August is National Breastfeeding month: Did you know that the number one reason mothers stop breastfeeding is because of lack of support? Breastfeeding is often a very difficult journey that requires support and understanding from the entire community, including friends, family and employers.
A partner’s support can be one of the most important factors for a parent’s breastfeeding success. Here are 4 ways fathers, co-mom’s and partners can support breastfeeding moms.
- Learn about the importance of breastfeeding and how it works.
- Go the extra mile around the house and provide extra help with laundry, cooking and other household duties.
- Offer encouragement and emotional support to your partner. Breastfeeding can be difficult at times.
- Build your own unique bond with your baby by actively interacting, carrying, cuddling and caring for your baby.
The support from grandparents, family and friends can also be key to breastfeeding success. Below are a few ways you can offer support and encouragement to the breastfeeding moms in your life.
- Watch for things that you can do with the baby when the parents need a little break. Offer to help with burping, bathing and changing diapers. Bonus – you get some hands-on time with the baby.
- Offer to take the baby for a walk, around the house or outside, when parents need a few minutes to have a shower, take a short nap or just have a few minutes alone.
- Go the extra mile around the house with chores. Ask them what would be helpful: housework, laundry or making a meal.
- Support their decision to breastfeed regardless of whether or not you breastfed or feel your own breastfeeding experience was “successful”.
When a breastfeeding mom heads back to work, a supportive workplace is also key to breastfeeding success. Here are 3 ways employers can create a positive culture and support system for breastfeeding moms.
- Provide a private, designated lactation room with an electrical outlet where breastfeeding employees can use a breast pump during the work period.
- Flexible breaks and work options for breastfeeding employees. Women need to express milk about every 3 hours, or two to three times during a typical workday.
- Support breastfeeding employees. A positive, accepting attitude from upper management, supervisors and coworkers helps breastfeeding employees feel confident in their ability to continue working while breastfeeding.
Supporting the breastfeeding moms in your life doesn’t have to be hard. Everyone can offer encouragement, make sure moms are staying hydrated and check in regularly. To learn more about how you can better support the breastfeeding moms in your life, call a Johnson County Community Health Worker at 913-228-9830.