Supporting your partner’s decision to breastfeed and giving her lots of encouragement especially in the early days is so important. Research has shown women are more likely to keep breastfeeding if they have a supportive partner.
We chatted to Ciara Butler, IBCLC, Vice President, Association of Lactation Consultants in Ireland to get her top tips on how your partner can get to use while his baby mama is feeding:
“Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed your baby, but it is still a skill that needs to be learned by mum and baby. Partner support during this steep learning curve is so important. So what can they do to help?
1. Go to a breastfeeding class
Many couples feel that these are for the breastfeeding mother only, but it is really helpful for partners to learn about breastfeeding. The information in these classes will prepare partners for some of the challenges that they might be faced with, and they are often the ones who remember more of the information, particularly in the early days.
2. Keep visitors to a minimum
After the baby is born, new mums can be overwhelmed with exhaustion. Visitors can add to this, so it’s the partner’s job to keep visitors at bay. Try to ensure there’s is quiet time and time for sleep. While the visitors are there, watch for the baby’s feeding cues, and if your partner is not comfortable feeding in front of them, just ask them to leave.
3. Household chores
Tending to household chores, keeping washing underway and shopping is very helpful; this allows your partner to focus on the baby. Also, ensure that there is healthy nutritious food ready for whenever she needs it.
If she is having any difficulties listen and support her. Be sure to know where to get help, and encourage her to do so. There is lots of breastfeeding support available i.e. PHN, La Leche League, Cuidui or an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant).
5. Bond with baby
Wear your baby in a sling, take them for a short walk to give your partner a rest, or just rock them in it. Partners can do skin-to-skin too – enjoy your new baby by lying him or her on your chest, reading to them or just soak baby all up!
6. Nappy changing
Changing your baby’s nappy is a great way to bond with him, in the early days newborns tend to cry a lot during nappy change, but this soon changes, and it becomes a big game for everyone involved.
7. Bath time
Bathing your baby is a wonderful thing to do together, after a few weeks you can bathe together, and this is always a special way to bond.
8. Be on-hand just after a feed (if you can)
Soothing cuddling and winding your baby after or between feeds gives the breastfeeder a break and allows for more cuddles from you.
Your new baby has so many needs; feeding is only one of them. Bonding comes from special time spent together from the beginning. Remember to praise your partner and the wonderful job she is doing, giving your baby the best possible start in life.
Got any tips to add? Let us know in the comments or send us a mail, editorial@HerFamily.ie.