Tuesday, July 30th - How
your partner helped/hindered: was your partner a huge support or did they take
a bit to get used to nursing?
I am so blessed with an amazing partner who went into our
choice to breastfeed our children with no reservations. He and I attended Bradley Method® classes
when we were pregnant with our first child.
As part of the class, we learned about the benefits of breastfeeding. One of the class assignments was to attend a
La Leche League meeting. We found a
meeting that was partners-welcome in our neighborhood, so off we went as good
When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised to see a woman we knew at the meeting. She was not the stereotypical
earth mama that Bruss was expecting to see.
We also saw some new mamas struggling to breastfeed their newborns,
along with the experienced leaders. That
was the first time that Bruss realized that breastfeeding was not necessarily
After our daughter was born, we struggled with breastfeeding. It was so painful that I made my husband take
all the formula samples out of the house and give them to a co-worker who had
just adopted a baby. I did not want any
other options, because I knew that we would be tempted to give her “just one
bottle” after another nursing session with tears streaming down my face.
Breastfeeding Puma - 9 months old
By the time she was 9 months old, I could nurse without any discomfort. At the time Bruss took this picture, I was furious with him. I was hanging out in a bra and pj pants, for crying out loud!!! Now I am grateful that as a proud Papa and husband he caught this precious moment on camera. Can you see my water bottle in the background? Bruss is so good about keeping my hydrated!
After having nursed four children, I know that was plain crazy. Now that we are Bradley Method® instructors
ourselves, we tell our students a phrase we learned from our chiropractor, “Although
pain while breastfeeding is common, it is not normal.” We encourage them to get help: peer help from
a La Leche League or Breastfeeding USA leader, professional help from a
lactation consultant*, a breastfeeding support group (often led by a certified
lactation consultant) – it is imperative they find someone qualified to help them
identify the challenge(s) and take the steps to address it. The list of possibilities ranges from a simple
adjustment in the way the baby is latching to addressing a musculoskeletal
issue, and everything in between.
Here are the ways Bruss has supported our choice to breastfeed:
- He has made peace with being “Outside The Circle”for the
first few months when our Sweet Pea’s main priority is to be with mama. He has never pressured me to pump so he can
feed the baby, he doesn’t lament the fact that all of my attention is focused
on feeding and nurturing our newborn. He
quickly found his own way into The Circle by doing everything he could to
support breastfeeding and support me as a mother. He was content to snuggle our Sweet Peas
after they fell asleep. He found his own
carry that settled our Sweet Peas down when mama wasn’t the touch they needed. Lastly, he is happy to be the Kind of
Bathtime and the Super Storyteller – just a few of the ways he has taken pride
in being the Daddy without resenting the breastfeeding relationship.
- He has been a champion snack-maker. It
doesn’t matter what time of day a hungry newborn wants to eat, he heads to the
kitchen and fixes me a finger-easy, high protein nutritious snack and comes
back with a full plate and a tall glass of water.
- At the beginning, he always offered his physical support when we nursed in
public. He would sit next to us, help us
get situated, and then he would put his arm around us, offering the comfort and
security that he was looking out for us.
- He is casual about my choice to nurse in public. As I gained more confidence, I lost the
nursing cover. After a certain age, our nursling just plays with it; it becomes more of a flag waving around, an announcement calling
attention to what we are doing. We live
in Arizona where it’s hot most of the year – it stopped making sense for
us. When we brought our newborn to class
with us to teach, he was not ashamed or embarrassed when I needed to nurse
her. His attitude rubbed off on the
students. The mamas saw that nursing in
public does not mean it’s scandalous or indiscreet. The partners saw that there was nothing but
nourishment going on. He has the same
attitude whether we are at a friend’s house, a restaurant or at church. It just is and that is all there is to it.
- He has never questioned my decision to have an extended
breastfeeding relationship with our son who turns four today! As a couple, we decided a month ago that our
son needed to learn different comfort skills now that he is officially
preschool age, and we have started a gentle weaning.
- He supports my continued education in breastmilk and breastfeeding. Sometimes it’s watching the kiddos so I can
go to a La Leche League meeting with a nursling or our students, or attending
an all-day breastfeeding seminar so I can take back the latest and greatest
information to share with our students.
Now that we are closing the chapter on breastfeeding with our four-year old (pictured to the left as a 2.5 year old
am worried that our 21 month old is going to wean, too. As the youngest, she wants to copy everything
that her older siblings do. My husband
has been listening patiently as I deal with my own concerns. He reminds me that there is more to life than
breastfeeding, although I can’t see that right now. He has a point: if she ends up weaning,
she will still have nursed longer than most children in the US, and she will
reap a lifetime of benefits.
I think the weaning of a mutually beneficial breastfeeding relationship is always hardest on the mother. I know that
he will be there to help me move on to my next chapter, which will be
hard. Lucky for me, I have an awesome partner who
treasures the decision, the dedication and the advantages we offered our
children by choosing to be a breastfeeding family nine years ago. We will find a new way forward, whenever that
chapter finishes and a new one starts in our journey as parents of four
lovingly breastfed Sweet Peas.
*Prices range depending on the consultant’s skill level (insert link
here). The Affordable Care Act mandates
that insurance companies cover their fee.
The challenge lies in finding a lactation consultant that accepts
reimbursements from your insurance company.
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical
advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to
determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House,
LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences
of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog contains
information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is
not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or
the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.