Breastfeeding is undeniably amazing. And for moms, it can be the most enjoyable, heartwarming, frustrating, and even the hardest thing we have done, all at the same time. And yes, while it’s the mom’s job, moms everywhere wouldn’t mind a little bit of assistance from the baby-daddies for this task. So mommies here’s a list that you can *wink wink share to your partners on how they can support breastfeeding — aside from moral support, of course.
Protect mommy at the hospital.
Especially if this is your first child and mommy’s “privates” are not yet “publics” and she would like to get a good grasp of breastfeeding first and not mount a full-on “peep show.” Dads, be attentive to your wife’s needs during the first few days of breastfeeding since moms are still trying to get a good grasp of getting their new babies to latch while also trying to maintain the boob exposure to a minimum. This means you have to be prepared to say no to guests at the hospital or to herd them out when feeding time comes. To make things easier, you can discuss a hand signal beforehand about what you’ll do if you need to nurse and there are people in the room. At the same time, even if mom is comfortable to nurse even with people around, the hospital stay should be a quiet and relaxing time for the parents to bond with their newborn. So dads, take the lead and try to maintain a stress-free environment for the new mom and your new baby.
Indulge mommy a bit at home.
Once moms do get the hang of breastfeeding, one thing that they will appreciate is someone who will bring the items that might be out of reach for her. This could be a glass of water, her mobile phone, or even the TV remote or her book. Chances are, moms also don’t like acting like a queen (most of the time 😅) and would prefer to do stuff her way, but some things are simply hard to do when your baby’s latched on to your boob.
Ask mommy which side she’d like the baby on.
This might be the easiest and simplest way dads can help: if you’re holding the baby while mom is making herself comfortable, or if she asked you to “pass” the baby, ask her which side she’d like the baby on. Chances are, moms (and even babies) favor one side in breastfeeding. Knowing which side’s turn is it and presenting the baby to her on that side properly, will be a big help especially if mom is also wrangling with her milk letdowns.
Yes, we know that in breastfeeding, moms are entirely the lead during feeding times. But one way for dads to participate in feeding time and bond with the baby is to burp him. Plus, if your baby is a milk monster, burping might be too much for a tired mama who just came from an hour (or more) long of feeding.
Take care of night-time diaper changes.
Again, you might not be able to feed the baby through the night but that does not mean that dads get a free pass from late-night baby duty. You can share the night-shift duties with moms by taking care of the diaper changes. If you’re a heavy sleeper, please ask mom to wake you up if she needs you to change the diapers or even other things, such as fetching her a drink or even a snack. Helping out with the small stuff in the dead night will make mom less resentful compared to if you’re snoring peacefully while she’s awake with the baby.
Clean mommy’s pump stuff.
Pumping is HARD WORK. It can be stressful and exhausting and sometimes, just plain awful. So taking the initiative to clean those pump parts and even baby bottles — especially once she goes back to work can be a big help to a tired pumping mama.
Support mommy in any way you can.
This includes physical, mental, and emotional support. If relatives question your decision to breastfeed your baby, come to her defense and support her and don’t be the first one to criticize or question her (especially her supply!). Don’t be wasteful of her pumped milk, as chances are, she worked hard for it. And finally, be as supportive as you possibly can during her emotional moments (blame it on the hormones) — like when she goes back to work after maternity leave. Don’t chide her when she cries to you about missing your baby or laugh her off when she complains about pumping at the office. Instead, try to lift her spirits by doing video calls with her and the baby (if you’re with the baby while she’s at work) or printing a photo of your baby for her office desk to help her get through her sepanx.
Finally, moms, don’t hesitate to talk to your husbands/partners about the kind of help and support that you need. There’s no better way to conquer breastfeeding and all the other aspects of parenthood than by doing it together. Plus, dads want to help. Sometimes, all they need is a little nudge, or us moms telling them how.