Dads are essential in the breastfeeding journey as a support system for obvious reasons. Mom has the breast milk, and the act of nursing forms a unique bond between mothers and their babies. But one dad shows that fathers may have a similar relationship by, yes, breastfeeding their babies as well.
Maxamillian Kendall Neubauer, a pipe welder and a new dad from Iowa in the United States, was the first to "breastfeed" his newborn daughter, Rosalia. His wife, April, had complications during birth and could not nurse or provide kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact) immediately. So, Max stepped up to the challenge.
"This super rad nurse made an epically killer offer," the new dad wrote on his Facebook post. "I was fortunate enough to slap on a suction cup fake nipple, being the first to breastfeed the baby!" he added proudly.
Max is also the first man to ever try it at the Door County Medical hospital, in Iowa.
Dad nursing the baby definitely was not in the birth plan, he told Popsugar Moms, but he and his wife decided early on that they wanted to do immediate skin-to-skin with their baby. However, April developed preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), so she needed to deliver her baby via emergency C-section. Then, she suffered from seizures, making her postpartum recovery delicate.
"After her surgery, she was sedated and unable to feed or have contact with [the baby], so I had to step up and get shirtless to make up some ground seeing as mama wasn't there," Max said. He went to the nursery do skin-to-skin contact when a nurse offered if he would like to "breastfeed" his newborn daughter, too.
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He didn't think much of it. "Me being a big joker and the ability to try just about anything once. I said sure, why not," Max shared on Love What Matters. "I got a nipple shield with a syringe tube and hit the road running," he added. The nurses, whom he considers superheroes, helped set it all up.
The milk that Max fed to Rosalia was formula milk; the nurse told him that it was just a little something to get the baby started on. Max did what he thought was best for his daughter and what his wife would have wanted him to do. "I felt a connection the minute I saw my little girl. I got to hold her and help her get used to 'breastfeeding,' I hope," he wrote.
"I have the most amazing husband ever!!" April wrote as a caption when she reposted Max's photos on her Instagram. "I’m so thankful for my husband and couldn’t have picked a better man to start this wonderful family with," she added.
Max used what is known as a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). It's a lactation aid that's basically milk in a bag, bottle, or syringe connected to a nipple shield via a thin tube. The baby latches on to the nipple, allowing moms, adoptive parents, and now dads, too, to nurse the baby. You can make your own or buy it (Medela has it in its product offerings).
SNS was initially designed to help moms to experience breastfeeding even when they are struggling with their breast milk supply. Donated breast milk is collected and fed to the baby via the SNS to help augment the mom's supply. Alternatively, newborns could also be fed breast milk via a cup or a bottle, but the SNS mimics the act of nursing compared to these two alternative feeding methods.
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In 2017, nurse lactation consultant Joyce Ann Zaragoza-Martinez shared a photo on Facebook of her client, TV host Mariel Padilla, who used an SNS to feed her daughter Isabella while husband Robin held up the bottle of milk connected to the tube. Mariel had openly talked openly about having low milk supply.
When your goals as a parent are clear, you will do anything and everything to help you reach that goal, even after life throws you unexpected challenges.