They say it takes a village to raise a baby. Then why is feeding the baby, the most crucial thing in a baby’s life, only the mother’s job? It is a given that only mothers can breastfeed because, biologically, men cannot. And, not all men can be equally involved in the process. This makes it a tedious task for the mothers when they are left with no or less support to deal with breastfeeding issues, which can take a toll on their health.
If you are expecting a child or are a parent to an infant or a toddler, you must learn why mothers need an extra hand during their nursing journey. Here, we will help understand some pressing issues mothers have and how you can pitch in to help your wife, especially on the days she thinks nursing is impossible. Timely help will not only ease the stress for your wife but will also strengthen your bond with her and your munchkin!
Why Nursing Mothers Need Their Husband’s Support
It is understandable that some parents, especially first-timers, have a tough time figuring out why their babies cry. But imagine going through this ordeal every single day for months to come. Sadly, this becomes the plight of most mothers. Every time the baby cries, it is expected that the mother should tend to her.
Some of this expectation comes from the fact that babies tend to cry when they are hungry. But, what if your wife is dead tired after a long day of caring for your child? She, most likely, has a backache, her arms pain because she’s been holding the baby the entire time while feeding, and the diaper changes, washing, cleaning, etc., didn’t allow her to catch a wink all day, and let’s not forget the cracked, sore nipples!
If this continues, it will lead to sleep deprivation and physical, mental, and emotional fatigue; in short, it will reflect on her health. And you know what happens when the mother’s health is compromised – it affects the baby’s health, too.
So, how can you help your wife through her breastfeeding journey? Continue reading to know some useful tips that will come in handy to help her deal with breastfeeding issues.
How Husbands Can Support Their Wives During Their Breastfeeding Journey
Here are some tips that can help you make your wife’s breastfeeding journey less stressful:
1. Open those books on breastfeeding.
The most common misconception men have is that breastfeeding requires only the mother as only she can provide breastmilk, which is true. But should you ignore the topic? No. That’s because it’s your baby too, and you need to be involved in the process.
Gone are the times when information was limited or inaccessible. Now, information is easily available at the click of a button. So, make it a point that you read breastfeeding articles, blogs, books, etc., to know what it entails and become a part of your wife’s nursing journey.
Educating yourself will help you understand the various issues women face while nursing their babies. With enough knowledge, you will find yourself becoming more receptive, understanding, and better prepared to encourage and help your wife overcome her challenges.
Be careful, though; this is an emotionally taxing time for your wife. Let any advice or recommendation to her come out of a place of love and support.
2. Take some of the load off her.
How? Well, for starters, you can sing lullabies and put your baby to sleep, change her diapers, play with her, bathe her, and take turns tending to her in the middle of the night.
Using a breast pump may also allow your wife to express the breastmilk safely and store it. You can then feed the baby at night or during the day and give her some time off from the feeds. Your wife and you could speak to your paediatrician, or a lactation consultant to find a way that suits your baby’s requirements.
Take notice of other tasks, too, that do not need you to be with the baby but have the potential to melt your wife’s heart. Little things like sterilising the bottles, nipples, baby’s utensils, and other accessories in a steriliser, warming pumped breastmilk, cleaning the breast pump, cooking dinner, running errands, etc., can go a long way and help your better half get some time off every day.
3. Just be there for her.
If most things are taken care of by hired help or other members of the family, you may think it’s not required for you to do anything. But we strongly recommend you spend some time with your wife and your little one during the feeds.
Acts like helping your wife hold the baby, chatting and catching up for a few minutes every day, making a warm cup of tea that she can enjoy as she breastfeeds, a gently back massage after she’s fed your munchkin, etc. will make parenting a joyous ride for both of you.
When partners work together, breastfeeding can become a wonderful journey, despite the discomfort, the pain, and the stress. It is only a few times that you will be able to experience this journey. Then why not make each a memorable one?