I wrote this letter when my first son was about 6 months old. He was a fierce nurser from birth. Latched on right away and basically didn’t stop till I weaned him at 23.5 months old. This is a real letter that I actually wrote my husband while I was up late nursing our baby. It’s fuzzy now but I was probably upset with him about something stupid. I originally published this letter on my first blog. Then while nursing my second baby, I started this blog and I had a lot of the same emotions. My husband had a better understanding with our second baby but I don’t think men will ever truly understand what us mothers go through in pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
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I also want to note that while this letter is blunt and straightforward, I wrote it with a light hearted tone. My husband is an amazing man, and he was very helpful through my pregnancies and breastfeeding our baby boys. Now that our boys are completely done breastfeeding, we have moved on to a new phase of life. I will always cherish the years I spent nursing my babies, as hard as some days were. I couldn’t have made it through without the help and support of my husband.
The Little Known Magic of Appreciating Your Spouse
In Defense Of Motherhood
Discovering The Village
Dear Husband of a Breastfeeding Mom
Do you know what your wife does all day? She feeds your child WITH HER BODY. Breastfeeding is really hard work. This little creature who grew inside her for 9 months is still depending on your wife for all of its nutrition and hydration. It takes a lot of time and energy to sustain the life of a little one, and this doesn’t end at birth. After the baby comes, he or she will depend on your wife completely for all nutrition for 6 months.
You might have heard that newborn babies nurse every 2-3 hours. This is a very loose statistic. In reality, your baby might want to nurse even more frequently for the whole first year of life. That’s right, our baby might nurse every 2-3 hours for an entire year or more. This could mean your wife spends over 4,000 HOURS nursing your baby in its first year of the baby’s life.
Consider This Scenario
Now that you know the 2-3 hour schedule isn’t a hard and fast rule, let’s talk about what the reality of nursing a baby every 2-3 hours is really like. Please, please, PLEASE don’t be fooled into thinking this means a new mother has 2-3 hours of free time between feedings. Think about it like this:
Baby starts nursing at 10am. Baby nurses for 45 minutes. Mama tries to put baby down at 10:50 am and she is unbelievably happy that this attempt is successful. Unfortunately the success is short lived because Baby wakes up at 11 am with a dirty bum. (Note that in this 10 minute window your wife barely has time to use the bathroom and microwave her cold coffee). Mama changes the baby’s diaper and outfit because the poop got EVERYWHERE. It is now 11:10. All attempts to put Baby back down fail. Baby will want to nurse again between 12-12:30. After nursing for another 30-60 minutes, your wife will have an hour or less till her body is needed again.
Why We Waited To Find Out Our Baby’s Gender & How We Prepared For Baby
Self Care Gifts for Mom
The Three Things I Did To Revive My Marriage
In a Perfect World
In a perfect world, Mama could put Baby in an age appropriate baby holder, drink her coffee that is now cold again, start a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, vacuum the living room, and prep for dinner while baby watches happily.
I hate to break it to you, but you don’t live in a perfect world. By this time, Baby might need another diaper and/or outfit change, or might just not want to be put down. Even if your wife manages to put the baby down, she will need to feed herself so her body has what it needs to make milk. Showering might also take priority to addressing other needs around the house. Your wife is tired. She burns hundreds of calories a day making the milk that feeds your baby. The energy she uses to care for the baby’s other needs drain almost anything she has left. She is lucky to sleep 2-4 consecutive hours each night. Some nights the 2-4 hour estimate is the total amount of sleep she is able to get.
What You Can Do To Help
Now that you have some understanding of what your wife’s day is like, here is what you can do to help:
Offer to hold the baby if she didn’t have a chance to shower or needs to catch up on sleep. Make dinner or pick up something on the way home. Pitch in around the house or at least don’t complain about the mess. Sit down with your wife and ask her what you can do to help. It might get easier as your baby gets older but it might not. Your wife is trying to do the best she can for this tiny human. Go give her a hug and kiss right now, she probably needs it. Tell her you love her frequently. Notice when she does get the house clean, gets ready, or makes dinner. The first couple years with a baby are SO draining on women physically, and this is a burden that men just don’t understand. She knows you are working hard outside the home to support her and the new life you created together, but she needs her work at home valued and supported as well.
