Family can help breastfeeding success

Do you have a family member ready to deliver or in the early weeks of breastfeeding? It takes careful time and energy to get breastfeeding off to a healthy start and it isn’t all up to mom. True, she makes the milk, but there are ways the family can help support the transition to breastfeeding with ease. 
Dads and partners are the first line of defense for mom. Here are 6 ideas on how partners can help make breastfeeding a priority:
• Learn about the importance of breastfeeding. Why does it matter?
• Ask about breastfeeding goals. Is 6 months to a year long enough? What can you do if she gets discouraged?
• Watch breastfeeding videos so you know what a proper latch and position look like. Help your partner get there if she needs it. Offer to call for a lactation appointment and come along when she goes.
• Ask if she’d like you to bring the baby to her for feedings. Does she want a drink of water or snack while feeding the baby?
• Discuss whether your partner will feed the baby expressed milk from a bottle. Be sure to get quality counsel from a lactation consultant about how to do this the best way for your baby and for mom’s milk supply.
• Build your own relationship with the baby. Babies need cuddles and cooing, skin to skin and lots of love from dads and partners as much as they need milk and love from mom. Your own attachment will take place.
If there are other children in the home, they can serve mom too. Perhaps they can bring mom a blanket for comfort or for cover if that’s what mom likes. Kiddos can bring snacks and drinks for mom during feedings. Little ones can quietly read stories while mom feeds the baby or “feed” their own baby dolls while mom breastfeeds brother or sister. My older daughter suggested making a map of the places mom could sit comfortably and feed the baby in public. Another child of mine piped up saying, “I can keep the couch clean so you can sit down to feed the baby!”
Breastfeeding is an intimate journey. Family members can help by supporting mom. Speak up lovingly about what works for you and what doesn’t. Sometimes, it just takes asking for a family member to understand your needs and take it upon themselves to help. Call Lovelace Lactation if you have further questions about your breastfeeding needs. We are here for you. 505.727.6797
This blog submitted by Catherine Roth, Certified Community Health Worker with Lovelace Labor of Love