A midwife’s tips for Supporting breastfeeding

Partner involvement has been shown to make a positive difference to outcomes for both mum and baby.

Partners play a pivotal role

We know, because research shows us over and over and over again that breastfeeding is best for baby, physically, emotionally and psychologically. Breastfeeding is a “whole food” in the truest terms. So we should be doing everything we can to support and continue uninterrupted breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is not about you, the partner, but you do have a pivitol role in the success of breastfeeding. Once again research tells us that the partner’s support and encouragement with breastfeeding means breastfeeding is more likely to be successful.

So breastfeeding mum’s need your support and help to breastfeed.

One of the main roles of the partner is to teach the baby that love and bonding are not always associated with food”

(Author unknown)

How you can help

People may feel guilty or are made to feel guilty that your partner doesn’t have any “bonding time “ with baby because baby is breastfed. This is often given as the reason to stop breastfeeding or to introduce a bottle. This is not true. There are lots of ways that your partner can spend special time and bond with baby.

Some examples are as follows but I am pretty sure you will think of your own things to do that you and baby can enjoy together. Expect that these things will change as baby grows and spends more time awake:

  • Skin to skin. Skin-to-skin helps baby maintain baby’s body temperature, calms them, nurtures bonding, supports baby’s attachment and emotional development, makes them feel secure, regulates their heart beat and metabolism
  • Hold baby, whether they are asleep or awake. Watch their little faces – they are really quite fascinating
  • Settle baby after they have fed. Babies will often settle better for you because you don’t smell of milk. Because men’s heartbeat is usually slower than women’s it may have a calming effect on baby and help them settle more readily.
  • Bathe your baby. Or have a shower or a bath with baby. This gives you the opportunity for skin to skin and babies love it.
  • Baby massage. Some babies enjoy it, others not so much. Your baby will let you know. You can learn baby massage techniques from a dvd ( You can buy one or they have them at the library) and the internet has lots of information on baby massage
  • Baby wearing….. You can wear baby too. You can wear baby on the “outside” or skin-to-skin. Again information on baby wearing is available from the library or internet.
  • Read and talk to your baby, sing to your baby. Your baby will recognise your voice if you have been around during pregnancy and you will be surprised at how they respond
  • Take baby out for a walk. Either wearing baby or in a pram. Show your baby off!
  • Play with your baby. Initially it may appear all baby does is eat and sleep but after the first week or two there will be periods that baby is awake for a little longer and will start to engage with you. Your baby will look and gaze at you and begin to smile. Teach them to poke out their little tongue, in a week or 2 they will copy you. Their little brains are like sponges it is an amazing thing to watch them taking everything in and trying to communicate with you

The rewards of Dad’s getting involved and actively making an effort to bond with baby separate from feeding are great. It gives mum a wee bit of a break time as well 

Supporting your partner during labour

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