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Jeannie Mai Got So Honest About the ‘Pressure’ of Breastfeeding

Jeannie Mai just got very candid about her breastfeeding journey. The new mom, who gave birth to daughter Monaco Mai-Jenkins four months ago, spoke with PEOPLE about one of her biggest postpartum challenges.

“[Breastfeeding is] hard because it’s an every three-hour full-time job,” she explained. “Like every three hours, I’m pumping, I’m massaging my breasts, I’m trying to get enough to fill a feeding, I’m taking the pills, I’m drinking the tea, I’m eating the cookies. I’m doing everything to maximize that every three hours.”

Mai added: “It’s just a lot of pressure — yes, I’m putting on myself — to perform. But I’m trying and I want to reward myself just for doing that.” The TV host has been frank about the ups and downs of breastfeeding, from her wonderful first experience to the ongoing challenges of milk production.

“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 wrote in a March Instagram post. “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.”

After that heartwarming moment, Mai discovered that she couldn’t produce enough milk. She’s been tackling a rigorous schedule for herself ever since then. “Every 3 hrs looked like this: Latch, supplement with formula since I could only give her an ounce, (IF that), go and pump to signal to body to make more milk, set alarm to take milk thistle pills, sunflower Lecithin pills, drink fenugreek tea, massage boobs, in one hour prepare boobs with a hot compress or towel, wake the baby up, repeat.”

Mai’s breastfeeding struggles took her to a “dark” mental place because she was comparing herself to other moms and frustrated by the inconsistency of her milk. She offered a sweet, inspirational shout-out to moms on their own feeding journey — no matter how they’re choosing to go about it.

“Not complaining, actually here to give moms out there, breastfeeding or not, all the flowers and praise for doing your best to care for your baby-formula or boob,” she wrote.  “I have more respect for moms than ever in my life. And I have to remember me included 🥴✨🥇Hugs to every mom out there❤️.”

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