8 Tips to Support a Breastfeeding Mum
Exclusively breastfeeding can be a time consuming, lonely and painful experience for many women. And although you will be fully aware of all of the benefits that breastfeeding has to offer both baby and mum, it is so tempting to turn to formula milk in the hope of an easier life for everyone.
This is why supporting your breastfeeding partner through the journey is really important to creating a positive breastfeeding experience. From helping to make mum as comfortable as possible throughout those cluster feeds to taking charge of bath time to give mum a rest we’ll explore all the ways you can support and work together to make this a success for your family.
1. Make her comfortable.
As comfy as it might look sitting on the sofa breastfeeding for an hour the reality can be quite different. From painful nipples, itching breasts, to aching shoulders, a numb bum and sore lower back those feeds can quickly become uncomfortable. Support your partner by making her more comfortable: prop some cushions behind her to support her back, grab some blankets or even raise her feet. Those small gestures will mean a lot to her in the middle of a challenging feed.
2. Provide a drink and snacks.
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When baby is ready for a feed they certainly make it clear to everyone around. In the whole process (picking up baby, getting into position, trying to get a good latch) the last thing mum will be thinking of are her own needs. If you can provide biscuits and a cup of tea she’ll be over the moon. Additionally, breastfeeding is thirsty work so fill her bottle with water or juice to keep her hydrated throughout the feed. If you’re heading out or back to work it might be an idea to leave some cereal bars and a bottle of water in the usual feeding spot.
3. Keep her entertained.
Help to make a long feed easier on mum by making sure she has some form of entertainment to help pass the time. Whether it’s the tv remote, a magazine or her phone and charger, it’ll go a long way to making her feel more comfortable. Alternatively, sitting and chatting with each other will likely be a welcome way to pass the time of the feed and after a day home alone with the baby, mum will probably appreciate the adult conversation.
4. Enjoy skin to skin.
After 9 months in the womb being as close as possible to their mother it’s no surprise that babies love the closeness and warmth during skin to skin once they’re born. Breastfeeding allows babies to experience this closeness with their mother’s skin. One way to support is to soothe baby by holding them in skin to skin to give mum a break. If this is done after baby has been fed there’s a good chance they’ll fall asleep.
5. Get out with the baby carrier.
6. Take charge of bath time.
Bath time is such a special chance to strengthen the bond between you and your baby – giving mum and opportunity to rest, eat with two hands or even grab a shower herself. If you’re a bath fan yourself then baby could join you in the tub for more skin to skin in the water, alternatively you could use a baby bath with a few toys for their entertainment.
7. Relax baby with a massage.
After you’ve bathed baby, baby massage is a lovely way to continue bonding, get baby ready for bed and give mum a little bit more time to herself. Don’t be put off by thinking you need to learn elaborate techniques or use fancy oils; some coconut oil on the palms of your hands and gentle strokes initially will calm baby down. Experiment with different pressures on their legs and feet to see what they enjoy while slow tummy rubs can help alleviate gas to keep baby happy.
8. Do the jobs she can’t do.
You may expect that if mum’s been home with baby all day – the house should be spotless what with all the napping babies apparently do… however the reality can be quite different (especially in the early days) and it’s far more likely you’ll be greeted by dishes that need to be washed and laundry that needs to be organised. As frustrating as it may be to get in and get started on those jobs, it’ll take the pressure off Mum and mean a lot to her that you’ve stepped in to help where she couldn’t.
Speak up if people are questioning your choice and suggesting a bottle.
It can be so frustrating in the early days trying to establish breastfeeding that when friends and family visit with the suggestion of a baby bottle or dummy may be their way of trying to help. If you can speak up and explain your choices it can take the pressure of an already worn out mum.
Listen to her and discuss what’s best for you as a family and the baby.
Perhaps most importantly on this list and the main way to support a breastfeeding mum is to listen to her. Understand how she feels about the process and any struggles she’s having. You could remind her of the benefits, that this is a temporary process with lifelong benefits to both her and your baby and let her know how proud you are of her for doing this for your baby. If, after discussions, you both decide that introducing or switching to formula milk is the best thing for your family then support the decision and remind yourselves that whether your baby is breast or bottle fed you’re still amazing parents.
Breastfeeding is a magical experience which can be tough at times for both the mum and the partner. We hope with our tips that we can make things a little easier for everyone for a much more enjoyable experience for all. Here at Best For Mums we’re all for doing what’s best so stay tuned for more articles and blogs on parenthood. Keep it up!