How can you help your partner breastfeed?

By Melissa Portunato MPH, IBCLC

An article just for new dads.

Congrats! You and your partner just welcomed a new bundle of joy earthside! But between mommy recovering and spending most of her time getting the hang of breastfeeding, where does that leave you? How can you help in all the chaos? The support you provide can determine whether or not your partner accomplishes her breastfeeding goals. That makes your job in all this, pretty important.

Here are 5 practical tips for dads who want to help their partner be successful at breastfeeding.

Compliment her and mean it

If seeing your partner carry your child for 9 months and spend brutal hours in labor didn’t change you, check your pulse because you might be dead. I mean seriously! This woman just created life inside of her belly and is now making food from her body to feed your growing child! She deserves the world. Buy her flowers. Kiss her gently on the forehead and tell her you are proud of her. Tell her you love her. Tell her what a great job she’s doing. Make sure you do it in front of others too, so everyone can know how amazing she is! Put your phone down, close your laptop and be present. Sssssmootches!

Give her some “me” time

Even a hot shower can feel like a vacation to the Galápagos Islands during this journey. Take the baby and give her some alone time to soak out all the stress of being a new mama. For an added bonus, prepare the shower or bath in advance and sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil in the corners of the tub for an even more rejuvenating experience. Take the opportunity to do skin to skin and bond with baby. Research tells us that skin to skin with dad is not only important for baby’s development but promotes the bonding process between them. Mommy gets to relax and you get to bond with your baby. Perfect combo!

Screen visitors

Listen, learning to breastfeed can be messy! Newborns are messy. Spit ups, poop explosions, and wet stains on everything from leaking and dripping breastmilk are just a few to name. Go to your partner first and ask if it’s OK to have visitors over the house. It’s OK to say no to visitors. Always ask her first. If an unexpected visitor comes by don’t expect her to have to entertain them. Right now her only worry in the world should be learning to breastfeed and bond with baby. It can all be so overwhelming dealing with cluster feeding and a fussy baby. Throw in your long-lost cousin and her runny nose toddler to the mix and you will have one grumpy postpartum mama. Have a plan in place to dodge visitors. Papa Bear to the rescue!

Keep her fed and hydrated

Provide her with cool water on all her typical nursing stations – night table, living room, coffee table, maybe even a balcony or porch. Did she have lunch? Does she need a snack? Keep the fridge stocked with healthy high protein / healthy fat options to keep mommy producing that super milk to power your little superhero! Keeping mommy fed and hydrated won’t necessarily make her produce more milk but it will help with her feeling relaxed and her milk will flow more easily. Join in and share a glass of water with your partner! Cheers to your health!

Find her support and get educated

Research tells us mothers who have breastfeeding support from their partners are more likely to meet their breastfeeding goals. So that makes YOU pretty important! The support you give is vital in making breastfeeding work for her and your baby. Educate yourself on breastfeeding. If you were not able to attend a class prenatally, contact your local hospital. Take the time to learn about how the female body makes breast milk and what is typical newborn behavior. The more you know about breastfeeding the more you will be able to support her and encourage her when the going gets tough. For help finding support, you can check out our local listings of SpectraBaby USA Certified IBCLCs.

Breastfeeding is a family commitment. It takes a village to support a new mom and baby. Arm yourself with the right tools and you will be ready to walk through any breastfeeding obstacle your partner will face. Walk alongside her not just behind her. She needs you and so does your baby. Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby and you can help make this journey even more beautiful.

Share this with a new dad today!

10 Breastfeeding Friendly Foods

By Melissa Portunato, MPH IBCLC

Alright, let’s be real. As a new mom, the only thing that gets you excited for dinner is pizza with a side of ice cream. And besides, with all the nursing and pumping you have been doing, who has time for self care anyway?? Though it’s totally fine to indulge every once in a while, maintaining a balanced diet will give you energy, keep you satisfied longer, and can help your breast milk flow easier. Try working the following 10 items into your diet rather than going for a full blow diet change off the bat.

