Jeannie Mai is facing a common challenge for new mothers: breastfeeding.
The co-host of The Real, 43, took to Instagram on Friday to share the trials and tribulations of producing enough milk to feed her infant daughter, Monaco, to whom she gave birth in January.
Sharing a shot of herself hooked up to a breast pump, Mai called nursing “the most difficult part of this entire mom journey.”
“Been tackling this breastfeeding thing for two months,” Mai said. “Listening to a lactation nurse, reading advice online and getting so much help from other moms. Hands down, it’s been the most difficult part of this entire mom journey. I already HEARD it was gonna be, but I never imagined this. For me, it was even more difficult than giving birth.”
Mai, who is married to rapper Jeezy, went on to share how her breastfeeding experience initially started on a positive note.
“The day I gave birth, the nurse put Monaco to my breast and I got emotional about the colostrum that my breast naturally produced,” she told fans. “I couldn’t believe nature took place so fast! I fell in love at first latch. I’ve never felt anything like that bond before, looking down at my body providing for this sweet face. I became obsessed.”
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But keeping up her milk production soon proved to be a challenge.
“[The nurse] said latch the baby every three hours, which will signal to my breasts to make milk, feed Monaco each side, 15 min left, 15 min right, and I will see breast milk increase. Well, not for me,” Mai explained, adding that every three hours the baby would attempt to latch on, but she would have to supplement with formula since she wasn’t producing enough milk. She took a variety of herbs and vitamins to help, but nothing worked enough.
“Two months later, I STILL don’t make enough milk to feed my baby,” she wrote. “I had to catch myself because it actually got to my mental [health], and things started to feel dark. Comparing myself to other moms, frustrated from the ups and downs of pumping an ounce one day, nothing the next … and this is ON TOP of all the anxiety this journey can bring.”
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Despite her struggles, the TV personality made it clear that she isn’t complaining, and gave credit to all the other moms out there who are just doing their best.
“I have more respect for moms than ever in my life. And I have to remember me included,” she said. “Hugs to every mom out there.”
Mai isn’t the only star who has spoken out about struggling to breastfeed. Olivia Munn, who recently welcomed a son, Malcolm, with boyfriend John Mulaney, said she “felt like my body was failing” when she wasn’t able to produce milk.
“Breastfeeding is soooo hard. Especially if you have low supply,” Munn wrote on Instagram last month. “Eight weeks in and I’ve taken a million vitamins, countless teas, lozenges, tinctures and worked with two lactation consultants.”