Breastfeeding tips for partners.
Contrary to popular belief, breastfeeding isn't something that a birthing person has to take on alone.
That's right partners, breastfeeding is for you too. There are so many little ways you can help with breastfeeding. Here are just a few ideas-
1. When baby wakes, bring them to your partner. If a diaper change is needed- change it!
2. Make sure your partner has plenty of water and snacks on hand while they nurse.
3. Sit with them! Sometimes nursing can feel lonely.
4. Make sure your partner is comfortable. Bring support pillows or blankets if needed.
5. Using SNS? Learn how to prepare the system you're using. Hold it for your partner.
6. Observe! When I was recovering from my daughter's birth I was EXHAUSTED. I was not at the top of my game. I was struggling to get her to latch properly as she screamed in my arms. My husband gently mentioned she seemed to have a side preference and maybe starting on her preferred side would help. It did! You just might pick up on something your partner doesn't if you stick around and take it all in.
7. Validate. Breastfeeding is hard. Some times it feels like too much. Your partner may have times where they are feeling discourage or even completely defeated. Don't brush that off. Acknowledge the tremendous task they are taking on and allow them their feelings.
8. Be their advocate and ally. Unfortunately, there are some real jerks out there. There is a very real possibility your partner may, at some point in their breastfeeding journey, face some real ignorance. Don't leave them to defend themselves while vulnerable. Step up! If you're out in public and someone tells your partner to cover up, tell them to mind their own damned business and inform them of your partners legal rights to breastfeed where and how they want. Stand up for your partner.
9. Educate yourself. There is a whole lot to breastfeeding that many partners never realize. Engorgement. Mastitis. Clogged ducts. Cluster feeding. Growth spurts in baby. Read up. Learn so that you can be a good support to your partner in all areas of breastfeeding.
10. Honor the journey. One day, it will be over. A precious time in your partners life that they have spent countless hours to achieve, at all hours of the day and night, sacrificing sleep and comfort for- will be over. That last little bit of their body sustaining your child will be over. For many it's an emotional time. Respect that. There are a few things many birthing people say they wish they had once the nursing journey is over. The two most common things I hear are- breastfeeding images and breast milk jewelry. That's right- there are several seriously skilled vendors out there that make necklace, bracelets, and even earrings from your partners breast milk.
11. This one is perhaps the most important. Please know that for many birthing people POST PARTUM DEPRESSION OCCURS WHEN WEANING. This is super important. Your partner very well may go through an incredibly struggle when weaning. Postpartum depression is devastating- and not at all an indicator of who your partner truly is, their love for your baby, or their love for the family you've created together. If you're concerned for your partner, seek help. You can read more about Postpartum Depression here- https://www.postpartum.net/
Amanda Smith, owner of Wild Heart Photo + Film, is a full service birth photographer and birth videographer in San Diego, California. Wild Heart Photo + Film also offers maternity, fresh 48, newborn, and documentary sessions. Service areas include but are not limited to Coronado, La Jolla, San Diego, La Mesa, Del Mar, and Poway. Amanda Smith is a military spouse and has base access for births at Balboa (Navy Medical Center San Diego) and at Camp Pendleton. It is best to book your birth story or other sessions early in the second trimester. Amanda offers a high end full service experience including in person consultation, diligent on call time, exclusive access to client wardrobe (for maternity, milk bath, and breastfeeding sessions), an online viewing gallery for sharing with loved ones and downloading your high resolution digital images straight to your computer, and unique professional quality products included with every birth story package. Amanda Smith offers high end products for ordering at every viewing session. Every birth story is beautiful. I can't wait to help you document yours.
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