We’ve talked on our blog before about not excluding your significant other while breastfeeding in order to have a more successful experience and loving bond with your baby. However, we wanted to share a dedicated post on the how those closest to a nursing mother can lend support. You may be her partner, husband, co-parent, family member or friend. No matter the relationship to her, it’s important to provide the appropriate kind of support and play an active role in her breastfeeding journey.
(Keeping Her) Fed Is Best
A mother burns 300-500 extra calories per day while breastfeeding, meaning the additional intake of calories every day should be a similar amount. At the same time, according to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nursing mothers need two to three servings (or at least 65 grams) of protein per day. Drinking water is a must, but keep in mind that superfluous fluids won’t increase one’s milk supply. Snacks that are tasty, healthy and can be eaten with one hand are also a plus! While a new mother may not have the time or mental space to keep track of those calories and servings, the significant other is there to ensure the mother can maintain this type of diet, avoiding burnout and/or dehydration while she is breastfeeding. So, whether the generosity stems from cooking her food while breastfeeding or ordering UberEats to the door, she will appreciate your effort and in result, the added support will increase her confidence!
Become an Expert
Attend a nursing course, speak with other breastfeeding mothers and their partners, or do individual research. These simple actions will allow the significant other to be more knowledgeable on the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as learn helpful techniques which may be implemented to support the mother. When she is feeling frightened or down in the dumps, the tips and tricks you have acquired can make breastfeeding feel like a team effort, instead of a one-woman show. Your bond as a couple will become stronger, and the healthy connection can even boost baby’s social, emotional and cognitive development.
Anticipate Her Needs
Once you are familiar with the ins and outs of nursing, you will be able to identify certain signs when the mother is struggling or uncomfortable. Through trial and error, you’ll even start to note those methods that ease her discomfort more so than others and already be prepared in advance. If she is still struggling, one of the most valuable things you can do is assist in finding a Certified Lactation Counselor in the area and keep their phone number on hand. Because you are aware of her needs, you’ll know exactly the type of guidance she is searching for.
Every nursing mother’s journey is unique, but one universal problem they often face is trying to navigate and adjust to life after birth. Many of them accredit this obstacle to not having sufficient emotional or practical support. As a significant other, your role in the first few weeks (or months) can have an immense effect on her desire and ability to continue on the journey, as well as serve as the support she needs.
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