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Breastfeeding is a woman’s job, right? Well, biologically, yes. But there are a number of things that your husband should help you with at this stage so don’t let him or anyone else tell you that it’s all your responsibility! Your spouse can and should definitely take play an active role in breastfeeding. As we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week from Aug 1 to 7, it’s time to find out why and how you must get Daddy to help out.
1. Ask him to get informed
Yes, only you can breastfeed. But that doesn’t mean your man shouldn’t know all the details about it! With the advent of the internet, there’s so much of authentic and free information – and it’s all just a click away. No reason at all for dad not to know about basics like how to get baby to latch, best positions, etc.
2. He needs to trust his wife
Just because your hubby now knows all about breastfeeding doesn’t mean he gets to tell you how to go about doing it. Ditto for arguments like “but my mother did it this way”. Ask him to shut up and trust his partner. Period. Of course, he can suggest and remind, but never ever nag! He needs to remember that you are a mother too now, and just like a lioness, you know how to protect and care for your young.
3. He must provide support and care
So he is informed and trusts his wife. What’s next? The big S – Support. For example, if you are breastfeeding in public and the woman next to you pulls a face or comments on it, he should let her know that he is on his wife’s side. And when you decide to stop breastfeeding, he shouldn’t judge you. Instead, he needs to take good care of you by ensuring that you get enough water and nutritious meals. This won’t just keep you in good health, it will also ensure that you produce enough milk to satisfy your little one’s hunger pangs.
4. Encouragement is a must
Now that your husband knows how hard breastfeeding is, he should let his lady know how much he appreciates her. Simple phrases like “you are a great mother”, “you take such good care of our baby”, etc. will let you know that your struggles are not going unnoticed. And at the end of a hard day, don’t you like to feel appreciated? Well, so does everyone.
5. He needs to alter his expectations
Even if the doctor has given a green flag for you to get intimate with each other , he shouldn’t think that you want to – at least not right away. With the arrival of the baby, a mom’s life changes drastically. Not only does she have to deal with the changes in her own body, she also has to cater to the needs of a baby 24×7. Her responsibilites have tripled now, and she definitely needs more rest than ever. So when she comes to bed, all that’s on her mind is to catch up on much-needed sleep. Your husband must remember to be patient and kind. Nagging certainly won’t help; he should let you come to him when you’re ready.
6. Helping out is not an option anymore
With a new addition in your family, there are more chores to be done around the house. There are loads of clothes to be washed, diapers to be changed, meals to be made (to name a few). Getting these things done are not just your responsibilites. The baby is your husband’s too, so he should learn to do daily baby-related and other tasks and share the workload.
7. Give mom a break
Does your husband hand over your newborn to you every time he starts crying? Babies don’t cry only when they are hungry. He needs to learn to calm and console your baby by himself. Psst, techniques like swadddling calm and comfort the fussiest of babies. You are the mother, not the primary caretaker. Get him to spend time with the baby alone – you need some ‘me time’ just like any other individual.
8. Bond with baby
Who said your man’s role with the baby is just limited to caretaking? When baby is well fed and clean, he certainly wants to spend time with Dad too! Things like cuddling with baby in his arms and making eye contact with her will defintiely help baby feel connected to her father.
“My husband would run away if I start sharing anything about breastfeeding and I was not comfortable sharing anything with my mom-in-law because being from a rural background, she would only advise me. Though my mom was there but she also felt helpless as she would not help me for fear of my mom-in-law getting upset if she interfered too much.”
9. Respect and pampering need to go up
You are not just the mother of your child, you are a woman first and foremost. He shouldn’t expect you to multitask like you used to – you have just gone through one of the most painful experiences of your life. Your body and mind need rest and love. He should show you the intensity of his love and respect by pampering you. Basic things like giving you a massage and letting you sleep whenever you can will give you the rest and relaxation you need and deserve. You are still going to be pretty exhausted and sleep deprived anyway, but at least you will know how much your man cares.
10. He shouldn’t judge – and not let anyone judge
The house will be dirtier than before, and meals will tend to lack the yummy flavours you have now grown accustomed to. You will after all be too occupied with the baby to really take care of anything else. He shouldn’t judge you for having your priorities sorted. There will be a lot of people—particularly other women—who will judge you for the same. In our patriarchal indian society, women are expected to be machines that get everything done no matter what. Let the people who think like this know exactly what your spouse thinks of their regressive mentality.
You and your husband are a team. It’s high time you act like one. Get Daddy to remember this – he is not doing his wife a favour; he is only doing his duty as a husband and father.