Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Early Days of Breastfeeding: A Husband's View

My darling hubby has been promising to write something for this month's breastfeeding carnival, and has just presented me with his tips on supporting those first six weeks when mamas are establishing the breastfeeding relationship.



For me, the first couple of weeks with Lara were a breeze and breastfeeding started brilliantly, with her latching on perfectly minutes after birth.  However, after that lovely two week 'honeymoon' period, the problems kicked in!  I ended up really sore, with badly cracked nipples, and unfortunately found our local breastfeeding cafe counsellor totally unhelpful.

In the end, I found the lovely Dr Jack Newman immensely helpful, persevered, and by week six everything was fine again.  I then fed Lara through my second pregnancy and beyond, and am now tandem nursing both Lara (28 months) and Sophia (6 months).  But I certainly wouldn't have got through those first tricky six weeks with Lara without the help and support of my amazing husband.  This is his take on the first six weeks and the partner's role.

When that little bundle of joy enters your life, things change dramatically, and for some guys this can be hard, and they start to feel pushed out and useless.  But there are many ways you can help, for example I made the agreement with Leta that I would change all the nappies and do most of the baths with our babies.  But the best time you can make yourself useful is during the first six weeks.

During this period the mother will be constantly breastfeeding , and for us that meant Leta was pretty much stuck on the sofa for most of the day.  We now refer to this as the nesting period, and this was where I was able to help the most.  Here are some ideas of how you can make this period pleasant for both mother and baby:

  • Make sure both are comfortable.  The best place we found at the beginning was at the end of the sofa, so mother is propped up and comfortable, and baby can lay comfortably in mother's lap on a feeding pillow (see below for how you could win one!)  Using one of these shaped pillows is perfect for getting baby into a good position for latching on, but a couple of spare bed pillows would work too.

  • With a small tabe beside her, or even a basket, mother can have everything she needs around her: books, magazines, TV guide and remote, stereo remote, mobile phone, iPad or laptop, tissues, muslins (lots!), drinks, snacks etc.  An over-reliance on daytime TV may develop unless you can provide a stream of new and interesting magazines and books.

  • Make sure your wife has enough to drink as breastfeeding takes a lot of fluid from the body, especially in the early days as supply is trying to keep up with and regulate itself to demand.  So keep the glasses of water, and cups of fruit or herb teas, flowing throughout the day.  Decaffeinated tea and coffee can also be drunk in moderation, but even without caffeine they are still diuretics, so be careful.

  • Provide lots of easy to eat food and snacks too, such as cheese and crackers, sandwiches, fresh and dried fruit, toast, nuts, crudites and cherry tomatoes.  When you go back to work, these can all be made up in the morning and left in snack pots so they are easy to grab throughout the day.  Try to err on the healthy snacks, but we did find Fox's 'Vinnie' biscwits and Throntons rather useful too...  This is the real 'eating for two' time, so a few indulgences are allowed!!

  • When you are home and baby's asleep (it does happen!), run mama a nice deep bubble bath, complete with candles and a very weak G&T on ice (milky with a gin chaser is of course not advised, but an occasional drip of gin with a lot of tonic is all right!)

  • Massages are a great way to ease any aches and pains, as it can be hard being pinned to a sofa all day and not being able to move about as much as usual.  This will be different after the first few weeks when baby can be worn in a sling and mama can get active again.  We found our Hypnobirthing CDs useful for calming massages post-birth, great for calming baby too.  Vitamin E oil after a bath is perfect, if you can convince baby to sleep that long!

  • Volunteer yourself for nappy changing duty and bathtime, to give mama a break and a little time to herself, and so you get chance to bond with baby too.  Of course this can continue well beyond the initial six weeks.

  • Most important of all, make sure you tell mama how much you love her and how amazing and special she is, and give lots of moral support, encouraging her that breastfeeding will get easier as time goes on.  Your support is the most essential thing in establishing a good breastfeeding relationship, and believe me, supporting and cherishing both during this period is well worth it.


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78 comments :

  1. Because sometimes mummies need a bit of comfort...

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  2. Because now that my little one is bigger it would stop my arms aching when she has a long feed!

