I told myself I wouldn't start this with "breastfeeding takes a village," but I can't think of a truer way to describe the support system that's necessary to help a breastfeeding mom succeed. It really does take a village. Or at least one person who's committed to encouraging and helping you out. There are plenty of ways your partner can make breastfeeding easier on you, whether they're aware of them or not.
However, you can't expect your partner, who likely hasn't gone through pregnancy, labor, and nursing like you have, to be able to relate to the stress of trying to juggle a thousand different mommy-related responsibilities at once. So be open with your partner, because they'll never help out if they're unaware of a need. And, as much as you'd like to think they know everything, sometimes they're not as perceptive as you'd hope.
Whether this is your first time breastfeeding or you're basically a milk maven by now, every mom deserves to have someone on her team to root for her on the hard days and tell her that no, it's not obvious that one boob is more engorged than the other.
So drop a few of these hints your partner's way the next time you need a helping hand. I'm sure they'll be more than happy to oblige.
1. Being Your Cheerleader
A little bit of encouragement can go a long ways. Though your partner may not know what breastfeeding is like for you, when they show their support, it means the world.
2. Watching The Older Kids
If your a mom of more than one baby, sometimes the biggest help is just to get the other kids out of sight so that you can focus on nursing the newest addition.
3. Helping You Relax
Breastfeeding is hard work. Not to mention all of the other mom-duties on your plate. Take a bath while your partner takes over for a while or, better yet, get out of the house for a few hours and have some much needed "me time."
4. Taking On Other Duties
Since your partner can't nurse the baby, have another task that's designated to them. Maybe it's bath time or making lunch, but whatever it is, it should take some of the pressure off of you.
5. Ignoring The Haters
Part of breastfeeding is learning how to deal with the backlash you may receive, however well meaning or not. Your partner should be your support system and have your back, no matter what the haters say.
6. Making *Appropriate* Jokes
Making cow jokes is not OK, but some appropriately timed quips about how you're starting a nudist colony could help to lighten the mood when you're feeling like, well, a cow.
7. Taking Over The Night Feedings
I'm fairly certain that the reason breast pumps were invented is so that other people can feed your baby for you sometimes. Pump ahead of time and let your partner take the night shift.
9. Setting Boundaries
When there's a new baby in the house, it's natural for everyone and their mother to want to come visit. Give your partner the job of scheduling visits and telling people no if need be.
7. Saying Thank You
When you don't feel appreciated it can be hard to push through the rough days. Sometimes a simple "thank you" is all it takes to turn a hard day into a better one.