New mum shares the 'unspoken reality' of breastfeeding struggles

New mum shares the 'unspoken reality' of breastfeeding struggles

No one told her that breastfeeding would be this difficult.

Many expectant mums have the impression that breastfeeding just comes naturally, that everything will click into place just like that. Sadly, for plenty of women, that isn’t the case.

New mum Heyona Cho's post of herself breastfeeding her son Bo has resonated with women all over the world. Why? In the caption, Cho talks about how heartbroken she felt when she struggled to breastfeed her child, PopSugar reports.

“The feeling you get when your newborn cries for milk is hard to describe,” she wrote in her caption. “The heartbreak you feel when your newborn cries and you don’t have milk is even harder to describe.”

'Some things we just cannot control'

“When the night hits, I have to make a choice to supplement with formula or let him sleep hungry. Or more like wake up every hour, stress and fuss to calm his hungry cries, fight with my loving partner, and feel like a failure — shame. “

Cho went on to say that no one had ever told her that breastfeeding would be this difficult. “This must be an unspoken reality for so many new mums,” she wrote.

Indeed. Mum-of-two Jayashree remembers the tough time that she had faced with her first born, "She just didn't know how to latch! Not that, I was very clever either. It got to a point where my mum gave me an ultimatum and threatened to feed her formula. Thankfully, I was persistent, even if it meant staying up all night. Then one fine day, she learnt to latch!

Yet another mum-of-two Nalika had similar latching issues with her first child. "Soon after birth, I struggled to get him to latch on. Once he got the hang of it, things improved only slightly.  He was what I call, a 'lazy feeder' meaning that he would fall asleep within 10 minutes of latching on. And the moment I kept him in his cot, he would wake up, because obviously he was hungry! I also got nipple thrush when he was around 3 months old but I had no idea that I had this condition. It was like a million little daggers were stabbing me whenever he latched on – so painful. I was really close to giving up. But I persisted and continued for 2.5 years with him."

As for Cho, she decided to supplement her breast milk with formula so that her baby wouldn’t go hungry. She advised new mums who are going through similar experiences to “feel no guilt or shame.”

“Some things we just cannot control,” she wrote. “We will make the best choices that we know how and we will have done it all with love in our hearts SO full that it cries out from our eyes.”

Cho ends her post on a positive note: she said that her supply was increasing, and that thanks to a solid support system, she has been able to go through the challenging first week with her head held high. In a follow-up post—more than a week after giving birth to Bo — she wrote, “Milk is flowing and my heart is so full, I can’t stop smiling.”

Cho told The Huffington Post that she shared the story to raise awareness about the difficulties of breastfeeding. She had been told that her milk would come three days after giving birth, but for her, it took much longer than that. She went on to say that she wished she had been told that milk production often takes longer than three days.

“I wouldn’t have felt so inadequate for not being able to produce milk in the allotted ‘time limit’,” she said.

The new mum plans on starting a new website for breastfeeding mothers to share information about nursing, create a platform for "milkshares", and share informative and empowering stories.

READ: 14 tips on how to increase your breast milk supply

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