Mom Who Had Breast Cancer Creates 'No Breastfeeding Zone' in Hospital Room
If you have a baby in a hospital, it’s normal for a lactation specialist or nurse to teach you how to breastfeed your newborn, regardless of whether or not you are interested in breastfeeding. The pressure to breastfeed can be stressful, but for moms who live with certain conditions, take some types of medication or have had mastectomies — reminders that they can’t breastfeed can be emotionally painful.
One mom, who had a double mastectomy for breast cancer, found an innovative way to let the hospital staff know that breastfeeding wasn’t up for discussion. Meghan Koziel, who gave birth to her daughter on Sept. 15, hung a banner in her delivery room that said “no breastfeeding zone.” Koziel shared a picture of the banner on her Instagram, which has nearly 20,000 followers.
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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 banner states, “Though breastfeeding is a special task, please be aware before you ask. Our miracle baby will be formula fed, and it will not affect her future ahead.”
In her Instagram post, she said she made the banner in case people were confused as to why she wasn’t breastfeeding. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Koziel explained a bit more about the attitudes toward breastfeeding in hospitals:
I got the idea to make a banner from one of my followers who also had a baby post-mastectomy and felt ‘formula shamed’ by hospital staff. It would be heartbreaking enough to have my baby reflexively rooting for my breast when I am physically incapable of breastfeeding her. I didn’t want anyone pushing their breastfeeding views onto me without knowing my history. So I wanted to come up with something subtle to let them know, but also direct enough to get my point across.
Koziel is currently two years cancer-free. Other new moms don’t breastfeed because they need certain medications or have a chronic illness that would make nursing hard. Almost any drug a mother takes while breastfeeding will transfer into her milk, according to Mayo Clinic, but most medications are at such a low dose in the milk that they aren’t an issue. Even if medications are OK to take while breastfeeding, some may lower a mother’s milk supply.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, medications that are considered potentially dangerous or are not recommended include some antidepressants and antipsychotics, pain medications that have codeine or other narcotic pain relievers and high doses of aspirin. If you’re a mom-to-be considering breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about your medications and their potential effects.
While breastfeeding does come with benefits, such as stronger immune systems and lower mortality rates in infants plus emotional and physical boosts for moms, it’s a personal choice that isn’t right for everyone. Only you can decide whether breastfeeding is right for you and your child. There’s no shame in whichever way you decide to feed your baby.