There are libraries full of resources for moms on breastfeeding and pumping. But the role of the non-birth partner in the breastfeeding journey is often glossed over in books and websites.
This lack of information may leave your partner with questions, worries, and uncertainty about where they fit in the unique breastfeeding relationship that exists between you and your little one. However, there are many ways your partner can bond with baby and support you through breastfeeding or pumping. In fact, their role in the first weeks and months after birth is critical not only to helping you build a successful and long-lasting breastfeeding routine, but also to establish their own meaningful connection with baby.
Bonding with Baby
During the early days, you will spend a lot of time forming a close bond with baby through breastfeeding. It will help your partner to know that there are many ways they can form their own special bond by becoming deeply involved in baby’s care. Here are a few:
- Holding baby skin-to-skin against their chest to calm and cuddle
- Having fun with bath time
- Changing diapers
- Bottle feeding baby with breast milk
- Burping baby after nursing
- Rocking baby to sleep
- Spending time with baby by taking walks with a stroller or carrier, playing on the floor, or just sitting with you while you’re breastfeeding
In addition to bonding with baby, your partner can play a role in supporting and helping you. As the non-birth parent, your partner doesn’t need the same physical recovery time as you, so they are able to jump into caring for baby, helping you out, and picking up the slack around the house.
So while it might sound strange to you or them, your partner actually plays a very important role when it comes to breastfeeding. Some of the things you can ask your partner to do include:
- Creating a cocoon of sorts in the home environment – a comfortable, quiet place where you and baby can practice breastfeeding without interruption from excess noise and visitors
- Being supportive of you while you’re breastfeeding by bringing you water, your phone, or an extra pillow, and burping baby when they’re done nursing
- Running interference when the doorbell or phone rings so you can relax and focus on baby
- Taking on additional household chores like cooking and cleaning
- Being understanding that you might be sore, emotional, and disinterested in intimacy for awhile following birth
Veteran moms – do you have any tips for how your partner can get involved in the breastfeeding journey? Share in the comments below.