It took us a while to get here, but boy aren’t we glad we’re raising kids in an era where dads are super hands-on. How heart-warming is it to see dads taking paternity leave, or working from home, to help their wives with everything from diaper changes to putting dinner on the table.
Helpful as they are, most men usually take a back seat when it comes to breastfeeding, since it’s unfamiliar territory. We totally understand dads ― after all, it’s her boobs, so it’s her decision to nurse ― or not.
Kudos to you if you want to be there for her as she tries to establish a successful breastfeeding journey. Remember, with the best support, half the battle is won.
Your wife needs to hear words of encouragement ― and not just the random “thank you” or “good job” ― just as she needs to see you support her. Here are seven things all breastfeeding wives would love to hear from their hubbies…
#1 “Here’s a drink and some snacks for you.”
Nourishing a growing human being is hard business. Your wife is producing milk literally out of blood, sweat and tears. This milk which is packed with nutrients that baby drinks up to eight times a day – sometime even more. She’s exhausted from the erratic sleep and so very thirsty and hungry from using all her energy to produce more milk. Don’t wait for her to ask you to bring her something. Use your initiative and surprise her with little snacks here and there. Keep them fresh and healthy, so as to keep her energy levels up, but don’t deny her that slice of chocolate cake either – nobody deserves it more than her!
Every month, week or day your wife persists with nursing is an achievement in itself. Don’t forget to celebrate every opportunity you get and thank her for it.
#2 “I’ve heard breastfeeding can be hard, so kudos for coming this far!”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding baby up until the age of 12 months. Some mums hit that mark, some don’t and others go on to breastfeed longer than that. A well-deserved pat on the back for each and every mother because breastfeeding is really hard, physically, mentally and emotionally. So every month, week or day your wife persists with nursing is an achievement in itself. Don’t forget to celebrate every opportunity you get and thank her for it.
#3 “Do you need some help? Shall we call a lactation consultant?”
Antenatal classes and baby books come in handy when you need breastfeeding tips. Plus, certified lactations consultants are also available when you’re at the hospital to check on baby’s latch and nursing position. However, it’s a whole different ball game once you’re home alone. Suddenly, nothing seems to work. Some mums stop breastfeeding just because they couldn’t overcome the hurdles and didn’t have the right support. If you feel like your wife is struggling with bubba’s latch, finding a comfortable feeding position or is worried about not producing enough milk, encourage her to get help immediately, as it’s probably driving her crazy. Sometimes, she may not even know she needs help until you suggest it, so don’t be afraid to speak up.
#4 “Shall I give you a back massage or a foot rub?”
She’s endured nine long months of pregnancy (including morning sickness), soldiered through a tough labour and is now doing her best to keep your kewpie alive and healthy with her breastmilk. Give that woman a gold star, a body massage and a foot rub. Pamper your lady to the moon and back, because, well, we can’t think of a reason not to, can you?
#5“Just concentrate on feeding baby and resting. I will take care of everything else.”
It’s no secret that women shoulder most of the household responsibilities. Your wife will think she’s superwoman enough to juggle cooking, cleaning and running errands with caring for baby. Well, she’s not. Even the ones who do manage to pull it off will have a breakdown sooner or later. An exhausted mum is also someone who is unable to answer to all her baby’s needs all the time, plus stress can greatly affect her breastmilk supply. It’s time for you to take on more while she tries to recover from childbirth and iron out nursing snags. Reassure your better half that you’ve got everything under control. You can also take care of the bills, grocery shopping, plus take on bulk of the babycare duties, such as diaper changes and getting bub to sleep. Your wife can use this break to catch a few winks.
Just waking up with your wife and giving her some company, or a quick back rub while she nurses, can make a big difference to how she approaches night-time feeding.
#6 “Let me keep you company during night feeds.”
You probably wish you didn’t have to say this, but it will go a long way in supporting your breastfeeding wife, we promise. Some women enjoy those quiet late night feeds alone with baby, but others tend to feel the loneliest during that time. Just waking up with your wife and giving her some company, or a quick back rub while she nurses, can make a big difference to how she approaches night-time feeding. She might even start looking forward to it, since she knows you’ll be keeping her company. Before you protest loudly that you need your sleep as well, we’re not asking you to wake up multiple times. Even doing so once at night every few days will make a difference to her. By the way, while you’re up, you can make yourself useful and change baby’s diaper as well.
#7 “Why don’t you take the afternoon or evening off, I’ll stay home with baby.”
We can’t stress enough on the importance of self-care. Life with a newborn ― especially the first few months ― can be a complete blur of round-the-clock feeding, diaper changes, cleaning spit-ups and decoding cries. Indeed, your wife is stuck at home all day with the infant and won’t be able to tell Tuesday from Saturday. Throw cracked and bleeding nipples into the mix and it’s obvious that mum can really can benefit from taking a breather. Give her the chance to pump some milk and leave it with you as she takes an afternoon off to get a much-needed facial, have coffee with her girlfriends or just walk around Orchard Road aimlessly. You will see the instant benefit from giving her time and space away from baby. She will come back feeling refreshed, missing bub like crazy and ready to tackle motherhood and breastfeeding head on.
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