How Partners Can Help

Dads and partners have a role in breastfeeding, too.

There are a lot of tips for partners to keep in mind as their family grows.

  • Arrange for Help
  • Learn about breastfeeding & pumping
  • Watch & Learn
  • Talk to other partners
  • Limit visitors
  • Get support

Arrange for help. In some cultures, the early weeks are seen as special. Mothers are kept apart from others so they can focus on the baby. All chores are done for them. After this time, the mother receives public praise for a job well done. In these cultures, fewer moms get the “baby blues.” The more you can help out during the first few months, the better.

Learn about breastfeeding and pumping. It’s easy to support your partner when you believe in what she’s doing. Attend a prenatal breastfeeding course. Educate yourself on the benefits of breast milk and the risks of not feeding breast milk.

Watch and learn. Your partner will need help in learning to breastfeed and pump. Learn from the people who help her. Ask questions.

Talk to other fathers. Listen to their experiences with breastfeeding. It’s also helpful to share your thoughts and feelings—you need support, too!

Limit visitors. Include those who are supportive and helpful. This is the time for you and your partner to learn how to care for your baby. Keep visits short or ask visitors to help clean and cook while you tend to your baby and get some rest.

Get help. There are many support people available for hire that can help you with household chores and/or basic breastfeeding support in your home.

Know who to call with breastfeeding and pumping questions. Find out if your hospital has a breastfeeding help line or support group. There may be mom-to-mom support groups available locally

Getting Close with Your Baby

Babies love to be touched. You can get close in many ways other than feeding.

  • Spend Time with Baby
  • Give Baby a Bath
  • Bring Baby to your partner for feedings
  • Cuddle and Walk with Baby
  • Talk and Sing to Baby
  • Change Baby’s diaper
  • Hold your baby
  • Wear your baby
  • Play with Baby

Helping Your Partner Breastfeed and Pump

There are many ways you can support your partner with breastfeeding and pumping.

  • Learn Your Baby’s Hunger Cues
  • Help Mom get comfortable
  • Help mom stay hydrated and nourished
  • Help after a feeding
  • Encourage Mom to nap
  • Tell mom you are proud of her

Breastfeeding & Sex

After your baby is born, your partner will need time for her body to recover. Once she has had her six-week postpartum check-up, she may be physically and emotionally ready to start having sex again. It is important for you to discuss your feelings and readiness with each other.

  • Fear of Pain
  • Fear of Pregnancy
  • Overwhelmed by physical demands of breastfeeding
  • Tired
  • Vaginal dryness from hormone changes

During sex, your partner may have an orgasm that causes the hormone oxytocin to be released, which is the same hormone that causes milk to be released from the breasts. So, you may get a little wet! This will happen less if your partner breastfeeds before having sex.

It’s important to note that your partner can get pregnant even if she is breastfeeding.

Use birth control if you want to decrease your chances of pregnancy.

Talk to your health care provider for more information.

Most importantly, enjoy your new role by actively participating in baby care and parenting.

When moms and dad/partners work together to care for their baby, you will both feel supported and satisfied.