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How can dads and partners support breastfeeding?

Can my partner help me breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is a lovely way to connect with your baby. If you're a dad or partner, you might be worried that you might "miss out" on bonding with your baby. Don't worry - there are load of ways to build that special bond with baby too!

In the very early days, be the nappy changer and help with nappy changes. You can also get some skin-to-skin time with your little one. This is a great way for you to bond, plus it gives mum a well-earned break. In the first of two short videos, a new dad tells us how he supported his partner's decision to breastfeed right from the start.

Will I miss out if my partner’s breastfeeding?

One reason some mums look at other ways to feed their baby is that they want their baby to bond with their partner too but there are loads of ways you can still bond with your baby if your partner is breastfeeding!

  • Bring baby to mum when they need to be breastfed. If you can do this at night, it can be a real lifesaver!
  • Rub their back for a burp afterwards. 
  • Placing your baby on your bare chest for skin-to-skin contact. It creates a bond and soothes your baby.
  • Bathe your baby together.
  • Take them for a walk around the park while your partner has a nap.
  • Put them down for a sleep.
  • Reading a story is a great way for your partner and baby to spend time together.
  • Your baby will grow to recognise and love the sound of your voice.
  • Changing nappies! Sing songs, pull funny faces or simply talk to baby: your baby will love the one-to-one attention and you will love the break! Put them in a sling and cuddle together

Sharing responsibilities

How you can support her to breastfeed:

Here’s some inside info from dads and mums from around Scotland on how they’ve helped their partners breastfeed:

  • “Do everything you can to make her life easier while she’s breastfeeding – make her a drink, or a snack to help keep her going – these wee things make a big difference.”
  • “Don’t worry if your baby struggles with breastfeeding at first. Our son took a few days to get the hang of it but we got there in the end.” “I think we might have had too many visitors in the first few days which made it harder to focus on getting to know our baby’s needs, so I’d try and keep this to a minimum.”
  • "Don’t be scared to ask for help. It’s OK for you to call the Health Visitor, the Midwife or the National Breastfeeding Helpline, it doesn’t need to be mum who calls."

Top tips for helping with breastfeeding challenges

  • “It can be tough just standing by if it’s not going smoothly. There’s not much I can take credit for but I reckon just encouraging her to stick with it day by day and offering moral support made a difference.”
  • “I could see that breastfeeding was painful for my wife, so I did a bit of research online and found out that just changing the position slightly of the baby on the breast can make a big difference.”
  • “Surprisingly, we soon realised that some friends and family thought formula would be just as good as breast milk. So it helps to know a few facts, such as: breast milk boosts your baby’s ability to fight illness and infection and lowers your partner’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer the longer she keeps feeding.”

Want more help with breastfeeding?

 

Parent Club is full of information to help you know what to expect, spot any issues, and support you at each stage of feeding your baby.

Both you and your partner should feel free to call the National Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212 between 9.30 am and 9.30 pm) for help and advice whenever you need it. 

This article was created as part of 

Last updated: 31 May, 2019