I am a ‘breastfeeding tatay’

Jaime de Guzman
August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Here's an extraordinary story of a husband preparing to join his wife's breastfeeding journey.

I am Jaime, a soon-to-be tatay. A few days from now, a little bundle of joy – a baby boy – will be joining our family. 

I cannot physically breastfeed but I am very proud to say that I will not only support my mag-ina (wife and baby) but will also staunchly involve myself in this wonderful breastfeeding journey, where my wife will be the main player.

I will be the supporter and our baby will be the beneficiary.

A big part of our preparation for when the baby comes is all about researching, studying, and enthusiastically inquiring about breastfeeding. In fact, I’m a proud member of the Breastfeeding Pinays Facebook community. But I often get mistaken for a woman, receiving “Hi, Mommy Jaime” replies on my online inquiries. I then clarify that I’m not a mommy, but a daddy.

Perhaps, Filipino netizens automatically assume that only women ask questions about breastfeeding and pregnancy. (READ: Role of dads in breastfeeding)

Roles of dads

PARTNERS. The author during his wife's 5th month of pregnancy

I’m patiently studying every single detail about exclusive breastfeeding, such as its importance and benefits, and how fathers like me can be part of it. 

It’s a must that I know terms like proper latching, colostrum, inverted nipple, engorged breast, nipple confusion, virgin guts, growth spurts, hand express and milk storage bags. 

I should know the importance of Unang Yakap, Tamang Kain, and of the baby’s first 1,000 days. Fathers like me should know what the Milk Code is and how such laws guarantee the welfare of both my wife and my baby. I have to know even the simplest thing about breastfeeding such as the locations of breastfeeding-friendly stations in malls and public spaces. I also research about online resellers of nursing bras, nursing tops and covers. 

It is important that I learn as much as I can so I could effectively support my wife in overcoming the challenges of breastfeeding

I’ve also notified my bosses about my intention to take a temporary leave from work for when my child is born, up until my wife’s milk production becomes stable. I’ve computed the financial losses that could result from this leave, but I know that my presence and support for my mag-ina during this crucial period is more important than money.

My other preparations include learning how to wash, iron, and do other household chores. I am also preparing how to cook and do palengke work (marketing). 

Knowing what she feels

SUPPORT. Exercises during my wife's birth class. We attend the sessions together.

It is important I understand the physical, mental, and emotional challenges my wife will be facing after birth. 

I know how difficult it is to breastfeed, especially during the first few weeks. I know how hard it is to breastfeed and that’s why I know that it would be helpful if I take over the chores. I know how painful it is to breastfeed and that’s why I’m learning how to boost my wife’s morale. This is in anticipation of the time when she might want to quit because of the pain. 

Yet there’s so much left to learn about breastfeeding: breast massage, proper baby nursing positions, breast pumping, lactation food, among many others.

My wife and I are positive that we will succeed in this journey together, whatever it takes, and without any excuses.

This journey is for the future of our baby. Just like the parents, we want nothing but the best for our baby. And we want to start early by providing him the best care and nutrition we can offer.

Lastly, I want to salute all mothers who continuously offer themselves for the welfare of their babies. Also, a salute to all fathers who unwaveringly support and involve themselves in the breastfeeding journey. 

Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Month to all. – Rappler.com

Jaime de Guzman is a 25-year-old expectant father. He is currently working as a Community Relations Officer for the National Housing Authority. He is also a member of the following support groups: Breastfeeding Pinays, Babywearing Philippines, Modern Cloth and Nappying Philippines, and Gentle Birth Philippines.

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