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31 Small, Nice Things Husbands Can Do for Their Breastfeeding Wives

These small gestures make a big difference.

Here’s the thing: you don’t have boobs. Well, you don’t have functional ones. This puts you in a limited position as far as breastfeeding is concerned. But you do have an essential role: that of the support system. As many experienced mothers can tell you, their success in breastfeeding is linked to how much they’re supported throughout the process. This means you must be there for her in other ways while she tackles this task and, as best you can, provide relief from all the difficult parts of the process — the frustration, the exhaustion, the lack of sleep. To that end, here, in no particular order, are 31 small, nice things to do for a breastfeeding wife.

RELATED: How To Help Your Partner Succeed At Breastfeeding

 

  1. Ensure your at-home feeding areas are comfortable. Are their enough pillows? Is it clean? Is there soft lighting? If your wife likes to read while nursing, is her Kindle nearby? Just make sure everything is ready when she needs it.
  2. Bring her water when she’s feeding. She’s thirsty or will be soon. Promise.
  3. Bring her snacks, too. Moms need to eat extra after giving birth — the general recommendation is to eat 500 calories more per day than they did before becoming pregnant. Whatever you pick, make sure it’s something healthy and able to be eaten with one hand.
  4. Does the baby need changing after nursing? You’re up.
  5. Limit stress as much as possible. That means tackling the majority of the chores, doing the grocery shopping, reordering items on Amazon Prime, and handling any household stuff that might weigh on her.
  6. Consider yourself her breastfeeding butler. She has a baby on her, so whatever she requests, you provide. Does she need you to turn on a lamp that’s out of reach? Rub her back? Bring her a book? Leave her the hell alone? Her wish is your command.
  7. Do you have more than one child? Keep them occupied while mom feeds. She needs to focus on the task at hand.
  8. Prepare the bottles. She pumps — you get them ready for daycare.
  9. Divvy up the pumped milk into freezer bags so that she doesn’t have to do it.
  10. On that note: Be sure to label (include date and amount) and seal everything correctly. Basically, you want to brush up on your general food-handling skills. Last in, first out and so on.
  11. Carry the pump out to the car for her in the morning so she doesn’t have to lug it with her work stuff.
  12. Set up a nursing playlist. Suggested songs include: “Mothers Milk” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Or, you know, whatever she’s into.
  13. Laugh with her when something ridiculous happens. Because something ridiculous will happen — i.e. the baby detaches and milk spurts from her boob, sprinkler-style — and cracking up about it makes it more normal.
  14. Does she desire company during those quiet home-feeds? Be there. Try reading to her and the baby aloud from a book.
  15. If she’s pumping, give her a rest and take the night shift to feed your baby from the bottle.
  16. Mind the burp cloths. Always make sure there are plenty next to the feeding chair in the nursery.
  17. Reassure her. Breastfeeding can, at times, feel discouraging. After all, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. If she’s feeling down, it’s your job to notice and — while being sensitive to her needs— provide words of encouragement.
  18. Understand when she needs alone time. Maybe she wants some one-on-one bonding time. Maybe the baby isn’t latching and she doesn’t want you to see her fail. Feel out the room. Just be on standby if she needs you.
  19. Learn about the process. Read the breastfeeding books. Study up on the pump manual. Know the things you need to so you can help out wherever possible.
  20. Does she need to supplement with formula? This isn’t an easy decision. Support her and help her understand that this a common experience.
  21. Be her breast pump pit crew. That is, make sure all parts and accessories are cleaned and laid out properly.
  22. Don’t be needy. She is providing all the needs for your little one. Now is the time to drop all neediness.
  23. Don’t make any milking jokes, you idiot.
  24. Also, don’t be weird about handling breastmilk.
  25. Acknowledge that she gets 1+ hours less work done every day because she’s sitting in a room pumping.
  26. Your baby crying and hungry? Don’t say so, especially from bed. Instead, pick him up, console him, check his diaper. Let her offer up the fact that he’s hungry.
  27. She’s feeding the baby 7-10 times a day. That means you’re on defacto diaper duty now.
  28. Play the part of the bouncer. Do you have visitors over but your wife needs/wants time to feed alone? It’s your job to tell them to give her some space.
  29. Same goes for handling family members or friends who incessantly want to share how they would handle a situation or problem that arises.
  30. Is she feeding in public? Subtly body block any gawkers if the need arises.
  31. Ask if she needs anything. Let her know you’re there, armed and ready to help her out. Just be there.