We’re all for celebrities talking about their breastfeeding experiences. But rarely do we hear about their breastfeeding challenges. That’s why Whitney Port’s latest candid video is making such an impact, resonating with thousands of moms who have been there too.
“I'm not obsessed with breastfeeding. There. I said it,” her Instagram post begins. The post teases video no. 19 in her series “I Love My Baby, But...”, in which an exhausted, teary-eyed Port explains that more than anything, it’s the pressure to breastfeed that’s getting to her.
“I’ve heard people talk about this pressure from other mothers and other people and I never thought I would let it get to me,” she says. “I think that I’m a pretty strong person and I don’t really compare myself to other people or what other people are doing, and now I’m doing exactly that.”
In the full-length YouTube video, the star of The Hills and The City says that while the first day or two of breastfeeding went well, her son’s latch problems suddenly made it incredibly painful.
“I can’t do this; it feels like someone’s slicing my nipples with glass,” she says.
A lactation consultant and pediatrician helped diagnose and correct Sonny’s tongue-tied issue. But Port says she’s terrified to continue nursing.
“Because of how painful it was or has been, I’ve sort of demonized breastfeeding in my head and the thought of doing it is dreadful,” she says. “I don’t know if it’s something that’s going to get better or not. So that’s why I feel anxious about it.”
Port is posed a question: Why does she want to breastfeed at all?
“I don’t know! That’s what people say is the best bonding experience,” she says. “My gut is telling me that if he’s getting breast milk, that’s what matters to me. I think it’s all outside pressure. I think I feel fine pumping and giving him bottles.”
But whether or not she’ll actually do that is unclear. And that pressure to breastfeed is something many, many moms identify with in the comments.
“My baby is 6 months old and I could have been the one telling this story four to five months ago,” one comment reads. “What I wish someone had told me is: You don't need to breastfeed to bond with your baby! Sure, it's great for those who can—but you aren't missing out on ANYTHING by not. You really, really aren't. I have exclusively pumped for six months now and it's a labor of love all on its own. My baby LOVES me; he looks at me differently than everyone else, and Sonny will too.”
“When I had my two boys, I was in the same exact boat. I was judged for pumping and supplementing with formula eventually,” says another. Those judgments started making me think I wasn't a ‘good mom’ to my baby. It was awful. I can tell you for sure, you are a good mommy. You are doing the best you can for your child. What matters most is that both you and your baby are happy during feedings.”
“I had a similar struggle with my first,” another commenter writes. “I decided to keep nursing through the pain and it did get better and eventually became painless after about three weeks. Maybe four. But it is hard. So hard. There is no right or wrong and everyone's experience is different. Do what works for you. You are doing a great job.”
The 3,700 (and counting) comments are full of stories of solidarity and support. Watch the full video below to see if Port’s story resonates with you.