29 year-old Salford rapper, Tim Cooke, is partner to Star Charissa and proud dad to 17 month-old Malachi. From beats to teats, we get the lowdown on daddy-hood from a man who’s done it.
How did you feel when you found out your partner was pregnant?
Fantastic, really excited. Then as it started to sink in I was like ‘Oh no, what have we done? I haven’t a clue what I’m doing!’ But the apprehension didn’t last long and now I’ve another on the way.
Did you talk about breastfeeding when she was pregnant?
I went to all the ante-natal classes and stuff. We talked about it a lot and it was obvious that it was the best thing for the baby. Charissa said that she really wanted to try her hardest to feed him, no matter how hard it was going to be. I just wanted to do everything I could to support her without pressuring her. I think some women feel they have to breastfeed no matter what.
What did you know about breastfeeding before Charissa got pregnant?
I knew it was better for the baby, but to be honest, as a bloke, I did think it was a bit weird at first. The thought of something sexual being for the baby. But I soon got used to it.
What’s it like being a dad?
Absolutely loving it! Sometimes I’ll be absolutely knackered and just need to sleep. But then just one look and one smile and it’s all worth it. The tiredness and sick and nappies are nothing compared with the joy of
having another human being that’s part of you. It’s a privilege and a blessing.
When did you decide to breastfeed?
About 6 months into the pregnancy.
Did it bother you that you couldn’t feed the baby?
A bit at first. But when he was about a couple of months old Charissa started to express milk into a bottle so I could feed him as well. It was nice to feel involved, a brilliant feeling to feed him and know it’s got all the right nutrients and isn’t just powder from a tin.
What advice would you give to other blokes who want to support their partners to breastfeed?
Learn to understand what she’s going through. Sacrifice your own sleep to make her a drink when she’s feeding in the middle of the night. As a bloke the main thing is to give the right encouragement. It’s no use saying it’s alright to give up when she’s in the middle of a really hard time. You’ve got to learn what to say, what not to say and when to say it.