Support for family and friends

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Your partner, parents and friends will probably want to help, but perhaps won't know how. This section has some info and videos, showing them how they can get involved and give you a much needed break!

Supporter guide for Dads

The more support and encouragement you get from your partner, the longer you're likely to breastfeed for.

 

 

support for dads

Top tips from dads, for dads supporting their partners to breastfeed

  1. “Don’t worry if your baby struggles with breastfeeding at first. Our son took a few days to get the hang of it but we got there in the end.”
  2. “I think we might have had too many visitors in the first few days which made it harder to focus on getting to know our baby’s needs, so I’d try and keep this to a minimum.”
  3. "Don’t be scared to ask for help. It’s OK for you to call the Health Visitor, the Midwife or the National Breastfeeding Helpline, it doesn’t need to be mum who calls."
  4. “Do everything you can to make her life easier while she’s breastfeeding – make her a drink, or a snack to help keep her going – these wee things make a big difference.” 

Partners' tips on helping with breastfeeding challenges

  1. “I could see that breastfeeding was painful for my wife, so I did a bit of research online and found out that just changing the position slightly of the baby on the breast can make a big difference.”
  2. “It can be tough just standing by if it’s not going smoothly. There’s not much I can take credit for but I reckon just encouraging her to stick with it day by day and offering moral support made a difference.”
  3. “Surprisingly, we soon realised that some friends and family thought formula would be just as good as breast milk. So it helps to know a few facts, such as: breast milk boosts your baby’s ability to fight illness and infection and lowers your partner’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer the longer she keeps feeding.”

One reason some mums consider other feeding options is because they want their partner to bond with baby too - but there are plenty of other ways they can build that connection.

dad bathing baby

Partners can bond with their baby by:

  • bringing baby to you for breastfeeding and rubbing their back for a burp afterwards. 
  • placing them on their bare chest for skin-to-skin contact, creating a bond and soothing their baby. 
  • bathing your baby together - it's a fun way to create a bond as a family. 
  • reading a story is a great way for your partner and baby to spend time together. Your baby will grow to recognise and love the sound of their dad's voice.
  • changing nappies! Sing songs, pull funny faces or simply talk to baby: your baby will love the one-to-one attention and you will love the break!

For more information.

Our Feedgood website is full of information to help partners know what to expect, spot any issues, and know how to support you at each stage of feeding your baby. Both you and your partner should also feel free to call the National Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212 between 9.30am and 9.30pm) for help and advice whenever you need it.

Supporter guide for Grandparents

Your parents might want to help by offering the advice they were given when they were new parents. However, there's been a lot more research into breastfeeding since then so their advice may be a little out of date nowadays.

getting support from grandparents

Getting support from your parents to help you breastfeed

If your or your partner's mum didn't breastfeed, they might tell you that you don't need to breastfeed because formula was fine for you or your partner. That may be true, but what we know for certain now is that breastfed babies are more likely to grow into healthier children free from infections, diseases and conditions like eczema and asthma.
 
Grandparents naturally look forward to spending time with their new grandchild, so if you're breastfeeding they may be slightly disappointed that they can't be involved in feeding or babysitting before you're ready to express. They don't need to be though, there's lots of ways they can help out. Speak to them about your decision to breastfeed and let them know how much you would appreciate their support.

Grandparents can help by...

  • offering to look after older children
  • offering to do some cooking, cleaning, or shopping as you will probably be struggling to find the time
  • listening - without necessarily offering answers. Sometimes mums just want a supportive ear from family and friends.
  • If you're struggling, they could phone the health visitor for you or the Breastfeeding Support Helpline (0300 100 0212 between 9.30am and 9.30pm)
  • changing, bathing and cuddling baby
  • offering to take baby out for a short walk to give you some time to yourself

Grandparents can bond with your baby by...

  • Taking them for a walk round the house and helping your baby develop their senses by showing them their new world
  • Talking and singing. Babies love the movement and sounds, and that way they'll get to know their grandparent's voice
  • Playing games. For example, a baby will react (probably with giggles!) to the sound of a rattle from just one month old
  • Rocking the baby, gently stroking the side of their face or back, and holding the baby so they can hear a heartbeat
 
By helping out where they can and sometimes just by being there for you, grandparents can play a vital role in making your life as a breastfeeding mum easier.

 

Supporter guide for friends

Some people are more comfortable talking about breastfeeding with their friends than with their family. Go ahead and have a chat with a close friend, you'll feel much better and they'll want to know how they can help.

breastfeeding support from friends

Open up to your friends

Becoming a mum is wonderful, but sometimes you might feel like you can't remember what you used to speak about before your little one came along! Your close friends probably know you better than anyone, which is why having them pop round will do wonders - making life feel a bit more normal again and chatting about other things can be a nice break to take your mind off any worries.
 
Some mums feel uncomfortable asking for help from family members, for example because their family live too far away or they don't want to risk asking too much from older parents. That's where your friends can come in - listening to you have a good moan or talking about the things that you are worrying about.