Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fathers as an Essential Breastfeeding Support

I just spoke to a friend who has made it to 3 weeks breastfeeding her baby boy despite cracked nipples, pain, and c-section recovery, in addition to the raging hormones and sleep deprivation that make the first few weeks so difficult.
I am so proud of her for making it this far. She said she never would have made it without the support of her husband. This reinforced the already high opinion I have of him. I have always thought he's fabulous, but to hear what a support he's been to her- well, that means a lot. My own husband was also a huge help with encouragement, caring for the baby while I napped, and bringing me water and whatever else I needed and wanted while breastfeeding. Oh- and he made ALL of of our dinners the first few weeks!

I wanted to give a shout out to my husband, my friend's husband, and all the other dads (and partners and families) who make the often difficult first few weeks of breastfeeding more manageable.

Another friend of mine has a friend who badly wanted to breastfeed, but her husband didn't think she could do it all herself. She ended up giving it up. Fathers and partners, and their opinions, mean more than they realize. I wish more moms knew they CAN do it. I never was sure I could, but I persevered through some pretty bad pain at 5 days with my husband's support and the help of my lovely lactation consulant. Most of us can't do it alone, and we have to ask for help from the right people if we want to succeed. Most of us CAN do it- but most of us need help. I've asked for so much help along the way- from my LC, from my friend Deirdre (a doctor and breastfeeding/pumping/working mom), from twitter friends, and my friend Olga when I needed a pep talk after a hard first week of pumping at work.

Wish I could write more, but need to run and get the house ready to feed TEN people, as my family is in town!


Dee said...

Thanks for the reminder on the difficulty. I have just started BF our latest little one and forgot about what it's really like after so long. I agree that Hubbie support is so necessary too! My Hubbie is just wonderful with his helping hands too.

Brooke said...

Supporting breastfeeding mothers is admirable... but so is supporting mothers who choose to formula feed for whatever reason. "CAN" is relative, and until you've been in a situation where you can't, it's hard to understand that.

KOR said...

Dee, good luck with your new little one! She's beautiful!

Brooke, I like to think I do support all types of feeding... plenty of my mom friends use formula. What I mean is, most mothers, I've heard 90%, can PHYSICALLY do it. The emotions, the exhaustions, make it hard for anyone who tries- and I'm just so thrilled for my friend for making it for 3 weeks, because I know it's important to her. If a mom doesn't want to breastfeed, I think she should happily and proudly feed her baby formula, because no one knows what anyone's life and body are like, so no one should think they know what's best for a mom and baby they don't know!

And I can say with certainty, if I had gone back to work at 10 weeks rather than 10 months, there is a great likelihood I'd be using formula too. Working breastfeeding into working is freaking HARD.

So while I blog about breastfeeding, because that's a huge part of my daily life, I don't pass judgment on moms who formula feed- breastfeeding is right for me (in this situation, with this baby)- and I do understand that for many moms, formula is the option that is best for the family. And I know in your case, your baby had trouble with whatever foods were in the breastmilk, and that the hypoallergenic formula made all of you so much happier and healthier. If that were me, I'd probably have made the same choice, so... I hope I support ALL moms that are making the good choices for their babies, as it certainly sounds like you did.

I wish I could write more, but I'm going to try to wrangle 5 adults and 4 kids ages 11mo to 6 years on the train into NYC!

After Words said...

The most essential support my husband provided was giving me space to sort it out for myself. When I was hell bent on exclusively BFing my first, he was right there with me, even attempting to wrangle the SNS when my son was having trouble latching and losing weight.

Months later when I decided to give the occasional bottle of formula a try, he was right there for that too, riding his bike all over Brooklyn looking for the particular kind of formula I believed was best.

Then, with my second when I decided that I was going to let her have a formula feeding in the nursery overnight so I could get some sleep, he was on board with that too.

The fact that he had confidence in me and my decision making made it easier for me to develop confidence in myself. I wish the same for every parent, breast feeding or not.

Always Home and Uncool said...

We appreciate you appreciating us.