In this final installment of our exclusive interview, Justin and George discuss partner support, cloth diapers, and the possibility of a breastfeeding song!
JF: Breastfeeding is a relationship between a mother and child. How do you see your role in your wife and baby’s success?
GM: You know, I’ve always just looked at it as just being a husband. You support your wife in everything, so breastfeeding is just a part of that. It’s just being a man and a leader of my family. Would you say the same thing?
JF: Yeah. I kind of liken it to how every team has that one guy that might not play as much as everybody else, but he’s a super encourager. Like he’s on the sideline, giving you water, patting you on the back, telling you how good you’re doing. That’s my role as a father. I’m here to support her. At any time did your wife doubt herself and her breastfeeding abilities? Or face any breastfeeding challenges?
GM: Yeah, especially at the very beginning, getting him to latch on was difficult. He didn’t know what he was doing. She didn’t know what he was doing. I didn’t know what I was doing. The lactation consultant came in there and she did it right the first time, and then we tried to do it when we got home and nothing. So she was just pumping and we had to feed him out of this little tube for the first few days while trying to get him to latch on. And then there was the chafing, and the hurting, and the stinging. And then, after awhile it just became a lot easier. The biggest thing that helped was getting a pump that really helped her produce a lot of milk. But, she was committed. Man, she was up every couple of hours pumping! Part of it was she wanted to. The other part was that she was full and it hurt. And she had to get rid of it.
JF: I know we had the same thing early on. We had a little syringe thing too. I always try to encourage her. But when I see there’s something wrong, I have to kind of remind her, let’s bring it back to reality. Let’s tell the truth about a situation: we need to fix something. This baby is not getting food, so what do we need to do? We need to get more information. We need help. Because I didn’t know what I was doing – I was still learning. And even though my wife knew a lot, she was still diligently seeking more information.
GM: And that’s the great thing about women, man. They will get on Pinterest and YouTube and figure out every single thing about breastfeeding and partner support. My main thing is I’m looking out for her. Of course I love and I care about the baby. But my main focus was her. I can’t take credit for being the cause for her doing this. More so I’m ready to say, look, if you need to stop at any point in time let me know. It was her drive and her determination that kept us going, and I was there to support that.
Bonding with baby
JF: What are some of the daddy bonding things that you do with your baby?
GM: Oh man. I think a lot of it is just holding him and playing and tickling. I get on the floor, I rumble around. He’ll be crawling on the floor and I’ll just pick him up by his shirt or back. And everybody just seems to be so shocked when I do that. [laugh] But he loves it man, he’s laughing and drool is coming out of his mouth and everything. Everybody’s thinking like, you can’t snatch the baby up like that. I’m like, he’s having a great time, look! I even wanted to patent this invention of something like a baby handle. Like a harness that goes around the baby when he’s crawling. You can just like snap him up real quick just by the handle.
JF: [laugh] If you ever create anything for a baby and it works, I’m in it with you. There’s these things called boogie wipes. The boogie wipes are nothing but some wipes that are a little smaller than the normal wipes. They’re made specifically made for the nose and it makes millions of dollars.
GM: Ah man, I’m learning that there are so many things that are like that! You take the exact same product, call it something else and make it a big business. I know diapers are like that. I’m trying to figure out a way to make another diaper. Because they make a lot of money from me. Those cloth diapers, I tell you what, we spent too much money on those things.
JF: On the cloth diapers?
GM: Yeah, yeah.
JF: My wife makes cloth diapers.
GM: Oh, does she? My wife needs to get on that sewing machine, do the same thing.
JF: Just call me up when you need them. [laugh]
GM: [laugh] I’ll take you up on that.
JF: But for the bonding thing, for me it was cool early on when we would have skin-to-skin time. As she was trying to get a little sleep, I would stay up with him and hold him chest to chest. I still remember in our apartment in Houston when I was with the Texans and I was up all night watching TV, with him on my chest.
