Whether you are the partner, friend or parent to a breastfeeding mother, you can make a huge difference to her breastfeeding journey simply by being supportive and encouraging. New mothers can be hormonal, overwhelmed and sleep deprived. Add to this the pressures of breastfeeding – the responsibility for night feeds, getting sore nipples and the seemingly impossible quest for a good night's sleep – and it's easy to see why you should take extra care when talking to these new mothers.
You can't help with the feeds themselves, and you may feel at a loss of how you can assist the breastfeeding mother, but a few kind words can go a long way. Here are some suggestions of things you can say to support breastfeeding mothers:
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #1: “Would You Like A Drink?”
A new mother has little time to play host, especially if she's trapped on the sofa under a feeding baby. Help out by not only looking after your own needs, but making sure she has everything she needs too. Breastfeeding is very thirsty work, so make sure she has a drink by her side at all times.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #2: “What Would You Like To Eat?”
Breastfeeding is hungry work too. Breastfeeding mothers are advised to eat an extra 500 calories a day, so help out by offering her some food while she feeds. New mothers often find themselves snacking on empty calories such as biscuits and crisps because they can be grabbed in a hurry. While you're there, offer to whip up a high-protein salad, or heat up on of the meals in the freezer, so the new mum can enjoy some much-needed nutrient-rich food.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #3: “Can I Get You Anything?”
Newborn babies can feed for hours on end and often fall asleep during feeds leaving mum trapped on the sofa. Make sure she has a survival kit nearby to keep her occupied during cluster feeds. Television remotes, books, a mobile phone and snacks are all essential items, so make sure she has these in reach before you leave her alone. Too many hours have been wasted by breastfeeding mothers desperately trying to will television remotes across the room using only mind power.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #4: “You're Doing A Great Job!”
Encouragement and reassurance are vitally important for all new parents, and this is especially true for breastfeeding mothers. Let her know you think she's doing a great job, and that you're proud of how awesome she is as a new parent.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #5: “Breastfeeding Can Be Tough At First…”
Some women are surprised to discover that breastfeeding doesn't come naturally. For some women, it can feel like one hurdle after another, as they battle through sore nipples, latch problems and mastitis. It can be exhausting, and can leave some women lacking in confidence. You can help by simply reassuring her that this is normal. Lots of women encounter problems during the first few weeks, but soon find that breastfeeding is a pain-free, natural and enjoyable experience.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #6: “There's A Support Group Nearby…”
Breastfeeding support groups are the perfect place for new mothers to meet friends, build confidence and find support to overcome any breastfeeding problems. Sometimes simply having other breastfeeding mothers to talk to can make a huge difference, plus it's great having someone to message during 3am night feeds. Find out where her local one is, and offer to go along with her if she's worried about going alone.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #7: “Your Baby Is Doing Great!”
All mothers worry about their babies. They worry about the colour of their poop, how much they weigh, and how much time they spend sleeping. Reassure the breastfeeding mother by commenting on how healthy, alert and happy her baby seems.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #8: “Trust Your Body – It Grew A Baby!”
Breastfeeding mothers sometimes worry that they aren't producing enough milk, or that their milk isn't good enough for their baby. Worries like this can easily diminish the already fragile confidence of a new mother. Breastfeeding mothers need to trust their bodies, and to remember that mother nature knows what she's doing. Point out that her body grew a baby from scratch, delivered him into the world, and can now be trusted to nourish him.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #9: “Hang In There!”
Breastfeeding isn't always plain sailing. If she is struggling with latch problems, exhaustion or blocked ducts, she may be feeling pretty miserable and overwhelmed. Remind her that the problems won't last forever, cluster feeds are temporary, and her baby will one day start sleeping through the night. Tell her to hang in there, because this too shall pass.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #10: “I Think It's Great That You're Breastfeeding!”
Hearing these kind words could give a new mother the boost she needs. Some breastfeeding mothers face a lack of support, and may struggle against people who disapprove of breastfeeding. By saying you are proud of her for breastfeeding, you can add your voice to the people supporting her in this decision.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #11: “Would You Like A Shoulder Rub?”
If you’re close enough to the mother to offer a shoulder rub, she will absolutely love you for offering one! Breastfeeding can be long, sore and achy work for the back and shoulders, as much as we try to sit right and hold our baby close. There are actually pressure points on the top of a mothers shoulders than can help with the milk let down.
Things To Say To A Breastfeeding Mother #12: Nothing
You don't have to say anything about her breastfeeding, simply not saying anything offensive could be enough to help build the confidence of a breastfeeding mother. Allowing her to feed in front of you, without it dictating the conversation, may help her to feel normal and natural as she feeds her baby. Simply continue as you were before the baby started his lunch.