Breastfeeding is a totally natural, 100 percent normal, perfectly human thing to do. So is feeding your baby out of a bottle. So is anything that feels right for parent or baby. It’s not weird, risque, or controversial, and yet some people will find anything to criticize or judge—without contest. So why do stories about feeding babies by bottle or boob still making headlines? Because sadly, people are ignorant.
Cue Meghan Koziel, a 20-something blogger who recently had a child and bottle-fed her. Shocker, right? The thing is, Koziel had undergone a double mastectomy and 30 rounds of radiation after being diagnosed with breast cancer. In July 2017, doctors said, thankfully, that Koziel was clear — there was no evidence of disease. She later had extensive breast reconstruction surgery, which made it so that she’d need to bottle-fed, rather than breastfed.
After giving birth, Koziel hung a sign in her hospital room that read, “No Breastfeeding Zone.” She hoped it’d stop people from coming in to ask why she wasn’t breastfeeding.
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Attention please, attention please. We do indeed have a mommy-to-be who had breast cancer and a mastectomy which means, without boobs in the houseeeee! Got the banner raised just in case people are confused at why we are NOT going to be breastfeeding our little bundle of joy. Yes I have foobs, no I do not have boobs (or nipples) therefore... my body is incapable of breastfeeding:) -sign was made by me!!!!!) 💕 thank u @japalelis for the inspiration! #breastcancer #pregnancy #thebump #bump #babybump #pregnant #survivor #thriver #breastcancer #breastcancerawareness #pregnantafterchemo #pregnancydiary #pregnantbelly #photography #38weekspregnant #inducedlabor #laboranddelivery #formulafeeding #breastfeeding #breastfeedingmama #banner #breastfeedingbanner #nobreastfeeding @similac_us
The picture was captioned “Got the banner raised just in case people are confused at why we are NOT going to be breastfeeding our little bundle of joy. Yes I have foobs, no I do not have boobs (or nipples) therefore… my body is incapable of breastfeeding…”
The sign, which hung above her hospital bed, warned, “Please be aware before you ask”—a good reminder for everyone.
In a blog post, Koziel wrote about how she couldn’t wait to get her breasts reconstructed: “I was ready for it to be DONE! I simply wanted to get back to living my life, being me, looking cute and feeling sexy as I always have.”
She actually ended up needing two reconstructive surgeries, but her message regarding breastfeeding reached far and wide—and inspired plenty of people to share their feelings, too. People were supportive of Koziel, not only on being a bad*ss new mom, but for being a survivor.
Others brought up the importance of respecting people’s choices, no matter what. Mothers truly do know best.
Shaming or questioning new moms won’t achieve anything and it’s hurtful. People, especially in the health industry, need to be thoughtful and respectful.
Of course, others said that the story of Koziel’s sign was just evidence that society has more work to do.
In the end, they said that she was incredible — and that anyone with comments has to reconcile that with themselves. Good insight!