Dear new dad,
New breastfeeding moms have the most overwhelming, demanding job in the WORLD.
Don’t ask me for my scholarly source on that fact.
Hint: it’s my brain.
But I know it’s true.
I’ve done really hard things in my life, but nursing my newborn son is the most difficult, consuming, challenging, but also rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
And while us mamas are in the trenches of the hardest times, society forgets about us once that precious baby arrives as if we’re only a portal.
We’re stitched up, kicked out of the hospital, and forgotten when we need the most support.
Dads, your job is to make sure she isn’t forgotten.
It’s hard for new moms to ask for help, and for some of us, it’s hard to even know what we need to ask for!
But we know you aren’t a mind reader either… and parenting certainly doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but this list should help.
Here are 15 easy ways you can support your super-woman-magical-breastfeeding-baby-mama.
How Dads Can Support Breastfeeding Moms
1. Get a Free Breast Pump
Before baby comes, get her free breast pump through insurance for her
(Find out which one she wants first).
It’s not a complicated process, but it will mean a lot to check that off her to do list. It’s such an easy way to show your support before baby even arrives! Grab her insurance card, and go to aeroflow.com.
It’s self explanatory from there!
2. Be a Doorman
Be the doorman at the hospital and your home, and don’t let people overstay their welcome.
Ask her who she really wants visiting and redirect others as necessary.
This is a hard job because you may hurt some feelings, but mama and baby come first.
3. Get Up With Her During Night Feedings
Get up with her at night when she’s nursing baby.
Offer to get supplies, change the diaper if needed, etc.
But it doesn’t matter if you can’t do anything for them… sitting beside her and offering company (even half asleep company) will mean the world.
Nights are so utterly lonely for a new mom, and many (myself included) get anxious about nighttime. Simply be there with her.
4. Get Her Breastfeeding Supplies For Her
Always (like always, always, always) make sure she has a drink, snacks, and her phone/book/tv remote/whatever she likes for entertainment.
In the early days, baby will nurse a LOT. So mama needs to be hydrated, fed, comfy, and content.
5. Defend Your Wife
Defend her if people get snarky and give unwarranted advice.
Do NOT let people critique your all’s parenting choices, and be firm about that. If the MIL, SIL, grandma, or even the freaking POTUS can’t keep opinions to themselves, then out the door they go. Remember, you’re the doorman.
Or you can call yourself a bouncer if you’d like. Bodyguard. Knight in shining armor. Whatever you prefer.
Just get the job done.
6. Learn About Breastfeeding
Educate yourself on the whole breastfeeding process so she doesn’t have to explain things to you.
- How to use the pump
- What the pump parts are called
- What hormones are involved with breastfeeding
- How does/doesn’t her diet factor into it
- What should baby’s latch look like
- How does her body know how much milk to make
- How do you know if baby is getting enough milk
- What complications are possible?, what is comfort nursing
Being the only one who can feed baby brings on a lot of pressure!
It will help if she doesn’t feel so alone in the process and can chat with you about it. Check out Kelly Mom – it is a phenomenal resource for both of you. Dive in after you read this.
7. Encourage Public Feeding
Encourage her to feed in public – uncovered if she wants!
Getting out of the house is big for most new moms.
She is protected by law to feed baby wherever and whenever she wants.
Empower her by supporting this because it’s a huge milestone for most of us!
8. Help Her Get The Right Supplies
Make sure she invests in needed supplies if she didn’t get them at the baby shower… nursing bras & tanks (at least a couple), breast pads, nipple cream, cute nursing friendly tops, nipple shields if needed, a cover if she wants one, etc.
9. Praise Her Often
Breastfeeding is honestly so hard.
It’s a natural process, but it doesn’t come “natural” to many mothers and babies.
If she only breastfeeds for a day, still praise her.
Every drop is precious.
It’s the most selfless act, and it’s just magical that our bodies are capable of it.
Remind her of this magic when she complains about her postpartum body.
10. Support Her Decisions About Quitting (or Not Quitting)
Don’t set a limit on when you think she should quit nursing. But don’t make her feel like she can’t quit if she wants to.
Let her know that you support whatever she wants to do, and that you’re proud of her either way!
11. Understand Hunger Cues from Baby
Learn about newborn hunger cues so you can help her recognize when it’s time to nurse before baby gets upset.
It’s much easier to get baby latched before he starts crying.
12. Learn About Breastfeeding
Prepare for cluster feeding & witching hours. And be supportive during this difficult time.
It’s very stressful to say the least.
13. Take Pictures
Even if she resists, take them anyway.
Moms are usually the ones behind the camera, and it’s so important she is in some pictures as well.
Encourage professional photos if the budget allows it!
14. Do the Household Chores
Take over the household chores.
Trust me, she has a full time job on her hands not to mention recovering from childbirth.
She doesn’t need to be worrying about the dishes and laundry.
15. Understand Your Role as Dad
Do not underestimate your role as a father just because you’re not physically feeding baby.
Hold baby as much as possible, change diapers, tag team baths, sing, and read books. Your bond matters, and there are lots of things to do besides feed!
Whether you believe it or not, you play a key role in breastfeeding! Women who have their partner’s support breastfeed longer and more successfully than mamas without it.
Just by doing all (or even some) of these 15 things, you’re setting her up with a great support system!
And trust me, a strong support system could not be any more important.
The benefits of breastfeeding are endless for both baby and mama.
Use this guide to make sure you’re doing your part in nourishing your precious babes, dada!