There’s a brand new baby at your house. And you are a brand new Dad living with a brand new breastfeeding Mom. Among all the other things you two have likely discovered you know nothing about in the last week or so, you can’t figure out exactly how to help her since it’s pretty obvious, even for the uninitiated that you can’t feed the baby! But your baby seems to want to eat all the time. And nobody is getting much sleep.
But the brand new Dad CAN support the brand new breastfeeding Mom. Here’s how:
1. Be the chef. Feed her so she can feed the baby. N0, you don’t need to spoon the food into her. Just be sure there is high-quality food at the ready for you to heat and offer to serve up for her. (Note high-quality designation.) You have limited time to eat these days so it follows that what you do eat should be as nutritious as possible. Meaning ramen noodles, pizza and fast food are OUT, as they likely have been for the past 9 months. Soups, stews, a roast chicken, fresh deli-turkey, fruit, vegetables, salads, nuts, nut butters on whole grain toast etc. are in.
2. Be the “yes” man. So (see above) say “YES” to family, friends and possibly even neighbors who ask if they can do anything to help. PRACTICE SAYING “Yes please. We would love it if you could drop off a nutritious meal ( or pick up some groceries, bring over a lasagna, roast a chicken, make some soup) so we don’t have to think about food!” (Practice this!)
3. Be the cheering squad. Tell her she’s doing a great job with your baby and that this is not EASY for anyone. And if “they” say it was for them, they are fibbing. (Insert several kisses and at least one huge hug here!)
4. Be the source of evidenced-based breastfeeding information if and when she’s searching. Offer to look online for answers if she has questions or concerns about breastfeeding. Read what you find out loud to her so you have the knowledge too and can be her back-up brain. (Sleep deprivation plays funny tricks on otherwise smart and perfectly competent people.) The three best doula-appoved sites for evidenced-based breastfeeding information. Not hearsay. Not old wives tales, but evidenced-backed information:
5. Be her champion. When others others express doubt or concerns about breastfeeding, baby hunger, how soon he’s eating etc. etc. etc. step in and share your new knowledge about the benefits of breast milk with them.
6. Be her caretaker. Offer her a back rub or a foot massage, some tea, time to shower. You get the idea.
7. Be your baby’s caretaker while Mom takes a nap. Take the baby once he’s been fed. Change, swaddle and burp him and then gently help him back to sleep. Just holding him on your chest and maybe humming a tune is a great way to start. Most newborns can NOT fall to sleep independently so please do NOT worry about spoiling him, no matter what your grandmother, boss, neighbor, dad, cousin or the mailman says!
NOT sure what any of this means?
8. Be the hero. Find and hire a postpartum doula to teach you BOTH everything you don’t know YET about your new baby! It’s best to do this BEFORE your baby is born, if at all possible. But if not, better late than never!
in Northern NJ -Contact me :Elaine @tendertimesdoula.com
Need a quick phone consult, payment via Paypal? 973-291-8200
All will connect you to a local postpartum doula.