Garcelle Beauvais on Breastfeeding: ‘I Didn’t Nurse and I Got a Lot of Flak for It’

10/28/2015 at 03:15 PM ET

Breastfeeding is often billed as one of the most “natural” things a new mother can do, but Garcelle Beauvais says it simply wasn’t the right choice for her — and that’s okay.

“I didn’t nurse and I got a lot of flak for it,” Beauvais, 48, says in PEOPLE’s new Mom Talk video series about her decision to not nurse her twin sons, Jax andย Jaid,ย after they were born eight years ago. “People are like ‘Oh, you’re not going to breastfeed your children?’ ”

Molly Sims, 42, who also took part in the discussion alongside Beauvais, Soleil Moon Frye and Haylie Duff, says she also felt judged after she needed to supplement her milk supply after giving birth.

“I had so much judgment,” she shares. “I had a horrible milk supply. I went on supplements, I went on an illegal drug from Canada. I did everything, and basically they were like, ‘You have to start supplementing right away. You physically do not make enough milk to feed your baby.’ ”

Garcelle Beauvais
Michael Simon/Startraks

RELATED VIDEO: Celeb Moms Spill: The Ups and Downs of Breastfeeding

Beauvais, meanwhile, expressed no regret about her decision to not breastfeed, and now looks back and laughs at the natural solution she used to curb her milk supply: cabbage leaves!

“A family friend of ours said the way to get my milk out is to put cabbage leaves on my boobs,” she jokes. “So my mother-in-law at the time was at home and she was like ‘What color? What kind of cabbage?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t care! Just get anything!’ ”

— Kathy Ehrich Dowd


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wil on

I do not plan on breastfeeding and the sanctimommies and cult-like boob nazis can kiss my rear. I won’t put up with flak from anyone for something that is not their business. I won’t be drawn into the female equivalent of dick measuring. Feeding your child is not a competition or a sport. You aren’t a better mother for breastfeeding and you aren’t a worse mother for formula feeding. Women need to be confident and stop groveling and apologizing to the La Leche Loons for feeding their child.

mm on

My mother never breastfeed her children because she just didn’t want to and used formula. Fortunately no one questioned or belittled her decision, either because they didn’t care or they didn’t want my mother going off on them.

Connie on

Surprise – women judging women. It’s a shame that people can’t just understand that everyone has their own ideals and circumstances and as long as you are loving and caring for your baby you are doing an amazing job. The early days of having a newborn are stressful enough without all the judgment.

Connie on

@Wil – I just peed my pants reading your comment and I’m stealing it to use at the next baby shower when all the young women are bashing the other women and their choices. “female equivalent of dick measuring”- love it and spot on!

wil on

@ Connie ๐Ÿ˜‰

Katie on

I never nursed either. It just wouldn’t come. I was told I gave up too soon and I was going to end up hurting them health wise and academically. At first I was a nervous wreck because of the comments but I got over it quickly. They are 11 and 13 now and rarely sick and doing very well in school. I know it has benefits but don’t look at women as lazy or hurtful towards their kids. Most of us likely want to nurse Do you think formula is cheap? Hell no. My second needed a soy based formula due to reactions to the most basic and it was NOT cheap. Funny thing is the co-worker who told me it was horrible I didn’t has three kids and they were all nursed and they are sick ALL the time. Let this woman and anyone else do what they feel is best for their child.

Ayisha on

I never cared or needed any advice from other women when it came to feeding my child, I honestly don’t care what other women think or do.

Mind your own business and do what’s best for you kid, don’t worry about what other moms are doing.

Alexis on

@wil : best comment EVER!

Anonymous on


Heidi D on

When I had my first child I tried to breastfeed and worked with more than a few nursing specialist, but my milk never came in and my daughter was losing too much weight. After ten days I went to formula and she just thrived. I would have loved to have nursed but it wasn’t meant to be. When my second child was born I didn’t hesitate to start her on formula immediately in the hospital. When the lactation specialist came to see me I literally had to shut her down and asked her to leave. She had another person come to visit me, and again, I had to get a little snippy and ask her to leave too. I was an 37 and 40 when I had my children and was in no mood for boob bullying.

