Even though they can't relieve engorgement or magically get baby to latch, a supportive partner can make all the difference for breastfeeding moms. That's why one Australian mom's discouraging story about her husband's lack of support has the internet seething on her behalf.
In a since-deleted Facebook post on the online forum Breastfeeders Australia, the mother shared her plight:
“My husband wants me to stop breastfeeding my son. We have daughters together, but he makes fun of my son when he cries for me, and says things like 'he’s such a girl.' My husband also thinks I should stop breastfeeding because he says it’s stopping me from losing weight. He isn’t open to the idea of talking to a professional about this. Has anyone got any advice on dealing with an unsupportive husband?”
Apparently, comments expressed so much outrage that the post was taken down. Breastfeeders Australia explains on their blog:
"A recent post about an unsupportive husband attracted a number of comments from our members, ranging from upset to concerned and even absolutely outraged," the administrators write. "Although all of the comments had the best of intentions, the member did not find many of comments suggesting she was being abused, or that she should leave her husband, very helpful. While it can be triggering to hear of a fellow woman being treated by her husband in a way that we would not consider acceptable in our own relationship, if we are to help someone, we need to be able to meet them where they are. We need to be mindful that coming on too strong could leave someone like our anonymous member feeling like everyone is giving her a hard time, that she is to blame and that she can’t go anywhere for non-judgemental advice."
To help better the situation, Breastfeeders Australia highlighted a comment from Gina Haitidis, who specializes in social work and child psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
"I have quite a bit of training in this kind of thing and based on what you have chosen to disclose I would say that he is possibly unsure of his role in your family dynamic and relationship," she says, explaining that the mother's breastfeeding relationship with her infant may overshadow the father/son relationship her husband envisioned. "With respect to your weight, I’m not sure of the background to the comment, but if you yourself have mentioned weight loss in the past, then this might be a way of him trying to persuade you in a positive supportive light (although it might not come across that way). Or if you have brought it up in a negative light, again his way of trying to somewhat emotionally provoke you to stop. He may think that if you stop breastfeeding, he can be with you and have possible a more confident role in both his relationship as a father and partner."
Is Haitidis giving the husband too much credit? We don't have enough context to say. What we can offer, however, are examples of dads who stepped up to support breastfeeding moms. Share this with your partner for a little nudge in the right direction.