Many consider breastfeeding a one-person job. Sure, only mom is lactating and can produce the nutrient-dense milk baby needs. However, there are many other ways family and friends can support a nursing mom. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), how long a mother breastfeeds her baby is heavily influenced by the amount of family support she receives.
So if you’re a spouse, partner, sibling, parent, grandparent or friend of a nursing mom, check out all the ways you can support her throughout her breastfeeding!
PARTICIPATE IN FEEDING TIME
- Learn baby’s special feeding cues so you can help watch for them.
- Offer to bring mom things while nursing like water, a snack, an additional pillow, phone, or book.
- Bring baby to mom for feeding and settle him/her back to sleep after nursing.
- Even if you can’t help with feeding the baby, you can get up with mom for night feeding to keep her company.
- If your loved one is pumping, take over the night feeding by warming and feeding a previously expressed bottle of breast milk.
HELP WITH OTHER BABY DUTIES
- Take over bath duties.
- Offer to change diapers.
- Rock the baby to sleep.
- Wash bottles and pump parts.
- Soothe baby when he/she is upset.
- Take over swaddling.
- Assist with tummy time.
OFFER MORAL SUPPORT
- Provide words of affirmation.
- Give supportive words or encouragement without judgment when she’s facing breastfeeding difficulties.
- Encourage her to find a breastfeeding support group.
- Start the process to get additional help or support from a healthcare provider or lactation consultant if needed.
- Show appreciation for the time and effort mom is putting into nursing and remind her how important she is.
- As much of the focus has shifted to the baby, be sure to ask mom how she is doing and really listen to her concerns.
- Take the baby out for a walk to give mom some quiet time.
- Make sure mom is staying hydrated and has nutritious food options available.
- Spend some quality time with mom, without baby.
- Take older kids out for time away from home.
- Gift mom a massage or nail care appointment.
- Offer to watch the baby and give mom a chance to get out of the house.
LIGHTEN THE LOAD
- Deliver a meal and/or set up a meal train.
- Wash dishes.
- Wash, fold and put away laundry.
- Offer to do the grocery shopping or run errands.
- Help with tending to older children.
- Ask mom if there is anything you can do to help?