Before I gave birth to my king, my plan was to breastfeed. My partner was on board from the beginning. There were various reasons for this decision. It’s more economical, it’s less hassle (referring to the carrying of formula and bottles in the baby bag), and it’s better for baby. I went to breastfeeding classes which I was very happy with. I read online about other women who breastfed. I was completely prepared. When I had him and first went to breastfeed I knew I had it in the bag.
Have I told you I’m a first time mom? Well, yes. I am. So that whole “had it in the bag” thing? Yeah…not quite as easy as I thought it would be. I mean my thinking was “grab hungry baby, position him like you learned, grab the boob, stroke to encourage mouth open, and pop it in. EASY.” It may have been easy the first time. I sat there for a while. But he was drinking his milk while I just looked at him thinking “wow, I just had a baby” so I didn’t really know how long I was there. The second time went the same. And that’s about all the “easy” there was.
I don’t know what happened. All I know is I went in, I sat and nursed, and when I thought he was done I put him down…and he let me know nice and loud he wasn’t finished. They had NCIS playing on the TV. The episode had started. Half an hour later, my baby wasn’t done with his milk. My incision (yes, C-section) was hurting…so were my boobs. NCIS was finished. Another episode came on. He wasn’t done. Two moms came in, nursed, and left. He was still latched on. The second full NCIS episode finished, but not my king. I kept struggling because he just wasn’t really happy with either boob. It came to a point that I could no longer stand the pain. With the physical pain in my body, the emotional pain in my heart, and bawling as much as he was, I went to the nurse and requested formula.
It’s silly, I know. But it killed me inside. I felt like the worst mother in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against formula-moms, it’s just that deep inside I felt I let my baby down. We hadn’t even left the hospital so what was the rest of our lives going to be? Right then and there, I felt I sucked at mommydom. The next time, I breastfed again. I felt it went well. I had just lain down in my hospital bed when the nurse calls me that he was asking for more milk. I ran to the nursery to breastfeed him again. Well, I didn’t RUN run. I more like shuffled as fast as I could…I think I saw an ant pass me.
ANYWAYS, when we got home we decided to breastfeed during the day and formula feed at night so that his dad could be part of the whole process. When I was pregnant, I always said he could just prop me up and breastfeed the baby but for some reason I think he thought I was joking. I was dead serious. But, formula at night it was. IMHO, it didn’t go well. See, I was being woken up at night so it didn’t make sense. Plus, I really didn’t like his reaction to the formula. He honestly looked high. So after about two nights, formula was gone. It was all boob, all the time.
Sadly, his dad didn’t really take part. To this day, I’m not quite sure why. It’s not like I told him not to. I even pumped milk on two different occasions so that he could feed the baby. But, on both occasions he let the milk spoil. And I don’t care that the milk wasn’t bought, that breastmilk is a LOT more valuable than any other milk. The worst part of it? To this day, he doesn’t have the same bond I have with our baby. I tried in the beginning, but after a while I thought I should focus on the relationship I myself was building with my king.
I’m sure we’re not the only ones this has happened to. Some people use the excuse “well, he/I didn’t know (how)”. Honestly? That excuse doesn’t fly with me. Not nowadays. Tell me ONE thing that you cannot research on the internet. Okay, fine. There MIGHT be something you can’t find online, but breastfeeding is NOT it. I believe if a person takes the time to check the news, their Facebook, their emails, the movies or TV shows that are coming soon…then you can also take the time to research something that matters.
If your partner is having a baby and the plan is to breastfeed, there are so many ways you can help:
- Learn the benefits of breastfeeding. Mostly, this is so that whenever whoever says something or questions your choice, you can have your partner’s back with your own researched facts. BUT, also find someone you can go to just in case a situation arises that leaves you both at a loss.
- Although, she may choose to not use baby bottle for the first 6 weeks (a plan we had), once those weeks are up, she can pump milk so that you can have that bonding time when you're feeding your new preciousness.
- Everyone says help with chores (please do) but you can also help clean up the pump which is really a hassle on itself. Also, help mom keep track of the stored breastmilk supply.
- Help mom with the position. She only has one view, but you can see from other angles. NEVER TELL HER SHE’S DOING SOMETHING WRONG. But, if you see she’s having a little trouble, kindly offer suggestions.
- Give mom a chance to rest. And by rest, I mean a chance for her to have quiet time. And by quiet time, I mean take the baby OUT around the block. It’s the perfect way for you to have daddy-baby time.
- Be her advocate. (For example, the hospital I was in SUCKED when it came to breastfeeding babies from moms who had C-sections…actually that hospital SUCKS at everything related to maternity). Help her nurse in public however she wishes to nurse and defend your baby’s right to eat if someone says anything.
- Sit with her while she breastfeeds. TRUST ME. Just having you there, even if no words are exchanged, means a lot. MOST IMPORTANTLY, baby will notice you there too.
- If baby is depending on only mommy for feeding, it may mean mommy is also the only one to get baby to sleep. Do not leave yourself out. Be the one that wakes baby or does a certain block of time for play. If mommy is the one that puts him to sleep, then you be the one that gets him ready for bed.
- FOOOOOOOD!!!!! Don’t laugh at me. I didn’t think how it was possible before I did it, but breastfeeding tires you out. Not junk food, but bring her something to snack on. Bring her a bottle of water! I’m still breastfeeding and I still feel hungry all the time. =oD
I think those are a few of the steps you can do to help out. If there is any mommy out there that feels I missed anything, please share!
NOTE: This post was first published in Bubblews on January 5, 2014 under the title "Just Because Her Boobs Are Doing the Work, Doesn’t Mean You’re Useless". Yes I was irked when I wrote it.(＾ᗨ＾✿) My king and I are still going at it and I still feel the same about breastfeeding and my experience with it. (◕ᴗ◕✿)