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Support from the Start

By Sharon A. Fortier-Green
Waterbury VT USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 16, No. 6, November-December 1999 p. 223

Some fathers take time to become comfortable with their new roles. But from the moment we decided to become parents, my husband has been a wonderful and supportive father.

Eric not only nurtured me personally during my pregnancy but also attended infant care classes and read books about babies with me. When we first heard about attachment parenting in one of our classes, Eric smiled, looked at me, and said, "That's what I want for our baby." There was never any question that I would have his full support for breastfeeding our daughter.

Eric held my hand and rubbed my back throughout my labor. When it was determined that I needed a cesarean, he was there in the operating room and held Fiona while they closed my incision. He danced around the room and sang us a little song he made up, showing her to me. After surgery, he roomed in to help care for Fiona and me.

When we got home, he took off as much time as he could to help us get off to a good start. Eric made meals for me and helped me nestle in with Fiona so I could breastfeed her without hurting my incision. He would walk around the room and sing to her when I needed a break - she loved it!

As Fiona has grown, Eric's involvement has changed and grown, too. When I had to return to work part-time, Eric was the one to care for Fiona. He showed his continued commitment to breastfeeding by feeding her my expressed milk while I was gone, and by keeping up with housework so I could spend more time with Fiona after work.

His support shows especially when others criticize our parenting choices. When Eric hears someone saying that I am breastfeeding her too long, or that we are spoiling her by picking her up when she cries, he firmly tells them that "Things spoil from being left alone to rot, not from being loved." He does this not only so Fiona will grow up feeling protected, but also to teach her how to treat other people.

Eric's pay-off? Well, when he comes home his 16-month- old baby girl is dancing, laughing, and saying "Daddy!" with all of her heart. She gives him a big hug that makes him glad to be home. Because of the love he shows for Fiona, I love and trust him more. A special time for us all is when we cuddle together on the couch. Fiona often lifts her head up from nursing, gives Eric a milk-covered grin, and proclaims, "Good Moos!" as she goes back to nursing. Without Eric, I couldn't have done it.

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