Breastfeeding can be hard on partners. I see it every day as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. It can be hard to feel out of the loop or out of control during the early days of bringing home a newborn. Cheering on your partner is so important, but sometimes doesn’t feel like enough.
Here are some of our favorite tips to help you feel the most helpful to your partner and baby during this important time:
Be the note taker: In prenatal visits or at the hospital, be the keeper of all thing data. Jot down notes on what providers say to refer back for later. You both have Baby Brain now, and your info retention capacity is not what it used to be.
I see you, spread sheet lovers: this is your moment to shine.
Make a spread sheet to keep track of feedings, pees and poops. This will help your providers get a snap shot of what things are like at home and help you know that baby is eating (and thus pooping) enough. They will likely give you one at your birthplace, but I know your type... your spreadsheet is always better.
Be the baby soother: While breastfeeding babies can feel like magic for soothing babies, sometimes they are just too worked up to remember to eat. If you've missed the early hunger cues and have a crying baby on your hands, take a moment to settle that baby before handing him or her back to your partner.
Be the chef: This one is for the partner who likes to binge watch competitive cooking shows. Your challenge for this quick fire? One handed snacks. Ants on a log are great, but I'm guessing you can do gourmet! Blow us away with a sweet potato empanada, or an artisanal meat and cheese board. In a pinch, a peanut butter sandwich cut in half is pretty great too.
Be the baby waker: Newborns often fall asleep at the breast. They get all warm and cozied up next to Mama. We get it. I mean, who wouldn’t want a little snooze? Closed eyes are fine, but if baby falls asleep after 5 minutes of nursing they probably didn't do a full feeding. Great ways to wake a baby include: a diaper change, a back rub and rocking baby back and forth like they are doing little baby sit ups.
Be the champion bottle feeder: If bottles are part of your feeding plan, learn to pace your bottle feeding to keep baby going more easily back to the breast and to help them develop their suck. Click here to watch our instructional video on how to properly give baby a bottle.
Be the mastitis life guard: Your job is to watch for signs and symptoms of mastitis. Mastitis is a common breast infection that often shows up as a hot red area on the breast (often in a place that your breastfeeding partner can’t see). If she has a red, hot (to the touch) area on the breast or is showing flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, aches), call her care provider to get her treated immediately.
People with mastitis need full bed rest, with an emphasis on rest. Drop everything rightthissecond to make sure that the dog, the older children and the house are taken care of so that she can get back into bed (with the baby) and continue resting (with some snacks and Netflix) until the infection resolves.