To all the partners and supporters of a nursing parent: thank you! Thank you for looking into how you can help your partner in their breastfeeding journey. It is a lot of hard work to breastfeed, but having a strong support system can help to build a solid foundation for the entire family. The fact that you took the time to read this – and probably other resources – proves that you are already doing an amazing job as a supporting team player. Did you know that the number one predictor of breastfeeding success is partner support?
Let’s start with some basics. It’s important that you begin to try and understand the process your breastfeeding partner is going through. To begin, it isn’t easy – it’s natural, but not easy. Even for those with an adequate milk supply, feeding a child or multiple children from one’s body can be taxing. It can be even harder for those with supply, latching, and/or painful feeding problems. Luckily, there are resources available for your family (like us here at Metropolitan Breastfeeding!). Be sure to be by your breastfeeding partner’s side and absorb all the knowledge you can!
How to Help
Next, lets discuss more specific ways that you can help your partner in their journey:
- Know and fully understand their breastfeeding goals and why they chose those goals.
- Accompany them on their lactation informational visits.
- Assist with chores that they normally do. If they cook dinners, then take over that responsibility for them.
- Give them the gift of a doula or nanny to help when others are not able.
- Surprise them! Who doesn’t love a date night? Or some beautiful flowers?
- Get them all of their pumping and lactation supplies. The last thing on their mind will be running around to find out how to get a hospital-grade pump or insurance pump. Stop by Metropolitan Breastfeeding and we’ll set you up with everything you need to get started!
Signs to Look for
Your partner will probably only have their baby’s needs in mind and this could affect them in negative ways if they lose track of their own needs. Be sure to remind them when they aren’t eating with dinner already made or let them know they needs their rest by letting them sleep while you go settle the crying baby. Some things to look out for:
- Insomnia – Serious lack of sleep could be dangerous for both the nursing parent and baby, as it’s difficult to properly complete tasks.
- Overwhelmed/Panicked/Overly Anxious – This one is a bit trickier to point out. New parents are normally on high alert and on edge, but if you notice that your breastfeeding partner is overwhelmed to the point of shutting down, it is important that you reach out for professional help and advice.
- Over-sleeping/Lack of motivation- You guys are going to be tired and deserve every second of rest you can get. That being said, look out for if your partner not wanting to leave the bed and has a lack of motivation to get things done.
When mentioning any concerns, please be mindful of your partners stress and sensitivity levels. Do not place any blame onto them and be sure to vocalize that your concerns are based from love and supporting their goals. Ask a medical professional the best ways to help if you are still feeling uneasy or unsure on how to bring it up. There are plenty of family-based resources online and in person that are available. If you need assistance getting started, reach out to us for help!