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News flash: Living in the real world can sometimes be a real letdown. Reality TV star Bethenny Frankel, now a breastfeeding mom to 10-week-old Bryn Casey Hoppy, guest hosted on "The View" earlier this week. At one point, she proclaimed, "Breastfeeding is the hardest thing in the world. No one really talks about it." Before I could say, "You go, girl!" host Joy Behar cut in with, "No it's not. Don't even tell that to women. It's not hard to do."
Maybe Behar could use a reality check herself. To be fair, it's been a couple decades since Behar was in a position to lactate. Time lets us forget what it's like to have rock-hard, milk-filled breasts; sore nipples; and a hungry baby wailing in our arms. And, yes, it's true there are women for whom breastfeeding is a breeze. Baby makes her way out of the birth canal, finds her way to mom's nipple, latches on perfectly, and never looks back. But life, as we know, isn't always balanced, which is why it's not uncommon for these same women to also claim, "labor was a breeze," "the pain wasn't that bad," and "I'd do it again in a second!" (Who are these people?) And we know Behar was likely expressing a pro-breastfeeding sentiment with her comment, but it still really rubbed us the wrong way. For lots and lots of women, it is hard! (But awesome, and totally worth it.)
Two weeks into nursing my first son, I sat bare-chested in my brand-new baby rocker surrounded by my mother, husband, newborn child, and lactation consultant (aka my new best friend). At the time, she outfitted me with tubing that fed my son a little formula while he attempted to also get some milk out of my poorly performing breasts. Turns out he had a poor latch. My reality check? All the reading in the world can't prepare you for actually breastfeeding a child. Despite my raw nipples, low milk supply, and one wicked case of mastitis, I eventually succeeded the best I could with all three kids. Each boy required formula at various points — one lactation consultant chalked up my low milk supply to my widely spaced breasts. Go figure.
So to Joy Behar I say, when it comes to breastfeeding moms, you are of course entitled to your opinion. But be mindful of using your position of power to speak for all women. To you new moms out there who are struggling with breastfeeding, I encourage you to seek help from a pro and from other mothers who've been there. And get emotional support from your partner. I promise you that as with most of life's challenges, the extra effort is completely, and utterly worth it!
Did you have problems breastfeeding? Chime in below!