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Mom gets real about what breastfeeding looks like: 'I cannot hide the struggle'

Angela Burzo shared "the emotional and painful struggle" of feeding her daughter, born last month, in a viral Instagram post.
/ Source: TODAY

One woman's message about the difficulty of breastfeeding is resonating with many moms across the country.

In a viral Instagram post, Angela Burzo shared "the emotional and painful struggle" of feeding her daughter, born last month — a sharp contrast from the typically blissful Instagram snapshots of moms happily breastfeeding new babies.

"You see all these other moms and they have these perfect photos and they're sitting there breastfeeding their kids, and they look so peaceful," Burzo, 33, told TODAY Parents. "And I'm like, 'There's no way!'"

"I guess I wanted to capture that," she continued. "Maybe for myself. Maybe for my daughter to look back on."

Burzo, who also has a 6-year-old son and lives in south Florida, explained to TODAY that her intention isn't to shame women for whom breastfeeding comes easy — it's to empower women who have had experiences similar to hers, and to document her journey. Her post has earned nearly 7,000 "likes," with many moms offering sympathy and support.

"Whether she is not latching on properly, whether I am not producing enough milk to keep up with her demand, whether my nipples might not be adequate, whether we confused her with having to give her a bottle after pumping ... whatever it may be, it has been an emotional and painful struggle," Burzo wrote in the post.

For moms who want to breastfeed and are finding it difficult, it's important to remember that there are resources, including online forums and in-person meetings with other new moms, points out Leigh Anne O'Connor, a lactation consultant in New York City. And it's not uncommon for breastfeeding to be tough at first, she added.

"There's two people doing something brand-new together," said O'Connor, also a spokesperson for La Leche League, a nonprofit that provides information about breastfeeding. "You go to a ballroom with two people who have never danced and ask them to tango across the floor — both are going to be awkward."

Adding social media into the equation can make it harder.

"We're all comparing ourselves," O'Connor said. "There are people who post pictures of freezers full of breast milk so everyone thinks they need to have this storage of milk. You just need enough milk to feed your baby." (And sometimes breastfeeding just doesn’t work out, period — and that’s OK too.)

Burzo said she's "overwhelmed" by the huge response her post has gotten, but she hopes it helps other moms in the same shoes.

"They have someone to relate to," she said. "They probably see the same thing I do, the beautiful photos, and that's just not what they went through. I felt so inspired that all these people were showing me love and support and encouragement."