Your partner needs your help to begin and continue breastfeeding. Even if friends and relatives are helping also, you should be the main source of support.
Dad-of-three Joe tells us about why breastfeeding has worked well for his family
Tips for caring for your partner
Here are some ways you can help:
Educate yourself about breastfeeding
Attend a breastfeeding preparation class with your partner to learn all about breastfeeding your baby.
Read information about getting breastfeeding off to a good start. Remember two heads are always better than one to absorb the information.
Attend breastfeeding support group
Go to your local breastfeeding support group with your partner while she is pregnant to meet the facilitator of the group. If you're male, check in advance if you can attend as some groups are only open to women.
Encourage your partner to meet and chat with other mothers to get advice and support.
After the birth, help your partner while she is holding your baby in skin-to-skin contact.
Help her to position your baby near the breast in order to get ready for feeding. Your midwife will support and guide you both.
Set up a feeding area
When you go home from the hospital, set up a feeding area for your partner. This should be a comfortable chair, a small table with a drink and snacks, the remote control or a book nearby.
If possible, be with your partner for a lot of those early feeds so you can both learn the skill of breastfeeding.
Bond with baby
Connecting with your baby is important both for you and your partner.
Enjoy some of the following activities with your baby:
- skin-to-skin contact
- bath time
- comforting your baby after a feed
- nappy changing
- a relaxing walk
- having cuddle time
Help out at home
You can make life at home easier for your partner by:
- limiting visitors and taking advantage of offers of help from family and friends
- placing a list of chores in the kitchen - this can be a great way of reminding people of the kind of help you’d appreciate
- doing the grocery shopping or setting up online grocery shopping that includes delivery
- trying to get home on time if you are back at work
Speak to and comfort your partner
Tell your partner you love her and how proud you are of her. Give encouragement and listen to any concerns she has.
Remind her the early days and weeks of breastfeeding are temporary. Settling into breastfeeding and parenthood takes time.
Be flexible about sleeping
Late evening and night time can be busy. Your baby feeds often and will sometimes take a number of feeds together. Going to bed early helps, but try to be flexible about sleeping so that you can be there for your partner as much as possible.
How breastfeeding can work for your family
Dad-of-two Declan talks about why he thinks breastfeeding works well for his family
Get help and support
If your partner is having breastfeeding challenges, the most important thing you can both do is ask for help.
- your public health nurse
- breastfeeding voluntary groups
- your GP
- international board certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs)