I thought I was prepared for breastfeeding but, sadly, I wasn't. As much as bringing home a new baby can turn your world upside down, dealing with breastfeeding challenges complicates things even further. Thankfully, I was offered a ton of support from my partner, who kept me fed and calm (well, mostly calm) throughout the struggles. Struggles aren't a requirement when it comes to breastfeeding, but it was a significant part of my experience. Either way, I think it’s fair to say that there are specific things you can learn about your marriage after breastfeeding.
With a second child on the way, my husband and I are preparing ourselves to face some of the same issues head-on. Of course, there’s no way to know how this baby will handle breastfeeding until we’re in the throes of engorged breasts, late-night feedings, and nipple pain. (Unless there are any fortune tellers out there who can predict the future? If so, please show yourselves. I’ll take all the hints I can get.)
Whether it goes smoothly or not-so-smoothly, I suspect there will probably be some similarities to the first time around, which gave me great insights into our relationship that, seriously, I hardly considered until I was a slave to my newborn’s hunger patterns. Like:
What Your Spouse Really Meant When They Said “In Sickness And In Health”
I would like to be able to tell you all that I was a lovely display of feminine strength when breastfeeding. In reality, I was a grunting, staggering mess, leaking milk all over the furniture in my house (sorry, guests).
I came down with various ailments throughout my breastfeeding journey including but not limited to: mastitis, thrush, and supply issues. I'm hopeful that a second baby will give me a chance to redeem myself and maybe (someday) I'll resemble the women who breastfeed in stock photography. In the meantime, I'm thankful my partner and I made it through that first round.
How Squeamish Your Partner Is When It Comes To Someone Else's Bodily Fluids
I mean, I didn't exactly enjoy the extra messes and it was my own breast milk. If the roles were reversed, I probably wouldn't have been as cool about the puddles as he was. Perhaps I'm exaggerating a little bit by calling them "puddles," but still, he was a trooper.
Your Partner’s Exact Limit For Sleep Interruptions
I didn't know it was even possible to wake up 17,000 times in one night, but it is! Parenthood is a gift, as is a partner who manages to bring the baby to you, instead of requiring you to get up every single time.
How To Best Offer And Accept Each Other’s Support At Some Ungodly Hour In The Morning
I suppose the obvious answer here is: the best way to show someone love at some stupid hour in the middle of the night and/or early morning is to allow them to keep sleeping, but sadly that's not always an option when there's a breastfeeding baby in the house.
Though, we did our best. By "we," I mean "he," since my husband tends to be more generous than I am when it comes to forgoing sleep. Thanks, dear.
Which Of You Is More Likely To Cry Over Bottles That Need To Be Washed
Spoiler alert: it was me. I mean, both of us probably could have guessed this, since my history of crying at ridiculous things is well-documented, but I suppose we can rest slightly easier knowing for certain that it was, in fact, me.
Who Is Better At Troubleshooting Breast Pump Technical Issues
I mean, by the end of my breastfeeding journey, we were both pretty skilled technicians. However, there was a window of time when I was too tired, too stressed, too teary and/or too much of a hot mess in general to get the breast pump to work. Thankfully, my partner managed to come through.
Which Of You Is Better At Keeping Track of Nursing Pillows
If I were to ever go on Shark Tank, it would be to pitch a product that's part nursing pillow/part fanny pack that comes with a tracking device for your phone, and also has a refillable water pouch with a straw that reaches your mouth. Mark Cuban, please get at me. Everyone else, you're welcome.