Sincerely, A Mom Who Breastfed
My Birth Story: First Baby
My Birth Story: Last Baby
Breastfeeding Essentials – What I Really Used While Nursing My Babies
I love this! Breastfeeding is such hard work but strangely I miss it now my little girl is weaned.
This is a touching letter making husbands realize the struggles and sacrifice of a breastfeeding Mother. Thanks for inspiring breastfeeding women with this entry
Love it. I breastfed our little one for 23 months. Wouldn’t have accomplished it without the support of my husband.
I don’t even have a baby yet, but my hands are clapping for this! I can’t even imagine what that is like, and the toll it takes on a woman’s mind and body. Such a good read – thank you! 🙂
My husband helped me so much with breastfeeding! He was my biggest support! He knew everything on the subject because we both have read awesome guide “How to make breastfeeding pleasant and easy” ( my husband has found it here: http://www.parental-love.com ). We have read also other guides and articles but this one was definitely the best! So daddies – I highly recommend this guide! Be brave and read it with your wife 🙂
This guide is a great collection of information on breastfeeding, thanks for sharing the title. It was such a pleasure to read it and I feel ready now 🙂
I’m right after reading this guide and I’m loving it! I have no more questions about breastfeeding, thanks
My biggest mistake in preparing for the birth of my child was not researching enough on breastfeeding beforehand. It was a struggle for me to say the least. I’ve read this guide and never looked back. Thanks for the link Olivia 🙂
This book really came in handy. I highly recommend reading it while you’re expecting, particularly if you don’t have a lot of prior knowledge about breastfeeding and are concerned about starting off on the right foot!
I love this 🙂
Many thanks for the info about Susan Urban’s guide. I didn’t know it before, it’s so worth to read it.
This is totally beautiful. I love this so much.
Thank you! I’m so proud of this piece.
I might say at the end “P.S: Please at least attempt to not be an ass , thanks!”
OK I would totally add that if I wouldn’t get a shit storm of angry comments for it! I republished this from my previous blog and I had a lot of negative comments there. But I definitely had that thought in mind when I wrote it 😬
From a loving Husband:-
My dear wife i can very well realize how hard and painfull it is to give birth and than stay connected with the child for breastfeeding, diapers changing and other routine matters.
Allah Almighty has given some special powers to the women which a man can never have and that is mother’s love for her child.
My Dear wife :- once I leave for my office, i have to convince my boss and others about my work, which is much difficult job. As You know its too hard to earn a single penny. I have to work extras hours to fulfill the needs of you and the child. I dont even spent a single penny on my self. Once i return home i see a gloomy face with a weeping kid in the lap, all the stress and load carried from office increases again. I can continue But I love my wife
I’m saving this for my future hubby! Such a good read but I did think there would be more about all the emotions. I’m worried that he won’t uderstand how much I might love it or hate it. As well as the physical pain to start and emotions in possibly needing to stop sooner than anticipated or why I want to extend bfing. Any other articles you can recommend?
Thank you for writing this. I feel like i am able to make a letter for my husband too. Then, makes me realize that im not just the only person who experience the same .
I understand this letter that you wrote, but we mothers have to also consider it from our husband’s point of view. Do you not think he struggles? Do you not think he is tired or stressed? What if he works long hours and sleeps very little because the baby wakes the whole house at night? What if he feels disconnected from you and the baby because he cannot bond the same way you can when you breastfeed? What if he’s trying the best he can to balance it all, but you give him this letter? The way it’s written makes it sound as though the mother is the only one who is stressed. Instead, let’s write a letter that thanks him for his help, asks that he bonds with baby while his wife sleeps, asks that he understands how she feels and that they come together to discuss their stresses and feelings and work together to keep the house going- as partners. Breastfeeding is hard work, believe me, I know. But my husband’s work is harder- trust me. He provides everything we need to survive, and I’m in charge of using it to the best of my ability- that includes feeding my child. We both have difficult jobs, and although his help is needed, I would never write him a letter like this. It’s not only selfish, but it’s berating and psychologically manipulative. There are nicer ways to say how you’re feeling and better ways of making your point.
