Tyler Hubbard's Wife Hayley Explains How Opting to Feed Baby Formula 'Strengthened' Their Bond
Hayley Hubbard says the Florida Georgia Line singer was "happy he could help with the feeding" for their third baby, son Atlas, now 8 months old
Hayley Hubbard is further opening up about her decision to not breastfeed her 8-month-old son Atlas Roy.
After welcoming her third baby in September with her Flordia Georgia Line singer husband Tyler Hubbard, Hayley told PEOPLE in October that she wouldn't be breastfeeding Atlas "this time around because, now looking back, breastfeeding really amplified symptoms of postpartum depression for me."
"It was never something that came easy to me or something that I honestly enjoyed," she added at the time, "no matter how many specialists we talked to or how well I was producing milk."
Now, in a new Meaning Full Living blog post, Hayley — who is also mom to son Luca Reed, 21 months, and daughter Olivia Rose, 3 — recalls anxiety and "pressure" she experienced when she felt she had to breastfeed.
"For the first couple days I breastfed Atlas, because it didn't feel like there was any other choice while in the hospital, and I was going through the motions, just like I did with my other two babies," she writes.
She adds, " I knew from the start that a month after the birth of Atlas, I would have to stop breastfeeding in order to prepare for my breast implant removal surgery. I wondered if this pain and struggle was worth it for just one month, knowing that I would soon have to turn around and quit; which is not just physically taxing, but emotionally taxing. Believe me, I'm the first one to say 'I can do this' – but not this time."
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Hayley remembers how her first two babies "would just toss and turn on my nipples," which "resulted in a really painful breastfeeding experience that ultimately led me to exclusively pumping and bottle-feeding."
"For me, the total transition to formula and 'quitting' breastfeeding was hard for me to actually pull the trigger and do, even though I knew I was ready and even though I preach to my friends and social media followers that there is no shame in using formula," the mom of three adds. "Despite what I said, I realized in that moment, there was a lot of shame around formula-feeding for me. But why?"
"... I knew breastfeeding wasn't the right choice for me this time. Even when I made the decision to use formula I had to reiterate my choice multiple times and explain myself, which no one should ever have to do, especially as a vulnerable new mom having just given birth," she writes.
Hayley says she realized that there's "not nearly as much support around formula feeding" and that it's "not nearly as normalized as I thought it was." She found support in a nutritionist friend Jessica Diamond, who said, "A happy mom is a happy baby," and her nanny Katie, who told her simply, "Fed is best."
"Tyler was the biggest advocate and cheerleader of all, especially since it made the most sense for our life circumstances and he just wanted what was best for me," she says. "He had witnessed what a struggle breastfeeding had been for me and our babies, and he was happy he could help with the feeding, especially since it was a way he could contribute to the household as he recovered, unable to walk on his ankle. Feeding Atlas his formula strengthened their bond, which wasn't something he could enjoy as much when I was breastfeeding our other kids."
She concludes, "Don't let someone else decide for you — only you know what is best for your body, your baby, and your family. Remember what Jess said: a happy mom (or dad) makes for a happy baby. Think of prioritizing yourself as an act of love for your whole family — because that's exactly what it is."