It’s World Breastfeeding Week from the 1st to the 7th August and there are many ways that breastfeeding support from dads can help. Although you may feel like a spare part at times, it is essential that you are there for your partner. It can be tough, draining and a real challenge for mums, so here are some simple ways you can take some of that burden away, courtesy of mum Lisa Cornwell.
1. Give her water
The most important drink that any Mum can have if she is breastfeeding, is water. It helps to increase the flow of milk and of course keeps Mum hydrated. The problem is, that left to us, we tend to forget to drink it. The most helpful thing that my other half did for me, was to fill up a bottle of water for me before he headed off to work, and pop it beside me so that I had instant access to it. That way, if I forgot to refill it later on, at least I had already had a whole bottle.
2. Be completely comfortable with her feeding in public
One of the scariest things for a new breastfeeding Mum is the need to feed outside of the home. To have to somehow juggle a tiny baby when maybe they aren’t that great at latching on yet (or staying on and therefore leaving Mum exposed), whilst trying to keep their modesty about them, can be quite a struggle. To make it a bit less scary for her, be her biggest supporter of public breastfeeding. Quite often we would find ourselves out and about and we would find a cafe, he would get me sat down and make sure I was comfy and then he would head over and get me the biggest hot chocolate to enjoy!
Although World Breastfeeding Week aims to promote feeding in public as well as private, there are still some people who take offence. This could prey on the mind of your other half, so make sure you are there for her and to reassure her.
3. Don’t try and make decisions for her
When us Mums are going through one of those rollercoaster moments of should we carry on or should we quit, there is honestly nothing more frustrating that someone telling us what they think of the matter. A little support, a little bit of discussion about what she is feeling, why she is feeling it, a little bit of what about this and what about that is great, but do not ever try to make the decision for her. There are so many emotions that come from breastfeeding, so much guilt, so much unknowing – which can all be happily discussed. But reaching the big decisions – that has to be down to Mum (hence I am still feeding throughout the night!).
4. Love her boobs…from afar!
There probably won’t be many stages in her breastfeeding journey where she will be open to you having a fondle of her boobs.
The smallest of touches will probably set off her milk supply and the last thing she wants is to start squirting milk out during romantic occasions! Add to that, the fact that they are probably a bit sore and a bit tender, it’s probably best to ask her before you just go in for a quick fondle!
However, please do tell her that her boobs are still amazing. That they are still the boobs that you loved when you first got together. Because they won’t feel like it to her. They will feel a little saggy, a bit unfamiliar. But she will love you forever if you don’t agree with her negativity :)
5. Spend the odd night feed awake with her
I know it is painstaking to be awake when you really don’t need to be, but during the odd night feed, just sit up with her. Or roll over and cuddle her whilst she is feeding. Show her that you are there. That you are with her. Night feeds are one of the loneliest times and honestly, there is nothing worse than hearing your partner snoring away next to you enjoying sleep.
There you have it. Five ways to tick all of those boxes during what is a very special and very daunting time. Whether it is World Breastfeeding Week or at any other time of the year, these examples will help you support her through it.