Having a new baby in the house is a wonderful yet challenging time. Breastfeeding NZ wide is no walk in the park and can often be daunting for a mother to begin with. Luckily there are many things your partner or helper can do to make this time a bit easier. Although you may not be doing the breastfeeding yourself, there are plenty of ways you can get involved with the rewarding experience of nursing and sharing this time together.
Shout it from the rooftops: there is nothing more important than giving your full support to your partner, family member or friend! Breastfeeding requires considerable time and energy, and if mum is not receiving the best support both physically and mentally, it can not only be quite taxing but many women can give up due to simply feeling exhausted – it’s a big job! Researching a little about nursing can make all the difference when it comes to offering help. The right position or bit of encouragement can give her comfort and show she’s doing a great job.
Try to be there during those long first weeks and help out when and where you can, doing the basic things around home. Adding a new member to the family comes with many things to think about, so temporarily being the errand runner can help her take a few things off her mind. Get her a glass of water when she’s thirsty, a snack when she’s hungry, a blanket when she’s cold or even a massage when she’s starting to feel uncomfortable. Hang the washing and - the best one - take the toddler out for the afternoon to burn off some steam. If mum is happy, you’ll often have a happy baby, too.
During the first minutes, hours and weeks following a baby’s birth, skin to skin touch is vital. Bonding is the time when the baby establishes that unbreakable connection with their parents, so shower both mum and baby with love by sitting with them during nursing. Comfort your partner and take time to chat (and about something other than baby!) and ask how she is. This will help create that magical initial connection between a child and their parents. It’s during these weeks that a lot of mums can become overwhelmed and the big “after birth” high can wear off. Making sure you are aware of how your partner, friend or family member is feeling and picking up on changes can make all the difference. Not everyone takes to breastfeeding or bounces back straight away, and that’s ok! Being there to notice the little things is so important!
Allowing mum to rest after breastfeeding is just as important as helping her during. When she is either showering or sleeping, it is your turn to be the centre of the baby’s world. Dedicate that time to cuddles and bonding. Bathing the baby can be an extremely rewarding and special experience, helping you establish the special connection that a mother receives from breastfeeding and giving mum 30 minutes to herself (which believe it or not, she needs more than ever).
What may seem like a menial task, such as changing a baby's nappies, can afford a mother the perfect opportunity to freshen up and take care of herself. Give her a little time to focus on herself, as so much of her energy is being dedicated to making this new little life happy. Swaddle baby after feeding, bathe baby, change their clothes, or even sing to them. Each of these actions not only helps relax your partner but gives you more time to bond. Mum will also think you are pretty awesome as well.
Some basic maintenance can help also. Your partner is doing the hard work of nursing and pumping, but you can help by cleaning her breast pump, storing pumped milk, and keeping nursing items like ointments and hand sanitisers on hand and stocked up. Be in control of milk rotation in the fridge and make sure things are dated and stored correctly.
Managing outside pressure and stressful events can make the process of breastfeeding for your partner a lot more calming and efficient. Take time to cook or clean or even take care of any older children. Having a new baby in the house can be an exciting time for everyone, although too much commotion and noise can be stressful for both the mother and the baby, so guard them both against too many excited visitors.
Taking care of outside pressure and stressful events can make the process of breastfeeding for your partner, friend or family member a lot more calming and efficient. Spend time to cook or clean and help to take care of any older children. Having a new baby in the house can be an exciting time for everyone, although too much commotion and noise can be stressful for all. Toddlers and older children also can feel a bit left out during this time, so making sure you are giving attention to them, involving them with mum and talk them through why mum is spending so much time feeding their new little sibling. It’s all very new to them as well and involving them is so special.
This special time will fly by so quickly so cherish this extremely rewarding time.
Breastfeeding may be a daunting experience at first, but you will soon find your groove as a family. The best thing you can do as you set out on this adventure is to provide your partner with constant support and give yourself every advantage with the best breast pumps NZ has to offer at Green Group Collective. Our collection of holistic nursing products can make a nursing mother’s life a little easier.