The first few months breastfeeding can really be a challenge. You and your baby are learning the intricate moves of a very brand new, very intimate dance. One of the people who can play a key role in a successful nursing experience, of course, is your partner. My husband made me feel incredibly supported in reaching my nursing goals. In fact, there were a lot of great things my partner did when I was breastfeeding that made me feel confident and, honestly, those things made all the difference.
A successful experience breastfeeding relies on having a ton of support from lactation professionals, family members, and friends. All of the aforementioned people can (and should) encourage you when you're feeling like giving up, make you feel comfortable when you're nursing in front of them, and help in small ways (like bringing you lots and lots of water when you're strapped to the couch with your newborn). I can't imagine how hard it would have been if I hadn't been surrounded by so many cheerleaders, from my husband's aunt, to his grandmother, to my mother-in-law, calling me and checking in on me to see how nursing was going or to help with tips of their own. And my biggest cheerleader of all was my husband.
He may have been even more on board withe the idea of my nursing our son than I initially was. I hadn't been exposed to nursing women growing up, or even in my adult life, so the concept had been foreign to me. But from the beginning my partner was all about it. Of course, if I had felt uncomfortable with nursing, he would have been open to other ways of nourishing our baby, too (like exclusive pumping, or formula feeding). Here are some of the many ways he made me feel confident when I was breastfeeding, especially in those first few months:
He Showed Me How To Use My Breastpump
He was the first person to open the package, read all of the instructions, clean all the parts, and set it up for me to use it for the first time. Since I was all but brain dead from having gone through grueling emergency surgery, and a pretty lengthy hospital stay, I couldn't be trusted to read anything longer than the text on an "It's A Boy!" Balloon. So thank goodness for my partner all but wrapping my pump with a bow and hooking it up to my boobs for the first time.
He Gave Serious Consideration When I Asked His Opinion On Various Breastfeeding Bras
I spent more time looking at cute and comfortable nursing bras (ahem, there aren't many) than probably the average woman should. I scoured every lingerie and new mom website for the "best" nursing bras that also looked cute when you took off your shirt because I at least had the intention of staying sexy while I completed my metamorphosis into a human milk factory.
Instead of not glancing up from his phone and grunting, "Uh, yeah, whatever," when I asked him his opinion on the different bras, he asked for a nursing bra fashion show and helped me pick out a few that he thought were sexy and that would also make sense in terms of comfort and practicalness.
He Researched All Different Types of Hydrating Drinks For Me
I became kind of obsessed with coconut water during my pregnancy, and the thirst did not die after my son was born. Not just any coconut water fit the bill, either. My husband researched all different kinds of coconut drinks and brought home samples from different juice press places, and even ordered fancy ones online for us to keep in the freezer.
Breastfeeding and pumping all the time creates a raging thirst, so this gesture was very, very much appreciated.
He Encouraged Me To Breastfeed Wherever and Whenever I Felt Like I Needed To
When I first started nursing, I was tentative about doing so in public. But when we were out in public and I had any initial hesitation about nursing my newborn, my husband would make this face like, "Who the hell cares what anyone thinks?" and that was the extra push I needed to just go for it.
Having his solidarity and support meant the world to me when I was nursing, and gave us the freedom to leave the house with our baby instead of feeling stuck at home. Instead of making me feel like he had to hover over me and protect my body from stares, he adopted an attitude of nonchalance because to him, breastfeeding is absolutely natural and normal and nothing to look twice at. I really love that about him, and how that helped solidify my feelings around breastfeeding as well.
He Had Words With Anyone Who Was Unsupportive Of My Breastfeeding
Certain family members who will go unnamed (in this particular post at least) were not so supportive of my choice to breastfeed. It wasn't so much that they thought it wasn't particularly appetizing, but more that they didn't see why I should go to all the trouble when formula had been perfectly fine for so many of the children in our extended family.
We let these comments slide for about a dozen different times before it started to really get to us, and that's when my husband put his foot down and picked up the phone. The first few weeks of dealing with a newborn is not an ideal time to have it out with close family, let me tell you, but hearing him so passionately defend our choice was really moving and made me feel more committed than ever to my decision to breastfeed.
He Found Me A Lactation Consultant When I Was Having Some Trouble
My first son was one of those "snacking" type kids and I wasn't sure if that was OK in the way that many a first-time mom wonders if everything from the way that her baby sleeps, breathes, swallows, or poops is "OK." My newborn would eat for five to seven minutes and then pass out, and then 20 minutes later go back for more.
I was really nervous about it, and also about whether I was doing this nursing thing right, so he reached out to some friends and found me a lactation expert that other people had used and trusted. It felt great to have one less task on my plate, and know that while he couldn't do the actual breastfeeding, that he could do some background type things to help support my success in it.
He Was My Cheerleader At Every Pediatrician Appointment
Whenever we went to the pediatrician's office to weigh our infant son, and found out that despite my worries about how much milk he was taking in during all those little snack sessions that he was, indeed, gaining rate at a very decent rate, my husband would look at me and say, "Great job!"
He always gave me the credit for my hard work and for nourishing our son and allowing him to thrive and be healthy. I didn't need a giant banner or confetti, but simple words of credit made me feel really confident that not only was I capable as a mother, but that my partner felt that I was kicking ass and taking names in a big way.