The initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding can be tricky.
When do I bring the baby to the breast?
How much skin to skin is needed?
Do I need to pump?
Is my supply enough?
Is the baby still hungry?
Did the baby poop enough?
The list goes on…..
All this can be overwhelming on your own. A partner’s support and encouragement is so important in making those early transition days into motherhood go ‘as smoothly as possible’. A lack of support or even indifference towards breastfeeding may have a marked effect on the dyad’s success with establishing and maintaining a breastfeeding relationship.
Mannion et al. in their 2013 study, found that: ‘Mothers feel more capable and confident about breastfeeding when they perceive their partners are supportive by way of verbal encouragement and active involvement in breastfeeding activities.’
Sometimes partners can feel left out from the bonding taking place between a breastfeeding mother and baby. There are many others ways that a partner can bond with their infant, without breastfeeding. In our house, my husband was amazing at giving our little ones their baths. It was their special moment with daddy with lots of cuddles afterwards. He was also the post breastfeed ‘Burp and Gas Man’ for our colicky angel. Overall, he was able to bond with our kids and be engaged in their daily routines just as much as I was!
Whilst prenatal education and classes are definitely helpful in understanding the needs of the infant and how each parent will be most useful when the baby has arrived, once you are in the moment with your new baby, no amount of planning is going to be enough. There will be some improvisation happening. But if you have someone supportive and engaged by your side, the roller coaster can feel more like a ferris wheel!
Mannion CA, et al. (2013). Maternal perceptions of partner support during breastfeeding. International Breastfeeding Journal. May 8;8(1):4.