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What Your Partner REALLY Thinks About Breastfeeding

10 breastfeeding bystanders share the truth.

What Your Partner REALLY Thinks About Breastfeeding

When we asked our readers to share what their partners really think about breastfeeding, we didn’t know what to expect. Truth be told, we thought we’d get a whole lot of boob jokes and maybe some indifferent shrugs. But what we got really surprised us. (Ok, we did get some boob jokes, but not as many as we thought we would.)

Of the more than 450 of you that chimed in, 82% said your partners were totally supportive of your breastfeeding experience...even if they were, at times, frustrated, jealous, helpless and self-doubting. Among those that wrote in to share their experiences, there were stories of survival, heart-bursting pride, empathy and compassion...and, yes, even a few offers to help unclog the milk ducts.

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Here are 10 partners on what they really think of breastfeeding:

"Breastfeeding is the original farm to table before it became a trend, right? It’s a natural and healthy option that not only benefits my child but also my bank account. It’s been incredible to see my children develop into healthy and nurtured humans because of it." --Scott

"I believe in the benefits of breastfeeding vs. formula, and I’m proud of my wife for breastfeeding. I felt especially sympathetic to the pumping -- that does not look easy. It was difficult not being able to help with the latching and stuff at the beginning. But, I am good at breaking up blocked milk ducts." --Alex

"It was really hard watching her try to breastfeed and seeing her struggle with it. I kept telling her she could stop, but she was so dead-set on making it work. I felt so relieved when she finally switched to formula, it was like a weight was lifted from our house. We were both fed on formula and we turned out ok, and so will our kids." --Andrew

"As the non-breastfeeding parent, I was a bit naive about what it entailed. I knew it was the best decision for our baby, but had no idea about the selfless commitment required by my wife. The first year was nothing less than magical, but about 1.5 years in, my feelings started to shift and doubt settled in. Is this still beneficial for our daughter's health and development? Why can't she just stop now? My inability to soothe our child because of her dependency on the breast had me feeling incompetent and like a third-wheel in my own family. While I believe my feelings of self-doubt were warranted at times, I also accepted that my wife and I have our own unique bond and relationship with our daughter, and gained confidence in my role as the non-breastfeeding parent." --Dina

"Breastfeeding has been a beautiful way for my wife to connect with our sons. She’s devoted so much time and energy to the health and wellbeing of our children, it has given me new perspective of the strength of the female body and the beauty of nature. Plus, breastmilk is warm, nutritious and free -- what’s not to love about that?" --Teddy

"I was incredibly proud of my wife when she breastfed both of our children. She faced significant opposition from her mother, who regularly shamed and criticized her for her choice to breastfeed. Oddly (or maybe not), this strengthened her desire to breastfeed as long as possible, and it became something that we bonded together over. I also saw her physical connection to our children and I made an effort to have skin-to-skin contact with the boys. Despite the chapped nipples, neverending stream (literally) of breast milk, pumping, and frozen packets of milk, it was a magical time in our lives, and I'm so happy to have been invited along the ride." --Jesse

"I was nervous that she was going to feel insufficient because she wasn’t able to breastfeed and then unable to pump for as long as she wanted. I didn’t know how she would be impacted mentally and emotionally because I knew it was something she really wanted to do. My advice for new dads with a partner struggling to breastfeed would be to find a way to be supportive and reassure your partner that they are still a wonderful mom. Don’t let them beat themselves up." --Jack

"Our first son was born with a birth defect where the vast majority of kids are very undersized and often remain that way for life. My wife breastfed and pumped constantly, so that our son had every fighting chance to be a normal size. Not only did he beat the odds to not be undersized, he was above the 90th percentile in height and weight all the way through his infancy. Now, at 4 years old, he's still above the 90th percentile. Writing this now brings tears to my eyes thinking about how hard she worked every day to help our son thrive." --Stephen

"Since my wife breastfed both our boys on demand, it's been a huge help in stressful situations, like on airplanes or in restaurants, as it instantly comforts them. I know how much it depletes my wife and it's something I literally can't help with… other than bringing her a glass of water." --Lance

"When my wife started nursing, she struggled with nipple chafing. Her nipples were sore, and I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t just give her a bottle, but when I suggested that, she shouted at me, so I dared not argue. We spent one of our first days home at Target, buying every nursing aid, ointment and heat pack to help sooth her angry boobs. A day or two later she was nursing and bottles were optional. Taking the day off made us both aware that the process wasn’t going to be a perfect one, and helped prevent her from quitting." --Damany

*Although many of your partners asked for anonymity, we promise all of these quotes are very real! We love you, partners.

Photos by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded; Jonas Kakaroto on Unsplash

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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