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  3. I think you can never have too many pillows! And the Theraline one looks lovely and comfortable.

    I love your typo in this post too - 'beastfeeding' hehe! Sometimes it does feel that way...

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  4. I would love to try breastfeeding next time.

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  5. because my son is a heavy little monkey and any help would be lovely!

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  6. I would like to win as I will donate this prize to charity, to go to Romania.

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  7. for my friend as she's just started breastfeeding and would make it easier for her

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  8. I love that it is for mummies and babies

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  9. It sounds perfect for breastfeeding

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  10. this would be a great present for my friend x

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  11. Because I'm a first time Mum to be planning to breastfeed and I need all the help I can get!

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  12. so i can be more comfortable when i breastfeed my little 1

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  13. because being comfortable when breastfeeding is really important!

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  14. So my arm doesn't ache so much :)

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  15. Because I will need one soon :D and I would also love to use it to support the bump while I sleep. Fingers crossed, I didnt have one with my first son but they had one in the hospital and I loved it :)

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  16. Brilliant post about how dads can be involved with breastfeeding, sadly the impression is often given that they will "miss out" if mum breastfeeds and this shows that that needn't be the case at all.
    Would love the pillow for the breastfeeding support groups that I help to run :-)

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  17. My friend is breastfeeding and doing a wonderful job - but I`m sure this would make it easier for her xx

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  18. My best friend, my sons godmother, is due to have a baby soon and she's planning on breastfeeding but is feeling quite nervous about it. I think if she had some things prepared it would ease her nerves.

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  19. I would love to win the pillow because I already have one and I love it, but my sister is due to give birth to twins in a couple of weeks and I would love to give it to her!

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  20. My friend just had a baby and I want to give her something helpful.

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  21. It looks so useful and comfortable.

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  22. I'd love to win one of these as I wasn't able to afford one with my first child - it didn't seem like a nessecity st the time! Now, however, I think it's essential for comfort :)

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  23. My baby is due in 2.5 weeks and would love a theraline pillow to make breastfeeding as an easy and comfortable experience

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  24. I never had anything like this for feeding my two but it would have been a godsend so I'd love to win and gift it to my pregnant friend :o)

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  25. My sister-in-law is pregnant with her 2nd baby, she really struggled breastfeeding her first and I'd love to win this to help her as I think it will make it a lot easier for her this time around.

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  26. because mummys need comfort too x

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  27. I would love to win because my 01st baby Due in 9 weeks and i want to be comfortable whilst im breastfeesing :-) x

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  28. My sister in law is having her first baby , this would be great for her while she is pregnabt and then after she has the little one

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  29. I struggled nursing my fist baby.. witht he second I had the help of pillow and it makes it so much easier. this one looks soo comfy for baby and I! thansk

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  30. I think these nursing pillows look fantastic, I worry about breastfeeding as i have an ample bosom already so to be able to support baby on a pillow as well as in my arm will make it easier i think

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  31. I would like to win it for my daughter, she has a 9 day old girl, she is breastfeeding and the pillow would be extreemly helpful at the moment as she is trying to manage with a v shaped cushion

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  32. As we are trying for another baby, I would love to win it!
    I never had a pillow for our first baby and it was quite hard. I am sure it would make it easier! :) x

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  33. Crystal Carrington7 July 2012 at 09:05

    Breastfeeding has become so much more uncomfortable now that my baby is just a bit heavier. I would like to win this purely for the comfort.

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  34. Thanks for all your entries everyone, I'm really enjoying hearing your reasons. Good luck all, and keep an eye out for more fab comps coming next week...

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  35. As a new mum to be I will appreciate all the support I can get. This pillow sounds like luxurious treat.

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  36. As my son gets heavier I need the extra support.

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  37. With twins one of these pillows would be a god send. They are now 20 weeks and starting to get heavy!! :-) It would also be a huge help with tandem feeding and would give all 3 of us that bit more comfort x

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  38. My little girl is now nearly 9 months and shes not getting harder to hold (I use the rugby position) so this pillow would provide us both with some comfort, particularly when they are long feeds xx

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  39. My sister is 7 months pregnant and I would love to get her one as I found mine was an invaluable piece for comfortable breast feeding xx

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  40. Because then I would have to have another baby to feed in it -brilliant excuse!