Hmmm on


Chris on

I did breast feed all three of mine, but I also supplemented – with bottles! All three kids survived. I think its up to the mom. I got looks for supplementing, but when a kid wants food and the dairy cow has run dry, thankfully a bottle with formula will do. I never had a child turn away food of any kind! They like it all!

Wilismyhero on

@wil your awesome! I’m printing your comment and posting it for inspiration!

Robyn on

@Wil..right on

Jenna on

@wil. right on….. Now cue the breast-feeding Nazi’s in 5..4..3..2..1

Nina Lou on

Good for you. I, too, did not breast feed and I didn’t receive any blowback from it. I think it’s ridiculous that women “anti-breast feed” shame each other. I think it’s a bit out-of-sorts when a 5 year old child comes off of the jungle gym to ask for the boobie. If your kid can ask for the boobie, has a full set of teeth and wipes his or her own butt, then he or she is probably too old for it. In my humble, non-judgmental, never went to
medical school opinion. To feed or not to feed just stop judging.

Anonymous on

It’s nice to read an article from the “other side”. My milk never came in and I spent the first 3 weeks of my daughter’s life trying like HE L-L to breastfeed and watching an already tiny baby lose weight. At the end of the day, I just wanted to her to be able to eat. I think that’s what all moms want. Why does it have to be such a big deal?

Sassymom3 on

Oh brother, I remember how many times I was judged because I didn’t breastfeed my three kids… From nurses to other mothers. Not that I never tried but I look at my teenagers and my toddler now and they are completely fine and healthy.. I knew mothers who have breastfed their children and are around the same age as mine,.., there is no comparison. My kids and theirs kids are excelling and healthy. So quit the HYPE!

guest on

I didn’t breastfeed other. It is just not me. I got flack from my husband as well as the nurses in the hospital. Shouldn’t that be a judgment free zone? I mean I just pushed out a baby I think I have the right to do what is best for me and him. I don’t pass judgment when I hear of someone breastfeeding their 6 year old so I would appreciate the same courtesy. My son is healthy and happy even though I didn’t breastfeed!!

No nursing here on

I tried to nurse my first child and he was starving. After ten days my pediatrician told me to stop listening to everyone else and give him a bottle. He never did want to nurse again and absolutely thrived and was a completely different baby!๐Ÿ˜€
When I had my second child, it hurt so bad to nurse that I would have to double over in order for it to be comfortable enough for me to get through a feeding. After a nurse told me to suck it up, I was done and absolutely refused to nurse again. Both of my boys are thriving and healthy! I will never judge another woman for not breastfeeding because sometimes you just don’t know or need to know the whole story!

Dingosbaby (@dingosbaby) on

I really wish women would just keep this to themselves. Breastfeed, don’t breastfeed – no one cares.

Somerita on

I tried breastfeeding my firstborn son. I was only producing milk from one breast and my son was starving and not gaining weight. I switched to formula soon after. I didn’t even try it with my second son. I was the only mom at the hospital bottle feeding and the looks I got in the maternity ward! You would have thought I was hanging him from his toenails!! You should see my boys now — 21 and 18 years old and built like football players! Youngest one excelling in University at the moment. Mothers shouldn’t be condemned for the choices they make in raising their kids. I told one woman off — told her that if she knew what was best for MY kid, then she could also buy diapers, pay for schooling, and pay for everything else it takes to raise a kid. She sure shut up after that!

Mrs. B on

It’s none of anybody’s business how a mother chooses to feed her baby. Breastfeeding is not possible for every mother and on the other hand, some babies won’t take a bottle or can’t tolerate formula. It’s an individual, very personal decision.

Thank you kind women on

I wanted to nurse so badly but my milk never came in (no one believes that so it’s nice when other women say it too). I still feel guilt when I see/hear other women doing it so easily & it’s nice to read these types of supportive notes.

