Breastfeeding my son was something that I was so excited to do while I was pregnant. I read everything that I could get my hands on to prepare myself, listened intently during my Lamaze class, and prayed for an easy transition into it. The hours of reading and praying were very helpful, but now that I am five months into breastfeeding, I realize that there was one critical component missing from all of the literature: the dad.
I'd like to say that breastfeeding would still be as successful as it has been for our family if it was just me doing it, but without my husband, I know things would have been tough.
Here's how he helped make it work for me:
My husband was open to learning and listening.
When we got pregnant last fall, I expressed to my husband that I really wanted to breastfeed our son. Initially, I do not think either of us had any inkling as to how much time we would invest in breastfeeding in the near future. However, he jumped on board and we began learning about it. We both listened intently during our Lamaze classes as we went over different nursing positions, understanding baby's feeding cues, and proper latching. He listened to me ramble about whatever I had most recently read, and would talk to me about possible challenges that could lie ahead. Having someone who I could bounce my excitement and fears off of was critical for me. Especially since I am a talker and a thinker (and I'm sure you can relate).
He is my #1 encourager.
My breastfeeding relationship started off without a hitch with my son, something that we are very thankful for. Then I got a severe case of mastitis. It was horrible. I was in the hospital, in and out of doctor's offices, and ended up on an antibiotic that was not breastfeeding friendly. Throughout this two-month struggle, he kept encouraging me that it would soon pass and we could go back to normal. He helped wash and assemble my pump when I had to pump/dump for nearly three weeks and he comforted me when I would crumble at the frustration of it all. After recovering and looking back on that time period, I know he played a huge part in maintaining my milk supply through my illness. He helped remind me how much I wanted this for our family when I just wanted to give up.
He is thankful and shows it.
Breastfeeding has its benefits (for us) beyond the medical realm, and there are a few things that I know he is thankful for. It is very convenient to have food ready for your little one at will call. It's the right temperature and you do not have to prepare a bottle. We have so much respect for parents who use bottles (and formula) after having to use them regularly when I was sick. It is a lot of work. We have also saved a lot of money by breastfeeding, and not having to purchase formula, which has been a huge help to this frugal family. I also get up throughout the night to feed our little man, who still wakes up for a quick meal two to three times a night. All of these things he has shown gratitude for and to be honest, I really appreciate the recognition. Even the littlest things are helpful, like grabbing me a glass of water while I am nursing! Let's face it. Breastfeeding is tough work.
He love my boobs. Duh.
Last, but definitely not least, my husband loves my boobs! I worried a bit about how breastfeeding would affect the attractiveness of my breasts to my husband, but you know what he said? He told me he loves it because he gets to see them ALL THE TIME! That hadn't even occurred to me! I guess we both win when he helps me with breastfeeding, huh?
How has your partner supported you throughout the journey of feeding your baby?