While planning for the early moments of their baby’s life, April and Maxamillian Kendall Neubauer knew they wanted to have skin-to-skin time and establish breastfeeding as soon as possible. They just didn’t anticipate that the father would be the one to first “breastfeed” baby Rosalia, thanks to a brilliantly designed suction cup nipple with a syringe tube delivering the food.
“I mean I’ve never breastfed or even thought in a thousand years I would,” he tells Love What Matters of the plot twist. “I got to hold her and help her get use to breastfeeding, I hope.”
Thankfully, the everyone in the family is now doing well—but it was a scary sequence of events that led Maxamillian to the breastfeeding. As April shares on Instagram, she developed preeclampsia and had two seizures after her water was broken. Doctors then rushed to perform an emergency C-section, which left her “completely out of it when Rosalia was born and didn’t get to do the immediate skin on skin like I had planned.”
Both parents credit the team of nurses with helping them establish breastfeeding even under challenging circumstances. “I really did it just to be a good dad and be a hero for the nursing staff because they are superheroes ,” Maxamillian says, explaining the staff was so excited when he took them up on the offer to use the nipple to feed Rosalia. “You couldn’t ask for anyone better.”
Nurse Cybil Martin-Dennehy tells Motherly she’s “suggested this to dads before when I’ve had an unstable mom, but they usually respond with a big ‘hard pass’ on it.”
She was thrilled when Maxamillian, who was already doing skin-to-skin with his baby girl, said yes.
“When I suggested the idea to him he said, ‘well, I’m already shirtless and I’ll try anything once!’ It was really such a beautiful moment and [I] hope it will make more dads realize how helpful they can be to their partners on their breastfeeding journeys,” says Martin-Dennehy.
Since then, April has been able to take over the breastfeeding duties. But the role Maxamillian played during the early moments is not to be understated: According to the World Health Organization, research shows skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her baby quickly after birth “helps to initiate early breastfeeding and increases the likelihood of exclusive breastfeeding for one to four months of life as well as the overall duration of breastfeeding. Infants placed in early skin-to-skin contact with their mother also appear to interact more with their mothers and cry less.”
In this case, it was a dad rather than a mom—but the overall positive benefits remain true.
It’s also uplifting to see a dad take as active of a role as he could in feeding his baby, which demonstrates that although they may not have the abilities to truly breastfeed, men can find ways to support and encourage their partners . As April says, “I’m so thankful for my husband and couldn’t have picked a better man to start this wonderful family with.”
[Update, June 30, 2018: added quote from Cybil Martin-Dennehy]