Lovely blog! Very informative! I am happy I saw these comments here, After reading Olivia’s comment I got the guide about making breastfeeding pleasant and easy written by S. Urban and I am happy to report it is an excellent book! It is not the first book I have read about breastfeeding but certainly the best one! Thanks
worked like a charm here too 🙂
I wanted to breastfeed but the nurse at the hospital said I had to pump instead even though my baby WAS latching and eating and getting full. After she made me pump and bottle feed my baby refused the breast . I thought it was breast first ? Still upset at the the nurse that ruined the sacred bond between me and my baby 😡
I’m sorry to hear that happened to you.
It was almost as if I wrote this article myself. You took the words right out of my mouth. Everything you spoke of is everything I go through and more. Yet I have to deal with others people’s thoughts as though I’m a bad mom. I’m lucky if I get a hot meal, let alone a meal at all. I live off mostly PB&J’s and fruit. I am there nursing, changing, and comforting and playing with my baby..there is not much time for mom. So I grab what time I can if someone is willing to help. Thank you for sharing your heart with others.
AMEN!! 6 months into exclusively breastfeeding and I finally don’t resent my fiancé anymore lol!
Good info and there is truth but this is allowing moms to feel sorry for themselves and have reasons on why they cant do nothing and completely rely on the dad to step up even though he works and maintains the yard and works more then one job already and this allows mom to ignore dads needs
The article sets up with an overtone of competition between husband and wife. It’s evident because most readers are taking sides (except Ashley). Lets step back and use objectivity to reduce stress here. The basics: Moms have what it takes to nurse a baby. Dads have what it takes to provide for the household, moms, and babies. Moms DONT have what it takes to do it all. And, wait for it… Dads don’t either! That is why both Moms and Dads each have a role in the family. When you confuse roles, someone gets overloaded…one of them vents to the internet and poof , this article is written. Now, the laws governing everything are forcing people to grow more mature through frustration. If you feel frustration you are feeling the opportunity to grow. Frustration is not a sign that your spouse is failing you. Frustration is going to happen to you with or without a spouse to fault. If it’s not frustration because of breastfeeding , then it will be something else. The wisest way for the wife to deal with the stresses of breastfeeding is to learn better ways to breastfeed. Better ways equal less stress. Similarly, the wisest way for a husband to deal with the stress of providing for his family is to learn better ways of handling his job. Both the wife and the husband have not achieved perfection, and need to each keep improving in their own roles. Setting out to convince a husband to understand breastfeeding is much less helpful than the wife meeting with a lactation consultant. Similarly, making a wife understand how hard it is to work 3 jobs and endure listening to her complain every night while helping her breastfeed is far less helpful than the husband meeting with his office manager. Fixing the spouse takes last place to improving yourself. Don’t be caught blaming your stress on your spouse. Your kid is watching. Want a better future? Invest in your own skills. No excuses – your family needs you to be the adult you are. To be better at something takes work, so spend your energy on moving your skills forward today and enjoy less stress tomorrow.
If you read the disclaimer in the beginning, she did write it with her husband in mind. I don’t see it as an attack in any form – and I don’t take for granted that my husband will have to take on extra work while I stay home to take care of the baby. It’s an honest expose on what it really takes to feed and care for a newborn. Guys will never experience breastfeeding. I feel like this is a good way of letting him know what to expect and the demands you’ll be facing, and maybe just a reminder that you love him enough to sit down and communicate what’s going on, rather than bottle it up and become resentful and bitter. This is how she chose to communicate, and it sounds like you already know how to communicate with your partner. We just all do things a little differently!
To be fair, I edited this post recently to add that part in. I keep getting comments about the letter being unfair, but I really did mean it with love and kindness 🙂
I have five kids and have nursed them all for a year or longer. The book “Babywise” was a life saver for all of us as each bundle of joy entered into the family and I nursed them:)
I want to add some more things which I am facing, it’s winter time and I am scared to take the newborn out as he might get cold or flu and coz of it I am inside the house looking after 2 kids, the elder is 3 and half naughty boy, it’s really depressing to stay at home for more than 3 months and I have to bug my husband to take me out or to look after baby so that I can walk around or take a break.
We can’t pretend that the only option is breastfeeding. I know it’s ideal, but using formula allows the husband to also be involved. Although my husband was supportive of me breastfeeding and made dinner every day when I was on maternity leave, once I went back to work breastfeeding/pumping became much more of a challenge. My schedule was way more hectic than my husband’s and so with his encouragement, we started supplementing at 6 months so that I wasn’t so overwhelmed.