Before you roll your eyes when your wife hands over her phone, hear me out…
Your wife is AMAZING! She spends her entire day feeding your baby and when she isn’t feeding your baby, you can probably find her pumping. It may seem super easy that she gets to “lay down” and feed or pump, but to be honest…..IT’S PROBABLY THE HARDEST THING SHE’S EVER HAD TO DO on both her mind and her body.
Why does she do it if it’s so hard? She does it for your baby. She knows that breastfeeding is highly encouraged to every mother because it provides your baby nutrients, antibodies, vitamins, etc. It helps your baby fight infections and grow up with a decreased risk of many sicknesses. Your wife is going on this roller coaster because she wants what is best for your baby. (Side note to all you amazing mammas out there that formula feed: Please, please, please do not feel discouraged if you’re reading this article. FED IS BEST. We all go through different journeys when it comes to being a mommy. The reason I am gearing this article towards breastfeeding mommas and dads is because this has been my journey. Momma, thank you for doing the best for your baby, you rock!)
Let’s put things into perspective. But before I do, I want to thank all you dads because I know you are rocking this daddy life too. You are your wife’s hero and the reason she is showing you this right now is just because she wants you to walk a mile in her shoes. So….let’s do it!
Example of a mama’s schedule:
7:30-8:00 feeds the baby/pumping on the other side
9:30-10:00 feeds the baby/pumping on the other side
2:00-2:30 same thing again
4:00-4:30 ohhhhh same thing again?
6:00-6:30 youuuuu guessed it!
8:00-8:30 possibly feed/pump again
9:30-10:00 pump, pump, pump it up
Does your wife pump or feed your baby once or twice in a night? Lets add on another hour there.
Out of 24 hours, your wife is pumping or feeding your baby for FIVE HOURS or more. That doesn’t include the changing, playing, holding, cuddling, cleaning the pumps, etc. Another side note: Every woman varies on the amount of time it takes to feed their baby and pump. It usually takes my baby about a half hour to feed, but takes me over 45 minutes to pump a good 5 ounces.
Your wife works? Welllll, I have that one covered too. You may think she gets a break from feeding your baby while she’s at work, but every single opportunity or break she gets, she is in that pumping room, trying to get as much milk as she can so that she can feed the baby the next day. And half the time she may shed a tear or two because it’s not coming out like she hoped it would that day.
Not only is it the time the breastfeeding takes, but it’s also the stress that breastfeeding puts on her body. I know I am constantly in panic mode about whether I will have enough milk that next day. I have to constantly count and calculate how much milk I will need in order for my baby to have enough while I’m gone. There are some nights that I have to set my alarm to go off at two in the morning, because if I don’t, my baby won’t have enough milk the next day.
Your wife may only have enough milk to go to work and immediately come back home to feed the baby. Which means she doesn’t have time to stop by the store on her way home. She can’t take that extra ten minutes to pick up her favorite coffee after a bad day at work. She also can’t stay at work for an extra half hour to try to catch up on the work she missed while she was pumping.
Not only that, she’s probably stressing about the food/drinks she’s putting in her body, the skin products she’s using on a daily basis, and the cleaning products she’s using to clean the house. Check her google search: (with her permission of course, ha!) “What foods do I eat to increase my supply? Is it supposed to hurt to breastfeed? Are breastfeeding mothers allowed to use essential oils? What should my baby’s nightly routine be after he/she eats? How many times a night should my baby wake up to feed? How many ounces does a baby drink a day? Am I allowed to use skin toners when breastfeeding? What kind of cereal should I put in my baby’s milk? The list goes on.
She worries about every move she makes when it comes to the effects your baby will have due to her eating habits, skincare products, or even the shampoo she uses.
She feels overwhelmed to the max.
What can you do?
Start by telling her how proud you are of her. Tell her this every single chance you get. Support every decision she makes and evennnnn when she is crying and upset that she has to breastfeed AGAIN, do not….I repeat, do nottttttt tell her that she just needs to start feeding your baby formula. She is already super upset and even though in this moment she is swearing this is the last time she’s going to pump/breastfeed, she really just needs you to tell her it’s going to be okay and that she’s doing a great job. Tell her you support her decision no matter what she decides. (Even though it may change a dozen times in a matter of hours.)
CLEAN HER BOTTLES AND PUMPING PARTS. <——THIS! The amount of work it takes to clean those bottles and pumping parts seems minimal, but imagine doing it over and over and over throughout the day after she’s already pumped. She’s tired and the only thing she should worry about is spending her next two “free” hours with her baby snuggling or taking a couple of hours to relax.
Be the great dad you are and take care of that little babe. Change his diaper, play with him, sign him songs. Allow your wifey some time to relax, take a nap, be on her phone, read a book, take a walk, call her mom. I know that you probably just got back from a long day at work too, but trust me….she deserves this time and in the long run, you will thank yourself and she will thank you too.
Pick up around the house. See dishes that can be put away? Go on ahead, you amazing husband, you! See baby clothes all over the house? Laundrryyyy time! Or, maybe you see her makeup all over the bathroom counter. Put it awa—– Oh, wait, nevermind…don’t do that. Don’t ever touch her bathroom counter. HA!
Give her a hug and tell her you love her. She’ll probably be pretty excited to give you a hug back.
Husband of a breastfeeding wife, you rock too. Thank you for supporting her in every way you can. Thank you for smiling when you’re secretly having a bad day. Thank you for biting your tongue when you want to say something that may upset her. Thank you for realizing that it’s okay that the house is messier than it used to be. Thank you for setting time aside to let her be “her” again. Thank you for being understanding when she changes her mind a million times. And lastly, thank you for knowing that this is just a short phase. She will be back to her normal self soon, and love you more than ever for supporting her every step of the way.
Thank you, dad, for being your wife’s number one fan.
*For fun, I posted a few of the responses I received from fellow mamas who wanted to give their piece of advice to all the husbands of a breastfeeding wife! 🙂
- Don’t assume that because we are sitting, we are relaxing. -Michelle
- “I love when my husband will say things to people about how amazing it was that I did that (breastfeeding) for her for so long.” -Amanda
- Breastfeeding puts a toll on the body. You can get chills at night and body aches during the day. -Maya
- It can feel really lonely. You need support from your hubby to keep you going when you feel you like can’t do it anymore. -Emily
- Just because I breastfeed doesn’t mean the hubby can’t get up in the middle of the night to console the baby. -Hillary
- “My husband ALWAYS takes the time to clean my pump parts after every time and makes sure they get sterilized every day.” –Brittney
- Tell her she’s doing a good job. -Sarah
- Allow her to have different emotions. -Katie
You rock breastfeeding mama, and so do you, dad! We’re all in this together…every step of the way!