The Man Behind The Milk: Breastfeeding Really Does Takes Three

A 2009 study by Bravado shows that women are more likely to breastfeed if the man in their life supports it.

In fact, when asked to choose the person who had the most important influence in her life as a nursing mom, almost three times as many women selected their partner (56 percent) over their mothers (21 percent), even if their mother had breastfeeding experience.

When it comes to overall confidence as a new mom and overall wellbeing as a nursing mother, 70 percent of mothers said their partner’s support is extremely important.

This data clearly demonstrates that the impact of partner support (or lack thereof) is profound:  breastfeeding success – from both a physical and emotional perspective -- really does take three.

Interestingly, for all of their influence on the breastfeeding relationship, most partners spend little time – if any – actually learning about breastfeeding. In fact, most men rely on the new mother herself for information!

What this tells us: education is not only crucial for the mother, but critical for her partner as well, so that he is able to offer her the support that she needs.  The good news is that with a little education and preparation, partners can help make the most of their wife’s breastfeeding experience.

Unsure where to begin? Support comes in a variety of forms, from helping to change diapers, to listening to and praising the new mother, to burping baby after feedings. However, partners takes note: When asked where women would like more help, 45% of mothers said they would like more support in the form of household chores and 36% would like their partners to get up with them for nighttime feedings. However you lend a hand, just remember it’s not so much what you do to offer support – but rather that you do – so go ahead and find your own unique way to jump in and be the man behind the milk!

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Heather Kelly
Heather is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
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