Louise Thompson has expressed her fear of being judged for not breastfeeding her baby Leo Hunter.
The former Made In Chelsea star, 31, nearly died and spent five weeks in hospital with ‘serious complications’ after giving birth to her 17-week-old son last year.
And in an Instagram post on Saturday, she described how she felt ‘too ashamed to say no’ to breastfeeding as she suffered ‘excruciating pain’ in hospital before ending up in intensive care when she lost her milk.
Honest: Louise Thompson, 31, expressed her fear of being judged for not breastfeeding her baby Leo Hunter
In a lengthy post, she wrote: “For a while I thought about posting anything with Leo and a plastic bottle in it because I thought I would be judged.”
“I remember when I got home I told Ryan he couldn’t post an Insta story because there was a bottle in the back of the photo. I was constantly on the lookout for those ugly little things.
“Of course, I would prefer to flaunt the all-natural, healthy, skin-on-skin look, but that just wasn’t a reality for me.
Issues: Former Made In Chelsea star nearly died and spent five weeks in hospital with ‘serious complications’ after giving birth to their son last year
“I had no choice in the matter, so I shouldn’t have blamed myself so much for ‘not choosing, but choosing’ to bottle-feed our son.
“I think it’s important to highlight these kinds of experiences to try to break down the stigma around bottle-feeding and other challenges that new parents face.”
“The truth is that there are many women who cannot breastfeed and many of these women feel guilt over what society considers to be the optimal option.
Traumatic: On Instagram on Saturday, she described how she felt ‘too ashamed to say no’ to breastfeeding before ending up in intensive care when she lost her milk
“It’s funny, I’ve always hated the ‘breast is best’ label that was thrown around during the NCT online courses I took.
“Most breastfeeding specialists take the general position that you should ‘go on, you can’ because they think many mothers give up ‘too soon’ in their eyes.”
“I remember being encouraged to breastfeed after my first operation. My baby was practically thrown on top of me. I’ve been linked to one of over 10 blood transfusions I’ve had and I was on quite a bit of medication and something about it just seemed really gross to me.
Autonomous: Louise wrote: ‘Sometimes people should accept that we know our own bodies best. There isn’t always one policy when it comes to health’
I was too ashamed to say no, so I continued. Then I felt excruciating pain as my damaged uterus contracted (and bled), but I was told to continue.
“The funny thing is I was really, really good at it. Leo was amazing on the breast and I had a lot of milk, and while it was nice to bond, something about that didn’t look good to me.
“Anyway, it turns out I knew my body pretty well as the pain turned out to be severe and I ended up in intensive care where I still lost my milk.”
Loved-up: Louise shares baby Leo with fiancé Ryan Libbey, who appeared on Made In Chelsea with her and got engaged to in 2018
“Sometimes people should accept that we know our own bodies best. There isn’t always a one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to health (or raising a child for that matter). So you do it.
“For those who have ever watched a woman breastfeeding a newborn with a bottle and questioned it in their head, there are many reasons mothers might not be able to breastfeed besides being in intensive care.”
‘A few are: Previous breast surgery, imbalance of crucial hormones, thyroid problems, PCOS, diabetes, depression and/or anxiety, prescription medication, chemotherapy, insufficient glandular tissue, taking ineffective breast, premature birth. The list continues.
Throwback: It comes after Louise shared a post about hitting ‘bottom bottom’ after Leo’s traumatic birth in November, which left her in intensive care for five weeks
“And if you are one of those people who have been denied the glorious experience of breastfeeding for whatever reason, I want you to know that you are not alone, that you are not a failure AND that many many babies are bred to be absolute studs from formula milk.
“Leo thrives while I survive.”
Louise shares baby Leo with her fiancé Ryan Libbey, who she got engaged to in 2018.
It comes after Louise shared a post about hitting ‘bottom’ after Leo’s traumatic birth in November, which left her in intensive care for five weeks.
She has since been diagnosed with severe anxiety, admitting in the candid post: ‘Something happened about a month ago where my mind and body fell apart in tandem.’
Candid: She has since been diagnosed with severe anxiety, admitting in the post: ‘Something happened about a month ago where my mind and body fell apart in tandem’
“I guess I was in self-preservation mode/survival mode up until then. Then the real sanity hell started.
She continued: “Honestly, I’ve been on a deep level that I didn’t know existed. I had never understood suffering or suicide before.’
Louise also opened up about how she struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and explained how her “path to recovery won’t be linear” noting the ups and downs she experienced.
Sharing photos of herself at home, the new mum first detailed her “manageable morning routine”.
‘Which includes sleeping in (because I don’t sleep much at night), taking SSRIs, showering, putting on makeup, putting on clothes (which I choose the night before because I tend to feel stronger in the evening), chewing oats with water, apples and honey, taking more meds and I just started tracking my macros again.
“It’s crazy to think that when the crisis team asked me if I could handle a routine a few weeks ago, I would have had a panic attack,” she continued, “(or a panic cycle) where I never peak but also never get from a high panic state.
“It frustrated me because it just wasn’t possible to have a routine because my mood was way too unpredictable.”
“Having a routine is helpful and can even be fun and rewarding, but only if you can manage one or even have the freedom to have one (certainly difficult as a new parent).”
If you have been affected by anything in this story, please contact Birth Trauma Association at birthtraumaassociation.org.uk
For help and support with perinatal mental illness, please contact PANDAS on 0808 1961 776.
Grateful: Louise has already reflected on how fiancé Ryan helped after she nearly died giving birth