Let’s work toward success! Removing the barriers to breastfeeding
Globally, rates of breastfeeding are far lower than is needed to optimally protect the health of women and their babies. Being well supported in breastfeeding is a key component to establishing successful breastfeeding. Here are some great tips for partners and those close to the nurturing mother, to help her feel supported and safe in her breastfeeding journey.
Nature’s way of nurturing
Breastfeeding is natural, normal and healthy, yet for many women it can be very challenging. The support and messages a woman receives about breastfeeding can have an impact on her decisions going forward, as well as her success in feeding. This is only one component to successful breastfeeding, but getting support at home is very important.
“I’m going to express so my partner can give a bottle” “My partner likes giving bottles so they can bond with our baby” “I’m overwhelmed by breastfeeding” These are common sentences uttered by breastfeeding women around the world. Breastfeeding takes a physical and emotional toll, even of those who enjoy it and have a baby who feeds easily. Another sentence we hear from partners is “I wish there was something I could do but I don’t have breasts”.
10 Tips for Partners
What many couples don’t realise is that there are so many ways a partner can support a breastfeeding mum. In fact, here are 10 amazing ways!
- Bring the baby to mum. Just this small gesture, either in the middle of the night or during the day can mean the world to an already tired mama. It means she can get herself into position and get herself settled, whilst you calm the baby before the feed.
- Make her a snack. Breastfeeding uses a lot of energy and mum’s a notorious for putting themselves last when it comes to food and drink. Bring her a nutritious snack, easy to eat with one hand.
- Bring her a drink. Breastfeeding is thirsty work! Bring her a cool drink so she can stay hydrated. It’s best to avoid hot drinks whilst feeding to eliminate hot spills.
- Occupy other kids or pets. Just like baby crying when your dinner is ready, older kids and pets like to get attention when the boob comes out. Ensure other children or your pet pooch are distracted whilst mum feeds baby.
- Make sure she’s comfortable. Breastfeeding can often lead to back, shoulder and neck issues. Ask your partner if she’s comfy – does she need a pillow, blanket or foot stool to get into a more optimal position.
- Be designated bottle and pump washer. If mama is expressing or bottle feeding, elect yourself to wash and sort bottles, teats and pump. Just like the chef doesn’t do the washing up!
- #FreeTheNipple! If mum is comfortable feeding in public, support her in those wishes and never tell her to cover up.
- Take charge of burps and nappies. She takes care of what’s going in, you look after what’s coming out!
- Respect how she feels about her breasts. Her breasts may have once been wonderful pillows of happiness for you but they have a different role now. This could be new territory for both of you and can be sad. But she won’t breastfeed forever and finding new ways to be close and connect can make her much more comfortable.
- No questions asked. If she wants to breastfeed to natural weaning, then applaud her for her efforts that often spans years. If she’s ready to stop at any stage, ask her how you can support her with that and if there is anything you can do to make it easier.
So as you can see, there are so many ways partners can be involved and support breastfeeding. Let’s get this message out their to all partners and family supporting. This special time together as a family can be so positive with really great support. There is a large support network for breastfeeding that you can access if you or your partner have concerns. Jump over to our Fourth Trimester and Breastfeeding info and learn where you can get support, and more tips for this special time.