When Tori Roloff gave birth to her first child earlier this year, she didn’t expect breastfeeding to be difficult.
The Little People, Big World star and her husband, Zach, welcomed their first child together, son Jackson Kyle Roloff, on May 12. And in two months since the new parents brought their baby boy home, Tori has learned firsthand the struggles associated with breastfeeding.
“Hands down the hardest thing about being a mom has been breastfeeding. It was something I did not expect,” Tori admitted in an Instagram post on Saturday, which accompanied a black-and-white photo of herself breastfeeding Jackson.
“I just figured it would come naturally because it’s what nature intended-I was so wrong. Jackson and I got so frustrated with one another in the beginning and it took every ounce of me to not quit,” she wrote.
“I realized however I was being selfish. It was an inconvenience and took FOREVER but I was blessed enough to be able to BF. I was in a position that some women would die to be in and I couldn’t let that go,” she continued. “I feel for those mamas that can’t breastfeed. I get asked at all my appointments how BFing is going and I couldn’t imagine how that would make the women who physically can’t feel.”
“I also HATE the stigma of breastfeeding,” she shared. “I still feel awkward in public when I feed my baby. Why should I? I’m providing for my child. J and I have come a long way and we work well together now and I’m proud of that. There are still times that I feel overwhelmed with breastfeeding but I know I’m doing to best I can.”
For mothers who are also encountering struggles when breastfeeding their infants, Tori encouraged them to stay positive and not get discouraged.
“We as women just do the best we can and that’s all anyone can ask. You do you mamas. Don’t let anyone make you feel insignificant or like you’re not doing your best,” she wrote, and concluded. “Breastfeeding is ridiculously hard and it doesn’t always work out. Our kids are going to be just fine. #breastfeeding #milksnob #whereisthebaby? #canyoutellilikestripes?”
Speaking with PEOPLE after the birth of their little boy, Zach — who has shared his life on his family’s TLC reality series Little People, Big World since he was 13 — said there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for his son, who, like him, was born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.
“You have to encourage a dwarf child a little more because it will take them five steps to do what others can do in two,” said Zach, a soccer coach. “But I knew, dwarf or not, I was going to parent my child with the mentality that not everyone gets a trophy. You have to earn it.”
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Males with achondroplasia grow to an average height of 4’4″ with a normal lifespan, and babies may have breathing problems and delays in muscle development.
Zach knows the genetic condition will make Jackson’s life tougher, but “I want people to know that he’s just like his dad: being a dwarf is just part of the whole package of who he is.”
Now, the Roloffs hope their story will help educate and reassure other parents of dwarfs.
“Tons of parents e-mail me to say what an inspiration we are for their kids, showing that it’s possible for them to get married and have a family,” says Zach. “The other day we met a couple who have a dwarf child. They started watching our show and it made them feel that it was all going to be okay.”