As a partner, your participation in breastfeeding is so important. Studies show that the love and support of a partner can make all the difference in how successful and how long a woman breastfeeds. The longer your baby nurses, the greater the health benefits will be for him as well as for the mother of your child. By becoming a partner in breastfeeding, you are investing in the long term health and well being of your family. Here are some ways to encourage and support your breastfeeding partner.
Be Prepared: Prepare for breastfeeding by reading and learning all you can about it. Begin by weighing the pros and cons. Then, find out about the benefits of breastfeeding for babies, and the advantages of breastfeeding for mothers. Sign up for a breastfeeding class with your partner and go to the doctor with her. The more you know about breastfeeding, the more you will be able to help.
Be Supportive: Join your partner in the decision to breastfeed. Tell her that you want to help her and be a part of the experience with her. Your support and encouragement will give the new mom confidence which can make it easier for her and baby to get off to a good start with breastfeeding and continue to breastfeed for a longer period of time.
Be Available: If you can, take a vacation from work once your baby is born. Be at home to assist your partner as she adjusts to becoming a new mother with new responsibilities.
Be Helpful: Help your partner with the housework, cooking and older children. She may be tired and overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, and she will still be healing from the birth especially if she had a c-section. Know the phone numbers of the doctor, a lactation consultant and the local La Leche leader so you can call them if your wife or partner is in need of assistance or she is encountering some of the common problems of breastfeeding.
Be A Loving Parent: Bond with your new baby. Hold her while she sleeps, change her diapers, give her a bath and bring her to her mother when it's time for a feeding. Spending time with your baby allows you to enjoy her and build your own special relationship with her while giving your wife a chance to rest.
Be A Loving Partner: Tell your wife or partner that you love her. Give her affection and attention. Care for her while she nurses by helping her get into a comfortable position, and bringing her a glass of water or something to eat. Ask her if there is anything you can do for her.
American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. 2011.
Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Sixth Edition. Mosby. Philadelphia. 2005.