How you can help with breastfeeding

When a mother is breastfeeding, it may seem that you may have little or no role to play in infant feeding. This is not true!

A supportive partner is very important to the success of breastfeeding. Your partner and your baby need your support. Here are specific ways that you can help.

Learn about breastfeeding

  • Read about breastfeeding.
  • Read the material your partner brings home from her health care provider.
  • Go to your partner's prenatal visits and ask your own questions.
  • Attend breastfeeding preparation classes.
  • Talk to other families who have breastfed or are breastfeeding their babies.

Be ready to give love and encouragement

New mothers often doubt their abilities, including their ability to breastfeed. When your partner feels discouraged or weepy, give her some encouragement.

  • Tell her you have faith in her.
  • Encourage her to sit or lie down and get some rest.
  • Let her know you understand that being a mother is a big adjustment.
  • Call your hospital's lactation resource if you have breastfeeding concerns.

Actively support her

  • Family members and friends may make remarks or ask questions that undermine your partner's confidence in her ability to feed your baby.
    Step forward and respond to these comments so she doesn't have to. Explain that this is a decision you have both made and how important it is to you. Make positive comments about how well your baby is growing and thriving.
  • Bring her pillows and then hold your baby while she gets settled in a comfortable position.
  • Bring her something to drink to help her get enough liquids.
  • Burp and walk your baby after she has nursed on one side and before she starts on the other.
  • If your baby falls asleep, carry her to her crib.
  • Get up at night and bring your partner the baby so she can remain resting in bed.
  • If your baby takes an occasional bottle of breastmilk, be the one who gives it to her.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/02/2015