I’ve always been a strong believer in the idea that the nursing relationship between mother and baby is strengthened or weakened by the support she receives or the lack thereof. And that even if she is receiving wonderful support through local support groups, women in her family, and health care providers, all of that can be derailed by the lack of support at home from her significant other.
I have heard so many moms talk about how their spouse, boyfriend, etc. did not want them to breastfeed because her breasts were ‘theirs’. I have witnessed my own sister not able to breastfeed in public because her husband was worried someone else would see her breasts. This was a major derailment for her as she was out in public quite often. I was more than thrilled when she finally spoke with her husband about it and how it was an inconvenience to her. He was able to see that what he was asking was a bit ridiculous and she has since been able to nurse their babies whenever and wherever they needed to be fed.
I would love to think that all of these situations ended up the same way, but I know better. Often the mom chooses to wean early or to not even try breastfeeding because of the lack of support at home. I also notice that at our local support groups at certain times, the whole family is invited. While I have seen mothers, sisters, and of course children, I have never seen anyone’s significant other present at any of these meetings. This saddens me.
Luckily I have never been put in this situation. Both of my children’s fathers were supportive of breastfeeding. My first son’s father pretty much just went along with the program. He never was one to speak up much, but he did defend my choice to nurse to his parents (who were not very supportive). My youngest son’s father (my husband) is VERY pro-breastfeeding, sometimes to the point where I think he may be more so than I am. I must say, I have been blessed to have always had a strong support system at home as well as in my community.
What about you other mamas? Did you face any problems at home when you made the decision to breastfeed your little one? Do you think support at home is imperative? What about support outside the home?