Today I had 3 clients. They had quite a bit in common. They were determined to breastfeed. Their babies were girls and they were all less than a week postpartum. The other thing these clients had in common was that their partners were active participants during the consultation. Dads are terribly important to the success of breastfeeding, and these three were absolutely amazing. They are well on their way to being lactation consultants themselves!
Dad #1. Steve is back at work already (after 6 days) but he stayed home from work this morning so he could be there for my appointment. He met me at the door wearing the baby nestled against his chest. He kept her happy while I chatted with him and mom about their concerns. He alternately walked and danced or bounced on an exercise ball. While we worked on breastfeeding, he helped mom identify swallows. After the feeding, he scooped up the baby and changed her diaper. He asked about the milk ejection reflex and how he could help his wife relax. Oh, and there were freshly baked cookies on the kitchen counter. Guess who made them!
Dad #2. Dan called me last night at 8 p.m. to arrange for help for his wife whose nipples were very sore. As I was explaining the business aspects of my visit– Dan interrupted me and said, “Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. She needs help. Our doula said you were great so we want you to come help us whenever you can.” When I arrived at their house this afternoon, my client was just waking from a nap. Dan let her sleep as long as possible and woke her just as I arrived. He watched me teach mom some new techniques, then pointed out to her the differences between what she was doing vs what I was teaching. He made note of the height of the pillows and reminded her to relax her shoulders. He also brought her snacks periodically throughout my visit.
Dad #3. This dad had met me before 2 years ago when his partner had sore nipples with their first baby. The baby was just 48 hours old. They didn’t waste any time getting help because her nipples were sore again. He sat with us through the meeting and told me what he thought was going on. He was absolutely right! After he observed my help with positioning, he pointed out that the baby had been positioned incorrectly before and asked me for tips on preparing baby to get the perfect latch. He talked directly to his partner about his observations and asked questions to make sure he knew how to help her after I left. When the toddler woke up from her nap, he quickly snatched her up, keeping her entertained so that my client could focus on our work together.
All 3 of my clients today felt supported and loved by their husbands. I feel that I have partners who will reinforce my recommendations with each feeding. These dads make my job easier. I can’t be there for every feeding 24/7.. but their daily and hourly support are nothing short of an extension of my visit. Thank you lactation partners!
See also, “Breastfeeding Partners in Love: The New Sexy“