Supporting a breastfeeding parent

Breastfeeding can be challenging, and it can be tiring. Support from partners, whānau and friends can really help. Find out the things that you can do to support breastfeeding parents to breastfeed.

Ways to support a breastfeeding parent

There are many things that partners, whānau and friends can do to support people to breastfeed.

  • Offer to help with the other tamariki (children). Read them a story or play with them.
  • Help around the house — do the dishes or the grocery shopping. Hang out the washing, do some cleaning or make the school lunches.
  • If the person is finding breastfeeding hard going, encourage them to keep it up. Breastfeeding may not be easy for every parent at first, but it is worth the effort.
  • Help them get the rest they need by spending time with their pēpi (baby). Helping out with the care of a new pēpi gives partners and support people a chance to bond with pēpi. You could bath them, burp them after a feed, or cuddle and soothe them. Help with nappy changing.
  • Aim to make at least the first 10 days after the birth a 'babymoon' for the new parent — free from cooking, cleaning and childcare, unless they choose to do these things.

If a breastfeeding parent is not coping

If the breastfeeding parent is acting strange or obviously not coping, it could be normal ups and downs in adjusting to a new baby, sometimes called the baby blues. Or, it could be postnatal depression. Get help early. Talk to them and their midwife or doctor.

Postnatal depression (internal link)