Parenting is hard work, and when a new infant takes over your home, it’s all hands on deck. When your partner is breastfeeding, you must provide lactating support. Everyone knows that breastmilk is best for your infant, but the process of feeding them is pretty overwhelming. The new parents will have many long sleepless nights, and your home will turn into baby central.
As the partner of a lactating new parent, there are many things that you can do to help. So you can’t physically feed the baby. That’s okay! Your partner will still appreciate your assistance. Don’t just assume she’s got this because she appears to have everything under control.
You must remember that hormones are often all over the place from giving birth, and she’s trying to adjust to this breastfeeding experience. Sometimes, her breasts are sore, or she may develop things like mastitis or cracked nipples. Your loving support and assistance are precious to your partner, and those with such aid will fare much better than those who lack this help.
Tips to Support Your Lactating Partner
Being a new parent is a challenge, but this doesn’t take away from the responsibilities of being a new dad. While you’re not breastfeeding, you need to be there to support and help along the way. Here are some ways that you can offer your support to your lactating partner.
1. Offer Encouragement to the New Parent
Everyone needs a cheerleader in life. Parenting a newborn is hard work, but if you tell her how wonderful she’s doing, it will boost her morale. Sure, you’re experiencing some of the pangs of the newness of the baby being in the home too. However, feeding and adjusting to this new cycle can overwhelm the mom.
Your partner often wants to throw in the towel and switch to the bottle. You need to give this new mom the parenting support she needs in these moments. Why not tell her she’s doing great, or she can keep going?
Just because the breast is best doesn’t mean it’s the easiest feeding method. She needs to be reassured that she’s doing a great job and it’s going to be worth her struggles.
2. Provide Respite for Her to Rest When Not Lactating
It’s common for a dad to feel lost in the mix when mom is so important to the whole feeding and nurturing process. Parenting takes two people, and mom needs her rest. Though it seems like she’s constantly feeding the baby, she has some free time.
When the baby doesn’t need mom, it’s time for dad to take over. Give her time to nap, read a book, and be without an infant attached to her for a while. Don’t bother her during this time, as you need to figure out what the baby needs and let her be!
3. Encourage the Help of a Lactation Consultant
If this is the first time for this lactating mom, she might need the help of a consultant. If she stops for any period and starts again, it’s called re-lactation. According to the CDC, it’s essential to have this support system to see why it didn’t work the first time and ensure it doesn’t happen again.
You can learn many tips and tricks to help make this process more comfortable for both mom and baby. Even a support group might help her get through the rough times, and you can gather these resources for her to offer a parenting hand. One of the best supports for her will be the La Leche League International.
This organization has been in business since 1956. According to the company, its goal is to enhance the breastfeeding relationship. There are representatives in every state, and many of them work with local hospitals to provide support for new moms. Encourage her to link with this excellent society to get assistance to keep going.
4. Be Her Defense When Lactating in Public
While the world’s view on breastfeeding in public has undoubtedly evolved, some people are still not very nice about it. You must be her defense if you’re with your partner and she needs to feed. Sometimes people don’t say things, but they will give harsh looks and act incensed about the whole process.
You can be kind yet firm regarding naysayers about your parenting and feeding choices. Lactating moms are under enough stress to get the baby fed and keep up their strength. The last thing she needs is some nosey person telling her to feed them in a bathroom or other less than ideal location.
5. Learn if the New Parent Wants Privacy or Company While Lactating
As a new mom, your partner might be a little apprehensive about feeding in front of other people. You need to learn her nursing preferences and make sure that you offer her your respect and consideration. She may alter her preferences during the feedings as she becomes more comfortable.
If she doesn’t mind you being in the room, you can offer support by rubbing her feet, soothing the baby by rubbing their head, and doing other things to make her more comfortable. Maybe she needs a blanket, a phone charger, or something else to improve her comfort during feeding time. Doing whatever this new mom needs to help during the breastfeeding process is advisable.
6. Keep the Pump Parts Clean
One thing that you can do to help your partner immensely is to keep the breast pump clean. These fantastic devices have many parts, and keeping things sterile is essential. She could use a hand in the kitchen to deal with something like this, as she’s got her hands full with the whole lactation stuff.
7. Check Out the Mamava App for Breastfeeding on the Go
It’s easy to feel singled out and alone while breastfeeding. However, many apps are geared with your partner in mind. Parenting an infant takes a lot of work and resources, and she could use this support.
The Mamava app provides resources to mothers for feeding in public. Some lactating moms have no problem feeding at the table while eating dinner, but others prefer discretion. This app can provide you with private locations in your area where your partner can feed the infant while out and about.
If your partner needs to pump or nurse, having access to safe places will undoubtedly be beneficial.
8. Ensure She Eats Well While Lactating
The new mom must keep her strength up while she’s lactating. She’s going to be exhausted like she’s never been in her life, so you can help her to get proper nutrition. Breastfeeding is not for the faint of heart, and she may not have time to think about her food since she’s worried so much about the baby.
Remind her of the things that will help increase her milk, foods she can’t have, and that’ it’s time for her to eat. It’s these parenting helps that are so meaningful to her, and it shows you’re a devoted partner.
9. Learn Breast Respect
When your partner is lactating, breast respect is imperative. New parents struggle to lose weight with their growing cup size after giving birth. Making comments about her breasts can be offensive.
Sure, you didn’t want to offend her. Sadly, making comments jokingly about their size or appearance can make her feel self-conscious about her body. Whatever you do, please don’t point out that nursing destroyed her breasts. She needs your encouragement as her job of providing nutrition is taking all she can muster, so be kind.
10. Join the Night Shift
The new mom will most definitely pull some long night shifts. While it’s common for the other partner to sleep while she’s feeding, there are things you can do to help. Breastfeeding times are almost always accompanied by the need for a diaper change and burping.
Get in on the action and help mom so that her time is shortened and she can get back to sleep. As a bonus, you can help rock the baby and spend some quality bonding moments with the infant.
Final Thoughts on Supporting a Lactating Parent
Bringing a baby home is a big change for everyone in the house. When you support your partner in trying to feed the natural way, your job is just as important as hers. She needs your love and support during this time, as there’s certainly an adjustment period.
Did you know that breastfeeding moms often suffer from depression? She wants to know that you’re by her side if and when she needs something. The new mom will have a rough time adjusting to the new schedule, but soon she will have her new lactating lifestyle under control.
Whether she’s done this before or it’s her first go around, she needs you by her side. Little things like washing the pump parts, bringing her something to eat, helping with diaper changes, and just being there when times are rough will mean so much.