Breastfeeding is a family affair! It takes time, practice, patience, and teamwork. You may feel left out if your partner breastfeeds your new baby. But you play such an important role! Here are ways you can offer support and encouragement, and be involved in every step of the breastfeeding journey. And remember, WIC is here to help with resources, support, and answers.
BEFORE BABY ARRIVES
Learn the breastfeeding basics, including what to expect during your baby’s first days. Set goals. Work with your partner to come up with a birth plan and breastfeeding goals. This will help you get on the same page about what breastfeeding success looks like.
Join your partner for a WIC breastfeeding class. The more you know about breastfeeding, the more support you can provide!
Get to know your delivery hospital or birthing center. If possible, take a class or sign up for a virtual tour. Ask about their breastfeeding practices to make sure your delivery team can help you meet your breastfeeding goals.
AT THE HOSPITAL OR BIRTHING CENTER
Share your breastfeeding plan. Let the staff know your partner wants to breastfeed.
Focus on skin-to-skin time. Hold your baby skin to skin between feedings—it’s such a special way to bond with the new addition to your family!
Ask for help. If your partner is having trouble with breastfeeding, ask hospital staff for help. Or encourage your partner to contact her WIC breastfeeding staff or WIC Peer Counselor for support.
Help take care of your baby. You can soothe, bathe, change, dress, cuddle, and burp your baby. You can also keep your partner company during feedings and make sure she has plenty to eat and drink.
Watch for signs that your baby is hungry. Learn your baby’s hunger cues so you can bring your baby to your partner for nursing sessions.
Limit visitors. New moms need plenty of rest! Help limit the number of visitors that come to your home. (But take them up on offers to help with meals, food shopping or babysitting older children!)
Go the extra mile. Help with chores. Run errands, cook, clean, and do laundry. If mom needs something while she’s breastfeeding, offer to get it for her. If you have other children, take care of them so your partner can focus on breastfeeding.
Defend your choice. Not everyone will understand you and your partner’s decision to breastfeed. You can be the first line of defense and help teach anyone who tries to discourage your partner from breastfeeding about all the benefits breastfeeding offers for moms AND babies!
Offer encouragement. Help your partner feel good about herself. Tell her you’re proud of her and that she’s doing a great job!
For more information about WIC’s breastfeeding support and resources, visit www.mass.gov/wicbreastfeeding