, who is now 13 months old. The memory of that recent experience, plus the fact that Tyler Hubbard is still recovering from a dirt bike accident in August, led her to make this decision for her family.
“Knowing that I would be coming home to two busy toddlers that needed my attention, and a husband that was injured, breastfeeding and pumping around-the-clock seemed even more daunting,” she told the magazine. “I encourage anyone else feeling this way to do the same and to not feel any shame about it. It has been significantly life-changing in the best way for my mental health and postpartum.”
If you’ve wondered about breastfeeding and postpartum depression, you’re not alone. Here’s what we do know: Many studies have shown that women who don’t breastfeed actually have higher rates of postpartum depression. That may be because they miss out on the mood-enhancing oxytocin surge that comes with nursing. But there is also evidence that women who experience difficulty with breastfeeding early on are also likely to develop postpartum depression. That’s a chicken-and-egg situation, though it would also seem likely that feeling like you’re not doing a good job at feeding your child would make you feel depressed.
We’re so in love with little Atlas Roy Hubbard and so are his big brother and sister! He’s a week old and we’ve been embracing all the snuggles, sweet newborn noises, and adjusting to life with 3 kids all under the age of 3. I can’t imagine it any other way now, and am so grateful for this beautiful gift of life and this time at home as a family of 5.
A post shared by Hayley Hubbard (@hayley_hubbard) on Oct 3, 2020 at 8:39am PDT
“No research has provided a definitive answer to the question of the relationship between breastfeeding and postpartum depression,” licensed psychotherapist Dr. Mayra Mendez told SheKnows last year. “Postpartum depression is impacted by multiple physiological, psychological, sociocultural, familial and relational factors.”
Until researchers figure this one out, we’ve got to echo Hayley Hubbard’s advice: Don’t feel shame in doing what you feel is best. Babies need healthy, happy parents, after all.
We love when celebrities normalize choosing what’s best for their kids. Like these parents who co-sleep with their children:
Launch Gallery: Celebrity Moms Get Painfully Honest About Breastfeeding
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