Breast is best. If you haven’t had this pounded into your head yet, just wait until you’re pregnant or a new mama. We here at Inhabitots agree. Breast is best. Breast milk offers perfect nutrition for your little one and is beneficial for mamas too. However, we also know that breastfeeding isn’t the easiest thing in the world. From babies who won’t latch on, to sore nipples, to pumping problems (weeee! I got a whole ounce), and more, what none of these, “Breast is best” folks tell you is that breast isn’t always best for every mama. Another thing breastfeeding advocates may fail to mention is that some days you may feel really mad because your partner is in the clear when it comes to this breastfeeding business. It’s true – you may have the best, most helpful ever partner in the world, but guess what? He can’t breastfeed. You’re stuck with the 1am feedings. You’ve got the achy breasts. You’re the one who can’t leave the house for more than 2 hours unless you enjoy leaking in front of a bunch of strangers. When you choose to breastfeed, the weight of this decision falls on Mom, not Dad and this can cause some real resentment. But no worries. You and your partner aren’t doomed. There are ways to decrease the resentment factor.
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Your first job is to quit feeling bad about feeling mad. Most mamas I’ve known have their own moments of partner resentment. It’s really hard to be shackled to a baby, responsible for all their nutritional needs. This is normal. You aren’t a bad mama, just sleep deprived and in need of a break. Also, you are doing something amazing by breastfeeding. You’re giving your baby the best ever start, so you deserve a huge pat on the back. Secondly, although your partner is lacking some vital breastfeeding equipment, he can still help out. Be honest with your partner if you’re feeling overwhelmed and then relish all the ways in which your partner can help loosen your load. For example, anyone can…
- Get the baby up and do a diaper change before a feeding.
- Do diaper changes after feeding, burp and rock a baby back to sleep.
- Give the baby a bath.
- Clean up the house.
- Keep everyone well-stocked with healthy meals and snacks.
- Bring you snacks and water while you breastfeed.
- Sit with you and keep you entertained as you breastfeed.
- Go grocery shopping.
- Take a crying baby out of the house for a walk (you can sleep).
- Give the baby a bottle of pumped breast milk.
- Hold baby playtime sessions.
- Help take care of older children.
Your non-breastfeeding partner can take on all of the task above and even more. When you ask for help like this, you’ll feel more relaxed, more in control and not so tired, which in turns means you’ll be able to enjoy breastfeeding time more and feel less resentment when all breastfeeding seems like is a pain.
Lead image by Flickr User christyscherrer