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  41. i'd like to win because I am already finding it uncomfortable to sleep at 6months pregnant and would love to use it to support me during sleep thanks x

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  42. I would love to win this as I am expecting my 4th baby and already find that my arms feel like they are going to drop off trying to look after my 3 boys!

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  43. who does not want a little comfort

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  44. I would like to give this to a friend who is expecting a baby :)

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  45. I need to win so i can take it along to the breastfeeding cafe i go to an share the comfort on top of my knowledge bresstfeeding :-)

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    1. Darn prediction text..... Breastfeeding

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  46. i would love to win one as i have just found out im going to be an auntie for the first time!! im so excited and would love to be able to treat my sil to something lovely for when the baby is here :) x

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  47. Would be amazing to give to my best friend who is expecting her first :)

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  48. To give to my friend as a pressie so she doesn't get arm ache!

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  49. They are super comfy and easy to use.

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  50. Because this look really comfy and so many of them are not @MummyFever

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  51. Wow, this looks so cute and comfy. First time round I didn't have a breast feeding cushion, I used the sofa corner cushions this product will make the experience so much better.

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  52. Lots of great tips from your other half! I'd like to win won for one of my pregnant friends so that can ease into breastfeeding with as much comfort as possible.

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  53. RACHAEL JONES MANN17 July 2012 at 12:54

    because i ave a lovely first time mummy friend that would make real good use of this , shes on her own now and i would love to give her a little treat ! x

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  54. I loved breastfeeding and used a bit of a makeshift cushion. Would love to win one of thee for my pregnant friend!

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  55. I think this would be a great prize, At the moment I use my pillow which is ok but not the best of shapes and when milk is spilt on it if my baby dribbles then it is not easy to wash it. This is perfect as it can also be washed.

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  56. I breast fed my first child and was always using cushions or pillows to help , to have something designed to make it easier will be soooo much better and hopefully me an cabby would be a lot more comfortable

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  57. I am soon to be a first time mum and need all the help and guidance I can get!! :-)

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  58. Having had a baby who's weight felt equivalent to a little elephant I found that I needed super human strength in my arms to hold her high enough to be fed. This pillow would certainly solve that!

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  59. im going to be an auntie again would love to show my support and give her this amazing product x

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  60. Elizabeth Williams19 July 2012 at 23:48

    to make breastfeeding more comfy

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  61. I would love to win to help feeding my baby

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  62. Kerry Kilmister20 July 2012 at 15:06

    Every mum deserves to be comfortable whilst breastfeeding and this looks like pure comfort.

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  63. I Would like to win the pillow for my wife who is amazing and would love this to help he rbreast feed our soon to be here little girl :)

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  64. This would be so useful for when my little one arrives. Anything to make breastfeeding easier.

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  65. My daughter is 6 months now and getting pretty heavy i would love this cushion for feeding, looks very comfortable and will ease my back im sure

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  66. For my daughter in law who is shortly to have her first baby.

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  67. I would love to win one of these as I am expecting a little girl later on in the year and am hoping to successfully breast-feed. I have heard fabulous things about these cushions and would feel a little more confident about breast-feeding if I had one of these brilliant cushions!

    coppelia100@btinternet.com

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  68. I would love to win one of these for my partner as she has recently found out that she is pregnant. 9 weeks today :)

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  69. It will really help me sleep at night, I'm 26 weeks & finding it hard to get comfy now.

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  70. My friend is expecting her 1st child in about 3 weeks so this would be great for her.

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  71. I want to win this for my friend who is expecting her second baby x

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  72. My last experience breastfeeding was soul destroying, with every excruciating feed going on for nearly a hour. Toward the end pillows and lansinoh made it almost bearable, this time around, anything that will help from the beginning would be a god send, which is why I would love to win the Theraline Maternity & Nursing Pillow.

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  73. I would love to win this pillow,so i can give this as a presy to my big sister who had a baby a few weeks back

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  74. Looking forward to baby no. 2 and doing it right this time with a proper breastfeeding pillow!

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