Being a new mother, it is difficult to adjust to the completely new lifestyle. Having to shift her energy to her newborn baby, they tend to neglect their own wellbeing. Breastfeeding is a partnership effort. A father’s role is crucial for breastfeeding success. There’s a misconception that because mothers are lactating, it is only the role of the mother to be present during this journey, however, a father’s role is as important to ensure a smooth sailing process for the best experience for the whole family.
Here’s a few things that you can do to support your breastfeeding partner.
1) Be her advocate - After labour, your partner might be resting or recuperating. She might not be able to stand up for herself in certain situations. It is important that you advocate for her when it comes to certain decisions that she has decided to make. For example, if she refuses to give formula milk to the baby in hospital, advocate for her when she is unable to and insist on not giving formula to your baby. Mothers are often pressured into supplementing even at the hospital when it is not necessary in fear that their baby is not having enough. The top up trap could be detrimental to the start of lactation.
If she chooses to continue breastfeeding, support her decision instead of forcing her to resort to formula. If she is getting backlash from family members, advocate for her rights and stand up for her.
It is important that she feels your support and for her to know that you are both on this journey together. Stand up for her, encourage and be her cheerleader.
2) Help her to adapt - It is important to remember that she is still learning and adjusting and you too can learn with her. Getting used to nursing and pumping frequently can be quite a shift for most Mamas. Remind her that you are in this together and you both will transition smoothly together. When she’s nursing, get her comfortable by adjusting pillows and bolsters around her. This allows her to find the best position for her. If she is pumping, bring the parts to her, and store the milk for her when she is done.
Research on nursing friendly places to ease her pumping and nursing schedules. Some places may not be too friendly for nursing Mamas, and having to be stuck in such situations can be stressful and uncomfortable. Most importantly, understand her needs and assist her with it.
3) Take care of her - Her priorities will now be nursing and ensuring that the baby is well cared for. It is almost common for mothers to neglect their own wellbeing. Your role is to ensure that she is well hydrated, and is taking in sufficient nutrients. Having a balanced nutritious diet is important to ensure that the baby gets enough nutrition too! Remind her to keep herself hydrated because this might affect the milk production. Find suitable supplements when she is facing any lactating issues. You can check out Legendairy Milk lactation products at https://legendairymilk.sg/collections/breastfeeding-supplements
4) Be available! It can be frustrating to be awake in the middle of the night and your partner is sleeping soundly next to you. The lack of support can be devastating for their mental and physical health. Baby Blues and postpartum depression is real. Wake up with her, feed the baby while she pumps and let her rant to you. Spend time and build the bonding with your baby. This gives Mamas time to just breathe, rest and have some time to herself.
5) Taking over household duties! You can pick up the slack where she can’t. Help her to wash pump parts and bottles and clean the house. Breastfeeding can be very taxing on her physically that she might not have enough energy left to keep the space clean and in order. That’s where you come in! It is time for you to be the captain of your ship. Pick up the laundry and get it washed. Ensure the house is in a clean and proper state to allow for the both of you to be in a clearer headspace. This takes away her worries from having to manage the household, and gives her space to just concentrate on breastfeeding.
Once your baby has grown up and you reminisce all these memories and experiences, it will definitely tug at your heartstrings. This journey is not just tiring, but it’ll be a precious shared token that you and your partner will forever hold dear to. You can do it Dada!