Jenny on

Yay for all these comment above! I was absolutely expecting to scroll down and read a bunch of hate from the people who believe that breastfeeding is the ONLY way that a child must be feed (until they’re like 3). Not everyone can or wants to breastfeed! IT’s not the end of the world, an it’s no one’s business but the mother’s.

smackiebo on

I chose not to breast feed either of my kids, for many reasons. They are 7 and almost-3 and perfectly fine. They are healthy, smart and thriving children. Meanwhile, I have friends who breastfed…their kids have gluten and dairy allergies, Crohns and other digestive issues…so it can still happen (even though the Boob Nazis will bully you into thinking otherwise). There is this sense of judgment if you choose not to breastfeed and it’s unnecessary. Moms do what they feel is best for their kids. To each her own!

jewels1972 on

I also didn’t breastfeed because I couldn’t! I tried but my milk never came in. I cried & stressed about it. I was made to feel shamed by several women, even the nurses in the hospital. One even commented on how small my breasts were (36B)…like that makes a difference?! They push breastfeeding so much instead of giving women the free choice. One local hospital here even basically forces women to at least try & BF because it’s “the best for baby”. I know “breast is best”, but shaming women for a personal choice on what suits them & their baby is in itself utterly shameful & just plain WRONG.

jewels1972 on

And also (forgot to mention in my previous post), my bottle-fed son had ONE ear infection as an infant & is a very healthy 13 yr old now. He was rarely ill with no allergies. So a healthy formula-fed child is indeed very possible. Many friends who breastfed had kids who were always sick. So BFing isn’t always the end-all be-all.

educator on

my boobies=my decision; a birth is “challenging” enough..i was and i am still grateful that we had/have the chance of available facilities like formulas..breastfeeding terrorists are all around nowadays…that creeps the shit out of me… those wheels dont needed to be reinvent ๐Ÿ™‚

Eh on

It’s important that you try, if you can’t because your body doesn’t cooperate or your kid can’t have lactose or whatever, then no one can blame you. It’s not about what society thinks or not but the reason for breastfeeding your child is the immunity that is passed through your breastmilk. I’m not going to judge anyone for what they do or don’t do but please know that the nutrients in breast milk are secondary to the immunity in breast milk! There are great formulas to substitute for the nutrients of breast milk but currently no truly great alternatives for the immune boost (there are products but they pale in comparison to the immunity in breast milk). If someone in the medical profession is urging you to breastfeed it’s not because they’re judging you, it’s because the scientific evidence is there for the immune protection breast feeding provides.

Tara on

A year before I becam pregnant I had to undergo two rounds of chemotherapy for a thyroid cancer that I had two times prior in my teens. My ob/gyn was well aware of my history and had no problem with my decision not to breastfeed. Yes I could have, but the main point was I chose not to. After the birth of my son my file clearly indicated “formula fed only”. I had to stay in the hospital for 5 days after the birth due to a complication. Long story short I had this horrible lactate specialist visit me three times a day trying to convince me to breastfeed. One time when I was bottle feeding my newborn son , she came in and said “you really need to try to breastfeed, it’s the RESPONSIBLE thing to do.”

Unfortunately for this “nurse” my husband was the att sun in neurology and had a lot of pull. Because of her harassment and unprofessional attitude she lost her job.

I do not feel guilty for her losing her job nor my not breastfeeding.

Momof2boys on

My mom browbeat me into nursing my oldest son who is now 17 and I did it for as long as I could, which was 6 months. With my youngest, I genuinely wanted to nurse him but just could not produce the milk. I only made it to 6 weeks. The fact that my sisters could produce enough milk for all the newborns in my county didn’t help either. I felt guilty for about 5 minutes then realized that whether I breastfed or not did not equate to how much I loved my son. I did what was best for him and me, which was formula after the first 6 weeks. It was so stressful trying to increase my milk production and it just didn’t work. My boys are happy and healthy and that is what matters. It was my business…. and each experience is different. Who am I to tell another woman what is best for her or her child?

