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Why should I bring my partner to my breastfeeding class?

Margit S. Lister, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
The first thing that I would tell a woman if she is interested in breast-feeding is to take a breast-feeding class. The most important thing I think is dragging your significant other to the class, as much as they may go kicking and screaming. Take them to the class, too, because both of you are inherently tied to the success of breast-feeding. There are some really good studies that show that women who are successful breast-feeders are the ones with supportive partners. If your partner does not support you, then you are less likely to be successful with this. I like to say that you are the feeder and the baby is the receiver, but he is the lactation engineer. Your partner can be helpful and say, "Okay, so the baby is at a slant, the baby's head is kinked, and you're doing this." He can help reposition things and make it easier for you.

My second- and third-time moms are thinking, "I didn't do any of that," but with first-time moms, it is an awkward thing. You think, "I have breasts and a baby, it will be good to go." It's not like that at all. It is very difficult and can be very trying for some women. I have had friends who are physicians, in tears, because they think, "Why can't I do this? I can get through medical school, but I can't breast-feed my own child." It's hard and it's painful. Those are two things that are not talked about, and they need to be talked about. Your partner's support of you will help you get through some of those really difficult times where you are thinking, "Why am I doing this?" Also, he can help with the process, and that helps him bond with you and the baby too. It was a very depressing time when I said to my husband, "I got it," and he said, "You don't need me anymore?" It's a big deal for you when you get to a point when you don't need him any longer, but it's a big deal for him to help at the beginning.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.