How Dad, Partner and Family Can Support Breastfeeding Mom
Although written for fathers, this article is intended for anyone who is a support to the new mom. Husbands, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends and family members are all included.
You have attended breastfeeding classes, interviewed pediatricians and maybe even read a book or two about breastfeeding. Now the baby is here! What can you do to contribute to breastfeeding success? Here are some ideas to help you support your partner.
- Continue to let her know that she is doing a great job. Acknowledge that she is uniquely qualified to breastfeed her baby.
- Make sure she gets enough rest! Remind her that she is recovering from birth (and surgery if she’s had a c-section), she is not getting a full night’s sleep and she is making milk for another human being. An excellent guideline is “sleep when the baby sleeps.”
- Make sure YOU get enough rest! (See guideline above.) You won’t be much help if you’re exhausted.
- If she’s having a hard day, listen! Remind her that there will be bumps along the way. Remind her of the reasons that she chose breastfeeding. Ask her what she needs from you. She probably doesn’t want you to tell her to quit breastfeeding.
- Limit visitors to 15 minutes or so. One visit per day.
- Encourage her to stay in her jammies. Visitors won’t linger if mom isn’t dressed for entertaining.
- Give her shoulder or foot rubs.
- Ask her if there is anything that is driving her crazy or making her feel stressed – then fix it.
- Make sure she is physically supported when breastfeeding with pillows, etc.
- If she meets with a lactation consultant for breastfeeding help, attend the meeting with her. Ask questions. Take notes.
- Bring her a nutritious snack or meal every few hours. You know what she likes. No need to ask a lot of questions.
- If you haven’t already done so, arrange for meals from friends every other day or so for a few weeks.
- Tell her she is beautiful and amazing.
Remember how important you are as the protector of this mother/baby unit!