Breastfeeding Supporter - Gemma and PhillRead why Gemma nominated her husband Phill for our breastfeeding supporter campaign
Above: Phill, Gemma and Marthy
Meet Gemma, Phill and Marthy.
“My husband Phill was pretty amazing to be honest!”
As soon as I found out I was pregnant I explained to him that I not only wanted a home birth, natural and no intervention but I also wanted to breastfeed our baby for at least 6 Months, that 6 Months turned into 2 years.
Phill attended the breastfeeding mamas session with me and really took his time to understand how breastfeeding works & what he could do to help.
Once Marthy was born she wasn’t latching on very well and Phill even collected colostrum in a syringe from one breast whilst I tried to feed Marthy from the other.
I exclusively fed her for about 5 Months and so this meant a lot of mummy & Marthy bonding time and Phill is a very hands on Dad & loves his cuddles with her so it must have been difficult but he didn’t let that be known if it was. Marthy was a cluster feeder around 7pm-11pm and so she was often attached to me most evenings, she was a feed/snooze & repeat baby! Cue a very tired mummy with lots of nighttime feeds!
Even though Phill would be up for work in the morning he would often get up with me when I was doing the 3am ish feed, he would adjust pillows, get me my phone to blog or book to read, make me a cuppa if I wanted one and just generally let me know I wasn’t alone. He would try to stay awake, insisting that he was fine and not tired and soon enough he would fall asleep, often sat up or the wrong way round in bed so he could look at Marthy as I sat in the chair at the end of the bed. Marthy slept in a hammock in our bedroom for the first 5 Months and Phill used to love giving her a little bounce in it so after I’d fed her he would often offer to settle her back to sleep.
Once I started to express my milk, when I was preparing to go back to work when Marthy was 6.5 Months old, I fed her first and then I used to hand express into a bowl or breastfeeding milk bag. This was a learning curve since breast pumps just didn’t really yield enough and I got more doing it by hand, again Phill would get up and sterilise the bags, put hot water in the bowl and/or make me a cuppa.
He admitted I smelt! I took fenugreek daily to increase my milk supply and when I went back to hot yoga I was really self conscious as I could tell I smelt like a curry the second I sweated!! I did! And Phill admitted that I did which was good because I would rather the honesty. I still took it & just accepted that I stunk for a bit, for a good reason.
I fed Marthy every bedtime for 2 years and that bonding time was so special and something that will stay with me forever. Phill would make sure that he used that time to put the dish washer on, clean, tidy and prep teas.
I wanted to be able to feed whenever and wherever and sometimes this meant just going with whatever top/bra I had on and feeding her, Phill never seemed embarrassed by my open breastfeeding. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just whip my boob out but there were times I would be feeding on the go, in the pub, whilst I was on the cross trainer, at a wedding etc… if she needing feeding I would crack on with it & I never felt embarrassed or uncomfortable, despite 1 or 2 comments from older women !! Weirdly. Phill would sort my top out or do something to help whilst adjusting my top/sorting my bra out etc.
We started eating a lot of bowl food around this time! Sitting down to eat with a knife and fork became difficult at cluster feeding time so Phill began to realise that having bowl food with just a fork or spoon meant that I could shovel some food in whilst feeding Marthy!
It was empowering for me as a husband to play a role in something that is usually the sole responsibility of the mother. Seeing the close bond being formed between Marthy and Gem was beautiful and i genuinely believe that the two of them share an understanding now.
It was tricky at first and I would say to anyone breastfeeding to stick with it and don’t get disheartened. It won’t magically happen perfectly first time and its all about confidence and a bit of technique… ask for help and you should not feel awkward about it, get comfy on the sofa and go for it!
Would you like to know more about our Infant Feeding Team and the work the team do in Halton?
Call 0300 029 0029 or visit our web page