I have breastfed both of my children. The first was only fed for five months before it just wasn’t working for either of us and we moved onto formula.
With my second child – well, I am still breastfeeding him. He is now 16 months old and I honestly did not think that we would still be going at this point.
Breastfeeding is a rollercoaster of a journey. A few weeks in I was ready to give up, because by god it hurts! Then we got through that and we continued with peace. Then he started getting teeth, started biting. I was constantly close to tears, but I carried on. And then he stopped biting and all was good again! And now? Well, now I kind of know we need to stop at some point in order to try and get a full nights sleep, but I don’t know where to start. I don’t know how to get him to sleep any other way, and neither of us agree with the cry it out thing!
My other half has always supported every decision that I have made when it comes to breastfeeding and having that support there has been second to none. So I had a think and have compiled a list of the best things that he has done for me throughout my breastfeeding journey, so that you can give that same support to your breastfeeding partner. They will think you are amazing :)
1. Give her water
The most important drink that any Mum can have if she is breastfeeding, is water. It helps to increase the flow of milk and of course keeps Mum hydrated. The problem is, that left to us, we tend to forget to drink it. The most helpful thing that my other half did for me, was to fill up a bottle of water for me before he headed off to work, and pop it beside me so that I had instant access to it. That way, if I forgot to refill it later on, at least I had already had a whole bottle.
2. Be completely comfortable with her feeding in public
One of the scariest things for a new breastfeeding Mum is the need to feed outside of the home. To have to somehow juggle a tiny baby when maybe they aren’t that great at latching on yet (or staying on and therefore leaving Mum exposed), whilst trying to keep their modesty about them, can be quite a struggle. To make it a bit less scary for her, be her biggest supporter of public breastfeeding. Quite often we would find ourselves out and about and we would find a cafe, he would get me sat down and make sure I was comfy and then he would head over and get me the biggest hot chocolate to enjoy!
3. Don’t try and make decisions for her
When us Mums are going through one of those rollercoaster moments of should we carry on or should we quit, there is honestly nothing more frustrating that someone telling us what they think of the matter. A little support, a little bit of discussion about what she is feeling, why she is feeling it, a little bit of what about this and what about that is great, but do not ever try to make the decision for her. There are so many emotions that come from breastfeeding, so much guilt, so much unknowing – which can all be happily discussed. But reaching the big decisions – that has to be down to Mum (hence I am still feeding throughout the night!).
4. Love her boobs…from afar!
There probably won’t be many stages in her breastfeeding journey where she will be open to you having a fondle of her boobs. The smallest of touches will probably set off her milk supply and the last thing she wants is to start squirting milk out during romantic occasions! Add to that, the fact that they are probably a bit sore and a bit tender, it’s probably best to ask her before you just go in for a quick fondle!
However, please do tell her that her boobs are still amazing. That they are still the boobs that you loved when you first got together. Because they won’t feel like it to her. They will feel a little saggy, a bit unfamiliar. But she will love you forever if you don’t agree with her negativity :)
5. Spend the odd night feed awake with her
I know it is painstaking to be awake when you really don’t need to be, but during the odd night feed, just sit up with her. Or roll over and cuddle her whilst she is feeding. Show her that you are there. That you are with her. Night feeds are one of the loneliest times and honestly, there is nothing worse than hearing your partner snoring away next to you enjoying sleep.
There you have it. Five ways to tick all of those boxes during what is a very special and very daunting time.