How to support your breastfeeding partner
It can be one of the most difficult things about new motherhood and while the responsibility of breastfeeding falls pretty much solely on moms, there are plenty of things a breastfeeding partner can do to make the journey easier and smoother. From helping out around the house to educating yourself on the process, here are our top tips for making mama’s breastfeeding journey a little easier.
Preparing for the baby
If you’re reading this, that probably means you’re an organized type who’s decided ahead of time that you want to help with the breastfeeding process as much as possible. We stan an organized partner. It also means you won’t be too shell-shocked when the baby arrives and can prepare for what’s in store for you and mom. Here are our suggestions for supporting your partner before the baby arrives.
Educate yourself – treat it like a school project and aim to find out everything you can about breastfeeding. We're looking for A*s here fellas. Having knowledge of some of the more detailed aspects of breastfeeding is going to be so beneficial and will mean you’ll know as much about breastfeeding as you can to keep up with your partner. Knowledge is power guys. So get Googling.
Don't bunk off classes – while breastfeeding classes might be aimed at women, that doesn't give you an excuse to bunk off. We want you on the front row of every lesson, taking in all the information you can.
Help out wherever you can – being pregnant is tough (understatement alert) so if you can help out with anything at all, your partner will be grateful. Although don't expect to be showered with thankyous for doing the bare minimum – you went to the shop for them, YAY. You should know quite a lot about breastfeeding by now, so help out by listing all the breastfeeding supplies they need. You can also help them plan what breastfeeding goals they’re looking to hit, which will be a good way to get an idea of where mama’s head is at and what she’s aiming for.
At the hospital or birthing location
This is when the fun really begins. Usually, within an hour of birth, your partner will be handed their baby and encouraged to breastfeed. But don't just stand there like a lemon. Here are some simple things that can help your partner and also give you purpose as a brand new parent.
Take charge – when you arrive at the hospital, let the staff know that you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby after birth. That way the staff will know and can provide any assistance if required, and there’s one less thing your partner has to worry about.
Be supportive – saying giving birth is hard is a bit like saying climbing Everest is hard. Well duh. But while your partner is going through probably the toughest experience of their lives, make sure to support them in any way you can. Give them encouragement and moral support whilst making sure you tend to any needs they have.
Communicate when mom can't – if your partner is having any issues with breastfeeding the baby, speak to the staff for her. She's probably not going to be feeling very diplomatic right now, so try and communicate her thoughts and feelings for her.
Skin to skin – while mom rests and gets some much-needed sleep, have some skin-to-skin time with your little one. It's bonding 101.
Back at home and beyond
Don't freak out, but it's time to take your baby home. You have a whole new life to be responsible for, so step up and support your partner whilst they breastfeed. From encouraging words to cleaning the toilet (we never said this was going to be glamorous), let’s talk about how you can help out.
Be their cheerleader – you probably have a newfound respect for your partner after seeing her go through childbirth, so make sure you let her know how amazing you think she is. While the baby will be the focus of everyone's attention, be sure to give her words of encouragement on the daily. She's awesome and deserves to know.
Try and let her rest – instead of encouraging a queue of friends and family to come and meet the baby the week that it's born, give her time to bond with just you and the little one. If she wants you to, answer texts and calls for her and don't let visitors come round if she's not feeling up to it.
Do all the chores – OK, maybe not all of them, but please, do as many as you can. Do the washing, clean up any poo-splosions, and tidy up after her. Even putting things away while she breastfeeds can be a massive help.
It's 50/50 – Outside of breastfeeding, everything to do with your baby can be split 50/50. You can spend skin-on-skin time with them, bathe, change their nappies, dress, and burp them. Oh, and while she's breastfeeding, don't ignore her.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to support your partner during their breastfeeding journey. Just because you can’t breastfeed your baby yourself, that doesn’t mean that you can’t help your partner with the job and make their life as easy as possible.