Becoming a parent changes your life in all the expected ways and about a million unexpected ways, too. So I always appreciate when new parents open up and share the reality of their journeys on social media. And that's just what Muhammed Nitoto is doing.
Muhammed lives in Los Angeles with his wife Hejira Thompson and their two adorable daughters, Zendaya and Zuri Lily. He's fairly new at this dad thing, but he's already hyperaware of all the ways fatherhood has and will continue to transform his life and his relationship with his wife. Muhammed chronicles his adventures in parenting and shares what he learns on Facebook and his Instagram page, @chroniclesofdaddy.
Muhammed recently took to Facebook to share what he's learned about breastfeeding, what his role in that process is as a father, and how dads can be there for their wives who are going through this tough process.
Breastfeeding isn't easy. Between the social stigma around it, the social pressure to do it, and the actual physical toll it can take on your body, it's probably low-key one of the toughest things about being a new parent that few people — especially dads — really talk about. Muhammed felt it was important for him to talk about breastfeeding in the context of what dads can do for their partners who are actually doing it.
On Facebook, he explained that when one parent is breastfeeding, in this case, his wife, it can be hard to come up with things that the non-breastfeeding partner can do to help. With that in mind, Muhammed shared his top five tips for any dad in the first few months after their kid is born.
"1. For night feedings. When mom wakes up in the middle of the night. you get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far.
"2. Ask mom if she can pump and then pick one feeding that you will always do. Mom will take on almost everything and will burn herself out if you let her. At times you may have to force her to rest without worrying about the baby. This is an easy way to do that without a fight.
"3. Don't put a time limit on how long mom breastfeed the baby. It's not just about feeding your child, it's about them bonding as well. I know everyone has a different length of time they will breastfeed and as a Dad it's hard to fully understand. Do not I repeat DO NOT try and rush this process. It's not our place and it's not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can't win.
"4. Be patient. I know as a Dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and yet not as important yet. Your time will come faster than you know. Babies grow fast and the stronger and bigger they get the more Daddy Time will be coming your way.
"5. Paternity leave! If you have it TAKE IT. The early stages of a child's life are not just for moms to enjoy. I know as men making the money especially after having a baby but trust me. You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn't make you more of a man to not take the leave. It's equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child."
As much as parenting should be an equal partnership, every parent is going to have a unique role in the upbringing of their child. These are the things that Muhammed has learned about his role at this time as a dad with a wife who's breastfeeding. It's not going to be exactly the same for every family, but generally, these are great tips to know.
Anyone who's in a relationship knows that it is a constant give and take. Sometimes, one partner will need more support, and then that dynamic will shift and change. That happens whether or not you have children, but kids just amplify all those feelings.
There seem to be countless resources for new moms and so much social media dedicated to helping women grow into their roles as parents, but unfortunately, the same can't be said for dads. Muhammed is helping to change that, to open up the conversation, and to not be afraid to show just how much becoming a father can upend your world.
On Facebook and Instagram, Muhammed shares all the ups and downs of what it's like to be a dad, from what it's like to no longer have any personal space to what changed in his relationship with his wife and how to fight for the people you love...even when you don't like them sometimes. Here's to more dads sharing their unfiltered parenting realities!