I know that a mom is much more likely to continue breastfeeding when she has a supportive partner from things I have learned and read. As mentioned in my course, mamas are four times more likely to continue breastfeeding when they leave the hospital if they have a supportive partner.
Support is key to breastfeeding, especially when it is someone so close.
My goal is to help educate as many moms and dads as possible through my course and posts like this one. I highly recommend a prenatal breastfeeding course for both mom and dad to learn more about breastfeeding, what to expect, and how to help.
Let’s start with ten ways that a partner can assist the mom best in breastfeeding. Assisting moms in these ways can help them feel more involved in your baby’s care while also helping give mama some time to rest and take care of herself.
1. Skin-to-skin with baby
Let’s start with an easy one. Skin-to-skin gives mom a break and dad an opportunity to bond with the baby. Skin-to-skin with dad is proven to calm babies and help them cry less. It’s a win for everyone.
2. Burp the baby
Infants require burping after feedings. By taking over on burping, you’re helping your partner gain some time to take care of her own needs, whatever they may be. New moms are always busy: pumping after a feeding, quickly eating, sneaking in a shower, tending to other children, just to name a few.
3. Change diapers
Changing diapers can feel like a necessary blur in those first few weeks. Babies seem to need to be changed continuously. That said, this is where dad can make a difference. After burping the baby, most routines require a change before, during, or after a feeding. Changing a diaper can genuinely save the mama some time.
4. Implement Babywearing
There are plenty of ways to babywear: wrap, sling, carrier, or pouch are the ones that you’d typically use for an infant. By babywearing, you take physical responsibility for the baby, freeing mom up for, once again, time to take care of herself. If she takes care of herself by sleeping or eating, she’s likely to have a better milk supply, leading us to our next point.
5. Take care of her
Moms often forget to take care of themselves in those first few weeks. Take care of her by bringing her meals and snacks when she’s feeding or whenever you go to feed yourself. Mamas need up to 500 extra calories per day when breastfeeding. Help her keep a full water bottle while she feeds, as well. Keeping her fed and hydrated will help keep her healthy overall and maintain a healthy breastmilk supply.
6. Do some extra housekeeping
If you literally want to carry some of the load, do a load of laundry–get it? Housekeeping quickly falls to the back of the priority list when you are responsible for being a tiny human’s only food source. By assisting with housekeeping (and yes, laundry), that’s one less thing for mom to worry about.
7. Setting up extra help
If you have other children, plan to help with them more than you typically would, and if it’s in the budget, set up extra help. This help can be with children, bringing in takeout, hiring a maid, etc. Additional support can make a huge difference.
8. Cleaning pump and breastfeeding supplies
If pumping is part of your partner’s breastfeeding routine, you’ll quickly find that dishes pile up even faster. Nipple shields, if used, also need to be frequently cleaned. The most difficult of all, spit-up is a genuine struggle, and her breastfeeding pillows may need to be changed more often than you think.
9. Advocating for your partner
Limit visitors. Too many visitors can be overwhelming for a new mama, especially when trying to figure out her new breastfeeding routine. When out, help her find places that she can comfortably feed baby, and if that is anywhere and everywhere, advocate for her right to feed your baby.
10. Be patient
Breastfeeding isn’t forever, and it can be a complicated part of motherhood to figure out. Patience is possibly the kindest gift you can give to your partner in this season of life.
No matter how you choose to assist your partner, having a conversation about, it is a significant first step. By helping your partner, you’re going to make a massive difference in her breastfeeding journey, likely enabling her to breastfeed longer and more successfully, and that’s something to feel good about.