If your partner is breastfeeding, there are some helpful and supportive things you can do to help make their journey more manageable and even last longer.
Parenthood brings along new responsibilities for new parents. While breastfeeding is a unique experience for mothers, it should be a family affair.
Fathers and partners play a crucial role in supporting their partner’s breastfeeding goals by offering teamwork, understanding, patience, and encouragement.
How a new dad or partner can support breastfeeding
New dads can make a significant difference in promoting successful breastfeeding. Here is how new dads can actively explore various ways to participate and support their partners on a breastfeeding journey.
- Educate yourself
- Be her emotional support
- Make sure she eats and drinks enough
- Assist with positioning and latching
- Take over more parenting duties
- Get help from a professional
1. Educate yourself
Understanding the benefits of breastfeeding and the challenges that arise is essential for new dads. Please educate yourself on the advantages of breastfeeding, like how it helps protect babies against short and long-term diseases and illnesses. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of asthma, obesity, and other complications.
It can also promote bonding between the mother and baby.
You should try to familiarize yourself with everyday challenges, including engorgement, the warning signs of mastitis, sore nipples, and low milk supply.
By learning alongside your partner, you can empathize with her experiences and be better prepared to offer support when needed.
2. Be her emotional support
Breastfeeding not only causes your partner to face physical challenges but emotional ones too. As a new dad, your support and understanding is crucial. Create a safe space for your partner to express her feelings and concerns about breastfeeding.
Offer her words of encouragement and reassurance when things get complicated.
Let her know that you and the baby appreciate her efforts and are there to comfort her throughout the journey. Your emotional support will make her feel safe and motivate her to build confidence as a breastfeeding mother.
3. Make sure she eats and drinks enough
A healthy lifestyle can positively impact breastfeeding success. You can encourage this by helping your partner and ensuring she eats a nutrient-dense, nourishing diet, ideally cooked and prepared by you.
Along with diet, she must stay hydrated and get enough rest too. You can also stock the house with healthy breastfeeding-friendly snacks and remind her to drink water regularly.
Ideally, when she sits down to breastfeed or nurse the baby, bring a water bottle and a high-protein snack for her to eat while feeding.
Additionally, take on your fair share (and more!) of household chores and baby care tasks so she has time to rest and care for herself. Encouraging her to take time for self-care can contribute to her overall well-being and breastfeeding journey.
4. Assist with positioning and latching
Proper positioning and latching are crucial for successful breastfeeding. Learn about different breastfeeding positions and techniques and assist your partner in finding which one is most comfortable.
Offer gentle guidance and help ensure the baby is properly latched onto the mother.
Pay attention to cues from the baby or partner and see where you can offer support during feedings. Your partner will appreciate you actively participating in aspects and help create a more comfortable and efficient feeding time.
5. Take over more parenting duties
It is essential to understand that the mother to your child will be busy trying to feed the baby more often than not. Breastfeeding is time-consuming, and you might need to take over more roles.
Take over things like diaper changes, bathing, and burping. You can even comfort the baby after it is done with feedings.
This will allow your partner to get some much-needed rest and take some stress off of her back. When you start doing these tasks, you will become an essential part of the overall care routine and alleviate your partner’s pressure.
Taking responsibility and stepping up in need will help your partner realize how much you care and want to help. Doing everything you can during this time shows you endless love and support for her.
Having each other’s back is vital in a new stage of life and shows you are willing to do anything to make things easier for her.
6. Get help from professionals
In certain situations, your partner can face challenges in concerns that are out of your control. Encourage her to seek professional help and support when scheduling appointments with someone as a lactating consultant or attending breastfeeding support groups.
Attend sessions with her to show her your solidarity and to gain a better understanding of suggested techniques. Remind her that seeking assistance is a sign of strength and dedication to the well-being of your baby and partner.
Your support matters to a breastfeeding parent
Your active involvement and support can make a significant difference in helping your partner achieve their breastfeeding goals and, more importantly, feel supported by you in this journey.
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Beth, the Managing Editor and content manager at Body+Mind, is well-respected in the nutrition, parenting, mental health and fitness spaces. In her spare time, Beth enjoys cooking and trying out new exercise routines. Subscribe to Body+Mind for more posts by Beth Rush!