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June 13, 2018
It warms my heart to see that our world has come such a long way in cheering on mothers, but I think we often fail to cheer on the dads that support us in our journeys in raising, diapering and feeding our babies. I exclusively breastfeed my daughter and have over 275 ounces of breastmilk in my freezer, thanks to my husband, who supported me in the darkest moments of early motherhood and continues to do so every day.
Tyler and I have been together for nine years come August, and while I knew that those two little lines (and the nine tests that followed) would mean some struggle. I don’t think I was fully prepared for what pregnancy, labor and life with a newborn would really be like. Amongst all the well-meaning advice and nosey comments my big belly got, “It’ll be hard,” and “Will you be breastfeeding?” were the most common. I knew it would be hard and I decided immediately that I wanted to breastfeed my child. I was a breastfed baby, I knew the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby and I work in an environment that supports breastfeeding. I felt supported in my decision and Tyler was fine with whatever I wanted.
Throughout my difficult pregnancy, he was my wingman, backup and support with every decision. I read every book, article, and material I could get my hands on about parenthood. In all honestly, I thought I was prepared for what was to come. Then came an induction at 37 weeks from gestational hypertension, a stressful labor, shoulder dystocia, a third-degree tear, swallowed fluids and a stubborn baby that didn’t want to breathe on entry into this world. When I finally held my daughter Kara, Tyler was the first to encourage me to put her at my chest to see if she would breastfeed – and when she suckled, he was our cheerleader, as he would continue to be in the next two weeks and beyond. He started us off on our successful journey of breastfeeding in so many ways.
Kara tried, but couldn’t latch. Tyler, being the daddy that he was, fed her pumped breastmilk with a syringe. We celebrated every CC of milk she took in, and Tyler changed every diaper, could swaddle like a champ and learned how to efficiently burp a little one before we even left the hospital.
First-time newbie parents that we are, Tyler and I didn’t feel like we could sleep while Kara slept. Even though Tyler had to go back to work immediately after we came home from the hospital, we took five-hour shifts of baby time – allowing me to pump and get some much-needed sleep – in a row!
Instead of making me feel like a wimp, he helped me massage the clogs and keep up with a good feeding/pumping schedule. He was never too tired or too busy to help me.
He cleans bottles, works the bottle warmer and knows my pump as well as I do. The night we came home from the hospital, my emotional, sobbing mess could not figure out how to operate my breast pump, and Tyler came to the rescue. He gently told me, “Megan, I work in IT, my job is troubleshooting!” and quickly had it together and working for me.
Talk about hands-free pumping, husband style! Tyler is always there to hold a breast shield if needed, whether it’s so that I can grab my phone that’s out of reach or scratch an annoying spot on my back. He also feeds me while I’m breastfeeding, and is the first to offer water, a snack, or a pillow for a comfortable feeding session.
Now that Kara is sleeping better through the night, our feeding sessions tend to be in the comfort of our queen size bed, all but her 9 o’clock feeding with her daddy. At 9 o’clock Kara wants her daddy and only her daddy in our big armchair. My heart soars when I think about how his voice softens when he calls her “my love” and talks to her during a feeding. When the world is too much and I’m stressed, he warms a bottle, fits our daughter in his arms, and sings to her. I know he doesn’t think his voice is any good, but Kara and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. Tyler doesn’t want to be a father like fathers of the past, who didn’t have as much to do with babyhood. He wants to be with us every step of our journey, especially with breastfeeding. Whether it’s by syringe, or bottle, or breast, I know that my daughter is getting the nourishment of my breastmilk, and I know our story wouldn’t be a successful one without the support of my husband and the bond he has with our daughter.
Information provided in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.
I am 24 years old, married to my high-school sweetheart, and have a daughter named Kara who was born in March 2018! I went to Mars Hill University for my undergraduate degree in English and creative writing, and my daughter is my inspiration for everything I do. I want to help parents everywhere to be successful in their journeys, and to love what they do.