When you are considering breastfeeding your baby, it may seem like it will be a one-woman show. The notion that you will be the sole provider for your new baby’s nutrition may seem a bit overwhelming. However, that doesn’t need to be the case! Your partner can play a key support role in your breastfeeding success.
In the first couple days postpartum, having help to make the most of “lying in” should be a priority. “Lying in” simply means the days or week following delivery where mom and baby should be breastfeeding, bonding, doing skin to skin and little else. Your partner can help make this transition easier with a few simple acts:
● Make sure any therapy or breastfeeding essentials are within your reach and ready to use (nursing pads, nipple balm, therapy pillows)
○ If using reusable nursing pads - make sure they are clean and ready to go
○ Heating or cooling the therapy pillows depending on your liking
● Make sure you are hydrated and fed
○ Always have a water bottle on your nightstand
○ Place easy-to-grab snacks like protein bars or fruits that don’t need to be refrigerated, like bananas and oranges, within your reach
● Help with any pain medications or dressings that you may have from your delivery; this can be a big help-especially if you had a cesarean or particularly hard labor.
Once you are comfortable enough to move around the house more, there are plenty of ways that your partner can still be helpful and supportive in your breastfeeding journey. Here are a few:
● Stock a nursing station or stations in your favorite spot(s), so you have what you need when you need it. Snacks, wipes, burp clothes, a full water bottle, nursing pads and something entertaining, like a good book or magazine are essentials. Fueling your body and mind while the little one eats is multi-tasking at its finest.
● Use a bottle to feed baby pumped breastmilk. This can give you some time to take that much needed shower, read a book, or even sleep if your partner is able to pick up a night feeding. It may seem trivial but these little acts of self-care go a long way in the postpartum period.
● Clean the pump parts and bottles (they add up!)
Having your partner’s support doesn’t need to stop when you venture out of the house, either! Your partner can be just as involved in your breastfeeding journey whether out to eat, shopping, or at a sporting event.
● Provide emotional support when you need it. It can be a huge boost to your confidence!
Knowing that they support you and your breastfeeding journey can be the key to making a possibly anxious situation (like your first time out of the house) as smooth as possible.
● Check to make sure the diaper bag is fully stocked with all your favorite breastfeeding supplies (pads, nipple balm, and nursing shawl) and whatever baby needs is also helpful. Don’t forget an extra diaper or two and a change of clothes for baby. You might want an extra shirt, too, just in case!
Bringing a new life into the world is challenging and exciting. Having a partner that supports your feeding choices makes everything a little easier. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are, your partner will be looking for ways to be involved with baby and you during your breastfeeding journey as well. Happy breastfeeding!
November 21, 2016 By: Sarah Saucedo