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Unwavering Support

Hannah Reimmer
Wyncote PA USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 5, September-October 2006, pp. 208-210

This is a story of breastfeeding success. Breastfeeding would not be so successful if not for my husband, Stephen. Before we were married, Stephen and I took a series of pre-marriage classes at our church. Husbands-to-be were instructed to love their wives and "give up oneself." The leader of the class explained that "giving up oneself" requires a husband to put his wife ahead of himself daily. This is quite a change for anyone, and it is one that my husband has fulfilled most obviously since our son was born.

While our son was still growing in utero we agreed that he would be breastfed exclusively until he started solids. This decision has required some work on my part, but it hasn't been hard work. My son, Josiah, and I started our breastfeeding relationship well and we have never had any of the problems that my friends often discuss. The hard work was done by Stephen. As I recovered from a cesarean, I was confined mostly to the second floor of our home, away from the kitchen. My arms were often busy holding Josiah to the breast for feedings. Stephen cooked all the meals and fed me while I was nursing Josiah. He even dried my hair for me one cold morning. My job was to nurse Josiah while Stephen cared for me.

When I returned to work Josiah was to be fed my pumped milk. The first day away was difficult for us all. Josiah refused the bottle and cried loudly in protest. He would only eat from a 3 cc hummingbird-tip syringe given to us by a lactation consultant. Stephen offered a bottle and when Josiah refused, he fed him with the syringe. Despite the crying and the tedious syringe feedings, Stephen never complained to me. He knew that returning to work was difficult for me, and, to spare me additional stress, he did not tell me all the difficulties of the first day until later. I'm sure the first day was just as upsetting for Stephen as it was for Josiah and me, but Stephen greeted me at the end of the day with a smile and a hug, holding our beautiful baby.

Josiah now drinks ounces of pumped milk at a time from a bottle. All Stephen's patience has paid off. There are times, however, that Josiah's appetite exceeds the supply of milk left at home, making formula especially tempting. Instead of giving in, Stephen sometimes has to come to my work to pick up the "liquid gold" that I pump. It would be so much easier to go to the store to get formula, but he knows how important it is that Josiah is fed only my milk. I am so thankful to have a husband who supports my decision to breastfeed even during the times it is inconvenient or difficult. I hope that someday Josiah will be as good a husband to his wife as his father is to me.

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