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Breastfeeding Pressure Gone Too Far? Cancer Survivor Makes Sign for Room

by | November 10, 2018

Societal breastfeeding pressure and moral policing- the two things that cause us, women, an insane amount of stress. And it can drive us to take some extreme steps indeed!

Has it gone too far?

Breastfeeding is truly special and creates a unique bond between the mother and the baby. Yes it is great! But what is not great is the compulsion to breastfeed, to the extent of shaming the ones who don’t or can’t. Seems like, the pressure to breastfeed has gone too far this time, with a cancer survivor mum having to actually put up a sign after delivery.

Meghan Koziel, a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, had to undergo double mastectomy losing her ability to breastfeed. Koziel has worked in a hospital long enough to know that medical professionals don’t always pay complete attention to patient’s medical chart. When she gave birth to her baby, she didn’t want to go through the pain of recounting her medical history every time someone instructed her to breastfeed her child. With the help of her friend, Koziel came up with a brilliant idea to prevent the pain of repeating her medical history. She put up a sign that read, “NO BREASTFEEDING ZONE. Though breastfeeding is a very special task, please be aware before you ask. Our miracle baby will be formula fed, and it will not affect her future ahead. This mommy is a survivor.”

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Breastfeeding Pressure

And it turned out the hospital staff liked the idea! In fact, Koziel’s story is educational, as it teaches people to think twice before assuming anything. Breastfeeding is a personal choice and you might never know if a mum deliberately chose to not breastfeed or if she simply can’t. A lesson or two on empathy maybe for unsolicited advisors!

Koziel later took to Instagram to share her thoughts over putting up the sign. She wrote, “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”! She further adds, “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!!!!!)”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnumLoeBWtA/?taken-by=meghankoziel

The post was well received, except for few strangers offering unsolicited advice and recommending milk donations without giving a thought that this can be impractical and expensive for someone who recently survived cancer, or that they are contirbuting to breastfeeding pressure women are already under. Koziel, however, presented her side of the story through the Parents.com. She informed that ‘her local milk bank provided milk only to preemies and multiples. There’s no insurance coverage for mastectomy patients. Moreover, tested donor milk cost as high as $3 to $5 per ounce’. She further adds, “I was then referred to local Facebook milk donation groups but was turned off because the milk has no way of being tested”. She continues, “Yes, breast milk is fabulous and filled with utmost nutrition… however, it can also carry disease! I am not willing to risk my daughter’s life simply to use breast milk when formula has been used for years and there is no known difference from a breastfed to formula fed baby.”

She has an inspiring message for other women who survived cancer and are hopeful on becoming mom someday:

Jen Haselue 

Three years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I thought my life would never ever be the same. I was forced to make so many HUGE life decisions including preserving my fertility through an egg retrieval was one of them. After two years on hormone blocking medications (because my cancer is so aggressive and highly affected my estrogen and progesterone), I made the decision to go off of my medications to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a mom! On Saturday September 15th, my dream came true when we were blessed with the birth of our beautiful miracle baby! Cancer has changed my life forever… but looking down at this sweet little girl makes all my fears of recurrence and having to go through active treatment again fade away! I am so so so blessed and will forever Sparkle On


Meghan Koziel on Instagram 

While Koziel has tried to create awareness in her own unique way, I think it is time to analyze the scrutiny women are put under for making their own choices. The decision to breastfeed is personal; doesn’t matter we agree with the individual choices or not, we can simply respect their right to make a choice. In fact, in many cases, women have no control over such choices. Breastfeed or not, a mother shall always be a mother- her child’s best well-wisher.

breastfeeding pressure
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Have you been subjected to breastfeeding pressure? let us know in the comments. 

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Mayuri Rajvanshi

Senior Editor | mayurii@raisevegan.com

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