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Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies

Real Men Support Breastfeeding

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about your partner's role in breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!
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 little students.

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 easy.

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
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), I 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.

 
 Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.





Disclaimer: 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson 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®.



1 Comment to Real Men Support Breastfeeding:

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Angelina on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 12:09 AM
How wonderful to be able to share teaching a birth class with your partner. Best wishes for the next chapter!
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