How Families Can Help Support Breastfeeding Moms
A breastfeeding mom needs lots of things – to stay hydrated, to eat extra calories, to get more sleep (hopefully!), and to build a successful nursing relationship with her little one. And she needs support from her loved ones and family! A supportive and encouraging partner, spouse, or family member can make all the difference in encouraging and helping a breastfeeding mom meet her goals. Here are some ways to help the breastfeeding mom in your life.
Supporting Mom’s Needs
When mom comes home with a new baby and is beginning her breastfeeding journey, there are several things that can be done to make things easier for her.
- Create a comfortable home environment where she can practice and get used to breastfeeding and all that it physically and emotionally requires.
- Run interference with phone calls and visits – and limit them if necessary.
- Take on additional household chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
- Bring any needed items during a nursing session, like water, a snack, her phone, or a book.
- Give supportive words or encouragement when she’s facing breastfeeding difficulties – and start the process to get additional help or support from your healthcare provider or a Lactation Consultant, if needed.
Bonding with Baby
Sometimes helping mom means taking over care for the little one and giving her some time to herself. And, since breastfeeding provides a unique opportunity for closeness between mom and baby, you’ll want to form your own special bond with the little one. Here are ways to interact one-on-one with baby and encourage your own special connection.
- Make time for skin-to-skin contact when cuddling
- Take over bath duties
- Change diapers after each feeding
- Burp the baby after a nursing session
- Rock the baby to sleep
- Walk with baby in the stroller or in a carrier
- If your loved one is pumping, take over the night feeding by warming and feeding a previously expressed bottle of breast milk
If you’re unsure, just ask the breastfeeding mom in your life what would most help, and then do it! Even small tasks done every day can help over time to show that you support breastfeeding and make her feel more confident in her decision to nurse. It may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it!