Naya Rivera Shares Her Candid Thoughts On Breast-Feeding

Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/REX Shutterstock.
Today in a blog post for People, Glee star Naya Rivera shared her experience of breast-feeding Josey Hollis, her three-month old son with Justified actor Ryan Dorsey, and her candor is refreshing. "Throughout my pregnancy, I got a lot of advice on everything from birthing to newborn care to nutrition, but no one ever really broke it down to me when it came to breast-feeding," she wrote. "Bottom line, it’s hard! Breast-feeding is like finding out that all of a sudden you can get bacon from your elbow."

The bacon thing sounds like more fun than what Rivera goes on to describe, though. "One minute there’s nothing going on with your perfectly perky boobs, and the next a nurse is rolling yellow stuff out of your nipple and putting it in your baby’s mouth," she says. "Things like achieving a proper latch, combating engorgement, and practicing different holds soon became my sole priorities." She adds, however, that the nutrition she's providing her baby and the intimacy the two have established — with each other as well as with an involved dad — have made these efforts worthwhile.

Because mothers often feel ashamed of undergoing difficulties with breast-feeding (which are common) and thus hesitate to speak up about them, these concerns don't receive the public attention they deserve. And breast-feeding may not be the best choice for everyone: While many mothers and health experts (as well as opinionated bystanders) extol its virtues, others have spoken out against "lactivism," or as Courtney Jung defined the term in a New York Times op-ed, "using the particular infant-feeding practices of one privileged demographic to measure people who lack the resources to breastfeed — or prefer not to."

The choice to breast-feed is personal, and Rivera might be better off avoiding blanket statements such as "The benefits of breast milk for babies far outweigh the negative side effects for Mom," as she wrote in People. This isn't always the case — when, for example, Mom is HIV-positive. And either way, mothers shouldn't be guilted when they can't or don't want to breast-feed. That said, we laud Rivera for speaking out about how lactation isn't a sepia-tinted dream set to Bach in a rose garden; it can be immensely rewarding, but it's usually also very hard work.

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