Former Neighbours star Natalie Hoflin (who, as Natalie Blair, played Carmella on the popular series) has faced her nosy critics, taking to Instagram to defend her awesome choice to breastfeed her 19-month-old son, Finn.
“Shouldn’t you be done by now?”
It’s a bonkers world when feeding a toddler is considered out of the ordinary, and Natalie was quick to point out that how she feeds her baby is nobody’s business – and a little respect would not go astray. Alongside a photo of Finn feeding, she shared how the criticism was affecting her – and explained how important breastfeeding her son is to them both.
Natalie is married to fellow actor David Hoflin, who she met on the Neighbours set in 2008 (he played Oliver in the show, but also starred in the hugely popular Ocean Girl). She says the judgement feels like open season, that it’s wearing her down and making her want to hide away.
“‘Oh, you’re still breastfeeding?!?! Shouldn’t you be done by now? You’ll cut him off by his second birthday right?’ In the early days questions like these didn’t bother me, they felt innocent,” Natalie writes. “But lately the tone feels different. Judgment, disapproval. Like I’m a straight up weirdo.”
11 months today 💘 A special month worth acknowledging, not just for the little mans growth…but mine as well. This month has brought about great realizations and opportunities to heal. I've spent the past 11 months so focussed on getting back to the 'old me'. I look in the mirror and feel shame and disgust, how do I not look like my pre baby self? How do i still not fit into my clothes? I should by now, its been 11 months right? But then a post I recently read struck a chord in me. How mothers have got to stop holding their bodies to look like maidens bodies. It suddenly hit me, I am a mother. I will never be a maiden again. And in that moment I felt sad. Not because I am a mother, but because I felt I never got to say goodbye to that maiden. When my body was firm, my breasts were perky…I still had no love, respect or appreciation for her. I wanted to go back in time and hug her and tell her she was so loved. So I sent her love and in a sense mourned her. After 11 months of motherhood my breasts are soft and definitely not perky, my belly plump and i have cellulite everywhere. All of it really, its like wearing a badge of honour. What a privilege to bring life into this world. How fortunate I feel to still be breastfeeding my son. Ladies, go easy on yourself no matter where you are in life – maiden, mother or crone. I know, its not that easy. I know we live in a society where so much emphasis is held on obtaining and maintaining the maiden, but there is great beauty and joy in the mother…and no doubt the crone! All are magic. They don't call it the triple goddess for nothing 🌛🌝🌜 And so much gratitude to @intheflowrsss for her inspiring words that lead me here 🌸🌸🌸
Shamed for breastfeeding
Obviously when women breastfeed their babies, they’re doing something completely natural, but coming under scrutiny is making it feel like a vulnerable, exposing and even shameful act for some, Natalie says.
“I’m finding that breastfeeding [is a] part of myself [I’m] starting to want to hide. Be more discreet with feeding, or wait until nobody is around.”
“Even though I’m proud of my breastfeeding journey and don’t intend to stop anytime soon (Finn is almost 20 months) the above questions still bring up feelings of embarrassment and shame.”
“It’s nuts, why on earth should anyone feel shame for connecting, nourishing, comforting, bonding with their child?” the mum-of-one asks.
“Show a little respect”
The actor-mum notes that she has been fortunate to be able to breastfeed Finn, but says whichever way mums feed their babies they deserve acceptance and compassion — not raised eyebrows and snark.
“This is my path, my truth, my journey and I shouldn’t have to be embarrassed or hide it. This is me. Breast fed, bottle fed, formula fed, it’s all good … We are all doing our best to raise these little humans. But let’s show a little respect to ALL paths travelled ”
We couldn’t agree more. In an age where adults are feeling increasingly isolated and disconnected, it’s very weird that ignorant types feel the connection between a mother and her baby is something that needs to be policed.
Surely all mums — whether they are breastfeeding or not — deserve to be applauded for raising the next generation and committing to nurturing their children (often on the verge of exhaustion, putting their kids’ needs well before their own).
'Oh, you're still breastfeeding?!?! Shouldn't you be done by now? You'll cut him off by his second birthday right?' In the early days questions like these didn't bother me, they felt innocent. But lately the tone feels different. Judgment, disapproval. Like I'm a straight up weirdo. I'm finding that breastfeeding proud part of myself starting to want to hide. Be more discreet with feeding, or wait until nobody is around. Even though I'm proud of my breastfeeding journey and don't intend to stop anytime soon (Finn is almost 20 months) the above questions still bring up feelings of embarrassment and shame. It's nuts, why on earth should anyone feel shame for connecting, nourishing, comforting, bonding with their child? I understand what an absolute privilege it has been, for me to be a stay at home mum and have the luxury of building our breastfeeding relationship. I am well aware that it's not always that easy. But the truth of the matter is, this is my path, my truth, my journey and I shouldn't have to be embarrassed or hide it. This is me. Breast fed, bottle fed, formula fed, it's all good…we are all doing our best to raise these little humans. But let's show a little respect to ALL paths travelled ❤