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Exclusive Breastfeeding; Tale Of The Lonely Mama. Plus bonus tips for your partner!
If you have read any of my previous posts then by now you know what to expect from me when it comes to breastfeeding. If you have never read any of my posts, first of all, why not?? Second, I will fill you in. I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. Although I am a huge breastfeeding advocate I will never formula shame. So don’t bring any of that negativity over here y’all.
Breastfeeding in general is hard. Worth it, but hard. There are several challenges breastfeeding moms face. So many in fact, I wouldn’t be able to list them all in one blog post.
Not only is breastfeeding hard, but exclusive breastfeeding comes with its own set of problems entirely. I’m here to talk about the main problem that I have run into.
Exclusive breastfeeding is lonely.
Of course, it’s worth it, and I absolutely love the bond it has created between me and my children. Sometimes though, you miss adult company. You will often feel left out. Sometimes you often notice people won’t even invite you to do things anymore.
Why? Well, it’s simple. Because you can’t. Let’s say your exclusively breastfed baby nurses every two hours. That means you cannot be away from your baby for more than two hours. Right there, limits what you can do while away from your baby.
Maybe your baby will take a bottle every now and then and you feel comfortable leaving your child for slightly more than two hours. There is another problem. Your boobs. Those giant milk filled fun bags are used to being relieved every two hours. If you are not back to your baby chances are your boobs are starting to fill up, very large, very leaky, and very tender!
Hang on everyone I have to run outside to grab my pump and find a nice spot to relieve my tatas. Should be easy at this outdoor concert, right? Ya, no.
The problem is the world does not revolve around you, or your milk filled tatas. Life goes on for EVERYONE ELSE. Just not you. Sometimes it does not bother you and sometimes it leaves you crying into a box of Oreos for an hour.
You are fully aware that you will not be nursing forever, you are also fully aware that it’s not anyone else’s problem that you are a nursing mama. But, you are still lonely. It’s natural to be a little upset when your husband gets to go do fun stuff without you. Okay, it’s natural to be pissed. It’s okay that your feelings are hurt because your friends stopped inviting you to moms night out. You know why they stopped inviting you, yet, it still gives you a little pain right in the ole’ ticker.
Let’s say there is an event that you can bring your baby with, chances are you still will be lonely. The moment the host of the house or event offers you a private room to nurse your baby (don’t be mad at these people usually they are just trying to make you more comfortable) you instantly feel separated from everyone.
I have no problem nursing in front of people. But my baby finds it difficult to concentrate when there is background noise. This is when I usually take the host up on their offer to use the private room and nurse my sweet baby. Alone. Are you seeing a trend here?
Alone, this is a word I know all too well. Again, I would not change the way I feed my babies but I feel this is a subject that EBF mama’s need to talk about. And sometimes it’s nice having someone to relate too. Hang in there ladies, remember the benefits outweigh the struggles; and know you are not alone!
Bonus Tips: How to support your spouse/partner who exclusively breastfeeds your child.
That’s just it, support her. Try to understand her. Don’t become angry with her when she is crying because her feelings are hurt. She is breastfeeding your child. She is a mother who is trying to do what is best for your children.
Let’s say your baby is now nine months old, do me a favor, think of everything you have done without your wife/partner in those nine months. No matter how small/big the event. Now think of everything she has done without you. Think of everything she has done away from the kids. If this list seems a little one-sided; here are some tips to support her in the future.
- Don’t leave her out. It’s that simple. If you were invited to do something awesome that you know your wife cannot attend. (Be real don’t make her feel bad by half-ass inviting her even though you know she can’t go.) Don’t go. Don’t make her feel bad about you missing the event, simply don’t go. Remember you are in this together!
- If you feel you MUST go without your wife, explain to her why, and make it up to her. Again, don’t become upset with her if she becomes emotional. Explain to her why you feel you need to go to this event. Then try to surprise her with something special. Surprise her with something that will lift her spirits. You should know your wife/partner well enough to know what that is. This will show her that even though you are leaving her behind, you are still thinking of her and care about her feelings.
- Try to understand her and be on HER side. Sometimes people will become frustrated with you for not being able to attend certain events. You will probably become frustrated with her as well. Instead of saying “Ya, it’s all Debbie’s fault, she thinks she can’t go and will throw a fit if I do.” Say, “Sorry, I don’t want to go without Debbie, maybe next time.” You may be worried about letting your friends or family down, but try to remember she is your partner, you need to worry about not letting her down over anyone else. Stand up for your wife fellas, she’ll love you even more for it.
- Sit with her. Does she need to feed in a private room because she is uncomfortable? Or maybe your baby won’t eat with background noise? Instead of watching her walk into a room all alone to sit for 20 minutes, why not join her? Would you want to go sit in a strange room by yourself for 20 minutes? Uh, No. You wouldn’t.
Now, I am not saying that you have to pass up every little event. Or that you have to do everything together. Did you do everything together before your wife became an EBF mom? Probably not. But, did you BOTH get to have a life? I am asking you to put on your partner’s shoes. How would you feel? When she is done nursing things can go back to normal. I promise your wife will thank you for it.
Thank you for reading! Are you an EBF mom? Do you ever feel lonely? Tell me in the comments!
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