The Hills star Whitney Port just shared some very raw, very real feelings about her breastfeeding experience and her reveal is striking a chord with other mums who’ve struggled to breastfeed their babies.
Whitney and husband Tim Rosenman’s baby, Sonny, was born on 27 July, so he’s just a few weeks old.
It’s been a steep learning curve for this first-time mum, and she’s been sharing her pregnancy and new mum life via her YouTube program I Love My Baby But… In an episode uploaded last week, Whitney detailed the difficulties she’s been having with breastfeeding.
She explained that, from the get-go, she really wanted to breastfeed her baby. Once her bub was born, she did what was recommended and began breastfeeding her baby straight way. She confirms midwives told her that Sonny’s latch was good, and that she was keen for her bub to gain the benefits of colostrum – that first “milk” that women produce in those early postpartum days. So far so great.
While Whitney thought things were going swimmingly, after “24 to 48 hours” of feeding, once the family headed home and started to settle in, things got really painful, really quickly.
“We came home and I just hit a breaking point and said ‘I just can’t do this’ because it feels like someone is, like, slicing my nipples with glass.”
“Luckily we had an amazing baby nurse, who helped me decide that maybe we would just try to pump and maybe give him a bottle of formula to help give my boobs a little bit of a rest. WE did that. We gave him a bottle of formula and we started pumping. Pumping was a lot less painful.”
Chatting w/ @mydomaine about raising the next generation to embrace love, not hate: Although Sonny is too young to learn anything right now except that crying will get him changed and fed (he's only 3 weeks old ;)), my number one priority as a mom is to teach him right from wrong. Included in that giant life lesson, is the fact that people are defined by a large sum of different qualities, life experiences and backgrounds. Those who attempt to define people by the color of their skin are either afraid of the unknown or too lazy to do the real work it takes to know someone. If I can teach my son that it takes a lot more digging than just looking at someone to know their strength of character than I will have taught him a lesson worth passing on to the next generation. 📷: @colemoser
“The latch looks good”
Keen to push on, Whitney sought further expert advice, in the hope that she could keep breastfeeding.
“I immediately made an appointment with lactation consultant. She said ‘the latch looks good’ but he may be something called ‘tongue tied’.” A visit to the paediatrician confirmed Whitney’s baby did have a tongue tie.
At this point in the clip, when asked to describe how things have been going, Whitney breaks down.
“I want to breastfeed. People say it’s the best bonding experience,” Whitney said tearily, admitting she’s been feeling pressured to breastfeed successfully and “older people” are pushing her to keep going.
Confused and exhausted
She says she’s kept at it, persevering, in the hope that she could make it work. It’s plain to see that she’s exhausted and emotional. She’s just worn out from feeling unsuccessful and worrying about what she should do next.
“It’s really painful. I’m not sure if it’s painful just because I’m getting started again or if he’s not latching on properly. I just feel like people are going to tell me to have patience and to do it because it’s only been a week.”
“I just don’t know if it’s something that’s going to get better or not. So that’s why I feel anxious about it. Like how much longer do I continue to try before I just give up on it and just pump and give him the bottles and just be okay with it.”
Sorry I've been MIA for like a week! I lost my phone. Just kidding!! I made a human! Sonny Sanford Rosenman was born on 7/27/17!! Everyone is so happy and healthy and we are home now. I'm going to try my very best to not be one of those moms whose feed is dominated by their baby but I can totally see how difficult it will be not to. I am beyond obsessed and in love and wish I could bottle this feeling for all of you out there. Check out the blog (link in bio) for more and welcome our little one to the world!! ❤️❤️❤️
The blame game
These complex and confused feelings are often kept far from view when new mums are struggling with feeding their babies. Whitney’s raw admissions provide valuable insights into these often difficult early days.
“A lot of the new mums and my friends have said not to put so much pressure on myself and that they pumped or switched off and that there is nothing wrong with that. I’ve heard people talk about this pressure. I never thought I would let it get to me.”
While Whitney says she focused so much on the pregnancy, and hadn’t anticipated these breastfeeding problems, it’s obvious that she’s tried very, very hard to make breastfeeding work for her and Sonny.
“I’ve demonised breastfeeding in my head. The thought of doing it is dreadful.”
“I’m blaming myself for possibly quitting,” the shattered mum said.
When asked what she’d advise other mums who were going through the same thing, she said: “I would tell them to not listen to anyone else and do what their heart is telling them to do. And that’s really what I should be doing.”
“Fed is best”
Other mums jumped in to offer support and share their own difficulties:
“Your mental health is more important than anything. The baby will be just FINE with whatever you choose!”
“Fed is best. I tried nipple shield too at beginning. My baby couldn’t nurse right even after treating her tongue tie. I’ve exclusively pumped since and she’s 5 months now and healthy and happy eating from a bottle.”
“I struggled with breastfeeding my 3 kids. I was in agony and completely relate to the “nipples being cut by glass”; that’s exactly how it felt and it was horrible. You need to do what’s best for you and your family, no guilt and no worries about being judged.”
We’re so sorry to hear that Whitney is going through this, but so glad she shared her story with other parents who may be experiencing similar struggles.
Does Whitney’s experience mirror your experience of breastfeeding? Or did things go fairly smoothly for you?