Second-time motherhood hasn't come without its challenges for Claire Holt.
In a candid Q&A session on her Instagram Story Monday, The Originals star — who announced the birth of daughter Elle on Sept. 13 — opened up about what postpartum life has been like, including the harder parts of breastfeeding her new baby girl.
"I won't lie to you. It's been rough. Bleeding nips aren't fun for anyone," said Holt, 32, when asked if breastfeeding was "easier" the second time around. (She previously shared her struggles with nursing when son James, now 17 months, was 1 week old.)
The actress also revealed she had a lactation consultant come to her home and assist her with getting Elle to latch "properly," which has "made a huge difference."
"Going to stick with it, as I know it gets easier and I'm coping mentally," Holt added.
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Milk drunk babbyyy! Thank you all for the love and support 🥰. It’s been such a different experience this time. I feel so much more relaxed and confident. I don’t question every single decision that I make and know that all that matters is that she is loved, fed, and safe. Breastfeeding hurts like a b*tch but we’re getting there one day at a time. James is the sweetest big brother and seems to be adjusting well (maybe because of the extra ice cream and screen time). I should probably have 3 or 4 more of these things, right?
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In other answers, Holt revealed that she labored for four hours longer than she did with James, including 19 hours without pain medication — and then she got an epidural, which she "barely felt" as it was "wayyyyy less painful than contractions."
"It kinda messed up my leg, but at least I didn't feel the contractions after that," she explained. "I think it helped me (and my pelvis) to relax so the baby could turn. Leg is fine now FYI."
Holt also went into what it was like giving birth during the coronavirus pandemic and expressed her gratitude for her husband and doula being able to be in the delivery room.
Additionally, she said "it feels like it was" more difficult to give birth the second time, "although I think I blocked out the first one so I'm not really sure. I had back labor both times and took forever to progress."
"Try not to be too attached to a certain outcome (natural birth, etc.)," Holt told one advice-seeker. "No matter how your baby enters the world, the moment you hold them, nothing else is important."
Holt has been candid about both her difficult road to motherhood and the hurdles she has been met with since welcoming James, previously discussing the miscarriage she suffered before her son, his difficult birth and even some of her postpartum challenges.
"This was me yesterday after struggling through a tough feed," she wrote alongside an April 2019 photo that showed her eyes visibly filled with tears as her then-newborn baby boy seemed to be sleeping soundly on her shoulder. "Exhausted, in pain, feeling defeated. I've had many moments like this since my son arrived. My only concern is making sure his needs are met, yet I often feel that I'm falling short."
The actress also opened up in a July 2019 episode of Dr. Berlin's Informed Pregnancy Podcast about how a balloon was used to induce her labor with James, which Holt remembered as nothing short of "torture."
When she eventually asked for a walking epidural after initially wanting a non-medicated birth, Holt's pain quickly subsided even as her contractions grew closer together.
"I was thrilled with my decision," she noted. "I could still move around, which was great. And I felt like I had the ability to try and progress my labor that way, by rocking and bouncing, but it just took the edge off the pain."
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