When your partner is breastfeeding, you might be wondering what you can do to help, especially if this is your first baby. Learning how to breastfeed for the first time has a learning curve, and your partner will probably need more support than you realize.
Whether you’re having your first child or you’re a seasoned parent, here are some ways you can make things easier for your partner while they’re breastfeeding.
1. Offer to make phone calls and schedule appointments
Breastfeeding isn’t a quick process, and your partner will likely need to breastfeed about 8-12 times per day. For new mothers, this process can be draining and they won’t have the energy to do other things, like make important phone calls.
New mothers will need to make a variety of appointments with various people, including doctors and other professionals. Take the opportunity to make phone calls and schedule appointments for your partner whenever possible.
For example, if they need to schedule a consultation with a The Lactation Network, schedule the appointment for them.
If you don’t already know what appointment times and days will work best for your partner, ask them to make you a list of days and times that work best. However, be prepared to rearrange your plans and reschedule. Taking care of a new baby will create unpredictable challenges that may interfere with your ability to keep some appointments.
2. Be understanding when issues arise
The best way to support your partner is to be understanding. First-time moms will face a variety of new challenges and issues that are sometimes completely unfamiliar. This can make your partner feel stressed, unsure, and overwhelmed. Being understanding and patient will go a long way to reassure your partner and reduce their overwhelm.
3. Ask how you can help
Never underestimate the power of directly asking your partner how you can help. Most of the time, they’ll need help with things they may not be articulating. Overwhelm and stress can cause people to be reluctant to share what’s going on for them emotionally, and no matter how long you’ve been together, they might not ask for your help.
Give your partner the opportunity to ask for help by asking how you can support them. Let your partner know they can ask you for any kind of help, and if you aren’t sure what to do, you’ll find someone who can help.
4. Go to a breastfeeding class with your partner
The more you know about breastfeeding, the easier it will be for you to support your partner. When your partner goes to a class to learn about breastfeeding, join them for the class. For instance, WIC holds breastfeeding classes periodically, and you’ll be welcomed when you join your partner.
5. Help with the basics
There are many basic things you can do to support your partner while they breastfeed your baby. For example, just taking care of your baby’s basic needs will help tremendously. For instance, you can bathe, dress, soothe, cuddle, and burp your baby.
6. Take care of your partner
Breastfeeding will be exhausting for your partner and they might forget to take care of themselves. When you can, sit with your partner while they breastfeed your baby and keep them company. You can also make sure your partner stays fed and hydrated, especially if they tend to forget to focus on their own needs.
An easy way to take care of your partner is to prepare meals ahead of time
and keep them in the refrigerator or freezer. Make large batches of meals, portion them out, and either freeze or refrigerate them for quick, easy meals.
7. Keep visitors to a minimum
Everyone will want to come over and see your new baby, but it’s important to limit visitors. Having a lot of people coming in and out of your home will create more stress for your partner and may force them to stay awake and socialize when they just need some downtime.
Rest is critical for your partner while breastfeeding, so keep visitors to a minimum to ensure they get enough rest.
Your support will help your partner breastfeed easier
Ultimately, your emotional and physical support will help your partner breastfeed your new baby. Your support will reduce their stress and increase their ability to focus where it counts during this critical time in your baby’s life.