Will Meghan Markle Breastfeed the New Royal Baby?

The debate between mothers who breastfeed and mothers who bottle feed rages on. While pediatricians agree that fed is best, regardless of how that happens, both sides feel strongly that their way is better.

Meghan Markle is already making plans for the birth of her first child, who is due in late April or early May. The Duchess of Sussex is contemplating a home birth and other more natural delivery methods. She’s most likely not heading to the St. Mary’s Hospital Lindo Wing, where Kate Middleton and Princess Diana had their babies.

But when it comes to feeding her baby, will Meghan Markle choose breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Read on to find out.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Is there a royal rule about breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding didn’t used to happen amongst nobility and royal family members. Centuries ago, wealthy individuals would hand their babies over to “wet nurses” to feed and care for their children. Wet nurses are lactating women who also breastfeed their charges.

“Queens were free to resume their duties and begin the process of conceiving the next heir. It was also believed that breast milk would be curdled if marital relations were resumed before weaning,” historian Amy Licence explained in the Guardian.

But Queen Elizabeth II changed this tradition. Queen Victoria (Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother) found the thought of breastfeeding “disgusting,” and this opinion prevailed amongst royals for generations. Still, Queen Elizabeth opted for breastfeeding her four children. Princess Diana continued the practice and made no secret of breastfeeding both of her boys, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Did Kate Middleton breastfeed her children?

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Kate Middleton and Prince William with their baby | Jack Taylor/Getty Images

There are mixed opinions on whether Kate Middleton opted to breastfeed her three children. One thing is clear: even if she did breastfeed, she did not do it publicly or allow photographs of the process like breastfeeding advocates wanted. A source explained that while the Duchess of Cambridge did nurse her babies, she was unwilling to become an advocate for the cause.

“Don’t expect Kate to be photographed breast-feeding. She does not want to become a pin-up for the breast-feeding lobby,” the source explained. “She feels that it is a matter of personal choice, and that new mums should do whatever feels right for them and their baby.”

Will Meghan Markle breastfeed her baby?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

It’s important to realize that breastfeeding doesn’t come easily to many women – sometimes this natural process is fraught with stress and anxiety, which is only compounded by post-pregnancy hormones. Even women with intentions of breastfeeding may find themselves unable to do so, physically or emotionally.

There is reason to believe that Meghan Markle will choose to breastfeed the new royal baby, however. Breastfeeding provides a host of impressive benefits for an infant including antibodies to fight off viruses and bacteria. Exclusively breastfed babies have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and other issues during the early months of life.

Plus, breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience between mother and child. Prince Harry was breastfed, and surely he will support Meghan Markle’s decision to feed their baby in the same way.

Even if Meghan Markle is going to breastfeed, don’t expect to see any photographs of Baby Sussex latched on. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are private about many aspects of their lives. Breastfeeding will most likely be another thing they do quietly together as a family — away from the paprazzi — just like Prince William and Kate Middleton did.