'Mummy has to do this': Serena Williams on why she stopped breastfeeding

Photo: Instagram/Serena Williams
Photo: Instagram/Serena Williams 

Tennis superstar and first-time mum Serena Williams expected to lose weight while breastfeeding her daughter Olympia. And yet, as the months passed by Williams found she simply couldn't shed the extra kilos - despite exercising, cutting out sugar and eating a vegan diet.

"I'm going to be totally frank. I feel like everyone says, 'You're so thin when you breastfeed," she said during a news conference at Wimbledon.

"That's a lie," one of the reporters called out, to which Williams responded with a laugh, "Isn't it! Thank you! All over pop culture you hear that when you breastfeed you lose weight and you're so thin. It wasn't happening for me."

For Williams, the experience taught her just how different our bodies are.  "Every person is different, every physical body is different," she said. "For my body, it didn't work, no matter how much I worked out, no matter how much I did, it didn't work for me."

Williams, who is married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, originally intended to wean in January.

"January became March," she said. "March became April. I was still breastfeeding. For me, it was really important to make it through three months, then it was important to make it to four months. I was like, 'OK, I can do six months.'"

But at six months, she said, it was time.

"I literally sat Olympia in my arms, I talked to her, we prayed about it," Williams said. "I told her, 'Look, I'm going to stop. Mummy has to do this.'"

And while the process was emotional, it wasn't as hard as she expected. "I cried a little bit, not as much as I thought I would. She was fine."

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Once she stopped breastfeeding, Williams lost around 4.5 kg (ten pounds) in one week. And the weight continued to drop.

"Sorry to go on about that," she said of the link between breastfeeding and weight loss, "but I wanted to say that so women out there know that's not true. Everyone takes things different. I think it's important for us to share that message."

The mama also shared the story behind her Instagram photo of ten-month-old Olympia on the tennis court.

"I took her to centre court ..." Williams said. "I got a little emotional when I started telling her about a girl who had a big dream. It was really special for me. And I wanted it to be special for her too.

 

Hummm that looks yummy #wimbledon go Mommy

A post shared by Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. (@olympiaohanian) on

And despite joking about having "mummy brain",  Williams confirmed that being a mother hasn't dampened her competitive edge.

"My competitive desire is still the same," she said. "I never actually lost that competitive side. I've been through so much, I feel even more competitive. I thought it would be different, hey I have this amazing child, I have all these grand slams. I feel a lot less pressure, but I'm a little bit shocked about how I almost want that pressure. It speaks to who I am as an athlete.

"And who Serena is."

 

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on