Ways to Support a Breastfeeding Mother

October 27, 2010

Most moms have many demands both physically and emotionally even when they are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Typically they also have a limited amount of time to complete all of their tasks. Breastfeeding adds another piece to this puzzle. Breastfeeding can feel even more overwhelming if a mother has experienced a traumatic birth, has a baby with special needs, is pumping (either part-time or exclusively), is dealing with postpartum depression, or many other possibilities. Most moms will often have to juggle work, school, caring for their children, maintaining relationships, housework, and meals. None of these things have to affect a mother’s ability to exclusively breastfeed her baby. One of the most important points to remember when adjusting to life with a new baby is that there will be challenges and transitions regardless of how you decide to feed your newborn. However, many overwhelmed mothers have thrown up their hands and declared that they are ready to try formula. Well-meaning family members who see a woman that they love struggling with exhaustion often offer to feed baby a bottle or let mama sleep through a feeding in an effort to be supportive. As breastfeeding is the newest addition to the list of things that a busy mama has to do, sometimes it can seem logical that by removing the task of breastfeeding things may get easier. It is always a wonderful idea to provide a break to a new mom. There are many ways to achieve that goal without depriving a baby of breastmilk.

Ways to help with a new baby by supporting a breastfeeding mama include:

~Bringing nutritious ready-made food.
*Fruit & Veggie Plates
*Casseroles that are easy to re-heat

~Light housework
*Fold Laundry

~Limit visiting time
*If you want to spend time holding baby, ask mom if she needs to catch up on a shower.

~Compliment mom on any messes that you can find. 🙂
*”I’m so glad that you are letting those dishes sit in the sink for awhile, that means you are really taking care of yourself and spending all of your time concentrating on that beautiful new baby!”

~Reevaluate Priorities
*Maybe it is alright for siblings to watch 5 hours of cartoon network per day during the first few weeks of adjusting to a new babe in the house.

~Offer to take older children to the park or a playdate.

~Be an involved, supportive dad
*Tell your partner how much your appreciate everything she is doing for your baby.
*Reassure her that her body instinctively knows just how to best feed your new babe.
*Bring mom food and water during nursing sessions. By caring for a breastfeeding mother and keeping her well-nourished, you are getting to feed your baby.

~Encourage Co-Sleeping
*Both baby & mama get the optimal amount of rest
*Helps establish & maintain milk supply
*Regulates breathing & body temperature in infants as they snuggle close to mom.

~Give the gift of a baby carrier
*There are so many different types, contact our local baby wearing group, Mamaroo for tips on choosing the best option for a breastfeeding mother of a young babe.

What was the most supportive thing that someone did for you after having your baby that contributed to your breastfeeding success? If you have had an experience in which you wish that your family or friends would have been more supportive, what would have been the most helpful thing someone could have said or done for you?


3 Responses to “Ways to Support a Breastfeeding Mother”

  1. Katie B. said

    As you know well, I was absolutely committed to breastfeeding, and happily had a very easy time of it. However, my partner’s support made every difference in my environment.. and when he told me that he considered nursing our baby to be work just as much as his paying job, I knew he was as committed as I was. Darn pregnancy hormones, I’m tearing up at the memory! 🙂

  2. […] are a variety of ways to offer support to a breastfeeding mother who might be suffering from postpartum depression or a similar illness. […]

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