Jeannie Mai Jenkins opened up about the ugly side of breastfeeding. On her Hello Hunnay YouTube series, the new mom spoke about having a hard time producing enough milk for her daughter, Monaco.
“All I was doing around the clock — even through my sleep by the way, 24 hours a day — was trying to take my vitamins, drink my tea, chew my gummies, and pump milk,” she said. “And nothing was coming out. It was maybe about an ounce.”
Not being able to produce enough milk for her daughter, which is something many new moms go through, made Mai Jenkins feel “defeated.”
“You’re seeing all these commercials and other women and even Instagram showing these amazing pictures of moms bonding with their kid and breastfeeding their babies, actually just getting really frustrated,” she continued. “You’re reading so many different pieces of advice that aren’t really just helping you see results.”
The Real host said she “got really, really depressed” over her breastfeeding woes and “started to give up.”
Breastfeeding is also linked to postpartum depression in new moms, according to research. Studies show that mothers who have a difficult time breastfeeding are more likely to experience postpartum depression.
“I can’t tell you how many women walk through our doors and say, ‘It started with breastfeeding,’” Paige Bellenbaum, founding director of The Motherhood Center, told The New York Times.
Mail Jenkins said she also experienced mastitis, a painful infection of the breast tissue, as well as clogged milk ducts. This began to occur after she stopped breastfeeding and the milk began to “build up” in her breasts.
“I’ve never experienced this type of pain — mastitis started happening, and it was so, so painful. Imagine getting punched in the boob, but instead of getting punched and they let go, it’s like one big punch, and it stays there super impacted on your boob. Then I’d have to pump in order to get the milk out, but then I’d have clogged ducts.”
She added, “The whole time it’s throbbing like crazy. You literally can’t even eat. It hurts so bad. You can’t even talk about it with anybody ’cause you don’t have time to talk about it. You’re supposed to be taking another vitamin, you’re supposed to be trying to pump it out, or you’re supposed to be feeding your baby,” she explained. “And you’re supposed to try to keep calm the whole time.”
In the midst of a baby formula shortage, breastfeeding seems like an ideal solution. But as Mai Jenkins said, breastfeeding is emotionally and physically draining.
Watch her speak about the difficult experience below.