While only a mom can breastfeed and pump, it really can be a team effort. There is so much more that goes into breastfeeding and pumping than the milk itself, and it can be a great opportunity for a partner or support person to help out.
Many partners feel a bit helpless when a newborn baby comes home and is breastfed. They think that there isn’t much for them to help with, and as moms, we tend to take on a lot of the responsibilities ourselves. However, it is so important for a spouse or partner to be involved, not only to help share the load but to bond with their new baby and help build confidence as well.
The Importance of A Helping Hand
Life can be really overwhelming for a breastfeeding mom, especially in the first few weeks. Newborns are almost constantly on the breast, and above that moms need to deal with changes in supply, possible blocked ducts and all the emotions that come from having a baby! Throw in routine pumping and it can all become quite stressful.
Support and enthusiasm from a partner or support person can be incredibly crucial to a breastfeeding mom. It encourages her to carry on, gives her confidence during the tough times and helps her overcome any challenges. This goes a long way in helping her breastfeed for longer.
Ways To Help
There are many different ways to help a breastfeeding mom, without actually breastfeeding or pumping. You just need to learn to assess each situation and see where you can step in. Here are some ideas:
- Give mom a break and carry your baby around in a baby wrap or sling. Skin to skin cuddling also helps settle and soothe your baby and will help you bond with your little one as well.
- Give your baby a bath and a massage. It will soothe your baby and once again be a great bonding experience for the two of you.
- Help to settle your baby. Some partners have an easier time settling their baby than the mom, as the baby might become fussier when they smell milk on their mothers, which could cause them to search for milk instead of settling down.
- Wash and sterilize the pump and attachments when your partner has finished pumping, this is one thing most moms look forward to doing the least!
- Once your partner has finished breastfeeding, help burp your baby or change their nappy, this gives mom a little chance to be on her own.
- Once your partner is comfortable with expressing and breastfeeding, you can bottle feed your baby expressed breast milk every now and then.
- If you aren’t feeding your baby, you could help out just by warming up the milk in the bottle for your partner to bottle feed the baby.
- Offer to bring your partner a glass of water, a snack or an extra pillow while she is breastfeeding or pumping. Help remove distractions like older siblings or pets.
- Bring your baby to your partner at night when your baby wakes, instead of your partner being the one to get up each time when the baby cries. It doesn’t have to be every time, but now and then does help.
- Help out with extra housework, wash dishes and do the cleaning. Don’t wait for your partner to ask for help with the housework, it is one less thing for her to stress about.
Parenting is a team job, and it starts with breastfeeding and pumping. Having a helpful partner or support person makes breastfeeding so much easier for a mom, and the encouragement and enthusiasm from others around her will help her breastfeed and pump for an extended period of time as well!