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What happened when Serena Williams’ coach told her to stop breastfeeding

OLYMPIA OHANIAN
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The tennis legend taught her coach a thing or two about motherhood.

In a recent interview with Time, the tennis star and mom-of-one revealed the difficulties of juggling her sports career with that of being a devoted breastfeeding mom to daughter Olympia, who turns one this September.

While many moms can relate to the joys of breastfeeding, not many of us can appreciate that being a champion athlete requires 100 percent dedication and focus — it really is a case of keeping your eye on the ball! But when Williams made her tennis comeback after the difficult birth of little Olympia, which nearly cost her her life, she wanted to make sure her daughter remained a priority. And for her that priority was to continue nursing her infant, despite the advice of her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.

As she explained in the interview, she felt she had “the power to sustain the life that God gave her,” adding “You have the power to make her happy, to calm her. At any other time in your life, you don’t have this magical superpower.” Cherishing the daughter she had with husband Alexis Ohanian is obviously at the forefront of her mind yet, like most moms, she had to make the decision of when to stop breastfeeding when it suited both mom and daughter.

When Mouratoglou told her to stop nursing, Williams found it very difficult to take it, saying: “He’s not a woman, he doesn’t understand that connection, that the best time of the day for me was when I tried to feed her. I’ve spent my whole life making everyone happy, just servicing it seems like everyone. And this is something I wanted to do.”

Williams continued to nurse Olympia until she felt comfortable. “We had a really good conversation. We talked it out,” the champ shares of the moment she “discussed” with 8-month-old Olympia her decision to stop breastfeeding.

The holder of 39 major tennis titles is continuing to adapt to her new life as a mom back from maternity leave, ready to take on the tennis world once more. While the joys of motherhood have taken Williams by surprise, she is determined to be an inspirational role model for her daughter, which means getting back to center court and wowing the crowds with her strength and determination … and her impressive serve.

And like lots of moms out there, she finds it difficult to leave her baby behind, but is sure to reassure her with: “Momma has to go to the gym. But it hurts me more than it hurts you.”

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