Breastfeeding is not a type of parenting. Breastfeeding is the natural way to raise your baby, the first 6 months exclusively, from there with other foods.
What does this mean?
It means that although the breasts are the mother’s and the suckling belongs to the baby, breastfeeding must be 100% supported by the partner, the family, and society as a whole. Why? Because it is a question of humanity. Because that is what human biology needs because breastfeeding in the 21st century is an odyssey and it is because of the lack of resources, the lack of contact, support, conciliation, and redundancy because of the lack of humanity.
In the 21st century, more than ever, breastfeeding is gold, we never talk about the benefits of breastfeeding for not hurting the feelings of all those people who, by situation or decision, can not do it, but you need to be aware that breastfeeding occupies a significant role in global public health.
We know that making society co-responsible for breastfeeding is not easy nor is it a matter of days, but above all, it is like starting the house from the roof. How can we make society co-responsible then?
Let’s start from the beginning: you, daddy.
You are a pillar for the breastfeeding of your partner and your baby, so much so that without your support, the odyssey of breastfeeding can become torture, and no, supporting breastfeeding is not a matter of 3 months, but it is a long-term commitment. After all “it’s easy” for you because your breasts are not suckled constantly, your body does not change or pass through roller coasters, your hormones are not altering your emotions, your look and smells, and your body is not bruised by bad postures, your arms are not all day holding a body that weighs more every day, your mind does not need to absorb criticism and unsolicited advice on your breasts and your decisions.
You get the “daddy’s pride” part of holding a baby who does not cry in your arms because when she cries you put her to breastfeed, sleep a few hours in a row, and you keep breathing and continue to perform as your usual professional when you return to work.
How easy it is to say “I support my wife” in her breastfeeding in the first few months, when the baby can calm down relatively easily, but no, that’s not supporting. To support is to feel like an essential part of that sacred mother-baby dyad, to support is to hold that baby in your arms when the mother seems tired, and it doesn’t matter if she cries in your arms too, because it is necessary for the mother to rest. To support them is to look for resources to make their life easier: to read, to inform yourself or to buy a baby carrier for yourself if you don’t feel comfortable with your partner’s sling wrap.
It doesn’t matter if you wake up at 6 o’clock to go to work because the mother also gets up at 6 o’clock and her workday is 24 exhausting hours with no holidays or vacations. And don’t think that while you work the mother sleeps peacefully with her baby or takes long showers while your child rests in that modern baby rocket chair, nothing could be further from the truth.
Delete from your vocabulary “I help her”, and “I support her”, because you should not have to mention that help or support, it simply is your responsibility to be there 100%, physically, emotionally and logistically.
There are no excuses. You have to take care of the mother while she takes care of the baby.
Breastfeeding is not a unilateral decision. Breastfeeding is the biological way in which parenting has been designed from the beginning.
There are no excuses.
The mother does not put co-sleep with her child for fun. But because it is normal, because otherwise, she can not rest, either of the multiple times she has to wake up or by instinct.
And when your baby grows up and is two years old and an explosive time passes, don’t say “I warned you not to take her into our bed, it’s your fault”.
Rest while the baby relaxes at the breast of her mother, but do not lose the direction, nor your responsibility, be alert and always offer your help because if you stop offering it and the weeks pass when the mother can still do it and still does not feel exhausted, there will come a time when you will forget, when you will come out of that dyad and you will think wrongly that this is not your concern. Yes, it is your responsibility and much, as much or more than the mother’s, because the family must be supported by all its members.
It is not enough to say, “my partner pushes me away.” Then make yourself a space, claim your place and put yourself in active listening mode. Find your way of relating to your baby and your partner. Everything is new, it’s not easy, but you have to want it.