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The couple spoke candidly about Bell’s struggle with mastitis, an inflammation of the breast tissue that most commonly affects women who are breast-feeding, during an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show.
After Barrymore asked about Shepard’s help in unclogging Bell’s milk duct, which the Frozen star previously revealed in 2018, the Parenthood actor said: “Let’s just say that I extracted mastitis and we’ll leave everyone’s imagination to wander.”
“Let me also add that it is not easy and not rewarding,” Shepard continued. “I mean it is, to know that you’ve helped your partner, but other than that, it’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s down in the trenches, you know?”
However, according to Bell, who shares daughters Lincoln, eight, and Delta, six, with the actor, the experience made her realise the level of commitment her husband has to her.
“I realised the level of commitment that this man had to me,” Bell said as she stroked her husband’s face.
The Good Place star previously described her husband’s efforts to unclog her milk duct by “nursing” during a 2018 episode of Momsplaining, where she revealed that she has “never been more in love in my life” than when Shepard was helping her.
“I said to my husband: ‘I really need you to suck this out. We could talk about it, we could be weird about it, or you could just go ahead and nurse.’ He pulled it out. He had a cup next to him. He was pulling out and spitting into this cup, and I’ve never been more in love in my life,” Bell said at the time.
While reflecting on the experience during an episode of Momsplaining last month with Katie Lowes, Bell added that the method for removing the often-painful breast milk clot “works”.
According to Leigh Anne O’Connor, a board-certified lactation consultant and La Leche League leader who previously spoke to Self, the method of having a partner nurse is one that can be used in situations of mastitis, but it can occasionally be hard to unclog the milk duct effectively.
“Some families do use the partner to suck the milk out, and that is totally fine,” O’Connor said. “It can be hard to suck effectively, but it can be done.”