Adjusting to life with a newborn comes with ups and downs. For actress Eva Amurri Martino, the months since she and her husband, NBC soccer analyst Kyle Martino, welcomed their second child, Major James, have been no exception.
Since Major's birth in October 2015, Amurri Martino has written candidly on her motherhood and lifestyle blog, Happily Eva After. She's discussed everything from the emotional healing she experienced during Major's home birth to the anxiety she has felt since the baby was dropped by a night nurse and suffered a skull fracture.
Now, Amurri Martino is speaking out about the struggles of breastfeeding her second baby, and reminding her fellow mothers that the most important thing moms can do for their babies is to be happy and healthy.
According to a recent blog post, Major was born tongue-tied and had his lower frenulum cut shortly after birth. Amurri Martino writes that, following the procedure, she and Major were "in a great groove" with breastfeeding.
However, after Major's accident and the hospitalization that followed, she found herself dealing with stress and postpartum anxiety, and struggling to produce enough milk.
"On 'good days' it was fine, and Major would be able to easily get a robust and full feeding from me," Amurri Martino wrote in the post. "But then on the bad days or weeks when I was having a hard time emotionally, my supply would suffer."
"What made this even worse is how much I would blame myself for it all," the actress continued. "I would put so much pressure on myself to battle the anxiety so that my son’s food source wouldn’t suffer. When I would fall short (which you always do when you try to strong-arm anxiety!), I would feel even worse for 'failing' my son."
Amurri Martino says she began to consider supplementing with formula, but feared being judged by other mothers.
"I felt like the Breastfeeding Police were going to somehow know the second I made the decision and blame me for not trying hard enough, for not battling through and finding a solution," she wrote.
But it was an intervention from her husband that helped the struggling mom see the best thing for her family.
"Kyle finally stepped in and asked me to stop torturing myself. At this point, Major was 11 weeks old and my morale was in the toilet. Between my pumping and feeding schedule, and my hyper-vigilance surrounding Major and his safety, I was barely leaving the house," she wrote.
"I knew that something had to give, but it was my husband that finally put it into words: 'I know that I’m looking at this from the outside,' he told me, 'but I just see so many ways that you can take some things off of your plate if you start giving him formula."
With her husband's support, Amurri Martino began the weaning process, slowly switching Major from breastmilk to formula.
"This wasn’t an easy decision for me, but I will say that I felt a great sense of relief after making it," she wrote. "I think as moms it’s never easy to make a decision based on our own needs, but it’s important to remember that as mamas we are the beacons of light that our children follow. If we are miserable it’s very challenging to make our kids happy and to help them shine as brilliantly as they deserve to. Secure your own oxygen mask before helping other passengers!"
Amurri Martino says when it comes to parenting, she has been surprised to find that, at times, she feels just as vulnerable and unsure of herself the second time around as she did when daughter, Marlowe, 2, was an infant.
"I think in a lot of ways I'm more sure of myself as a parent this time around, which has made the baby phase more enjoyable for me," Amurri Martino told TODAY Parents in an email. "I trust my instincts a bit more and get less confused by the noise of differing opinions. But I also feel just as vulnerable and lovestruck and devoted as the first time."
"I was expecting for some of that 'first baby' shine to be a little dulled or worn down with my second rodeo — but it's just the opposite. I fell in love much more immediately with my second which intensifies all the ups and downs of motherhood for sure"