My wife was determined to breastfeed our son from day one and I was fully on board. I mean that would be awesome for me on so many levels right?  First we save a bunch of money on formula, second those late night feedings will fall on the wifey since I can’t produce milk, thirdly I don’t have to miss any TV shows during prime time feeds, and finally it allows me to avoid some of that serious infant care I am already clueless about.  Well needless to say I was an idiot on all of those thoughts — well the saving money was true!  The role of a father in breastfeeding is very important to the entire process.  Apparently this is a pretty difficult process on mommy and she needs a lot of support and encouragement.  That doesn’t mean you go in for a squeeze and see if you can shoot the milk into the baby’s mouth – I don’t suggest trying this because you will get slapped no matter how funny you think it was.  My son, like most newborns, wasn’t the strongest person in the world and feeding took a lot out of him.  Add to that the fact that new nursing moms are producing colostrum, a low fat high protein milk, in low quantities.  It took my wife several days before she was easily producing milk to the point where pumping was needed to help with discomfort.

During the first couple of days my son was very fussy and wouldn’t latch on.  My wife was growing frustrated and upset that she wasn’t a good mommy because she couldn’t do what she felt was a basic skill.  For most babies learning to feed takes time, effort, and patience.  We had to supplement my son with a bottle for a few days to make sure he was eating enough and that process fell on me since between trying to feed, a C-Section, and hormones my wife was exhausted.  So far my dreams of free time while Blake fed were vanishing pretty quickly.  My biggest job was to soak diapers in hot water to use as heating pads on my wife’s lovelies to help with pain and to get more milk to flow.  Who knew diapers were so versatile?

Post feedings we both tried to master the are of burping a baby.  My wife preferred the over the shoulder method while I went with the sitting baby leaning forward approach – I had no desire to get puked on.  The best thing we purchased leading up to the arrival of our son was a device called My Brest Friend which is a pillow that wraps around the mom and acts as a shelf for the baby.  This really made the process more comfortable and easier on her when she was so tired.  I was also put on massage duty – shoulders, neck, back – anything to help her relax during and between feedings.

Once we returned home this process eventually began to fall into a cycle that was pretty predictable.  There were times when he wouldn’t keep milk down, would get a bit too aggressive, would be fussy, or would just take forever, but overall it was a great bonding experience for my wife and son.  I helped where I could, setup the pump when needed, cleaned bottles, wiped up spit up from the floor, and just made myself available.  If we have another child I am not sure if my wife will breastfeed again because of the toll it takes on you, but that is something we can talk about when a second child is on the way.