One of the most essential things a supportive partner can do is keep it simple and let the mom care for the baby. Breastfeeding is a very serious task for new parents, but dads can only do so much. As much as you want to take charge whenever your wife is tired, you are not physically equipped to do so.
How do dads strike the right balance when with their partners it comes to nursing? What can you do to make the experience more enjoyable and smoother for everyone in the family? Emotional support and being a hands-on parent is vital part of the nursing process. More than that, here are some tips and areas where dads can pitch in their wives’ breastfeeding success.
Figure Out What She Needs
Not everyone needs you to bring them a six-pack of water bottles and snacks every time, but it usually helps. Mom could even ask for specific things such as what kind of snacks she likes or wants. You can also research other tips for breastfeeding moms online, which should help you better support your wife’s nursing journey. Most of the time, moms do not even know what they need. They are sleep-deprived, forget things, and are sometimes frustrated. You can work as a team to ensure that this breastfeeding journey is not only her success but yours as well.
Be Her Pit Crew for Pumping
Your wife needs to make sure that the baby is fed and satisfied no matter what. That means making time to pump milk during work hours or any other obligations she has outside of the home. If you’re available, as a supportive father, you can be your wife’s pit crew anytime she needs to drop by the nearest breastfeeding room to do her pumping.
It is a typical nursing mother’s problem because you cannot always predict when and where she needs to pump milk. Ensure that she has easy access to the nearest place allowing moms to pump milk for their babies. Ideally, you can also figure out how machines and accessories work. It will save you both time, and your wife will appreciate your effort in preparing the pumping device for her.
Don’t Press Too Much
Breastfeeding is not just about getting enough food into your baby. It is also about the bonding experience. Dads are encouraged to support their wives during this time, but you need to let them get used to being around one another without your interference. The key here is not to be too invasive because this will only make your wife feel uncomfortable or pressured into doing something she is not ready for yet. She may be having problems breastfeeding the baby, so you need to give her space to figure things out.
Always have Snacks and Drinks Ready
When you offer your wife a cold bottle of water and treats, she will immediately be grateful for it. Eating and drinking are not always easy, especially when breastfeeding can take a large chunk of her time. When you take care of her “to-do list” to make sure she has everything, your wife will feel the peace of mind that she needs. It is not easy to manage breastfeeding and household chores at the same time. Therefore, it pays off to be supportive all the time.
Keep Other Kids Occupied
Having other kids around can be good for your wife because the baby will not feel alone. However, you need to manage this carefully and make sure that their activities do not disturb mom while she is breastfeeding or trying to rest. It is easy to get carried away and let them run around your house like crazy when they want to play with mommy—this is the time where you step in. If you want your wife to focus on the baby, you have to take care of the other kids so they will not bother her.
Give the Gift of Rest and Quiet
Breastfeeding is a demanding job for women, even more so with newborn babies. The baby needs feeding at all times, and there is no telling when your wife will need rest or quiet. You can give this gift to your partner by looking after the other kids or doing household chores while she rests. This way, she can relax and recharge her energy to continue with what she needs to do later on.
Help with Housework
Household chores should not only be delegated to women. Modern men understand that starting a family is a shared obligation through and through. While your wife focuses on nursing the baby, your role is to help with keeping the house and the kids. If the wife can prepare meals, do the laundry, and clean up, so do husbands. You do not have a choice about taking care of the kids too. You can help your partner by keeping them occupied and ensuring they are cared for even when mom is occupied with the little one.
Always be Ready to Listen
And lastly, always be there to listen to your wife. Breastfeeding is not always a positive experience, but you can make it work together. Console your wife when she feels frustrated, tired, or does not know what else to do. Sometimes, all it takes is your undivided attention and reassuring words to make her feel better about parenthood. You can even discuss the possibility of getting a nanny or a daycare for siblings so your partner can focus on breastfeeding if needed. It will help them both feel better during the difficult times that may come with this process.
Figuring out what your wife needs are a tall order. We want our children to be happy and healthy, from feeding schedules to diaper changes, sleep preferences and everything in between. But sometimes, mommy’s needs for rest and quiet take priority because breastfeeding can get exhausting. Most dads feel left out when their wives decide to nurse the baby. But this should not be the case. You can be a hands-on nursing dad and a supportive husband to your wife. In everything, you and your wife are a team.