DADS JOURNEY THROUGH BREASTFEEDING
As an Irish father I had never had much to do with breastfeeding until my wife Mary decided to breastfeed. Both our mums and older sisters had all followed the traditional Irish method of bottle feeding for various reasons .When Mary became pregnant for the first time, there was a bit of fuss made with them donating bottles/sterilisers/other pieces of equipment and a discussion was had on which formula to try.
There was a lot of surprise then when Mary told them she wanted to breast feed and already had all the equipment she needed already hooked up and ready to go!
I was all for it really, as I had heard it was better for Mum and also far better for baby, to be breastfed. She wasn’t able to get much information from our own families but the antenatal clinic and the GP were both supportive and encouraging. We decided to look into getting a lactation consultant and found Bobbi’s Nourish Boob website and Facebook page and it was full of advice and help.
When little Tommy arrived he was put straight to the breast and fed within 10 minutes of birth! It was an incredible thing to see. There were some problems with latching on and Mary had some pain and grazes but they settled down when Tommy was positioned a bit better.
Tommy has just turned two and he is doing great now. He still feeds at night for comfort and he’ll probably continue this until we decide to have another baby in the next year.
As a Dad, I was worried that I might not be able to help or support Mary and ‘do my bit’; I offered (as I had heard others do ) to ‘top up’ at night to allow Mary to sleep. But she wasn’t having any of it as she wanted to just give him her own milk. I didn’t really mind as I got some sleep!
Instead I helped in other ways like changing his nappy at night, comforting him if he was unhappy, doing the housework and shopping to allow Mary to sleep by day when Tommy was having his long nap ( with Tommy next to her usually as it made it easier to feed him).
The first six months were tough with sleep deprivation but as time went on we got out more and I was very proud of the way Mary kept up the breastfeeding as it meant Tommy was hardly ever sick. It saved a few quid too as we never had to get formula/bottles/sterilising equipment etc, and no need to boil the kettle to clean bottles etc. I was more refreshed in the morning and was able to help a lot more by day so Mary could sleep.
Things are a lot easier now (until the next one arrives) but I wouldn’t change anything we did. It meant Mary had lots of time with Tommy and felt she had given him a great start to life. I was happier too because she was happy, and Tommy was happiest of all!