This is #8 in the series “10 Pitfalls to Breastfeeding Enjoyment.”
You might not be enjoying breastfeeding because you and your partner aren’t connecting. Perhaps one or both of you think that is because of breastfeeding.
I wanted this blog post to be about your partner. I want to give you some really deep insights about how your partner’s support or lack of support can really affect your level of breastfeeding enjoyment.
But, I can’t. Why? Because I don’t know anything about daddies. I talk to mamas all the time about their feelings, their struggles, and their fears. I feel like I get you ladies.
Men–now they are a puzzle to me.
I know that guy. He is an emotional, sensitive husband and he has been really involved and invested in each and every step of your pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding experience. He is sweet, attentive, and supportive.
My husband, Joe, is not that guy. Don’t get me wrong. He loves me and supports me, but he has these few catch phrases I have heard since we got married the first time.
“Whatever you think is best.”
“I support you in whatever you choose to do.”
Joe is a good provider, a good man, and a great father, but getting him to talk about his feelings is virtually impossible.
So, I am trying to write this blog and I ask him, “How did you feel when I was breastfeeding?”
And he’s all like, “What do you mean how did I feel? I mean, it was good that you were breastfeeding. Lucy is really healthy because of it.”
And I’m like, “No, I mean how did you feel? Did you feel left out? Did you feel like you weren’t bonding with her?”
“I don’t know. I went to work and made the money. I did what I was supposed to do. I made food for you and helped out however I could.”
You will notice that none of his statements involved the word ‘feel.’
He was pretty much useless in helping me with this blog. So, instead of trying to figure out what the hell is going on in the ever elusive man-brain, I am just going to tell you what I know about women, which in turn should help your relationship with your dude.
These are some things that may help you and your partner through this transition in your marriage into parenthood. Share these things with your husband. I think they will help him understand some stuff.
1. Breastfeeding makes your body not want to have sex.
You’re not imagining things. Most breastfeeding women don’t have much of a sex drive. When you do have sex, even if you get into it, you probably feel super dry. Why? Because if you are breastfeeding, your body doesn’t want to get pregnant. It is going to do everything in its power to keep you from getting pregnant so it can properly feed the baby. If you do get pregnant, your milk supply will go in the toilet and you won’t be able to provide 100% of your baby’s nutrition anymore. So, your body is like, “Let’s not have sex, okay?”
But, boys like sex. Apparently it is something they think about. A lot. And, sex is pretty important to a marriage. So, get some high quality lube and just do it. Hey, mama, you may even like it again. 😉
2. Sometimes it takes a little while to integrate all your roles as a woman.
Are you a wife? A woman? A mother? Certainly a mother doesn’t do dirty sexy things. She doesn’t watch violent movies. (It took me two years after Lucy was born to be able to watch my favorite show, SVU, again.) The woman-you did that, but not the mother-you. Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed by the number of roles you are expected to fill. You don’t have time to be a wife anymore and take care of your husband. Your baby is so demanding that you can hardly take care of yourself!
The longer you are a mother, the easier it will be to integrate these roles. Just like the adjustment period in a new job, the first few months of motherhood feel foreign and scary. What idiot hired you and thought you would be good at this job?!
You will eventually do dirty sexy things again if you want and watch violent movies if you find them entertaining. You will figure out a way to take care of your husband, your children, your dog, and your career. But most days you will drop one, if not all, of the balls. It’s okay. Just pick them up and start juggling again.
3. You are different.
As Johnson & Johnson’s advertising slogan goes, “Having a baby changes everything.”
Have you seen that commercial since you had a baby? It was a cute commercial when you were pregnant; now it is the most mind-blowing statement you have ever heard. The truest words ever spoken.
Having.a.baby.changes.everything. Everything. EVERYTHING!
Nothing about you or your marriage or your home or your job or your checkbook or your body or your extended family or your dog will ever be the same.
Soak that in and start to accept it. Then move forward and don’t look back.