Mom gets real about breastfeeding: ‘Breastfeeding is hard. It’s really hard’
Just because something is “natural,” doesn’t mean it’s easy, and breastfeeding is no exception. In a brutally honest post, a Nashville mom nailed why it’s so damn hard to breastfeed: we don’t know what the heck we’re doing as new moms. No one does.
Leah, who is behind the Instragram account The Nashville Bump, posted a very raw photo of herself breastfeeding her seven week old baby.
“Ok, I’m going to say it for us all. Breastfeeding is hard. It’s really, really hard. Sometimes I can’t even explain what makes it so difficult. The uncertainty, second guessing, responsibility, commitment, discomfort…just to name a few,” she writes.
This mom gets it so right. When you breastfeed you really don’t know what the hell is going on with your boobs. At times, the whole thing is downright mystifying because you can’t actually see what’s happening.
“Breastfeeding is full of unanswered questions. You truly don’t know what’s going on down there. Too much? Too little? Too intense? Not enough hindmilk? Not enough time? Plugged duct? Mastitis? WTF!!!” Leah says.
Hell yeah, WTF. At times, breastfeeding is quite literally round the clock guesswork, doubt, worry, and OMFG, what is this pain in my boob and how do I make it stop?! You can’t measure your breast milk in ounces (unlike with bottle feeding, where you can rely on metrics for guidance). You can’t tell if your milk is coming out slow, fast, or at all sometimes. And you can’t tell if you have a little blockage, or if you have full blown mastitis. It sometimes feels like a total crap shoot.
“We all so desperately want to survive and push through. We so badly want to have our baby thrive. We want that relationship,” she writes. “We want the experience. In the end, fed is best. That’s what matters.”
That’s the truth bomb right there: all moms want what is best for their babies. Getting them fed — no matter how — is the universal and ultimate goal for parents.
Can we talk about the actual photo for a minute too? I mean, her feelings are palpable. Head in hand, she’s slightly slumped, hair in bun, and donning no smile. This picture is perfect. Why? Because it honestly captures the challenges of breastfeeding, and it counters the unrealistic images we’ve been fed for ages.
“I had seen so many pictures on social media of mothers blissfully breastfeeding their babies that I didn’t realize it’s not always like that,” Leah told the Huffington Post. “It seemed so easy and natural for them, but even things that are easy and natural can be a learning experience for many people.”
Leah told HuffPost that she’s since found a lactation consultant to help her and encourages other mothers to find support any way they can. She said, “It takes more than a breast to feed a baby! It takes time, patience, support, proper nutrition, confidence and sometimes professional help to overcome your breastfeeding struggles.”
Breastfeeding my babies took an assistant to hold my watermelon boobs (thank you husband), two breast pumps, formula supplementation, endless patience, energy, self love and ultimately forgiveness. I had to forgive myself and my body when I decided to stop breastfeeding. And for those moms, like me, who had to find other options for feeding their baby, Leah says, “Rock on!”
“Mothers know what the best decision for themselves, baby and family is,” she said. “Mothers who choose to exclusively pump, bottle-feed, supplement, formula-feed or breastfeed all need a lot of support.”