GM: We’re trying that right now. Our son is starting to wean himself a little bit already. My wife wanted to breastfeed till he was two at least, and he’s already wanting real food or he’s kind of distracted. If there’s anything going on at all, he wants to be in it. So he’s not thinking about it during the day but at night, he’ll be up continuously. Honestly, he has never slept through the night since he’s been born. He’s 11 months old and still wakes up to nurse a few times a night. [Editor’s note – this is completely normal!]
JF: Oh yeah.
GM: She just got on Google last night to see how dads can try putting the baby to sleep. He’s used to his mom holding him while he goes to sleep, so when he wakes up in the middle of the night he wants to crawl over there and be nursed. And they’re saying how the dad should get up and first put him to sleep and carry him during the night or something like that. And, it was fine when he was bottle feeding but now it’s like man, he needs to get it straight from the tap and I don’t got the tap. Like we’re trying to do that now but man, he is not having it. He’s like, man I know what you got. I’m not trying to lay on your hard chest. Get out of here.
JF: [Laugh] This statement I’m about to say is very selfish. But what I tell people when I’m trying to convince them about breastfeeding – the best thing about breastfeeding for a dad –
GM: Oh man [laugh].
JF: Is that you don’t have to get up at night. Oh, I can’t do nothing for you.
GM: Hey, that’s real man. I would say the same thing.
JF: It is but you know it’s true. It’s a privilege. [laugh] It’s one of those things that is unspoken but it’s known. And fathers, when we see each other in the street, we give that kind of wink. Like hey, you know that I know you got a full night of rest.
GM: [laugh] Ah man. That’s the gift and the curse of breastfeeding. But at the same time, you don’t get these moments forever. No one’s going to remember the sleepless nights, but you will remember being able to bond with the baby that way. However, when he’s crying, I’m waking up whether I want to or not. He lets the neighbors know that he’s hungry!
JF: [laugh] That is true. And, you’re not alone with an 11 month old still waking up. Our son had to have surgery a few weeks ago, and we got off schedule. We had a strict schedule: naptime 12-3, bedtime at 6:30, wake up between 7:00 and 8:00, and then we just keep doing that. But having that surgery kind of threw things off, and now he’s waking up more. You know, we’re making sure we comfort him after his surgery, so we feed him when he wakes. And now he’s kind of gotten used to getting fed at night again. So we’re trying to go back to a regular schedule now.
GM: Yeah. That’s got to be tough to get off schedule like that. I wish we even had a schedule. It’s more like the schedule is when he wants to go to sleep, he’ll sleep. When he wants to wake up, he’s up.
JF: Yeah. It’s a gift, you know, it’s definitely a blessing. We become compliant to the schedule a lot of times. Like if we want to go to the zoo or museum, hang out with friends, or go on a date, we have to go at certain times, you know, we just can’t go. But it’s definitely a benefit when the boys are asleep at 6:30 or 7:00.
GM: Man, I wish it could be 7, 6:30, man. I could come up with all sorts of plans.
JF: Yeah, my wife has been a trooper. I may not agree with all of the stuff she has us doing, but it always seems to work out for us in the end. Alright, here’s a fan question: do you think you could write a song about breastfeeding?
GM: [laugh] Man, I actually thought about that immediately afterwards, and I struggled with this. I fell into this breastfeeding thing by accident – do I really want to be the face of breastfeeding? Is that what I really want to do? Now, I don’t know about actually getting in the studio, but, we made a little parody of the whole whip-nay-nay song. [laugh] Every time, he’s crying, we say, “I want some milk, cause I’m the baby.” He’s like, “Oh, nurse me, nurse me! Nurse me, nurse me! Ooo, nurse me!” But that’s about as far as I got.
JF: That’s tight! Okay. You need to put that on YouTube, man. [laugh]
GM: I might. I might have to go into the studio and figure something out then.