Motherhood modified Kate Upton’s life in “wonderful” ways, but the pressure to breastfeed wasn’t cool, the 27-year-old model told Editorialist magazine.
Upton, who gave birth to daughter Genevieve one year after her 2017 wedding to Houston Astros baseball pitcher Justin Verlander, reflected on those tough postpartum months. “Having VeVe has changed my life in such a wonderful way,” she told the magazine, but adding that there was “so much pressure” early on “to be doing all these things, like breastfeeding on the go — when the reality, for me, was that breastfeeding was sucking the energy away from me. I realized I needed to calm down, to allow my body to recover.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 60 percent of mothers who breastfed stopped before they intended, for a range of reasons, including problems milk supply and their babies’s latches, unsupportive work environments or poor parental leave.
And celebrities are not an exception. In May, Hilary Duff shared that pumping breast milk for her now 1-year-old daughter Banks was hard as a working mother of two. “But I needed a break. I was going to break…” she wrote on Instagram. “I was sad and frustrated and feeling like a failure all of the time…”
The Hills alum Whitney Port called breastfeeding “torture” and “my personal Mt. Everest of motherhood” in a March essay for Refinery29. Aside from developing a painful breast infection called mastitis, Port put pressure on herself to nurse her son Sonny, explaining, “At the time, I thought breastfeeding was the BIGGEST deal, and the stakes felt impossibly high — as if my little Sonny’s life was solely dependent on my success. I remember not being able to see outside this narrow view that I had created in my mind of what was acceptable as a new mother and what wasn’t.”
And during a 2016 concert in London, Adele reportedly said of breastfeeding, “The pressure on us is f***ing ridiculous. And all those people who put pressure on us, you can go f*** yourselves, all right? Because it’s hard. Some of us can’t do it. I managed about nine weeks with my boobs.”
In February, Upton Instagrammed a shot of herself attached to a breast pump. “Valentine’s Day dinner pregame,” she wrote. “#JustKeepPumpin.” In return, commenters said Upton was “relatable,” with one writing, “You go mama.”
In the new interview, Upton said that being a mom is teaching her to be present with her family. “I want to be enjoying my life, enjoying my family, not constantly trying to take the perfect picture,” she told Editorialist. “I think my husband wants me to throw my phone away. We talk about it in the house all the time: ‘Let’s have a phone-free dinner.’ We don’t want [our daughter] thinking being on the phone is all that life is.”