The New Daddy Survival Guide to Help Support BreastfeedingJun 10, 2021
Support with breastfeeding looks different for every new mom but the one thing in common is that support makes a huge difference in how successful she is in reaching her short and long term goals to breastfeed the baby!
Research tells us over and over that if mom has a partner and family members who understand and are supportive of breastfeeding, she will do so much better. This means more breastmilk for baby which also means a healthier little one! Families are more influential on breastfeeding than some of the most experienced medical professionals!
Daddies and family members often want to help but they don't know what to do. Well, I gotcha covered! Even though you can't physically nurse the baby, you can do so many other things to provide that much-needed support that moms really need!
So what are some of the TOP SUPPORTIVE BREASTFEEDING TIPS …
- It is important to understand what breastmilk and breastfeeding are all about. Formula can be used if needed but it is NOT the same nutritionally as breastmilk. Breastmilk is the ideal nutrition for babies and has all the components made uniquely for your baby. "Oh, just give the baby some formula" is the last thing a breastfeeding mom wants to hear. If breastfeeding is not going well, seek lactation help ASAP! Mom can start pumping until there is a solid plan in place to help with the challenges she may be facing. Her milk is GOLD!
- Breastmilk has so many amazing components to help your baby grow and thrive. One of the benefits that formula doesn't have is ANTIBODIES. Antibodies are naturally made in breastmilk to help protect the baby against infection. During this time of COVID-19 it is really important and one of the few things that can help keep babies healthy.
- Be understanding to all the HORMONAL CHANGES that are happening to mom during the postpartum period. These hormones often show up as "horror-mones" and can be challenging for her and you. It is important not to take things personally and to seek out medical help if mom seems unusually anxious or depressed.
- You might not be able to actually breastfeed the baby but you CAN FEED MOM! Making sure she is eating nutritious food and always has a water bottle nearby is a good way to take care of her.
- Help watch for the baby's hunger cues. CRYING is a late hunger cue so when the baby starts looking around and rooting it's time to hand the baby to mom to breastfeed. There are also helpful baby apps that you and mom can sync on your phones to keep track of feedings, pees and poops.
- Make sure mom is COMFORTABLE while she is breastfeeding. We often call this the "babymoon cocoon". You can offer her pillows and watch for bad breastfeeding posture. New moms tend to hunch over while breastfeeding which leads to an achy neck. If you notice this, gently place a hand on her shoulder and give a little rub to make sure she is aware.
- Help her to RELAX! You know her better than anyone and know what helps her to relax. Or to the contrary, irritates her. Perhaps a shoulder rub, extra hugs, her favorite music or candle might help her. A more relaxed mom=more milk for baby=happy baby, happy mommy.
- Do SUPPORTIVE BABY TASKS! Dads/partners are the best at burping! You can change the baby's diaper. Bathe the baby. Dress the baby. Do skin to skin with the baby. Play with the baby. Wear the baby in a soft wrap or front carrier.
- WAKE THE BABY when it is time for your baby to nurse and bring the baby to mom. You will definitely get points for this especially for those feedings that are in the middle of the night!
- Encourage mom to REST. This is a great time for you to bond with your baby. Holding, snuggling, skin to skin, talking, singing, reading, playing, dancing, going outside, being goofy with your baby are all fun ways to bond.
- Be mom's best cheerleader if she gets discouraged! Remind her that she is a GREAT MOM! "You are doing a great job" goes a long way for a mom's confidence! If breastfeeding isn't going well, remind her of her initial breastfeeding goals and seek lactation help to get a good plan in place!
- Be your family's best PROTECTOR. Not everyone may be supportive of breastfeeding so proactively coming up with a family game plan on how to address any negative comments is really empowering. You may come up with a "code word" for when it is time to discreetly exit a family gathering.
- Help with some of the EXTRAS (i.e. chores, cleaning, laundry, running errands). If you have other kiddos, this is a great opportunity to bond better with them as well.
- Be on PUMP CLEANING DUTY! If mom is pumping, you can wash and sanitize breast pump parts and to assemble them back together for her.
- You can give the baby a slow flow bottle using PACED BOTTLE FEEDING. Paced feeding helps to support breastfeeding because it slows the feeding down to mimic breastfeeding. Check out the Baby's Best Beginning YouTube paced bottle feeding video. Create a special daddy bottle date when you and your partner decide the time is right to offer a bottle.
- GOOD COMMUNICATION with your partner is important! Remind mom that you are not a mind reader. If she has something to say, its best to discuss so you can both get on the same page.
- Carve out DADDY SELF-CARE time for you! As they say, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first to be able to take care of others. Good daddy self-care is important! Becoming a new parent is hard so seek support and care from your partner, family, friends, or join a partner support group.
Working together will help mom to realize she is not alone and it will make you feel that you have a really important role in this journey!
YOU GOT THIS!
If you are in need of lactation support, I would be happy to help you! Be sure to check out my services page on my website to schedule a lactation consultation. In person and/or Telehealth visits are available.
Let’s be (.)(.) Breast Pen Pals!
Stay connected with news and updates!
Get the latest news on upcoming classes and the latest blog posts.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.