How to Support the New Breastfeeding Mother in Your Life
While having a newborn baby in the house is a magical experience in it’s own right, it can also be a challenge, especially for the partner of the new mother. While mom is learning to nurse her baby, recover from birth, and balance her constantly changing sleep patterns, you are often left wondering what your role is in caring for your new baby and her. As the partner of a breastfeeding mother and parent to a new baby, you can support her and your newborn by finding ways to nurture, relieve, and even pamper her.
Create Nourishing Meals
While we need food to survive, we humans use food as a way to celebrate, soothe ourselves, and seek out pleasure. A new mom is exhausted as she recovers from labor and birth and has little energy to make herself nutritional meals. To help out, make her favorite meals, foods that are full of flavor, healthy greens, and nourishing to the soul. There are few things sweeter and kinder than cooking a delicious meal for the person you love.
Taking Over Household Chores
First the first few weeks, the breastfeeding mother is learning to nurse her infant, get an appropriate amount of sleep, and manage her changing hormones. Sometimes, doing laundry, cleaning the house, and grocery shopping is simply too overwhelming for her and yet, the watching her home fall into disarray is upsetting and stressful. Relieve this anxiety by keeping the home as clean as possible, doing the laundry beside her on the couch, cleaning the kitchen while she naps, and picking up the groceries on your way home from work. Knowing that you are capable of performing these duties during a huge transitional time will be a major relief and an absolutely loving act of kindness.
Becoming a Burp Master
After a particularly stressful nursing session or trying to soothe a stressful baby, offer to rock, bounce, and burp your baby. My first baby was particularly colicky and my partner became the burp master of the household, relieving her pain and my stress at the same time. I firmly believe that this act bonded my daughter and her father forever. To this day, she’s now eight, she still looks to him to soothe her discomfort.
Don’t Forget the Diapers!
Alright, this one is a no brainer. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, and you really should, is to get over any fear of diaper changes and just do it. Often newborns need a diaper change right after breastfeeding, when the baby’s mother is often drained of energy. Without being asked be at the ready to change that diaper, whether it’s a fancy cloth diaper, a complicated pre-fold, or a disposable option. Don’t forget to take care of the diaper, and the smell, right away. Your partner will thank you for it!
Throw a Date Night, Even If It Includes a Nursing Baby
You and your partner have just experienced a major life change; you deserve a date night. In the first month, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get away from your newborn, and the nursing mother may not even want to leave her infant. So, plan an at home date night. Download her favorite movie or get her favorite television show loaded on Netflix. And don’t forget the milk duds and popcorn! Get snuggled up on the couch, let her nurse your baby to sleep, and enjoy closeness and fun for a few hours. Pay special attention to your partner, make sure she knows how much she is loved and appreciated, and spare no effort to provide a romantic evening. You both deserve it.
Continued Support as Your Baby Grows
The breastfeeding mother will need continued support as your baby grows. Continue helping her acclimate back into everyday life, doing chores, cooking when you can, and offering to watch your baby so that she can get out. Many women worry about their body image as they go back to work and their infant ages. Remind her that her body has only become more beautiful and womanly since giving birth and support her efforts to healthily lose the baby weight at a gentle pace. Exercise together, taking the baby for walks. Cook healthy meals and watch the baby so that your partner can visit the gym.
Providing as much support as possible for your partner will bring you closer than ever, nurturing her, your infant, and your evolving relationship. Don’t let this wonderful opportunity pass you by because you’re afraid of taking on more responsibility. You can do it and she’ll be so glad that you did!