Since she became a mom in 2014, Jennica Uytingco has been a breastfeeding and natural parenting advocate. So, when the mom of two recently revealed that she had become an endorser of a popular milk brand, it unsurprisingly sparked a debate on social media.
A lot of her followers expressed their disappointment that she is seemingly abandoning her advocacies. But Jennica was quick to defend her decision on her Facebook and Instagram posts.
“Many are surprised that I am endorsing a milk brand. One person said: 'The way the Lord designed breast milk to be is just amazing. It has antibodies that no formula milk could ever imitate,’” she writes.
The Kalinga ni Nanay founder reiterated that she still thinks “breast milk is best” but she does not see milk brands “as evil as how some see it.” On her Instagram, she recalled the mothers she’s counseled in the past who were raped and molested and who were reminded of their “dark past” whenever they breastfed.
She continued, “Who am I to keep insisting something that the mother is not comfortable doing? Yes, a mother can go to a hospital and ask for donated breast milk pero hindi ba minsan ay wala na rin mabigay ang ilang hospital?”
The mom of two also says she wants moms who choose to formula feed to be “confident also with their choice,” citing situations where they are almost ashamed to reveal that they do not breastfeed their baby, fearing judgment from breastfeeding moms.
“Wala ako sa position para magsalita na sana tigilan na itong mommy shaming na laganap sa buong mundo kasi alam ko na may mas di hamak na mas influential pa sa akin ang sumubok to get the word out, pero ayokong humusga ng kapwa ko lalo na ang kagaya ko na nanay rin,” she writes.
In the end, the celebrity mom says she’s leaving all judgment to God. “Although this person reminded of how I once wrote that I am in awe of Christ and how the Father made breast milk so perfectly that no formula can imitate it that it also reminded [me] of another important thing…that is to love all and leave all judgment to Him.”
Not an issue of breastfeeding vs formula feeding
Though celebrity moms like Melissa Ricks and Helga Krapf, as well as other real moms, supported Jennica and agreed that mom shaming has to stop, some women pointed out that it was not an issue of breastfeeding vs formula-feeding.
On our Facebook group Smart Parenting Village, some of the members attempted to explain why Jennica’s decision to endorse a milk brand affected the mothers who looked up to her.
“She’s a breastfeeding advocate. She conducts seminars and talks. She preached and promoted not to use growing-up milk (which she is endorsing now) and [non] organic food (the milk brand is not organic) [in those talks]. It’s contradictory sa advocacies niya. Kaya na-disappoint yung mga mommies,” one member shared.
Another pointed out that Jennica is endorsing toddler milk, so there was no need to differentiate between breastfeeding and formula feeding.
Some also felt that the mention of molested victims was uncalled for. “It is her issue alone. Huwag na nila idamay pati ang mga nananahimik na formula-feeding moms who are doing what is best for their children.”
Another member suggested that follow-on milk is unnecessary once the child is ready for solid food, something Jennica has talked about in her seminars. “Kahit hindi na nagpapasuso, ang focus na ay natural food. Yung sustansiyang makukuha mo sa follow-on milk, makukuha mo rin sa prutas at gulay,” she wrote.
Be kind, always
With hundreds of moms weighing in on the issue, some moms chose to spread positivity. One member in SP Village wrote, “Do not make fun of people who are not well informed. If you want to make a difference, educate them. You can express your disappointments na walang dapat mapanirang salita. Let us not use this as an I.D. to belittle or attack others."
On Jennica’s Facebook post, one mom commented, “Please be kind with your words. Yes, a lot of moms are disappointed, some feel betrayed and these feelings are all right. But please don’t forget to be kind still. We are humans, we are moms, we can be kind even when we’re hurt.”