Supporting mom makes a difference and helps mothers.Ways that supporters can help with breastfeeding include:
Support from family and friends can help make breastfeeding a success. Let them know their support matters.
Breastfeeding is natural and babies are born to breastfeed. During the early days after birth, some babies and mothers need time to learn and practice their new breastfeeding skills. What other people say or think may affect how successful you are at breastfeeding. By supporting breastfeeding, your family and friends can help you give your baby the best start in life.
Become Informed: Get as much information about breastfeeding as you can before the baby is born. Talk to friends, relatives, other families who have breastfed their baby, and health professionals to learn what makes the breastfeeding experience successful. Explore this website to learn more about breastfeeding and how you can help mom.
Know Where Support is Available: Become familiar with the resources in your community and help the mother access them.
Offer Encouragement: A new mother may worry that she does not have enough milk for her baby. Most women have more than enough milk. Encourage her to breastfeed, as it is the best way to feed her baby. Tell her that you believe in her. Tell her that you are there to help.
Do Not Disturb: Limit visitors, telephone calls, and other interruptions during the early weeks after the baby is born, so that the mother and baby can get to know one another and learn how to breastfeed successfully.
Encourage Rest: A new mother needs lots of energy to focus on the baby. Help with everyday needs such as meal preparation, dishes and laundry. Keep the home tidy and help her to care for other children.
Help the Mother Care for the Baby: Babies cry for many reasons - not just for hunger. Learn different ways of comforting the baby such as skin-to-skin holding, walking, singing, or dancing. Bathing and changing are other ways to help the mother care for the baby. By comforting, bathing, or changing the baby you can give the mother more time to breastfeed and take care of herself.
Have Realistic Expectations: A new baby changes everyone's life forever. It is normal to have mixed feelings about these changes. Not supporting the mother may result in her giving up breastfeeding. This will not end these feelings. Breastfeeding will help the mother, father, and baby.
Encourage the Mother to Get Help: If the mother feels that things are not going well with breastfeeding, encourage her to ask for help.
Remember That Each Mother is Different: Ask her what you can do to help her.
Working as a co-parenting team is important and will help you meet the goals you set for your child.
Co-parents can include mothers, fathers, partners, grandparents, sisters, aunts, friends, etc. Co-parents are any two adults who are jointly responsible for a child. Working as an effective co-parenting team is important and will help you meet the goals you set for your child.
When co-parents set breastfeeding goals they are more likely to achieve them. Talk about how long your child will be exclusively breastfeed (only breast milk) and how long your child will continue to breastfeed once solid foods have been introduced at 6 months.
Discuss what you will need to do in order to meet these goals. What can both co-parents do to ensure mom has the time and energy to feed?
Problems often get in the way of you trying to meet your goals. It is important to effectively problem solve, so that small problems do not become bigger problems. As well, problems can get in the way of you and your partner working as an effective team.
Fathers/partners and other co-parents need to be involved with their breastfed babies. They need to get to know their babies’ likes and dislikes right from the start.
There are many important ways co-parents can be involved and get to know your baby that do not involve feeding the baby.
Co-parents can find things they enjoy doing with their babies. Their relationships with their babies are very important and will benefit both mothers and babies greatly. Although many co-parents do not have experience with newborns, with practice, they will feel confident and relaxed.