Years ago, more mothers and fathers expected to take on set roles after a baby's birth. Most often, dad went to work and mom stayed home with baby. Breastfeeding was the mother's job alone.
Today, dads tend to be more active in baby care and parenting. If your partner breastfeeds, you can still be an active parent. In fact, your help is vital in making breastfeeding work. Here are some of the many ways you can help with breastfeeding:
- Help her get comfortable. Be sure she has what she needs. Help her with pillows. Bring her something to drink. Does she need a stool for her feet?
- Check how baby is latched on. She may not have a good view from her angle. Offer to adjust her pillows. Help her relax.
- Help her get her sleep. Remind her to nap when baby sleeps during the day. Offer to do her chores so that she can rest. Help her get baby latched on at night while lying down so she can doze off. She needs rest to help her recover from birth.
- Run errands for her so that she can focus on baby.
- Spend time with older children to help her rest and relax with baby.
- Cook a meal. And shop to make sure she also has healthy snacks.
- Make sure she has help. Arrange for others to do these things for her when you can't be there.
- Protect her privacy. Limit visitors. Act as a buffer with those who don't support her. Be vocal about your support with others.
Talk and listen. Share thoughts and feelings. While your roles are changing, it is vital to talk. Be honest about good and bad feelings. Give respect even when feelings run high.
When mom is out and you care for your baby, you can give pumped mother's milk. In some families, dad stays home with baby while mother works outside the home. In this case, mother can breastfeed while home and pump her milk while away.
Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Consultant, Ameda Breastfeeding Products
Coauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers