9 Things You Wish Your Partner Understood About Breastfeeding
Parenthood can put your relationship through the ringer. From the physical changes to the hormones messing with your emotions, it's normal for things to feel off with your and your SO. Add in the stress of breastfeeding, and you may feel especially distant. And part of that may be because they fail to see things from your point of view as a new (and frankly, very exhausted) breastfeeding mom. There are several things you probably wish your partner understood about breastfeeding, things that they won't understand unless they go through it all too.
Between my two daughters, I've been breastfeeding for more than two years straight. My husband is no stranger to varying hormone levels, boob sizes, and energy amounts. Although he's generally very understanding, helpful, and accepting of the decisions I've made for my daughter's and I, there are days when I wish he could experience breastfeeding the way I do.
Breastfeeding is one of the hardest, most rewarding, and exhausting aspects of my role as mom that I've yet to experience. It's amazing, don't get me wrong, and I feel honored that my body is capable of nourishing my children. But there are certain parts of nursing that aren't so glamorous. From having your boobs on display 24/7, to dealing with cracked nipples and engorgement, to feeling like you'll never have your body back to yourself, there are a few things that all breastfeeding moms with their partners could truly understand.
1. You're Exhausted
It may not look like a lot of work, but trust me, sitting in a chair with your boobs out feeding a small child takes a lot more energy that you'd think.
2. You Don't Always Love It
Sometimes breastfeeding causes you to doubt yourself. Sometimes you'll wish you could have your body back for just one day (or an hour even). The bond between you and your baby is amazing, but on the hard days- the days that no one else sees but you- those are the days you need your partner's help the most.
3. You're Self Conscious About Your Nipples
Breastfeeding nipples are weird. And some moms don't always love their post-baby boobs. While your partner most likely doesn't even care and still thinks you're as beautiful as always, you notice, and you don't always love what you see.
4. You Still Love Your Partner, You're Just Tired
When you're a breastfeeding mom, your top priority is figuring out how to make this whole motherhood thing work. Everyday Family notes that it's common for partners to feel left-out or like they've been replaced, since breastfeeding takes up so much of your time and energy. You know this isn't true, but they may not.
5. Your Boobs Won't Stay Huge Forever
Big boobs are one of the perks (get it?) of breastfeeding. For a while, you look like a super model with a boob job and your partner probably loves it. But, breastfeeding boobs don't last, and sooner or later they'll go back to normal. And that's a good thing, but just don't get too attached.
6. You Need Help
While your body is doing amazing things for your baby, you shouldn't be expected to to everything yourself. Dear partners of the world, help a mama out. Change some diapers, handle bedtime, give baby a bath. There are literally hundreds of other baby-chores that boobs can't fix.
7. You Want To Feel Sexy
The aforementioned breastfeeding boobs don't necessarily guarantee that you feel amazing about your body. It's amazing how a simple compliment from your partner can work wonders on your self-esteem.
8. It Doesn't Last Forever
You won't be breastfeeding forever — usually a few years tops — even though your partner may feel like it consumes your life now. You just want to enjoy the time while it lasts.
9. Sex Isn't Your Top Priority
Shocker, right? While your partner probably can't keep their hands off your post-pregnancy body, due to hormones, exhaustion, and lots of other things vying for your attention, sex might come up low on the priority list.