Your loved ones will be key in helping you meet your breastfeeding goals and can support you in many ways. Prepare your partner in advance and explain that you will need support. It’s a good idea to talk with your friends and family too about your decision to breastfeed before your baby arrives. Highlight the important benefits of breastfeeding—for both you and your baby—and be sure to emphasize how much money you will save! Point out that breastfeeding will give your child the best start in life, with effects that last well into adulthood! Explain that your breast milk is made specifically for your child—to adjust as he/she grows. It is not just food for today, but medicine for a lifetime!
There are many ways your loved ones can offer the support, encouragement, and help you need. Invite them to join your breastfeeding team.
Here’s what they can do to support you and feel involved every step of the way
Before Baby Arrives
Learn the breastfeeding basics. Make sure your family knows what to expect during your baby’s first days.
Set goals. Work together to come up with your birth plan and breastfeeding goals. This will help you get on the same page about what breastfeeding success looks like.
Invite them to join you for a WIC breastfeeding class. The more your partner and family know about breastfeeding, the more they can support you.
Get to know your delivery hospital or birthing center. If possible, take a tour or class at your hospital or birthing center together. Ask about its breastfeeding policies to ensure your delivery team can help you meet your breastfeeding goals.
At the Hospital or Birthing Center
Focus on skin-to-skin time. Your partner or whoever is in the delivery room with you can make sure that you hold your baby skin to skin right after birth. They should enjoy some skin-to-skin bonding time, too!
Ask for help. If you’re having trouble getting a good latch or if you have concerns, your partner or family members can ask hospital staff for help.
Remind others of your breastfeeding plan. Your partner or family members can remind hospital staff that you want to breastfeed, so the staff doesn’t bottle-feed or supplement your baby with other fluids, unless medically necessary.
Help with baby care. Your baby will need to be fed, and will need lots of other care. Your partner or family members can soothe, bathe, change diapers, dress, and burp your baby. They also can sit and cuddle with you both during feedings and make sure you have plenty to eat and drink.
Look out for signs of hunger. Your partner or family members can learn when your baby is hungry and bring your baby to you.
Go the extra mile around the house with chores. Ask them to run errands or help cook, clean, and do the laundry.
Prioritize bonding time. Your baby will need one-on-one time with your partner and family, too. It’s also a good opportunity for you to get a break.
Defend your choice. Not everyone will understand your decision to breastfeed. Your partner and other family members can be your first line of defense against negative comments and anyone who tries to discourage you.
Above all, your partner and family can give you lots of love and encouragement. Breastfeeding can be hard, but knowing your partner and family are there for you and proud of what you accomplish can make a big difference. WIC breastfeeding staff are here to help you, too. Breastfeeding is a journey with ups and downs, but we know you can do it!