Before we actually try breastfeeding, a lot of us have a romanticized idea of what it’s going to be like. Our bodies were totally designed to nurse our babies, right? Breastfeeding is 100 percent natural, we are told — and therefore, should come easily.
And yet, many of us face a completely different reality when we sit down and try it out for the first time. We fumble around to get our babies to latch. We are often faced with sore, cracked nipples. And many of us feel completely unsure if our babies are even getting enough to eat.
Talk about stressful.
All the beautifully posed pictures of happy breastfeeding moms and their babies splattered across the internet and in breastfeeding how-to books don’t help either. They only add to the mythology that breastfeeding should come easily (and that we are all going to look like breastfeeding goddesses while doing it).
Well, one mom has decided to lift the veil and reveal the difficult truth about what breastfeeding can look like for some moms.
Angela Burzo, a mom of two from Florida, shared a picture of herself breastfeeding her newborn daughter through tears on Instagram. And the raw, honest, totally relatable post has gone absolutely viral, with over 5K likes to date.
It’s easy to see why. Burzo tells Babble that her daughter is only 16 days old, and anyone who has breastfed a brand new baby knows that those first few weeks can be among the most difficult ones to get through. Burzo pulls no punches, and gets right to heart of the struggle that she is currently in the thick of.
“I cannot hide the struggle that is BREASTFEEDING,” she writes. “Whether she is not latching on properly, whether I am not producing enough milk to keep up with her demand, whether my nipples might not be adequate, whether we confused her with having to give her a bottle after pumping….whatever it may be it has been an emotional & painful struggle.”
And it’s not just the moment-to-moment breastfeed struggles that Burzo is talking about as she pours her heart out in the post. It’s the fact that her expectations for breastfeeding were so different than the reality she is experiencing — and that fact is something that is painful for her to reconcile.
Burzo tells Babble that as she was writing her post, she was thinking about the kinds of images of breastfeeding she’s always exposed to. Part of the impetus behind the post was to show the truth about the other side of breastfeeding — those very real, very common moments of real struggle that so many moms experience, but don’t often share.
“I was thinking of all the pictures I’ve seen about moms breastfeeding, and how easy they made it seem,” Burzo tells Babble. “I was feeling like there’s no way I’m the only one having these issues, and going through this pain.”
Burzo is absolutely correct. And she is not the only one. Her post is making thousands of mothers feel less alone in their breastfeeding struggles, too. Burzo tells Babble that the responses to her post have been wonderful, and have actually helped her get through this tough time.
At first, though, Burzo shares that going “viral,” was a little overwhelming. “I never really expected that, and then I felt a huge overwhelming feeling,” she says. “I felt obligated to everyone that started to follow me and that was pressure I wasn’t ready to endure on top of what I was going through.”
But Burzo says that when she expressed her initial mixed feelings to her mother and her friend, they helped her realize that her post was doing a world of good. They helped her remember all the many women was she inspiring, along with the stories that were being shared in response to her post.
The candid mom says that the sharing of stories and support she experienced has made her feel a whole lot better — about everything.
“Thank you to all those women coming to my rescue even the times I didn’t reach out,” writes Burzo as she ends her post, “All your kind words and encouragement have been a blessing,” the mom shares.
Burzo tells Babble that as of now, a few days later, she is experiencing some lingering issues with breastfeeding, but that things are getting a little better. “I am still pushing through and exclusively breastfeeding,” Burzo says.
Solidarity, sister! Those of us on the other side will tell you that although breastfeeding really can be difficult at first, it often has a way of working itself out in time (and that you should totally be unafraid to get help from a breastfeeding professional if your problems don’t resolve).
Most of all, being honest about how things are going, and surrounding yourself with compassionate, non-judgmental support is key for making it through.
We are all rooting for you, mama!