Playing My Part: Breastfeeding
This is my first attempt at a serious post. I have been meaning to write about it for a while now but was always determined to complete it. No I’m not about to tell the world I miraculously breast feed Baby D, this is about Mrs F’s breastfeeding journey from my eyes and about what I do to play my part…
When we had H it was always the case that Mrs F had decided she would attempt to breastfeed and if she wasn’t successful it wasn’t the end of the world. I remember back how she tried SO hard to BF with the little man however unfortunately it just wasn’t possible… whether this was through lack of education, support or simply due to H and his silent reflux, we are first time parents were unsure.
I remember back at the time, Mrs F was in floods of tears with a massive feeling of guilt, even I felt the pressure for a need to Breastfeed at the anti natal classes we attended first time round. It felt like they spent so much time on the positives of BFing and no time at all on bottle feeding, which, whilst I completely agree that if you can, “breast is best”, not all parents either can, or feel comfortable with doing it themselves and no mother, or father should be made to feel guilty if they bottle feed their child. Equally, no mother should ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breast feeding, its the most natural thing to do for your child.
Following this, I made sure I was there to help in whatever way would make Mrs F feel better and for us to adapt to bottle feeding. If she wanted to bottle feed H more, then I would wash, sterilise, make bottles up and she could simply feed him. If not, then I would bottle feed as much as needed. What I do remember was feeling slightly unsure as to how to complete all the bottle feeding tasks, such as making bottles up, how long they lasted, how to sterilise correctly. It seemed our microwave as constantly on as we would sterilise our whole collection of bottles each time we used just one… The only support was the instruction manuals and friends we knew, which, given when they last had children, things had changed dramatically. Even the Health Visitor’s varied on how much information they gave you.
H is now approaching 4 and I’m pleased to say he never grew any extra ears or toes from being largely bottle fed and everything worked out well as first time parents, if I do say so myself. So this time round once we knew we were having D, Mrs F suggested she was willing to give BFing another attempt but that she was in no way going to feel the guilt she experienced last time round if it didn’t work.
The first few days were mega tough on her, it didn’t help that she was stuck in hospital with high BP trying to focus on bringing it down whilst the initial pain of latching on commenced. However D and just as importantly Mrs F took to it like ducks to water and her breastfeeding journey with D had began. We look back now and still can’t put our finger on why it worked second time round, was it due to the fact she didn’t feel that massive pressure, who knows!
The reason for my post is to say that hand on heart, I felt lost at first, this is me being honest here, so please don’t judge, however although it was great not having to make a ridiculous amount of bottles up, I actually admit to missing the opportunity of giving D a bottle. That moment, when your newborn child is there in your arms, looking up at you, directly in your eyes, needing you, makes you feel so happy, its difficult to explain. I am not one to dwell though and knew that what Mrs F was giving her in breast milk couldn’t be exactly replicated in formula milk so my selfishness would have to deal with it.
I am the type of person who likes to feel they are doing something, playing their part. Now without wishing to sound like I’m the ideal husband and Dad, I know I’m not, I have my faults just like the rest of us, but I like to think I try the best I can to be the best father and husband. What I do now…. is change the nappies… thats right, the poonami’s, the wet ones, the up the back full change in the middle of the night ones… anything I can do to make Mrs F and D feel as comfortable as possible, even if I have work in the morning, even if I’ve had a long day, thats my part, that’s the piece that makes me feel like I’m a good Dad or husband and thats the part which makes me feel I’m playing my part….
What I do want to say is thank you. Thank you to Mrs F, you are an amazing woman, an amazing Mum and an amazing wife who I am so fortunate to be married to, your determination has been incredible and I love you.
How do you or your partners play their part in supporting you? Do Dad’s do enough? Please feel free to be honest and open in your comments below but please don’t judge others as everyone is different in their ways…