Thursday, August 13, 2015

Breastfeeding from a Dad's Point of View

Jason and Madelyn
Today's blog is very special. I really appreciate the time that this dad took to write it. I hope it reaches as many dads as possible!

By Jason Argo, Guest Blogger

The week of February 17, 2011, our daughter Madelyn was born. My wife was hoping to be able to breastfeed Madelyn when she came into this world, and it was a rough road of letdown, after letdown (no pun intended).  From the start, none of the first nurses we had in the hospital wanted to help with the situation, but rather always wanted to  stuff a bottle in our little girl’s mouth. The lactation consultant came in the next morning, but was of no help. She did not really evaluate the baby and did not tell us that Madelyn had a tongue tie, and that was going to make it difficult for her to latch on.

Our nurse that morning, Leah, was like ray of sunshine to the situation. She was so helpful to Amanda, first taking control and getting her physical pain to a manageable level. Then she lit a fire under the nutrition director because Amanda ordered lunch, and 2 hours later it still wasn’t there, but she hated being a burden and didn’t want me to go get it. However, her biggest task of all was guiding in breastfeeding – I do not think she was an IBCLC at that time, but but she offered wonderful nursing support. She also briefly pointed out that Madelyn had a tongue tie. I cannot brag enough on our favorite nurse on the delivery floor of Huntsville Hospital - Leah does an amazing job!  Leah felt the tongue tie needed more evaluation, so she brought the only available IBCLC back to the room which happened to be the same one who initially came in.

She still didn’t touch the baby but instead pointed out everything my wife had done wrong, never anything positive.  “You used a pacifier, the baby is confused.” “You’re sitting with bad posture.” "You’re taking pain medication”. The latter two were unavoidable as my wife has several musculoskeletal conditions that left her in excruciating pain after 18 hours of induced labor, 13 of which were without an epidural, 4.5 with it, and the last 30 minutes when she delivered it had worn off.  Once she started spit-firing all the insults and discouraging statements, Leah took control and told the IBCLC we had it from there and she could leave.

Amanda and Madelyn
Then not long after leaving the hospital, more challenges were flying at Amanda. She faced opposition from her family and mine as well. She would get comments like, "You’re starving her; make her a bottle." Or "Nobody wants to see that;go to another room because you just want to do draw attention to yourself." We also heard this classic line, "Other members of the family want to feed her." None of these things is something a new mother wants to hear, especially coming from family. There were even times where I would unintentionally drop an unsupportive comment. Like most dads, I often have foot-in-mouth syndrome; sometimes I shove it in there up to my knee!

We soon realized though that something was not right when Amanda would try to nurse Madelyn, but she just could not latch. I could not stand to see how much physical pain she was in and how emotionally broken she was over the whole situation. Madelyn was not gaining weight, and this is how we found Glenni at A Nurturing Moment. We came home on Sunday, and by the next Saturday Amanda was in so much pain and so exhausted she was walking through the house like a zombie carrying a can of “just in case” formula the hospital sent home with us.  I was cleaning the kitchen listening to a local Christian radio station and heard an ad for A Nurturing Moment where breastfeeding support was mentioned.  So we called.

Glenni is also another ray of sunshine in this story because she helped in so many ways. She really helped Amanda physically and mentally on some the struggles she was facing. She did everything she could to try to increase Amanda’s supply. She even taught us how to get Madelyn latching the way she needed to be latching.

Amanda always did her best to pump while she was at work but was getting so little. We would move milk back and forth between home, work, and her Mom’s house.  Madelyn suffered from a severe case of silent reflux, never really spitting up, but choking and sputtering and sometimes struggling to breathe, so it was important to us not to have her in a day care with multiple kids per adult. Therefore, we commuted 2 hours each morning and 2 hours each evening to keep her with family.  Most work days we didn’t get home until 9 or 10 PM.  Amanda would take a shower and lie down to nurse the baby while I put away the pumped milk, and I would unpack and load all of her pump parts into the dishwasher.

Each morning I got up long before she did to pack her pump parts into her pump bag and pack snacks for her to eat while she pumped, and then I woke her up so she could nurse the baby while I made and packed our lunches.  Sure, I could have used extra sleep, but it was all worth it because even though we were primarily using formula by 8 weeks, she still got between 2 and 4 ounces of liquid gold every day. Other than the reflux and the occasional reaction to vaccinations, Madelyn did not once catch any cold or get sick at all until a month before she turned 1 when she got an upper respiratory virus.
Even Zeus the dog adores Madelyn!

I write this because men need to realize that if their wives (or significant others) want to
breastfeed the baby, they need to help them breastfeed. To be honest and truthful BREAST IS BEST!!! There are so many things that are put in formula – go read the labels, or open a can and smell it – it even tastes metallic, but there is nothing like mother’s milk. Daddy can do other things to bond with baby like bathtime – make it fun!  Act silly!  Some of the best memories Madelyn and I have when she was a baby are from bathtime!  She’s now almost 5, ask her about the adventures of Soap Monster!

Please, please, I ask the men of the families to encourage  your love to the best of your ability if she is breastfeeding. Don’t let her hide in stalls in the bathroom; don’t let her hide anywhere for that matter. If your child is hungry, your child’s hungry. Don’t run all over God’s creation trying to find a “private” place, because a mom should not be isolated and shamed during a time she deserves to be loved and celebrated. It is a special connection that no one else can have with the child besides mommy, but if daddy is supportive, it grows a special connection between mommy and daddy.

No comments:

Post a Comment