5 Ways for Partners to Help with Breastfeeding
For women, it often seems more natural to assume the “Motherly” roll after having a baby. We have prepared for nine months, felt the baby move about, and nourished them until we got to stare into their beautiful little eyes after delivery. For partners, especially Dads, it can be a bit harder to form that bond. Men, in particular, are just not wired like Women. For the most part, their life doesn’t change that much. But as Mothers, we completely morph into a new being. A being that is constantly thinking, doing, and planning. It is exhausting! Be open with your partner, and be sure to make them aware of how you feel in those early days as a parent. It’s important to start this journey as a team, so you feel that you’re getting the support you need. Partners can (and should):
- Support Breastfeeding
- Understand the benefits
- Take care of Mom
- Help around the house
- Help get baby ready for feeds
When a Mom breastfeeds it seems that partners can’t offer much help. Sometimes this can cause the other parent to feel that they aren’t needed as much, or aren’t as big of a part in baby’s life quite yet. There are definitely things that can be done to change this feeling. The most important thing for a partner to do is to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding to support Mom. Breastmilk is wonderful for both Mom and Baby. It is easier to digest, promotes a good immune system, helps develop brain function, improves bonding, and helps Mom return to pre-pregnancy weight faster, just to name a few. Not to mention, it is free and readily available! Breastfeeding can be very difficult for some Moms starting out, so being a supportive partner to encourage her to keep going, and cheering her on is a great way to be there for her. New Moms need reassurance that they’re doing the right thing for their baby.
Take care of Mom by getting things for her while she’s feeding. Sometimes Moms will feel like they are doing nothing but feeding all day long, because it’s true. Ask her how to help, what she needs, and definitely bring her a drink and snack. Helping out around the house will help alleviate her anxieties about having to get other things done, and will allow her to just focus on feeding the baby. Yeah, we all know you’re tired too, but just do it. Mom will appreciate it so much.
Babies love skin to skin time with anyone, but Mom especially. Mom’s body temperature increases based on what baby needs, but Dads and partners can absolutely do skin to skin, or kangaroo care. This helps with bonding, and maintains baby’s heart rate, blood sugar, and temperature. Baby should be stripped down to just a diaper, and placed on the chest with their head turned to the side. Cover baby with a blanket, or two, depending on the temperature. Dads and partners can help Mom by getting baby ready for feedings, as well. Perhaps in those middle of the night feedings, Mom can stay in bed while the partner changes baby’s diaper and hands baby to Mom. After the feed you can burp baby, and get him or her back to bed, so Mom can try to get back to sleep.
Becoming a parent is a huge adjustment. All babies are different, and there is no true guidebook on what to do. It is important to just do what is best for baby during that moment, and try to make it easiest on both parents by communicating. Everyone needs sleep, and it is easy to become frustrated and overwhelmed. Just remember to support each other, and give each other breaks when caring for baby to be able to care for yourselves.
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Welcome! I’m Brittany. I’m a mom of two toddlers living in Northwest Ohio with my husband, Chris, and our two cats, Simon and Oliver. I’m a labor and delivery nurse, and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I love finding new ways that make parenting easier, while providing a fun learning atmosphere for my girls at the same time. In my blog you will find tips and tricks for dealing with pregnancy, labor, and parenthood. My favorite part about being a nurse (besides getting to welcome little miracles into the world, obviously) is being able to educate new Moms (and Dads) on how to care for their little ones at the very start. Parenthood is such a complex and exhausting journey that we need to have support from others who make us feel like we’re not alone. You are not alone here!