Jamie on

After reading the comments it’s interesting how the ladies who couldn’t breast feed feel judged by others while moms who do breast feed are publicly shamed when they do. How about supporting one another no matter what choice you make? Either way the baby eats, let’s have more empathy for one another and stop judging each other.

bebe on

People, well women, shame women for not breastfeeding, yet let a woman feed her child in public and wait for those comments. You literally cannot win.

Guest on

Strictly a personal decision for a mother. No one else’s business how we nourish out babies as long as they are healthy!

Mary on

I don’t understand these women that say ‘my milk didn’t come in’
Your body naturally produces milk after you eject a human being
It’s all in your head
Supply and demand ladies

The women that ‘choose’ not to breastfeed…
Yes, you are indeed depriving your offspring who wants to suckle from its mother..we are meant to nurse our children
Don’t even want to get into depriving baby of other nutritional benefits
Stop being selfish

guest on

How about this Mary?
SCREW YOU!! I’m so glad you had enough milk to feed the nation but not all women do. If a woman chooses to not nurse it is NONE of your damn business and it doesn’t mean she’s selfish. If you can’t tell you hit a MAJOR nerve with me.

Anonymous on

It’s not about ‘judging’. It’s about what is BEST. And yes, to a good parent, it is incomprehensible that someone would purposely not do what is best for their kids. Formula is not nearly as good as breast milk,& it’s awful to see people pretending that it is, to make themselves feel better about their selfishness.

ej on

wow. just wow. fascinating all these angry defensive comments….NOT from us apparently ‘sanctimonious’ breastfeeding mums- sounds like we’re the ones being judged! Most of us just quietly get on with feeding our babies. It’s not a judgment call to say breastfeeding is the way nature intended us to nourish our offspring. That’s a pure and simple fact of life.

One working boob on

LOL yeah well I got judged because I only have one working nipple. I guess my family and friends think I’m a cow that can produce milk easily from one breast. I would sit there and justify to everyone that it would be difficult in my situation and how would I be able to produce enough and rest to then produce more? Yet I still got the comments, and was told to try, and that I was being “selfish”.

Anonymous on

@Mary are you a medical professional? I think you need to go look up some medical literature before making blanket statements.

Candacejane on

I am fortunate enough to have plenty of milk and am effortlessly nursing my 2 month old. Breast is best there’s no question. The only reason you formula feeding moms get so up in arms about this topic is because you feel insecure. We breastfeeding moms aren’t rubbing it in your face! A fed baby is all that matters.

Mary on

Amen Candacejane
They do get rather crazy and defensive don’t they
If you’re so sure it’s best for your kid, just shut up and get on with it
But stop kidding yourself to deflect your insecurities

Kellah on

Sorry but breastfeeding moms can be nasty. I’ve always respected their decision to breastfeed and to be allowed to do it in public. Yet when I chose to forgo breastfeeding to get back on my bipolar meds I got nothing but hate. So my decision to be mentally stable for the sake of my family was apparently the worst thing a mother could do. Formula babies grow up just as healthy as breastfed babies and if breastfeeding moms want respect they need to start respecting mothers who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed.

sheila ray on

I’m quite surprised reading these comments, it seems as if us breastfeeding moms are being judged for doing what we do for our babies. As a nurse and breastfeeding mother I support whatever decision a mother chooses for her baby. We need to just uplift each other and this world would be a better place.

