Friends and extended family have an important role to play in helping mothers get off to a good start with breastfeeding. The first few months with a new baby are a time of adjustment. Friends and family can help mom by providing practical support and cheering her on. Here are some ways to be helpful:
- Make sure it’s a good time. Check in before you arrive to make sure it’s a good time for visitors. It’s good for new parents practice lots of skin-to-skin with baby, and some may want to make this a private time. New parents also need to sleep when the baby does, day or night, so you may need to set your visit for another time.
- Be conscious of germs. Wash your hands before you touch the baby, and don’t visit if you are sick or were recently exposed to an illness. A sick baby can have a tough time breathing while trying to breastfeed. Also, babies get sick more easily than adults do because they are still building up their immune system.
- Help with daily chores. Offer to help out by bringing a meal, doing household chores, running errands, or caring for other children in the home.
- Help during breastfeeding. Bring a glass of water and some snacks when during breastfeeding. Many mothers feel very thirsty as they nurse.
- Offer to care for the baby after breastfeeding. Offer to hold the baby for 20 to 30 minutes after breastfeeding, until baby falls into a deep sleep and can be placed gently back into her crib for a nap. This gives mothers a chance to rest, knowing that the baby is being cared for.
- Be encouraging. Encourage your friend to stick with her goals, and show her helpful breastfeeding information if she needs it.
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