Let the record show that my partner was crucial when it came to breastfeeding. He was present and supportive and helpful, even accompanying me to appointments with a lactation consultant so he could help me recreate specific holds and latch techniques at home. He brought me water, cooked dinner, and was endlessly patient with my unpredictable emotions. Basically, I have no complaints. However, with the birth of my second baby just around the corner, I can think of a few things I wish my partner would say when I’m breastfeeding.
As you’ll see, this is very much a wish list. In fact, a few of these are actually out of his hands, but hey, I can dream, right? Some comments I hope to hear are things he actually did say that first time around, too. I just, you know, wouldn’t mind hearing them again, and thought it might be helpful to have them all ready to go, like a cheat sheet in list form. After all, sleep deprivation and memory struggles are very, very real when you have a newborn in the house.
To put it simply, breastfeeding is hard, so I’ll take all the support that I can get, and I've heard far to many stories of breastfeeding women who aren't supported by their partners. So, for future partners of nursing women, as well as my own, here's what we all want, deserve, and wish to hear:
"You Are A Goddess Among Mere Mortals & Have No Flaws"
Too much? I mean, these are things I wish my partner said, not that I necessary think I deserve to hear (although, I was and will be feeding a human being with my body, and nothing but my body, so a case can be made for me absolutely deserving to hear how magical I am).
Seriously though, it doesn’t need to be this, um, extreme, but I think a few compliments sprinkled throughout the day, or even the week, can do wonders for a breastfeeding mom.
"I Brought You An Entire Cooler Full Of Water"
“...and I mounted it on wheels so you can pull it around the house.”
"Here Is A Tray Of Finger Foods Carefully Curated Based On Your Food Preferences & The Fact That You Weren’t Able To Eat Most Of These Snacks For The Last Nine Months"
Even when they’re eaten in the comfort of my own home, finger foods remind me of parties. Turns out, parties are pretty much the opposite of breastfeeding, so it’s not a bad association to have when you’re in nursing mode.
"I Just The Lottery So You Don’t Have To Go Back To Work Until You Want To"
Wait, what? OK, maybe the lottery part is just a tad bit far-fetched, but many difficult and serious conversations about returning to work were shared between my partner and I. So, yes, while this one is indeed wishful thinking, it’s not like various scenarios in and around this topic didn't cross my mind.
"Do You Need Anything?"
The answer is always yes, following by any number of things up to and including: a nursing pillow, food, water, a foot rub, the remote, unlimited access to Netflix, a phone, and/or all of the above simultaneously.
Just kidding, I don’t need my phone and the remote. One or the other would totally suffice.
"How Can I Help?"
One might think that there’s not a lot of room for a partner to help with breastfeeding since, you know, there’s usually only one pair of lactating breasts involved. However, at any given moment a breastfeeding mom can think of at least five to 3 million things she’d like help with, so a note to partners: maybe grab a protein bar or something before you ask this one. You're going to have your work cut out for you, and rightfully so.
"Want Me To Burp The Baby?"
For the record, burping isn’t the worse baby-related task since it involves some pseudo snuggling and gentle patting, two things that are typically enjoyable when it comes to babies.
Still, and depending on how long the feeding lasted and whether or not the baby already drooled a bunch of milk all over everywhere, your partner may be ready to stand up and stretch, in which case this is a much-appreciated question.
"I Love How You Look With Breast Milk On Your Shirt & Baby Poop On Your Pants"
Aw, thanks, dear. I could say the same to you, since we both know that’s happened before and will happen again. Also, sorry about the errant breast milk.
"I’ll Get The Next Diaper Change"
You're the best, especially since we both know the post-feeding diapers are the absolute worst.
Sure, it might make me cry a little (and, if so, I will shamelessly blame the hormones) but still, he shouldn't be afraid to say this one. If my grown-ass man wants to follow it up with, "You're clearly a great mom," I also wouldn't object.