For parents and caregivers, community and family support is not only the thing that occasionally helps gets you to work on time, but the thing that helps you feel connected even during times when you are alone.
The same is true for breastfeeding parents! The United States Breastfeeding Coalition identifies community support as one of the four factors that influence a mother’s infant feeding decision. In fact, research out of the International Breastfeeding Journal, found that breastfeeding parents benefit from partner support.
Mothers feel more capable and confident about breastfeeding when they perceive their partners are supportive by way of verbal encouragement and active involvement in breastfeeding activities.
As Father’s Day approached, we asked breastfeeding parents to share with us the ways in which their partners helped their breastfeeding journey to be a successful one. Side note – successful here is not a number. Whether a parent breastfeed for two days, two months, or two years, a supportive partner made a positive impact on them, and that is what we want to honor here. We put up some snippets in our Instagram & Facebook stories – now here’s the whole scoop!
I was a postpartum nurse for years, and so I had tons of experience helping mothers breastfeed on my unit. Jordan went to some pregnancy classes with me and I asked him to really pay attention to the BF part in case I magically forgot what I knew. Boy am I glad that he did!
It’s funny how being a new mom can suck away all of your knowledge and turn your brain to mush! The first few days were so difficult to get our BF routine established, and he would help suggest different positions for Maeve and constantly remind me that it would take a few days for my milk to come in, etc. He knew how important that was to me, and it showed in how much he cared to help me with BF Maeve. I will be forever grateful. 🥰
We have a 10 month old. Since the day she was born, every single time she wakes up at night my husband wakes up to change her and bring her to me to breastfeed in our bed so I don’t have to get up. When she is done nursing he wakes back up to put her back in her crib, again so I don’t have to get up and be more tired out by nighttime nursing sessions. There was one night I purposely got up to get her so he could get a full night’s sleep. The next morning he was genuinely disappointed that I didn’t wake him up to help. Really showed me how supportive and devoted he is to our daughter and our breastfeeding journey ❤️
When I was in the hospital with a NICU baby who wasn’t allowed to nurse my husband helped me tremendously by encouraging me to continue to pump to get my milk to come in. He would wash all the pump parts between sessions. But what I’ll never forget was when I was so frustrated by getting nothing with my pump, I began to hand express. While I would squeeze my breast, he sat next to me with a small syringe to catch every last droplet. Then he would immediately take that syringe to the NICU to be given to our baby through her nasal tube. It’s an image that I will have in my mind forever of his unconditional love for me and our kids. He did it again with our next NICU baby. He was my biggest cheerleader throughout all 3 of my breastfeeding journeys!
Erin has shared her experience as a milk donor as well, read more about her and the special way she commemorated her time breastfeeding!
Randy would get up with me while I fed our son, Ryan. He sat on the floor in front of my rocking chair and would massage my feet, fill my water jug and change diapers when necessary.
I would almost always fall asleep, because nursing made me tired, but he was always there. Every single time.
A few years ago obviously, I was completely touched out, our baby refused to be put down, so Daddy did it it all to give me a break.
Images & stories of parents supporting their breastfeeding partner are important. We’re grateful for the moms who took the time to share their stories with us.
The United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) called on breastfeeding coalitions from across the country to create a library of images illustrating how communities across the U.S. support breastfeeding families.
We might be biased, but one of our favorites pictures illustrating community support, was submitted by Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition (with the Indiana Breastfeeding Alliance and the Indiana Perinatal Network):
We’re always grateful when milk donors, milk recipients and breastfeeding parents share their stories, so if you have a story or pictures to share – find us here! https://www.themilkbank.org/yourstory