How you can help with breastfeeding

How you can help with breastfeeding

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

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

Actively support your partner

  • Family members and friends may make remarks or ask questions that undermine your partner's confidence in their ability to feed your baby. Step forward and respond to these comments so your partner 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 your partner pillows and then hold your baby while they get settled in a comfortable position.
  • Bring your partner something to drink to help them get enough liquids.
  • Burp and walk your baby after they have nursed on one side and before your baby starts on the other.
  • If your baby falls asleep, carry your baby to their crib.
  • Get up at night and bring your partner the baby so they can remain resting in bed.
  • If your baby takes an occasional bottle of breastmilk, be the one who gives it to them.

Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, eighth edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/06/2021