It’s June and you know what that means? Father’s Day is right around the corner – June 20th to be exact! To celebrate all the dads and partners out there, I’m going to spend the month highlighting some topics that pertain to dads, co-parents, and partners including tips, resources, and more. Today, I’m starting with this one – 31 ways to offer breastfeeding support to your partner.
It’s as simple as it sounds – if your partner, wife, or spouse recently gave birth and they’re breastfeeding – they need your support! That’s right. Breastfeeding is hard and they could use you now more than ever.
Let’s jump right in, here are 31 ways to offer breastfeeding support to your partner:
- Be supportive! It’s hard and they need you to be a cheerleader
- Educate yourself about breastfeeding so you know how to help (take one of my breastfeeding classes!)
- Be proud of your team’s decision to breastfeed – it’s a huge accomplishment!
- Bring them water as they breastfeed
- Make them food or bring snacks as they feed the baby
- Keep the older kids busy while they breastfeed
- Help make them comfortable with pillows and the remote
- Encourage your partner when they get tired
- Do the dishes, laundry, and extra chores while your partner feeds the baby
- Help them continue the breastfeeding schedule around friends and visitors by setting boundaries and advocating for them
- Listen (and validate) their struggles and worries about breastfeeding
- For the middle of the night feeds, help by changing diapers or bringing the baby to the breastfeeding person to help them get as much sleep as possible
- Change diapers before or after breastfeeding so its one less thing the breastfeeding person has to do
- Don’t suggest formula unless the breastfeeding person brings it up
- If the breastfeeding person is pumping, help by cleaning the parts, freezing milk, and so forth
- Give them company – breastfeeding can be time-consuming and lonely, make sure they are feeling supported and included – no one should have to isolate themselves from everyone else to feed a baby
- If the breastfeeding person is pumping and the baby is ready for a bottle, take some feeding shifts so the breastfeeding person can rest and sleep
- Outsource or hire a postpartum doula. Having help saves you and your partner time and energy.
- Don’t wait until your partner is exhausted to help. Look around and see what can be done around the house or for your co-parent. Take initiative and don’t wait for them to direct you.
- Don’t be weird about breastmilk, boobs, or breastfeeding. This isn’t junior high – it’s a wonderful gift your partner is giving your baby. Treat it as such. Normalize it!
- Do the burping! After the babe is fed, take over and handle all the burping so your partner can get a break
- Be the bouncer! If your baby is fed, the diaper is changed, but the baby is still fussy – he or she may just need some good ‘ole bouncing. It’s your turn.
- Ask your partner what they need to feel supported. Sometimes breastfeeding people get stuck under the babies. Ask if you can do or bring her anything. And this way your support is actually supportive.
- Set goals with your partner and encourage them to meet those goals. Do what you can to help make the goals a success
- Watch others! If you know a great co-parent, watch and learn how they support their breastfeeding spouses.
- Talk positively about breastfeeding to your friends and colleagues. Normalize supporting your partner’s work and dedication to your child to positively influence other families.
- Take a class if you’re feeling overwhelmed and intimated by breastfeeding
- Tell your partner you notice their hard work. We all appreciate being appreciated. Make sure you communicate your appreciation.
- Bring your partner surprise treats during breastfeeding sessions – go beyond food and water.
- Rub your partner’s back and neck after breastfeeding sessions to reduce the tension
- Ask for help! If you and your partner are struggling, don’t be afraid to bring in a professional (call me!)
But most of all, don’t just sit there! Birthing a human and then breastfeeding is real work. Make sure you’re putting in just as much effort by cleaning, anticipating your partner’s needs, doing chores, and helping with your older children.
Your partner will thank you and it will make the postpartum period happier for both of you.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here for you and your partner and I’m happy to help.