I had a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding. With my daughter, nursing didn't work out and I switched to exclusive pumping almost immediately. With my son, I was determined to make it work since I never wanted to go through the hell of exclusive pumping ever again. And after six weeks of struggling to breastfeed and working my way through a ridiculous amount of pain, I was finally successful. I fought through sore and bruised nipples, clogged ducts, and tongue tie, all while dealing with the lowkey irritating things my partner did while I was breastfeeding. And sure, my partner was super amazing most of the time, but he couldn't help but be annoying sometimes. I mean, I was mostly irritated by the fact that he didn't have to breastfeed at all, but also by the fact that he is a man and didn't have to deal with anything I had to deal with.
The thing is, your partner doesn't mean to be annoying. He or she want to be helpful and empathetic. But the fact that there is absolutely no way for the two of you to split breastfeeding responsibilities is ridiculously irritating. I mean, Greg Focker from Meet The Parents once said,"You can milk just about anything with nipples," so why can't every single man lactate yet? C'mon nature, keep up! But since we haven't evolved to the point where both parents are able to breastfeed the child (usually, although it does happen!), we are now stuck at the same place as we were always: being annoyed by our partner's antics.
Seriously though, breastfeeding was extremely difficult, and while it got a lot easier as time went on, I still remember it as a major struggle in the beginning. For me, breastfeeding was very painful and uncomfortable in the beginning, but very convenient and lovely towards the end. I sometimes miss the bond I had with my son while he nursed. I miss holding him in my arms and having his fall asleep as he ate. What I don't miss, however, are my partner's ridiculous antics of living a (mostly) perfectly normal life while mine got thrown upside down.
I love sleep so much, you guys. But when I was breastfeeding, sleeping wasn't really an option. Sure, I'd get a couple of hours here and there, but there were no long, rejuvenating eight hours of sleep to be had. My partner, however, was all about sleep. He'd snore the night away like he didn't have a care in the world. I mean, yes, he did get up to bring the baby to me and to change a diaper here and there, but he'd go right back to sleep and that was so sad to me because I, too, wanted to go back to sleep.
Sure, one can drink a little while breastfeeding, but one cannot go drinking drinking when one is nursing. While I was breastfeeding, we had a few events where everyone would drink and have a great time, but I was too worried about my milk supply and about having to dump my precious liquid gold if I drank too much. So I'd sip on a beer or a glass of wine, while desperately watching everyone else, including my partner, have the best time.
Sleep On His Stomach
Oh how I love sleeping on my stomach. There were four times in my life when I couldn't and it was the worst: during each pregnancy, after my back surgery, and during breastfeeding. I didn't realize that I wouldn't be able to sleep on my stomach while lactating, so when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy I couldn't wait to be done so I could sleep on my stomach again. Well, I was in for a shock when my boobs were way too full and way too sore for me to lie on my stomach. And when I'd be struggling to sleep on my back, I'd turn around and see my husband peacefully hugging the pillow with his cheek, stomach comfortably resting on the mattress. What an ass.
Wear Regular Clothes
How do I put this nicely? Um, well, nursing clothes aren't the best. Sure, they are practical and great for when the baby needs to eat, but as far as style goes, nursing tops aren't the trendiest. I invested in some comfy tanks and a few blouses, but overall the style of nursing wear can use a little update. I don't know about anyone else, but when I feel like total crap on the inside, I would at least like to look in the mirror and be somewhat happy with what I see. Well, nursing tops didn't do it for me.
Meanwhile, my husband would wear his regular clothes and didn't even have the courtesy to hide this very real offense.
"Maybe you should put the baby this way, babe?"
"Try the 'football' hold like they taught you at the hospital, honey."
"Didn't the nurse say you should drink more water?"
He thought he was being helpful, but what he was being was annoying.
Eat Like A Normal Human
I would have a very satisfying dinner, then I would nurse my baby, and then I was ready for another dinner again. My appetite was insatiable when I was breastfeeding. I would imagine my diet resembled the diet of a football player, or Michael Phelps. Except I wasn't swimming 1,000 laps that day so I basically consumed a massive amount of calories on the daily and gained a ridiculous amount of weight. Husband, on the other hand, ate like a normal person and wasn't walking around hangry all the time.
Be Emotionally Stable
My husband didn't cry at everything nor did he get angry at everything. I was an emotional wreck while I was breastfeeding. I mean, the baby blues probably had something to do with my emotional state, but breastfeeding didn't help. The massive hormonal dump after delivery and the pain and confusion of breastfeeding certainly didn't help my mood any. I was so unstable I annoyed myself.
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