There was a time when in the first fresh days and weeks of a baby’s life, a new mom would be surrounded by the women of her family and community. They would provide her support and guide her through breastfeeding and caring for her new child. Today, that is often not the case. A new mom may find herself without that sisterhood to draw upon. Breastfeeding support groups, lactation consultants and postpartum doulas provide valuable resources, but for day-to-day the support of dad or partner is critical in determining whether breastfeeding is successful.
TMC for Women Lactation Consultant Susan Dennis IBCLC, shares these ten tips to help dads and partners help the new mom in their lives.
Providing breastfeeding support to your partner
1. Before baby arrives attend a Breastfeeding Class with the expectant mom.
2. Tell the new Mom that she is doing a great job- encouragement is a key building block to success.
3. Help recognize when the baby is showing feeding cues and help give mom private time to feed without distractions from other visitors.
4. Place pillows under mom’s arms, back, legs to help support her in comfortable positions while feeding.
5. Watch how staff at the hospital or birth center help the baby start a feeding and do the same when mom needs help.
6. Hold baby skin to skin after feedings while mom takes a nap. This is a great bonding time for you and baby.
7. Bring water and snacks whenever mom feels hungry.
8. Be the mom’s sounding board when she feels frustrated. Sometimes she just needs to talk.
9. Burp baby, change diaper and cuddle baby in between feedings so you get a chance to know the baby.
10. Babies are only small for short time. When they cry they need to be held. This builds trust and later independence.
Know there are outside resources to help mama with breastfeeding, we provide outpatient consultations with certified lactation consultants as well as a weekly support group.
Pisacane, A., Continisio GI., Aldinucci, M., D’Amora, S., Continisio, P., A controlled trial of the father’s role in breastfeeding promotion Pediatrics. 2005 Oct;116(4):e494-8. [Accessed 6/13/2014]