Making milk for a tiny human is no joke so we created this list for you to take it along the next time you make a grocery run! Let’s go!

High quality protein

Scrambled, sunny side up, or a’la flambe! Pasture-raised eggs are a high quality source of protein and aren’t very expensive which makes them an easy go-to meal. Eggs have a long list of health benefits but the top of the list includes improving eye health, aiding in weight loss, and preventing disease.

A lack of iron can suck the energy out of you, consuming iron packed grass-fed beef can help increase your iron and Vitamin B-12 levels. Both are helpful in sustaining your energy and will aid in keeping up with your busy schedule.

Wild caught salmon

Salmon is a powerhouse loaded with DHA which is exactly what newborns need for healthy, neurological growth. All breast milk contains DHA, but pretty cool evidence tells us, moms, who intake DHA regularly have higher levels! Ah-ma-zing!

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, Legumes are loaded with iron and protein too! Especially the dark ones!

Leafy greens

Leafy greens are nutrient dense, low in calories and carbs, and packed with vitamins and minerals like Calcium, Vitamin K, Folic Acid, and Iron. Spinach is a heavy hitter when it comes to leafy greens! It can be cooked with pretty much any meal, raw in salads, and blended in smoothies. It can be pureed and added to sauces too!

Fresh fruit

Fresh fruit can be added to yogurt, oatmeal and is a simple, nutritious snack!

Blueberries are one of the most nutritious fruits in the world providing Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Antioxidants. Eating 2 servings a day of fresh fruit like berries can help amp up weight loss, decrease inflammation, and promote digestion which is beneficial to breastfeeding moms recovering from childbirth.

Nuts and seeds

Flaxseed is one of the world’s first superfoods. Its benefits include improving skin and hair, balancing hormones, and even helps to bust sugar cravings. Adding flaxseed to your diet is a quick and easy way to consume fiber and essential fatty acids. Flaxseed will ensure your body performs at optimal health to make your breastmilk and give you more energy to care for your newborn baby. Make sure you are grounding your flaxseed for best results. Ground flaxseed can be sprinkled on toast, yogurts, blended in smoothies, and even sprinkled on salads.

Packed with protein, calcium, magnesium, and iron, raw almond butter makes for a simple snack for busy breastfeeding moms. Spread almond butter on bananas, apples, or eat it straight from the jar! I mean why not, right? Read labels, sugar can be sneaky! Raw almond butter is best.

Healthy fats

Avocadoes make a great food for breastfeeding moms because of the variety of minerals, especially the high levels of Vitamin K. This vitamin can help with blood clotting and help postpartum moms recover faster from labor and delivery. The healthy fat found in avocados helps to keep you fuller longer. Load up avocados in salads, add to smoothies, or pour olive oil over it and eat it straight from the skin!

Complex carbs

Complex carbohydrates include many plant-based foods that are nutrient dense and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals needed for overall health and to support breastfeeding. Complex carbs like sweet potatoes are excellent in providing energy for busy moms on the go and they can help fulfill those carb cravings! Complex carbs from starchy veggies can help satisfy a sweet tooth without adding sugar or inflammatory grains.

Rather than spending your precious time preparing complicated meals, make it easy by preparing smoothies, soups and crockpot meals! Planning ahead will definitely make it easier to eat healthy. Overall, you will be burning 300-500 extra calories by breastfeeding. You want these extra calories to be full of nutrition to boost your energy. Though there is no particular breastfeeding diet, it’s important to eat balanced to maintain a healthy body for yourself and to care for your baby. Avoid empty calories and choose real fresh foods instead. Keep taking your prenatals or choose a non – gmo multivitamin.

And don’t forget to hydrate! An easy tip to remember – drink ½ your weight in ounces every day to stay hydrated! Carrying around a refillable water will help get those ounces in. Add some fresh lemon, berries, or cucumber for a hint of flavor.

Has breastfeeding made you feel hungry? Any cravings? Share with us! We would love to hear more!

 

 

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