My breastfeeding days were agonizing. Not only was I stressed out, but so was my partner. Becoming parents changed our lives, after all, so of course we were on edge. But sometimes, and especially when I was nursing, our anxiety would manifest into ridiculous arguments. Like the one about where my partner should have sat so I didn't have to breastfeed in some uncomfortable position. Turns out, though, there are fights every couple has when a mom is breastfeeding, so maybe it wasn't really our fault. Maybe, just maybe, ridiculous arguments are part of the growing pains associated with new parenthood. Yeah, I'm going to go with that. Don't @ me.
My partner and I were, admittedly, short-tempered after the birth of our first baby. We had no idea what we were doing, so our growing frustrations, coupled with extreme fatigue and sleep-deprivation, made what should have been an exciting time, well, not. And because breastfeeding was so difficult for me, simple discussions turned into out-and-out arguments. Asking where the pacifier was last seen became a battle, and inquiring as to who used up the last of the nipple cream as hand moisturizer turned into a situation that can only be described as a full-scale criminal investigation the likes of which the FBI itself has never seen.
Yes, these arguments could've been avoided, I'm sure, but I was stuck in the breastfeeding haze that left me with little time, or patience, to deal with anything else. So if you're nursing, and your partner is getting on your last nerve, know that you're not alone. Every couple will argue when one partner is breastfeeding, and those arguments will probably look a little something like this:
When I'm a sleep-deprived, lactating mess, the last thing I want to do is search for a nursing pillow. And yet, somehow, those damn things always seem to magically disappear. So I'm going to go ahead and assume that every couple has at least one fight about who misplaced the damn thing. Seriously, it never fails.
Yes, both parents are probably exhausted. No, parenthood isn't a competition. But when a mom is breastfeeding, don't try to start up some "who is getting less sleep" debate. She carried the baby for 40 weeks, more or less, went through delivery, and when she's breastfeeding, probably feels touched out.
While my partner felt the effects of new parenthood too, it was no comparison to my near-constant breastfeeding. It just wasn't.
A lot of fights definitely started when one, or both of us, felt unappreciated in our relationship. When I breastfed, I could've used more "you're doing great" and "thank you for all you do" from my partner. My partner wasn't able to be as fully immersed in breastfeeding as I was, so I wish he'd have gone overboard with the support and appreciation.
I think it's obvious that when one person is breastfeeding, the other person has more "free" time. Even though I was no longer pregnant, my body still wasn't my own. My partner didn't have to worry about feeding schedules and engorgement and breast pumping. I did.
Support comes in many forms. While a mom is breastfeeding, partners should do anything and everything to show they're involved and supportive. Doing something as simple as offering a drink, making a meal, or even just sitting next to me while I was breastfeeding went a long, long way.
When I was breastfeeding, I sure as hell wasn't interested in having sex. Taking a boob out to feed a baby wasn't a sign of "sexy time." I didn't need my partner staring or making inappropriate jokes. Just, no.
Sometimes, when I was breastfeeding, I just wanted to be left alone. It was stressed, tired, and having a difficult time breastfeeding, so I didn't need a partner hovering over me. Instead, I needed quiet, concentration, and focus. So when my partner interrupted my nursing sessions, talking about some dumb whatever YouTube video he just watched, I couldn't help but snap back at him.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.