Pumping is an act of love. Whether you supplement, pump while you are away from your baby, or exclusive pump this holds true. It’s an act of love. Period. No buts. When you give your love over and over, you need to eventually replenish that love. When you don’t, that’s when you start to burn out. When our partner is continuously giving themselves to our family day after day, having a support system can be really beneficial. In this post, we are talking about how to give love to our partners and be an effective emotional support system.
Five Love Languages and How They Benefit Your Pumping Partner
The five love languages have become pretty pervasive today, but in a nutshell the idea is that people generally fall into one or two categories in the way they like to express and receive love. These are words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time, and physical touch. One person might express love one way, but like to receive love in another language.
When it comes to pumping, an individual needs a lot of love. In fact, we believe that pumpers benefit from all five of the love languages.
Words of Affirmation
When you’re working really hard on something, it’s nice to hear that you are doing a good job. This is especially true when that task involves a lot of emotion, hard work, and fraught with highs and lows. There are so many variables that affect a person’s milk supply like diet, stress, and getting your period. One day it feels like you are rocking this pumping journey and the next feels like it is rocking you.
If your partner is pumping, sprinkle kind words of encouragement and support throughout their day. Let them know that you see the amount of work that they do - even if that means spelling out a list of the tasks that they complete in a day.
This author likes to think of words of affirmation as a two-part love language. There is the obvious offering of encouragement, but active listening is also a huge part of this one. Sit down and listen to the fears, worries, or challenges that your partner is dealing with so that you can specifically tailor your words of affirmation and make them more impactful.
Acts of Service
This love language is about rolling up your sleeves and physically showing your love by doing things. Knocking off a few tasks on your partner’s to do list might not seem all that exciting to you, but it can really make an impact for your partner. There is a laundry list miles long in our heads. It can really be daunting.
Washing and drying bottles and pump parts can sometimes be the straw that back our backs. But if you take that on, even every so often, it can really mean a lot. The acts of service you do don’t even have to revolve around pumping. Honestly just thinking about all of the tasks your partner handles on a daily basis and doing one or two before they have to ask for help will speak volumes.
Water bottles, snacks, a relaxing bath bomb, all make great gifts. Gifts for a pumping parent don’t have to be lavish to mean a lot. Someone doing a bit to take care of us while we take care of our family really shows that you truly see us and care about us.
Often we don’t take the time or spend the money to buy these things for ourselves. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t want them, or that they don’t make us feel better. Something as simple as bath salts, a face mask, or flavored drink pick us up and give us the boost we didn’t know that we needed to get through the day.
Being thoughtful with these gifts can make this love language even more expressive. Think about your partner, what kinds of things make them happy? What do they like? What have they been wanting but not buying for themselves? Being hydrated for a lactating parent is essential. A new water bottle that keeps water cold and helps track how much our partner has taken in can really impact their pumping journey.
Parents are busy people. Jobs, social events, nap times, meal times, they all chip away at the amount of quality time you and your partner can spend together. It’s easy to get caught up in all of it and forget just how little time you actually get to spend together. Having quality time to talk to and engage with your partner is important. It’s important for both of you.
Even if you have to go so far as to block out time on your calendar to spend with your partner, try to make this happen on a weekly basis. Being there for each other is so important for your relationship. And it will have an impact on your overall family health and wellness. Your kids, even if they’re little, will see how you make time to be together and support each other. This is something that they will look for in their future relationships.
We hear a lot about parents, moms and main caregivers especially, being touched out at the end of the day. Touched out means that there is no desire for additional physical contact. It’s the type of contact that we really need to specify here. The touch that expects reciprocation is what we cannot handle. The kisses or massage that are expected to turn into something more is what we cannot handle. The truth is that a warm hug, or a tender shoulder rub can be hugely beneficial.
We are constantly hugging, kissing, and touching others in order to take care of them throughout the day. For pumping people, the touch that takes care of us is what we are missing. We probably don’t even know that we are craving it.