10 Ways Partners Can Help With Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is one of those areas that leave partners feeling incompetent and confused on how to help. And sometimes, moms feel confused about what kind of help to ask for in regards to breastfeeding. Hopefully these tips offer some fresh ideas to make breastfeeding go more smoothly.
10. Change/burp the baby in between feedings
While they may not seem like the most appealing job, stepping in here can be beneficial to all involved. While mom gets a few minutes to go to the bathroom and replenish herself, you and baby have the opportunity to bond.
9. Bring mom a snack/drink while nursing
As you may know, there is no time limit on how long your baby might nurse. This may leave mom with little time to seek refreshments. Bringing it to her might seem insignificant but, I promise, it's not. You are essentially providing her nourishment to keep her energy levels up.
8. Help around the house
Day to day tasks will not tackle themselves. With the unpredictability of your baby's feeding schedule, it can become difficult to get everything done. (especially with other children in the home) Loading the dishwasher and switching out the laundry here and there can relieve a little stress.
7. Help mom find comfortable position to nurse in
Because of the long stretches mom will be feeding, having a comfortable (and productive) position to sit or lay in is imperative. She might not be able to get that pillow behind her back just right She may have just started nursing and forgot to gather the things necessary to make it enjoyable for her too.
6. Offer mom a massage during/after long feedings
You don't need to be a licensed massage therapist to help out here. Nursing for long periods of time can be emotionally and physically stressful, especially when positions are limited. Rubbing any sore areas while/after baby is eating can make it a little easier to endure those stretches. Less stress can result in a more positive breastfeeding relationship.
5. Rock baby to sleep
While it may be easier to let baby fall asleep at the breast, it's not ideal for every family. Maternity leave does not usually last long enough in the United States and some families miss that additional income. Along with its practicality, it is also a prime opportunity to bond with your baby.
4. Apply baby to breast for nighttime feedings
Commonly, nighttime feedings is one of the main things that leave partners feeling lost on how to help. It's not surprising when 9 times out of 10 baby is searching for the breast. If you wake to a hungry baby first, you could check their diaper and bring them to mom's breast. Uninterrupted sleep might show you a whole new woman!
3. Lots of encouragement in the first 40 days
The first 40 days of breastfeeding tends to be the most intense and trying time of the relationship. It's not always for every mom but, to others, it is a constant struggle. There always feels like an obstacle to overcome. Compassion and positive encouragement may be the very thing that keeps her going.
2. Take breastfeeding class with mom
When her breastfeeding class comes around, there are a couple different reasons you might join her. First and foremost, education. While you are not doing the feeding, it is beneficial to know and understand what she's going through. When there are concerns with the relationship, she can troubleshoot with you and you can help find a solution. In result, attending the class, will show how your support for her.
1. Support mom's breastfeeding goals
Not all breastfeeding goals are the same and the combinations are prolific, but that could be an article by itself. Long term or short, exclusive or not; support them. Education can only make so much of an impact without a good support system. Mom's biggest supporter should be her partner. When she is unsure about how it's going or an outspoken friend/family member questions her choices, be there.