Your challenge: In the early days of parenting, feeding the baby can feel like a one-person task—especially if Mom is exclusively breastfeeding. But while biology may have dictated who is doing that actual nursing, research shows that when a breastfeeding mother feels supported by her partner, she is more likely to meet her breastfeeding goals.
Your solution: Reframe feeding the baby as a team sport—with Mom just happening to be the specialist when it comes to the actual breastfeeding part. That doesn’t mean the non-nursing partner just has to sit on the sidelines, though. There are still plenty of ways to show support and remain involved in the early days of feeding.
Our recommendations for:
Making mom comfortable.
No matter whether you’ve welcomed your first or fifth baby, the early days of breastfeeding always come with a learning curve—because no matter Mom’s experience, the baby is still needing to catch on. For breastfeeding mothers, that means it’s really important to focus on the latch and feeding process itself, so the more the non-breastfeeding partner can do to make her comfortable, the better. Help get her set up with a nursing pillow to make holding the baby during marathon feeding sessions easy. Also be sure Mom’s nourished and hydrated, too.
Sharing other responsibilities.
While Mom may have breastfeeding locked down, there are still plenty of ways to empower the non-nursing partner in other ways. Perhaps not as glamorous (if you think of breastfeeding as glamorous), taking ownership of the other tasks that will keep the house running is truly the definition of teamwork. Whether that means getting the baby dressed each morning or tackling the dishes each night, it’s nice to know “you’ve got this,” too.
Taking turns (when possible).
Opportunities to truly tag-team really come into play if and when you introduce a bottle to baby—so, moms, now it’s your time to share wisdom about comfortable feeding positions with your partner. (And be willing to share that nursing pillow you’ve grown so attached to!) This can be especially helpful during night-time feeding sessions when sleepy arms can use all the help they can get while supporting baby.
Pro tip: Don’t underestimate the importance of moral support during the early days of feeding. It can feel like you’re all in the thick of it (and it’s true), but knowing you’re not in it alone can make all the difference.
You've got this.
Motherly + Kids2 provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.