Breastfeeding can be challenging, but you can make it easier for both Mom and Baby.
Dear Dad, congratulations on becoming a father!
Taking care of your newborn baby will be difficult, but it will also be the most rewarding and memorable experience of your life. This is the perfect time to bond with your partner and your newborn while you learn and navigate the challenges and joys of parenthood.
While you may not be able to help with the actual breastfeeding process (even if you wanted to!), there are several things that you can do to help your partner during the breastfeeding phase. Mom has the food supply under control, but you can help out with so much more. Let us elaborate!
During this challenging time, what your partner needs the most is your love and support. She is most likely sleep-deprived and physically exhausted after all, she has gone through a lot over the last nine months - physically, mentally and emotionally.
The decision to breastfeed is not one taken lightly. There is much for her to learn and figure out as she goes, so make sure that you support her decision by being as involved as possible. Have ears that are ready to listen, arms ready to embrace, and words ready with encouragement and praise.
Make Her Comfortable
Breastfeeding can be exhausting for a new mom, particularly in the early days. You can make things easier by ensuring that your partner is comfortable.
This could mean positioning a nursing pillow, fetching something she forgot as soon as she sat down to nurse, or running her a relaxing, warm bath for when the feeding session is over. It could also help to dim the lights and put on some favorite music.
Babies don’t care where they are when they are hungry – they want to eat and they want to eat NOW! For times when the new mom needs to nurse in public, this beautiful Muslin Nursing Cover allows for mom and baby bonding while maintaining privacy and comfort.
Offer to make dinner, or bring her a snack - breastfeeding moms need to consume more calories for baby’s benefit (eating for 2 is still relevant during breastfeeding) and to stay hydrated at all times because the breastfeeding mom loses more fluid than the average person.
Research and Tackle Problems Together
Educate yourself about breastfeeding. There may be several questions that you both have, especially if it is your first time as parents. You may want to know things like how your partner can deal with sore nipples, how long baby should be feeding, how to increase milk supply, or how to know when baby is hungry. Make a note of the questions you both have and actively try to get the answers to those questions from her healthcare provider or lactation consultant.
Perform the ‘Baby Duties’
Babies are a lot of work. There are many tasks that those tiny, adorable human beings create. Feeding, winding, changing and settling for sleep (to name but a few). Your partner could use an extra pair of hands to allow her to eat, rest and bathe. Make sure that both of you take regular breaks to refresh yourself and work as a team because that’s what you are.
You can also be a big help by taking care of household duties or non-baby-related tasks, such as grocery shopping, a laundry load or two, or unloading the dishwasher. When you take this workload off her shoulders, she has more time to focus on baby and get that much-needed rest. This will not only benefit Mom and baby, but a well-cared-for mom will be happier and that will benefit everyone.
Above all, remember to enjoy this beautiful and intimate family time with your partner and newborn. It will be difficult, but the time goes by so fast. The bonds you are creating, the love and respect you are showing will be remembered and evident in the relationships you share with your loved ones and that will last for a lifetime.