13 Jun Supporting your breastfeeding partner
Baby has finally arrived and it is the moment your family has been waiting for. What many new parents don’t realize is that their new babes will need to nurse somewhere between 8-18 times per day. For many folks this will feel like the majority of their day. For the nursing parent, the job is clear. If you are the non-breastfeeding parent you may be wondering what the heck to do with yourself. Fear not, you can still be incredibly helpful and supportive even if you aren’t the one with the milk. Here are are few idea:
- Help make your partner is comfortable. Bring pillows, a blanket, whatever can help set your partner up for a comfortable nursing session.
- Make sure your partner always has a glass of water while nursing. Hydration is key! This could be the time to learn to make a mean mocktail! Is your partner’s milk supply a little low? Brew them up a cup of mother’s milk tea. Traditional Medicinals and Earth Mama Angel Baby both make nice organic blends to help support milk production.
- Change diapers before or after feedings. Your partner can be in charge of what goes in while you are in charge of what comes out! This is a great time for bonding and teaching your new kiddo that they can count on you for life’s basic needs. Many good stories arise from early diaper changes!
- Take care of routine chores such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Take pride in creating an environment where your partner can relax and feel nourished.
- Offer emotional support for the challenges of breastfeeding. Everyone is learning how to do this, so be patient and offer loving support. If your partner is really getting discouraged, suggest they connect with another nursing mama via the Nursing Mother’s Counsel’s peer hotline. Find the number below.
- If your partner is struggling with latch or experiencing pain while nursing, offer to get in touch with a lactation consultant. In Portland, there are many wonderful lactation options from hospital based lactation consultants to drop in groups to those who make home visits. See my favorite local resources below.
- If you are both feeling overwhelmed, bring in some help. A postpartum doula is a blessing for many families, helping with breastfeeding, baby care, light housework and meals. See below for some wonderful Portland based postpartum doulas.
- Carve out special time for you to bond with your baby at least once everyday. Take a bath with baby, take baby for walks in a carrier, rest with baby on your chest. Remember baby knows your voice and loves time with you too!
If you are in Portland, OR here are some wonderful local resources:
Peer hotline: 503-282-3338 or 360-750-0656
Meg Stalnaker, IBCLC
Krystal Key, IBCLC