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Feeding 102: How Can I Support My Partner With Breastfeeding?

babyhood May 11, 2023
Mother and father holding their baby for breast feeding and support.

Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to nourish your baby and bond with your partner. But it’s not always easy or comfortable for new moms. They may face challenges such as sore nipples, low milk supply, mastitis, or engorgement. That’s why they need your support and encouragement as a dad.

But how can you support your partner with breastfeeding? What can you do to make her life easier and happier? In this article, we’ll share some practical tips and ideas for dads who want to help their partners with breastfeeding. Whether you’re a first-time dad or a seasoned pro, you’ll find something useful here.

Why Breastfeeding Support Matters

Breastfeeding support is not only good for your partner and your baby, but also for you. Here are some of the benefits of supporting your partner with breastfeeding:

  • It can improve your partner’s physical and mental health. Breastfeeding can lower the risk of postpartum depression, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and type 2 diabetes for your partner. It can also help her lose weight and recover faster from childbirth. By supporting her with breastfeeding, you can help her feel more confident, relaxed, and happy.
  • It can strengthen your relationship with your partner. Breastfeeding can be a stressful and emotional experience for some moms. They may feel insecure, frustrated, or overwhelmed by the demands of nursing. By being supportive, understanding, and compassionate, you can show your partner that you care about her and appreciate her efforts. You can also share some intimate moments with her while she’s breastfeeding, such as cuddling, kissing, or talking.
  • It can enhance your bond with your baby. Breastfeeding is not only a mom’s job. You can also be involved in feeding your baby by holding him or her close to your chest, making eye contact, singing, or reading. You can also take over some of the other tasks related to feeding, such as burping, changing diapers, or putting the baby to sleep. These activities can help you develop a strong attachment with your baby and learn his or her cues and preferences.

How to Support Your Partner With Breastfeeding

Now that you know why breastfeeding support is important, let’s look at some of the ways you can support your partner with breastfeeding. Here are some suggestions:

  • Handle any house responsibilities you can- especially during the first couple weeks when mom and baby are learning to breastfeed
    • Dishes
    • Laundry
    • Cooking
    • Cleaning
    • Shopping
    • Paying bills
    • Taking care of pets or older children
  • Refill her water bottle- breastfeeding requires mom to be super hydrated. Keeping that water bottle full will be super helpful
  • Bring her things she needs while she’s feeding or pumping- you can’t really get up and move around while breastfeeding.
    • Breastfeeding pillow
    • Snacks
    • Water Bottle
    • Burp Cloths
    • Her phone/phone charger
    • TV Remote
    • Blanket
  • Wash pump parts and bottles
  • Store any pumped breastmilk
  • Burp the baby when possible
  • Handle as many diaper changes as you can
  • Give encouragement and validation. “I’m so in awe of how hard you’re working for this. You’re an incredible parent. I’m so sorry that this is so hard on you.”
  • Wake-Up with her at night when she’s struggling- nighttime feedings are lonely
  • Stand up for your efforts to breastfeed to others if family or friends are less than supportive
  • Listen when they need to talk or vent
  • Be willing to get support if needed- lactation consultants can be pricey, but a few visits is the same as a few months of formula.
  • If she wants, go to lactation appointments with her. When appropriate, take an active role in the appointments by taking notes on everything the lactation consultant suggests.
  • Be willing to go to the store for any breastfeeding items that might be helpful.

Final Thoughts

Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift for your baby and your partner. But it’s also a challenging and demanding task that requires your support and involvement. By following the tips above, you can make a positive difference in your partner’s breastfeeding journey and enjoy the benefits of being a supportive dad.

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