MANILA — Actress Solenn Heussaff on Wednesday opened up about her struggles of breastfeeding her firstborn, Thylane, saying the journey has made her realize that motherhood can be a "constant back and forth between bliss and self-doubt."
Heussaff gave birth to her daughter with husband Nico Bolzico on January 1, via cesarean section. During her first days with Thylane, it became clear to Heussaff that she would have difficulty breastfeeding.
"I just wasn't producing enough milk, even if I ate the right food and had the right nutrition," she wrote in her blog.
"Breastfeeding is fulfilling, but it is also so painful," Heussaff said. "Your nipples get sore, you can even get mastitis, and if it's a tough journey for you, there's that feeling of constant exhaustion and defeat— especially when you feel like you cannot meet the needs of your baby. That was a source of self-doubt for me and I imagine that it’s the same for a lot of other moms."
Nearly five months into breastfeeding, Heussaff said she has consulated four lactation experts, in the hope of addressing her being a "non-gifted" mom.
Addressing fellow mothers, Heussaff wrote: "My experience with breastfeeding can be totally different from yours, but we can all learn from each other — without having to compare. We are all different and our babies are also different."
Heussaff acknowledged that "breastfeeding is best for babies, because your milk is like customized to suit what your baby really needs."
"But," she added, "there are times when moms really cannot breastfeed and they feel guilty for not being able to."
Her situation has led to numerous adjustments for Heussaff in order to produce milk. She has also tried mix feeding "with the help of my friends' breastmilk."
"However way you are getting food to your baby, whether that's by breastfeeding, mix feeding, or formula feeding, just remember that it's really you who knows what's best for you and your baby. Don't let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong. If you can breastfeed, then that's amazing," she said.
"I had a really bad supply at the start, but I also fought for it. There are times when it puts you in a better headspace to mix feed and if that's the case for you, then great. That means you can take care of your baby better."
In an accompanying vlog, Heussaff showed numerous tips she has personally done in the past months to help produce milk.
Aside from latching and pumping, she advised fellow first-time mothers to eat right (she increased her malunggay intake), perform a breast massage which she demonstrated, and take medically approved supplements.
Watch the complete vlog below: