Pregnancy
New mom hangs sign above hospital bed informing nurses not to ask her to breastfeed
With all the "new mom judgment" out there – she wanted to set the record straight.
Jenny Brown
10.25.21

Being a new mom for the very first time is quite possibly one of the most difficult tasks in the world.

Sadly, to add to that difficulty, the amount of judgment that comes with motherhood is simply incredible, and quite heartbreaking to many.

No one else can possibly know a mother’s unique situation well enough to judge her, but that doesn’t stop people from trying.

One new mother had to go so far as to make a sign to hang above her hospital bed so that nurses would not ask her why she wasn’t breastfeeding her newborn.

Meghan Koziel via Instagram
Source:
Meghan Koziel via Instagram

When Meghan Koziel finally had her miracle baby after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 at the age of 26, her double mastectomy left her unable to breastfeed. Of course, breastfeeding is a personal choice anyway and not always the best option for certain mothers. But it was simply impossible for Koziel who had to have her breasts removed.

In a post on Instagram, she described her struggle:

“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!”

Meghan Koziel via Instagram
Source:
Meghan Koziel via Instagram

While she did have reconstructive surgery, she simply didn’t have the anatomy to produce breast milk any longer and she wanted to pre-empt any shaming or repetitive questions from nurses who didn’t communicate that information to each other while she was trying to enjoy her first days of motherhood.

Her specially made pink sign, which hung above her bed 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

Screenshot via Meghan Koziel on Instagram
Source:
Screenshot via Meghan Koziel on Instagram

Koziel’s daughter Kendra Jane (named partly after her oncologist) was born on September 15th, 2018.

Meghan Koziel via Instagram
Source:
Meghan Koziel via Instagram

She posted her sign to Instagram the day before giving birth with the message:

“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!!!!!)”

In an interview with Parents Magazine, Koziel said the staff was actually big fans of her sign. As a child occupational therapist, she had worked in a hospital setting before and knew that patient information was easily lost or miscommunicated among staff changing shifts, so her sign was merely a way of giving them a heads up and a means of avoiding having to share her painful story over and over again on the happiest day of her life.

She also told the magazine that she still faces criticism from strangers when they see her feeding her baby from a bottle. But she had a message for all the moms who have to deal with the “trolls”:

“To all the mommies like me facing complicated health histories of facing social media trolls for how you’re raising your child, I would say… keep on being you! We all must make decisions that are best for our families, and it is truly no one else’s business if it doesn’t affect them! Raise your child surrounded by love and with happiness and that baby will be amazing.”

By all accounts, Kendra Jane is a happy and healthy baby.

Meghan Koziel via Instagram
Source:
Meghan Koziel via Instagram

Unfortunately, Koziel just found another lump, according to her Instagram page. While the doctors have diagnosed it as a lipoma (a non-cancerous fatty tumor), Koziel is off for more testing so she can get a definitive diagnosis.

Meghan Koziel via Instagram
Source:
Meghan Koziel via Instagram

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By Jenny Brown
hi@sbly.com
Jenny Brown is a senior writer at Shareably. She is based in San Francisco and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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