Supporting a breastfeeding partner

Supporting a Breastfeeding Partner 

By: Melody Mantil PHN

Having a new baby at home is an exciting, but busy time. There are many new things to get used to. As a partner of a breastfeeding mom, you may wonder how you can support her while also developing a special bond with your baby.

Just being there for support and encouragement is important for the success of breastfeeding. While you are not the one doing the breastfeeding, there is an important role for you to play for your partner and your baby.

Support at the beginning is so valuable. Both mother and baby are learning to breastfeed. Also, the baby will be feeding often. This means that much of your partner's time will be spent with the baby. In the first few weeks, the baby will be feeding at least 8 times in 24 hours. Feeding more often than that is normal. And, you know that what goes in....must come out, so there will be lots of diaper changes as well!

Here are some things you can do to support your partner and spend time with the baby:

  • Change the baby's diaper before you bring him or her to mom and again after if it's needed.
  • Help out with night time feeds by letting your partner get ready to breastfeed. Bring the baby to her.
  • Offer to burp the baby after feeding.
  • Encourage your partner. Help her to make sure the baby is positioned and latched well.
  • Help count those diapers. Keep track of the baby's output in the first few days so you can both be reassured that breastfeeding is going well.
  • Enjoy your special time and relationship with the baby when you wake, change, bathe, put to bed, burp and soothe him or her. This time with the baby helps build your bond.
  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin to comfort your baby and also build your bond.
  • Help your partner get the things she needs like drinks of water, snacks, rest, showers, company, and some hugs and kisses.
  • Mom is encouraged to sleep when the baby sleeps so this is a great time for you to help run errands, cook, clean, listen for baby to wake up...and get your own rest too!
  • Communicate. Be there to talk and listen to mom. Offer social support and get social support for yourself as well. Talk to others who have had babies or are going through the same things.

A partner's support plays such an important role in helping to get breastfeeding off to a good start. By taking care of mom and baby, and helping out where help is needed, you will give mom more time to breastfeed. Supporting your partner is not only great for your relationship but also for the baby.

What else can you do? Learn about breastfeeding in the early weeks, Frequently Asked Questions about Breastfeeding, as well as what breastfeeding resources are available in Ottawa. 

Being a knowledge source is such a great help to mom and baby. This helps you problem solve with your partner and understand what she and the baby are going through during this time and what they need!

Even if you can't quite solve the problem, knowing where extra breastfeeding support is available will be a big help. There are baby express and breastfeeding drop-ins in Ottawa where you can go for information and extra support. 

For more information visit 24Hr Crib-side assistance and Ottawa Public Health.

Do you have more questions?

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