Mia on

Why do you insist on talking about something that didn’t happen 8 yrs ago? Need attn?

stac on

i didnt breast feed, i just chose not to. my daughter had no issues, my son on the other hand ended up being allergic to milk and soy both, formula was CRAZY expensive……. however after him being on formula for 2 YEARS….. i still do not regret my decision to not breast feed, i do wish i would have pumped milk just to have saved on cost since he was on formula for so long and drank so much a day a day. I DO NOT wished i would have breast fed, this was just not a choice for me, as it is not for many moms, DONT HATE- RESPECT

Max on

Who knows if celebrities read these, but…You had twins (twins!) and a crappy, cheating husband. And you made it. You are stronger than many. I sat next to you at a storytime and you were present, engaged with both adorable boys, no nanny. You smiled warmly at me and we chatted briefly. I was so impressed. You are a beautiful mother. All women need to know that if you are trying, you are a beautiful mother. Other people need to stop judging, stop being offended, and start being human. Lifting people up feels just as good for you as it does for the people who receive your admiration. Try it!

Common on

If I were to have children, I would breastfeed. All studies show that it is what’s best for the baby. Why would one choose not to??!

Bem on

Nobody is insecure, we are just tired of being bullied by perfect strangers who approach out of the blue and berate us for not breastfeeding. Whether you are buying formula, or feeding your child a bottle in public, or even from the start with the lactation bullies and pushy nurses in the hospital. Breastfeeding is painful, complicated, and sometimes just not possible for a variety of reasons for many women. If it were, there would not be this drama and mommy-shaming and these people who make careers out of consulting about something that is supposed to be so “natural” and “perfect”. It can also be very unhealthy – all of the environmental toxins that accumulate in breast tissue are being fed to your infant (this is one of the reasons that breast cancer risk has a slight decrease in women who FF for a year or more – all of that toxic crap is being ingested by your baby). If you eat a poor diet, it is being fed to your infant. If you don’t eat enough, you can’t produce enough milk. If you need to be on medication for health issues, it is being fed to your baby. Breast milk is not the liquid vaccine that some people push it as. And formula is not the poison that some people push it as. Women simply need to mind their own business, and in today’s age that is becoming a rare quality. I would never think to criticize a woman for breastfeeding, so why is it ok for them to attack me or any other formula feeder – especially when they don’t know all the facts behind the choice? My body, my baby, my business. Period.

Candacejane on

Thanks Mary! Bem- sorry but you sound extremely insecure. There is nothing wrong with formula so why are you?? No reason to be. You are however Mis- informed on MANY points. Breast milk is absolutely the PERFECT food. This is such a common excuse and its baloney! Comes from women who didn’t maybe put the effort into it they could have. If moms diet is crap it is still the perfect food. It’s mom that will suffer, so not recommended ๐Ÿ™‚
Better for mom, better for baby. Not my opinion, FACT. But I’m not a formula shaker! Not in any way. Babies I know and love have done perfectly fine on formula. It is not poison. But don’t compare it to breast milk. No comparison.

Candacejane on

Another common sign of insecurity that’s made a lot is, Oh lactation consultants or others in the medical field judge me and shame me. Really? No, it’s because, like a previous commenter already said, it’s because they have your baby’s best interest in mind. Yes breastfeeding can be painful or uncomfortable in the beginning!!! Obviously. But the majority of times (there’s always exceptions) it can be worked through. LOTS of women have done it. It’s better for mom and baby and it’s a sacrifice. Like all of parenting is ๐Ÿ™‚

ej on

nurses may seem pushy I agree! but it’s their job! as with any profession, they would be doing a huge disservice to new mums AND BABIES if they with held crucial and valuable PROVEN information about something so fundamental.. agree with everything mary and candacejane have said.

Nanam on

My mom was unable to breastfeeding feed her 4!my 2 sisters were able to! But for whatever reason I wasn’t able to breastfeed my two! Yes I tried too! Yes I know how important and the bonding of doing so! I cried over not being a good enough mom to be able to breastfeed! After my first baby I wore section cups on my nips hoping to be able to. After delivery of my 2nd I was put on a machine my husband had fun turning turning it up! But with everything I tried I was still unable to! And between the mom guilt and the other mom’s judging me! It want my choice to use formula! But I swallowed my pride knew what was most important to me was to take care of my babies!

ladyluck538 on

I didn’t either, it wasn’t for me.

