Partners that don't do the feeding can feel useless, silly, and like they're missing out on valuable bonding time. Moments of clusterfeeds feel never ending, but you can be a part of the process. In fact you are important.
Below are some tips, for romantic or non-romantic partners, on how to support your busy partner (breastfeeding is hard work) and get some bonding time of your own.
Partners, you are a vital part of the nursing process. Your support can affect positive nursing outcomes!!
You know those Big Gulp cups from the gas station? Fill one of those up with water. Put it within reach. She will thank you. Seriously, SO PARCHING to breastfeed. (Is that a word?)
Snacks, snacks, snacks
Dehydrated string beans, Peanut M&Ms, apple slices, pizza, bagels, meatballs, the list could go on. Cravings do not subside for nursing moms. Some even claim the cravings are more intense! So break out the bag of Cheetos and pair it with some pepper slices.
Burp & change baby
This is your moment to be the burp expert and the speedy diaper changer. Your newborn might even still be alert and thus, you'll get some beautiful face time.
Skin to skin isn't just for breastfeeding
All baby needs is to be in a diaper. Non-breastfeeding partner, you can take off your shirt or open your shirt and place baby on your chest. Make sure to cover baby in a blanket so he or she is warm. Soak in all those baby smells and noises. And they will do the same for you! Skin to skin helps regulate babies warmth, calm them, and get them used to being on the outside of the womb.
If it is the middle of the night and mom needs to feed the baby (which is often and for a long time usually), get the baby, change the baby after feeding, and lay the baby back down. You can very much be a part of this process! Leaving your partner to do all the night wakings is lonely business.
Honor her space
Nursing is hard work. Anyone who is working hard might want accompaniment or to be left alone. Find out what your partner wants and then honor that. This is usually best discovered by talking and not trying to read minds!
Depending on how old baby is, partners can begin to feed baby from a bottle occasionally (the recommendation is around 6 weeks and to pace bottle feed). Until then, send this blog to an expecting partner and get the conversation started!