Hey guys. Let’s talk about the ways dads can help with breastfeeding. Would it surprise you to know that your role in breastfeeding can make a huge difference in the comfort and success of your partner? You may think that breastfeeding is all about mom and baby, but dad’s help can make a difference.
Supporting your partner isn’t just about telling her how good she’s doing or how much you appreciate her (though that’s certainly part of it!). It’s a set of actions that you can take to care for her sanity and contentment actively. So, let’s dig into how you can help!
How Dad Can Help with Breastfeeding
1. Bring the baby to her, even in the middle of the night
Between getting up, the actual act of breastfeeding, and swaying baby back to sleep, mom loses out on a lot of rest. You can help her sleep a couple more minutes by getting up when your baby needs to be fed and bringing the two together. This doesn’t always have to be in the middle of the night, though. Mom may have some setting up to do to get comfortable, so letting her get in position while you bring baby over can be a big help.
2. Deliver snacks and water
Breastfeeding consumes a lot of calories and makes mom hungry in the process. It also triggers the hypothalamus to tell her brain she’s super thirsty. You might think she’ll get in the habit of setting up a drink and snack before nursing, but more often than not, it’s the furthest thing from her mind. And once baby latches, she’s not moving ’til that little belly is full. You can help by bringing her water and a snack shortly after she settles in.
3. Set up a breastfeeding space
Whether you can provide your partner with a dedicated space for breastfeeding or a quiet place in the bedroom or living area, she’ll need a few things besides snacks. The boppy pillow, additional pillows for back support, cold packs, the pump, and breastmilk storage bags all are items you can prep in her favorite place to sit. If you don’t have any little ones to distract, stay close in case she needs you to help adjust pillows. Latching can be a difficult process. Once baby latches, having you there will let her know she won’t want to have to stop breastfeeding to deal with the pain in her back.
4. Engage the older children
Want to be a real hero? Keep the older children from interrupting mom and baby as breastfeeding is happening. It always seems like someone wants something right as mom sits down, and that doesn’t stop when she’s breastfeeding. So, if you have other young children, distract them with playtime, take them outside, or get out the crayons. You don’t have to wear a cape to be her biggest hero. You just have to keep the other kids busy.
5. Clean the breast pump
Breastfeeding isn’t the only time when your partner needs your support. When she pumps, the rules are the same. And when she’s done pumping, she has to clean the pump. But chances are there are also many other things she needs to do after sitting for 20–30 minutes pumping. Take one of those tasks off of her by washing the pump and its accessories.
6. Let mom decide when she’s done
“Mother knows best” isn’t just a Disney song—it’s also true in breastfeeding. Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t work out as planned, there are complications, or she just knows it’s time to stop. Whether she wants to switch baby to the bottle or decides one year is enough, when she says it’s time, don’t seed doubt in her mind. Listen to her, run the pros and cons with her if she asks you to, but ultimately, let your partner make that decision and tell her how proud you are of how far she got.