In my experience, it’s pretty easy to feel under-appreciated as a new mom. It sucks, because you just went through arguably one of the hardest things imaginable, and now you're responsible for keeping a tiny human alive while you simultaneously feel like you've been hit by a truck. And if you're breastfeeding, you're also responsible for feeding that tiny human with your body. Fortunately, the little things my partner did that proved he appreciated me and my effort made a huge difference in how I felt about myself and my breastfeeding journey. Turns out, I was very appreciated, and you probably are, too.
I'm not going to lie, breastfeeding was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It took so much sacrifice and effort, it often hurt (more than I could possibly explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it), and it didn't come as easily for me as I thought it would. Luckily, through the bleeding nipples, late night feedings, supply issues, elimination diets, and all of the other challenges I faced, my partner showed me that he was on my side and thought I was doing great no matter what.
While supporting your partner should be par for the course, I know it wasn't easy for my husband to show me that I wasn't alone. I was in the throes of sleep deprivation, postpartum hormones, and breastfeeding anxiety, so I felt a distinct lack of confidence. Thankfully, my partner showed me in small ways that he appreciated me, and over time those small tokens made a huge difference when it came to my sense of self-worth as a new mom. I felt loved and like our co-parenting relationship was a partnership, even when I was the one breastfeeding our baby.
He Helped Me With My Nightly Set Up
It seemed like such a small gesture at the time, but it made a huge difference when my husband helped me get a little prep station ready for nighttime feedings, diaper changes, and power-pumping sessions. Even though I was the one waking up with baby, I had everything I needed when I did and it made the experience so much more bearable.
He Bought Me New Nightgowns
I had my last child in January, so it was freezing in our house. In other words, sleeping topless was not an option. My husband went out and got me new pajamas that buttoned up the front, just to make nursing easier. It was so thoughtful.
He Brought Me Coffee
Coffee is life, and to be greeted with a cup of coffee just the way I like it not only made me a better mom, but made me feel cherished and appreciated.
He Advocated For Me At The Hospital
When my youngest son was born, my husband was my biggest advocate for feeding him the way that worked best for our family. When he asked for some formula to supplement, and told the nurses our plan to combo-feed, I felt like I had someone in my corner.
He Volunteered For A Shift
Pretty much the best thing my husband ever did for me ever was take over feedings so I could have a chance to sleep during those overwhelming and exhausting newborn days. Offering to take a nighttime shift seemed like the least he could do, but having four or five hours of sleep in a row had a huge impact on my mental health.
He Agreed To Give Up Dairy & Soy
When my son was 1 week old, he was diagnosed with food allergies to both dairy and soy. I was faced with the choice to eliminate those foods from my diet or switch to hypoallergenic formula. My husband told me that if I decided to give up those foods, he would too, out of solidarity. It made me legit cry a little because, well, giving up cheese is a definite sign of love.
He Told Me It Was My Choice
Ultimately, my husband told me he would support me no matter how I chose to feed our baby, and that since it was my body breastfeeding (or not breastfeeding) was my choice. When we needed to supplement with formula because I didn't make enough breast milk, he supported me. When I wanted to pump, he supported me. And when I didn’t end up breastfeeding as long as I wanted to, he supported me then, too.
He Made Sure I Stayed Hydrated
My husband always made sure I had a cold beverage by my side while breastfeeding. It was important for hydration, but also had the bonus side-effect of making me feel appreciated.
He Listened When I Complained
Everyone needs an outlet or an opportunity to vent once in a while, and new moms are no exception. My partner was my confidant, and made me totally feel supported in getting my frustrations about breastfeeding and new parenthood off my chest.
He Gave Me All The Back & Shoulder Rubs
Sometimes breastfeeding can be a pain in the neck, back, and shoulders, especially when your child is tiny and there isn't a breastfeeding pillow that seems to lift them high enough to reach your nipples. My husband frequently gave me some much-appreciated massages to ease the tension. I felt loved.
He Handled The Other Kids' Mealtime
While I was feeding our son, my partner handled the meal prep for the rest of our family. Making sure everyone else was fed took a small thing off my plate, but ended up making me feel so appreciated.
He Brought Me Ice Cream In Bed
One of my guy friends from college told me to never settle for less than someone who will feed you ice cream in bed. My husband totally did this when I was breastfeeding, so clearly I didn't settle. It sustained me through late-night feedings, gave me a boost, and reminded me that I did, in fact, choose an incredible partner.