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A Note To Supportive Husbands and Partners

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Sometimes, knowing how to be supportive doesn't come all that naturally...


Being the Dad or Co-Parent To A Breastfed Baby

By Tami Schlosser CLC CLE

I know it can seem like this breastfeeding thing is all about mom and baby, and nothing about you, but nothing could be further from the truth! A supportive husband or partner is a lifesaving, sanity saving asset! The support your wife or partner will get from you means everything to her, take it from me! This is not an easy time, especially for moms of first babies, and encouragement coupled with 100% support is the whole world to the woman in your life.

What not to say...

1. "It's ok, if this doesn't work out, we'll just switch to bottles, it's not a big deal. Formula has everything, and our baby will be OK. It's really ok if you want to quit."
First, saying something of this nature, while only good intentioned, takes the value out of every effort she has given to breastfeding thus far. If it's meaningless, or not a big deal, then why is she even bothering to work so hard? It IS important, it IS valuable, and I can promise you, it means EVERYTHING. Tell her you'll find her the support she needs, you call whoever she needs you to call, just hang in there! That's what she needs to hear. And tell her how proud of her you are. Trust me, she needs to hear it.
Support means encouragment even when you don't understand her drive to succeed.

2. "I don't understand why you are so worried about it being uncomfortable. Of course it hurts. Everyone says it hurts at first. you just have to toughen up"
Contrary to popular opinion, breastfeeding is NOT supposed to hurt. Pain is a sign that something needs corrected. Bad latch, thrush, flat nipples, inverted nipples, tongue tie, nipples and baby's mouth not a good size match....all of these things can come into play, and most often cause pain, and ALL can be dealt with by the touch of a professional trained hand.
Support means calling for help.

3. "We need to do something about the baby crying all the time, especially at night. Give a bottle, a pacifier, something. I can't handle it. I need some sleep"
A baby that cries constantly might have colic, or be suffering from a breastfeeding related feeding issue. Colic, and feeding issues, can be addressed, there are many things that work very, very well. It is not just mom's job to figure out what's wrong. It's a team effort. Even a dad or partner who works full time and has to get up early to go to work needs to be there to support his/her partner during the stressful crying times. Call for help from a breastfeeding professional. Find out what's up, and you'll have taken the first step towards fewer tears in your house...both from mama and from baby.
Support means losing sleep, in order to help mom breastfeed through the rough spots in the middle of the night.

Are all dads or partners saying these types of things to the new mom? Absolutely Not. But some, maybe someone like you, just doesn't see how these types of comments, while only said with best intentions, cut so deeply to a new mom trying so very hard.

It can be truly challenging, so confusing and so frustrating to be the support person to a mom with a new breastfeeding baby that is having a rough go of it. It can be seemingly impossible to know what to do. HOW to support. Who to call? Well, being here, at our website, is a great start! Call us today, let us help. If you choose not to call us, call the Board Certified Lactation Consultant at the hospital where you gave birth, or if you birthed out of hospital, call your local preferred hospital and ask for the Board Certified Lactation Consultant. If you choose not to call them, call your local chapter of La Leche League, whose numbers are on my Resources page. Seek help for the new mom, she'll be forever grateful to you.

You may never know just how important your support is to the new mom. It means the whole world. She needs to know that you are there, that you care, that you will help, that you will encourage. Your love and support is vital to her success. Let it shine through in all that you do and say in these first weeks, and beyond.

CLICK HERE For A Great Info Page About Being A Supportive Partner To A Breastfeeding Mommy/Baby Pair!