Disclosure :: World Breastfeeding Week is recognized August 1 – 7, 2016. This year, the World Breastfeeding Week theme is about how breastfeeding is a key element in getting us to think about how to value our wellbeing from the start of life, how to respect each other and care for the world we share.
From My Husband to Yours: Breastfeeding 411
“Buy the best breast pump you can.”
That’s the first advice I ever heard my husband give to an expectant dad. He’s paying attention, I thought. We were on baby number two. Fast forward. Our kids are seven, five, and 3.75 years old. When asked what advice he had for dads who were expecting their wives to breastfeed, here’s what I got…
Paraphrased from Papa
Buy the best breast pump you can.
It is still his number one piece of advice six years after he first put this it out there – that hands free one is the best one, and get the two year extended warranty. Your wife needs to pump that extra milk to put in the freezer so you can go have a date night, and the baby can have a bottle. Secondary to that is that it will help keep her [milk] supply up to pump after she feeds the baby. Priorities, people.
Breastfeeding is better for your baby so be supportive.
I asked him what “being supportive” meant. In my words, this is what he said AND DID:
- When the baby wakes up in the night to eat, get up and change him and then give him to your wife IN BED for nursing. That way neither of you wakes all the way up.
- Co-sleeping is your friend. After that baby gets fed, everybody is back asleep, and you don’t have to get BACK up again.
- Your wife is pumping the milk. You bag and tag it for the freezer. And help make those bottles for daycare and the babysitter. She can pump again in the morning before work, or before you leave for work, if you are making the bottles.
- If your wife is melting down because the baby is eating ALL THE TIME (our middle child), run her a warm bath or shower and feed your bundle of joy some of that pumped milk. You want your wife to feel good and look good, right?
- Leaking happens. A lot at first. Let her go home and change or pull in at Target or a baby store and get her a new top and some extra milk pads. YOU go get them. She doesn’t want to walk around with milk headlights. You will get beaucoup brownie points.
- There is such thing as sexy nursing bras. They come with matching panties just like Victoria’s Secret (but you can’t get them at VS). Check out ZukaBaby (for some local NOLA help), Hot Milk Lingerie, and some of those other online baby boutique stores. Just remember that her boobs are way bigger than before. Regardless of getting the size right, she will appreciate the thought. Seriously. A man buying his wife lingerie is obviously still interested in her, and she needs to know this.
Be proud of your wife for breastfeeding and say so.
It’s not like it is something you go out there and broadcast, and this wasn’t how my husband put it. The basics boil down to this:
- Whether she is breastfeeding for two months or two years, it is something that makes a difference to your baby. No one gets to force their opinion on her. You are her knight. Defend her right to breastfeed.
- Get comfortable saying breastfeeding out loud and in public. Unlike terms for male and female anatomy, there is almost no other way to say it. You can say nursing if you want to. It still rolls off the tongue a little awkwardly until you get used to it. Breastfeeding, breastfeeding, breastfeeding…
A lot. At some point, you will see milk shoot straight out of her breast like a water gun. Go ahead and get hysterical. Whether it’s boob milk guns or finding out that’s not creamer in your coffee, go ahead and hoot. Breastfeeding, breastmilk – it’s part of that parenting journey, and it’s important to find the hilarity in some of the things you’ll find yourself doing.
Bonuses for you, the Husband
- Your wife’s boobs are going to get big, maybe even huge. High five, buddy.
- You can get that deep freezer you always wanted. There will be no room for actual food in your refrigerator freezer. Bonus for apartment dads – you can get them under 5 cubic feet.
- You will find your ability to be embarrassed or discombobulated by the sight of public breast exposure is gone forever.
- Your wife will love you even more for being the amazing husband that helped her power through one of the hardest and most rewarding things she can do for your baby. Breastfeeding.