Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Note For The Husband of A Breastfeeding Mom

Your wife is breastfeeding your baby.  That's great.  You know this, you support this, but if you are honest you might say that the whole thing kind of weirds you out a little bit.  You are not alone.  Many men I talk to feel this way despite knowing that "breast is best" and supporting their wife's desire to breastfeed.
How can you support your wife while she is breastfeeding?
I will keep this very short and sweet because I'm pretty sure no man wants to read more than necessary about breastfeeding.

1.  You need to know that breastfeeding can be very difficult in the beginning.  This may not make sense to you since it is supposed to be some beautiful, natural thing but it's true.  Do not expect that your child will magically latch and suck and that will be it from then on.  It is often this way in the beginning but things may change once a mother's milk actually comes in.

2.  You need to be verbally supportive of your wife's efforts to breastfeed.  Let your wife know that you appreciate the effort she is making to breastfeed.  Encourage.  Encourage.  Encourage.

3.  Help your wife find appropriate help if needed.  Just make sure she actually wants help/support before dumping this on her.  Does she want to speak to a lactation consultant?  Help find a good one.  Does she need supplies (pump, pillow, nursing pads, etc.) - go pick them up for her.

4.  Recognize that you might have to let go of other things while our wife works on breastfeeding.  This is true of most areas when you have a newborn.  The dishes might not get done.  The laundry might get behind.  This is just fine (by the way you should be doing everything possible to get this done yourself).  What matters if that your wife is bonding with the baby as much as possible and resting whenever possible.

5.  Shut out negative people.  This is important.  You need to be a gatekeeper.  After a baby is born hormones are raging, you are exhausted.  If there are people in your wife's life that are only adding stress, saying negative things, and stirring up trouble it is your job to get rid of them - or at least to keep them away from your wife.  This can be difficult, I know someone who had to send his own mother home, but it has to be done.  You need to protect your wife and child.

That's it.  I said I would keep it simple.  Five things you can do to help your wife.  Done.

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