Parenting a newborn and a toddler at the same time means giving more of yourself than you thought was possible. Sometimes literally.
Actress Karla Souza posted a photo to Instagram detailing the reality of her life the day after she gave birth to a son, Luka, on June 12. She also has a two-year-old daughter, Gianna. For Souza, reality looks like tandem nursing, something she says she hadn’t planned to do.
The look on her face is one of humour and discomfort, but also of delight.
“I’m laughing from both the joy and the excruciating pain of childbirth and postpartum,” she wrote.
“Bringing this little human into the world has been THE most difficult and painful thing my body has had to go through,” the “How to Get Away With Murder” actress wrote in English and Spanish below the photo. “But it has also made me feel like a freakin’ warrior.”
There are benefits to tandem nursing, according to Parents. It can reduce engorgement, the painful result of breasts filling with unused milk. And it can help build a bond between the baby and the toddler.
It can be hard, though. Tandem nursing is demanding physically, and like many other aspects of parenting, it can also be emotionally draining — especially when repeated day after day.
Souza’s baby boy is a few weeks old now, so she likely has a ton of breastfeeding ahead of her. But as she says, she’ll face it like a warrior.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.