Former EastEnders star Melissa Suffield has stripped right back for a stunning and heartfelt post about breastfeeding as she recognised the challenges which many mothers face.
The actress, who previously played a teenage Lucy Beale prior to Hetti Bywater's debut, shared a gripping snap as she posed skin-to-skin with River while bottle feeding her son.
Highlighting the challenges that many mothers face, Melissa shared a reminder in light of World Breastfeeding Week, reminding people that it's not the "be all and end all" to not breastfeed.
In the post, she said: "Length of time breastfeeding is not an indication of how good a parent you are. I pumped for a year. I'm not a better mum than someone who pumped for a month."
She reminded her followers that individuals are all different, adding that sometimes it just "doesn't work out", and sometimes, people choose not to.
She said: "Just because something is natural, does not mean it will necessarily come naturally.
"Breastmilk really is amazing. But so are you, and whether or not breastmilk is part of your parenting journey, it doesn't change that."
Melissa, who is called The Confident Mama on Instagram, reminded her followers that no journey is easy and that there are challenges for all feeding routes.
The photo she shared sees her feeding her son at five-weeks-old as she stated that how parents choose to feed their babies "shouldn't be divisive".
Melissa shared how she had continued to pump until her son turned one, adding: "I certainly didn't see that coming, but it was right for us.
"It would be totally wrong for someone else, and that's cool."
The actress was immediately praised by her followers for the post, with many complimenting the snap as "beautiful" as people showered her with support for the message.
River, who is now 17 months old, is Melissa's firstborn and since his birth she has focused on her parenting blog, becoming a pumping advocate and even launched River and Six, a family clothing company.
In her early years, Melissa through herself into acting, with the last confirmed casting according to IMDB seeing her appear in Casualty in 2012.
Prior to that, she played Lucy Beale from 2004 to 2010 before moving away from the show as Hetti Bywater took on the role of Lucy two years later in 2012 – the character was killed off three years later in 2015.
In the years that followed, Melissa has thrown herself into promoting positivity online through her social media accounts.
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EastEnders continues on BBC One on Tuesday at 9.05pm
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