Melliebean on

@candancejane …breast milk isn’t always perfect since my daughter is allergic to it.

Sad that people do judge and get superior when they see a bottle come out sometimes, they don’t know the full story.

The lactation consultants I met were absolutely awful to me. They harassed me to breastfeed until I finally had to tell them about her proven allergy. Good lord, it was almost a cult.

Yasmine on

1st – it’s not “an illegal drug from Canada”. It is domperidone, an anti-emetic (anti nausea) drug, used here in the US via IV for nausea. It is not approved by the FDA for breast milk production, because big pharma (aka the formula companies) want to sell more formula. It has been used around the world for improving breast milk production for decades.

2nd – here’s what I’ve found amongst my friends who
“don’t have enough milk”. Have you absolutely given yourself to breastfeeding? I’m talking forget about everything else around the house, forget about getting back into shape, forget about returning to work? Just given in and nurse every hour, 24 hours a day? Most won’t do that, and then give up.

3rd – I won’t judge you, but don’t judge me for whipping ’em out and nursing my baby!

Anonymous on

End the mommy wars.

Monique on

I’m disgusted by these condescending comments from breastfeeding mothers! I breastfed my daughter for 2 years. My friends formula fed their babies. ALL of our children are happy, healthy and loved. And we are all caring mothers. I’m sick of these “mommy wars” and judgment. If you have to point fingers and be condescending, then it’s you who are the insecure parent. No one who is secure sits around on computers and put down other women!

Momof4 on

Melliebean- No, babies are not allergic to breastmilk.
Maybe something you are eating or a medication you take but not the milk itself. It is specifically tailored for each individual baby.

Guest on

I breastfed both of my boys until they were 9 months and then started supplementing with formula. Im not so sure I would have lasted that long with my first but my sister is a nurse and she had a lactation consultant visit me at home. With that being said, beeastfeeding is not for every mother. I had a friend that was going nuts trying and it just didn’t work out for her. I told her that the best thing for her baby was for its mother to be happy. I think it’s an individual choice that shouldn’t be judged by anyone else. We don’t all live identical lives with the same circumstances.

Heidi on

Oh, please, let it be. I don’t care how you fed your kids. They survived; hopefully, they’ll thrive. Personally, as a healthcare provider, breastfeeding is superior for both mom and baby (decreased body weight for both, lesser cancer risk for mom, decreased diabetes for baby, decreased allergies for baby, the list goes on). However, if you don’t nurse, formula is better than a starving kid. That said, too few mothers in this country receive the encouragement, support, and understanding to nurse successfully. As I sit here writing this feeding baby #4, I’ve got to say that no one ever told me how much time it would take or how much it would hurt at first (latching for the first 2 weeks – no matter how perfect – is agony for the first 30 seconds; I think poor hubby’s hand was nearly squeezed off a few times). I can’t lie to anyone and say that I’m not looking forward to when she turns one, and I’ll no longer feel compelled to pump at work; however, as these last 2 months dwindle down, I’m already mourning the loss of the baby stage. Savor it!

emma on

I never breast fed any of my children either.When something was said i just told them to shut up and mind their own business.

Amy Paul on

I tried to breastfeed after my daughter was born, but she had trouble latching on so I switched to formula a few days later. I did pump for a week or two, but I wasn’t able to keep up and the nurse in the nicu recommended that I switch to formula.

Anne on

It’s funny bc you all are judging and hating just as much as the boob nazis. You sound like a bunch of bitter assholes trying to justify your actions to a bunch of people who did the same thing as you. Wow major goals. What a relief for you. this post is just keeping separation between the two choices and making it worse just like the nursing nazis

Barb on

I have 3 children I Formula feed my first child while I was in school and in the middle of a move, my second child I did both breast and formula because I didn’t produce enough to satisfy him and the third just breastfeed. All three children are loved just as much I have no more or less of an emotional loving bond with any of them and they are all beautiful, happy and healthy. Do what works for you and your family and screw everyone else.