Nashville mom Leah welcomed her daughter Penelope seven weeks ago and knows only too well that breastfeeding isn't always all it's cracked up to be. Pun intended.
Now the brave mama has taken to her Instagram account TheNashvilleBump to share a raw and honest post about the challenges and fears many women face while nursing.
"Ok, I'm going to say it for us all," she writes. "Breastfeeding is hard. It's really, really hard."
"Sometimes I can't even explain what makes it so difficult," she continues. "The uncertainty, second guessing, responsibility, commitment, discomfort...just to name a few. We trusted our bodies to grow our babies for 9 months and now we have to trust our body to supply the nourishment for our babes growth & development. Talk about pressure. 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!!!"
She's so right. It's been over a decade since I last breastfed, but as I read this post, all of my doubts and insecurities came rushing back. I suffered from mastitis, I worried constantly about how many ounces my tiny baby was getting, and there were days when I was sure I was losing my mind. So I identify with Leah's struggle big time.
"We all so desperately want to survive and push through," she continues. "We so badly want to have our baby thrive. We want that relationship. We want the experience. Mamas really do need all the support they can get. So mama, you're hearing it from me, you're not going crazy. Keep going!! There's a rumor going around that it gets easier..."
In a follow up post the next day, Leah revealed that she had sought advice from a lactation consultant, and that she plans to keep pushing through. Way to go, Mama—there's no shame in admitting you need help! It doesn't matter if you're breastfeeding or bottlefeeding or pumping or weaning, every new mother could use a little support from time to time—something Leah herself came to recognize after the positive responses to her initial confession came pouring in.
"I can't express how thankful I am for everyone's thoughts and love yesterday," she wrote. "I encourage everyone to reach out when feeling scared, frustrated, or have a lack of confidence because most likely someone is feeling the same way. Motherhood is hard, but it takes a village! Even an Instagram village."