Whitney Port Tears Up Over Breastfeeding Pain: 'It Feels as Though Someone Is Slicing My Nipples with Glass'
Breastfeeding can be one of motherhood’s most challenging obstacles.
This article originally appeared on People.com.
Whitney Port is getting real about one of motherhood’s most challenging obstacles.
The 32-year-old Hills alum — who welcomed her first child, son Sonny Sanford, with husband Tim Rosenman on July 27 — has been honest about some of the harsher realities around having a baby, confronting those downsides on both her PEOPLE.com blog and in her popular YouTube series “I Love My Baby, But…”
On Thursday, Port shared a particularly emotional video — tearing up as she revealed the struggles she’s endured while breastfeeding. Though she’d heard nursing “doesn’t really come easy to most people,” she said she was willing to try, and was encouraged early on when Sonny successfully latched on to her.
“I thought I was doing really well and the nurses said that the latch was good,” Port confesses. “But after about 24 to 48 hours of doing it, it just started to get so incredibly painful. And we came home and I just hit a breaking point and said, ‘I can’t do this. It feels as though someone is slicing my nipples with glass.’ ”
With the encouragement of her baby nurse, Port decided to pump and bottle-feed Sonny formula as needed to “give my boobs a little rest.” When pumping turned out to be less painful, she went to see a lactation consultant, who said that the pain she was experiencing could be the result of a condition commonly referred to as “tongue tied” — where the tongue’s range of motion is restricted, causing newborns to bite or suck harder to get the milk.
A pediatrician confirmed the diagnosis and after Sonny had part of his mouth clipped, Port tried again. But it didn’t get better. “I tried it yesterday morning once he had the procedure done and then I tried it this morning, and it’s just — it’s really painful,” Port says through tears. “I’m not sure whether if it’s painful just because I’m getting started again, or if it’s painful because he’s not latching on correctly.”
“I feel like a lot of people are going to tell me to just have patience and try to do it ’cause it’s only been a week. But I just don’t know if it’s something that is going to get better or not,” she continues. “So that’s what I feel anxious about. Like, how much longer am I willing to try it before I just give up on it and just pump and give him the bottles and be okay with it?”
Part of Port’s struggle has been the indirect pressure from other moms, who’ve made her feel breastfeeding is “the best bonding experience.” Though she’s tried hard not to listen to them — even when they told her there’s “absolutely nothing wrong” with pumping or switching off — Port admits the fear has persisted.
“Really, my gut is telling me that if he’s getting the breast milk, that is what matters to me,” she explains. “But I don’t know why — 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.”
Says Port, “I think I’m a pretty strong person and I go with my gut and I don’t really compare myself to other people or to what other people are doing. And now I’m doing exactly that.”
“I’m not blaming myself for hurting, but I’m blaming myself for possibly quitting,” she continues. “I don’t know if it’s something that if I give it one more week it will be better. I just don’t want to be regretful that I haven’t tried everything.”
The struggle has been so bad, Port says she’s “demonized” breastfeeding in her head. When asked what advice she’d give someone else going through this, Port says she’d tell them to “not listen to anybody else and to do what their heart is telling them to do … and that’s really what I should be doing.”
“It’s weird that when you’re in it that so many people have the same problem, but no one really warns you about it,” she shares. “Or maybe I didn’t do enough research or talk to enough people about it … I think I was focusing so much on the pregnancy that I wasn’t planning ahead to problem-solving after the pregnancy.”
As emotional as she is, Port says she’s glad to be talking about her pain. “I think some of the things I’m feeling I’m right for feeling, they’re real issues,” she says.
“And then some things are probably being magnified by my hormones and these post-baby blues that people talk about that could last anywhere for a week to months,” Port admits. “But I think it’s all normal. And we’ll talk about them.”
After filming the video, Port posted on her Instagram account about it, writing that she has “gained so much confidence” through the support her fans have given her.
“If any of this rings true or you have any tips, I’m all ears,” Port addressed her reader. “We mothers have to be there for each other. I sincerely believe this community is what has given me the confidence to feel I am not doing anything wrong.”
“Yes, there are times the opinions and judgments of other seep in, but then I remember I have you guys and it makes all the difference,” she adds. “I am really looking forward to reading all the comments and tips this week. I need them more than ever.”