Wherein I attempt to list the ways in which my partner has been crucial to my breastfeeding triumphs.
I think breastfeeding moms are pretty good at celebrating each other’s milestones. “You nursed in public for the first time! You go girl!” or “Six months down, six to go! Rock on!”
I would like to celebrate breastfeeding hero of mine: my hubby Jason (fully realizing this may embarrass him since he is not at all the boastful or approval-seeking type.)
This is just a short list of ways he has helped me breastfeed.
He was a great labor partner. This really set him up as someone I could lean on. Obviously I knew I could; it’s why I married him, but this really solidified it. I knew he supported my choices. I knew this because he said so.
He educated himself. He came with me to a breastfeeding class for expectant parents. He took it seriously. I could ask him: “Hey is this the way the poop is supposed to look on day two?” or “Does my latch look okay?” and he could weigh in.
Water. I think many breastfeeding moms, especially in those first few weeks, know about the extreme thirst. You may be sure you aren’t thirsty, but, somehow as soon as that baby latches: holy cow! I’ve never been so thirsty in my life. I could always count on Jason to arrive with a glass of water periodically. He also gathered up the old glasses that I had strewn about the house in my lactating haze. Snacks should also not be discounted. He made me an endless number of slices of toast with peanut butter.
Lightening my load. Those first few weeks after my babes were born, I had the luxury of doing almost nothing but nursing and being skin to skin. In fact, after my blissful homebirth, I remained in my nest of our bed for days. He entertained my son. He cooked. He cleaned. He took middle-of-the-night diaper changes since I was doing the feeding part. Etc etc etc.
Nursing in public. He did not bat an eyelash or treat me any differently when I had a breast out. He helped me feel really comfortable and treated me how I hoped everyone would treat me: like there was nothing embarrassing about my breasts. Also, I don’t doubt that if someone ever gave me crap for it, that he would staunchly defend me.
He laughs with me. Occasionally breastfeeding is silly. Sometimes we're in weird positions (gymnurstics). Sometimes milk can spray a good three or four feet away. Sometimes I don't realize a breast is out when I am hanging around the house.
Co-sleeping. Co-sleeping has been one thing that has made nursing so much easier for me. Being able to nurse your baby without waking up all the way is amazing. Obviously sacrifices had to be made. When my son was little, we didn’t use pillows or blankets. And it was cold. He didn’t complain and he agreed with all the safety precautions. For baby #2, he built me a sidecar crib. Best. Idea. Ever. Seriously, the guy is a hero.
He leaves my breasts alone. I get so very “touched out” sometimes, especially now that I am nursing two nurslings. He totally gets when breasts are off limits. He knows breasts' primary purpose and he respects them as such.
He supports my decision to nurse my giant three-year-old. I so often see moms who are worried when their nurslings begin to verbalize their needs. Sometimes their partners worry that this is weird. Perhaps the nursing mom aimed to nurse until the first birthday but changed her mind and kept on going. I’ve never ever had to defend my decisions. He knows breastmilk is still good for our son. He’s never said one negative word about it.
He thanks me. And tells me I’m awesome. And takes loving pictures of me and my nurslings. He realizes what a beautiful and amazing thing it is to breastfeed.
Partners, take note: the nursing mom is doing important work, but so are you. Thank you, Jason, for being my teammate in all of this and not batting an eyelash when I was covered in milk for the first three months of our son’s life. You rock, dude.
Olivia Hinebaugh is a stay-at-home-mom to a three-year-old boy and baby girl. She is an aspiring novelist and steals time whenever both kids are sleeping to clack away at the keys. She tweets about mothering and writing @OliveJuiceLots
First, last and bio pictures taken by the lovely Lauren Preti