Menu

Partners who do this one (simple) thing can improve moms' breastfeeding rates

When the co-parent does chores and cooking, mama has time to focus on feeding the baby and get the rest she needs to keep her milk supply up.

Partners who do this one (simple) thing can improve moms' breastfeeding rates

When a mother is having trouble breastfeeding, it can be hard for their partner to know how to help. But according to new research out of New Zealand's University of Waikato, partners can boost moms' milk supplies by doing one simple thing: Make dinner. (And do the dishes afterward.)

According to masters student Angga Rahadian, whose research focuses on improving exclusive breastfeeding rates, psychological and physical supports from partners are vital to breastfeeding success. (Her research only looked at heterosexual couples, but it's no stretch to assume the same findings apply in all relationships.)

"Physical support is like massaging the wife when they feel tired and cooking or doing household chores," Rahadian told the Waikato Times, adding that psychological support can be as simple as encouraging a mom or just asking her what she wants for dinner.

She found that when the co-parent does chores and cooking, the breastfeeding mom has time to focus on feeding the baby and get the rest she needs to keep her milk supply up.

Empowered partners make for happier parents

For Rahadian, a mother herself, this research is personal. Her husband participated in a father-founded breastfeeding group just for dads, and she felt the impact of his participation in her own breastfeeding journey

"I have two young daughters, and was successful in exclusive breastfeeding thanks to the support of my husband," Rahadian explains. "But some of my friends weren't as lucky."

The goal of Rahadian's research is to improve exclusive breastfeeding rates in Indonesia, where she interviewed couples about the dads role in supporting breastfeeding. According to Rahadian, there's a lot of room for improvement in Indonesia's breastfeeding rates, and according to her supervisor, her research is applicable to other locations where breastfeeding rates are not meeting targets—such as the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

Moms need partners in breastfeeding, too

Dr. Polly Atatoa Carr, Rahadian's supervisor, hopes to see more breastfeeding campaigns targeting dads. That's because while the bulk of public health messaging around breastfeeding is aimed at moms, the research (and our experiences) shows partners can play huge roles, too. Rahadian is not the first researcher to make the link between the behavior of dads and breastfeeding success.

There is a growing body of evidence showing that partners are huge factors in mothers' breastfeeding choices and success rates. Researchers note, "paternal emotional, practical and physical supports [have been] identified as important factors to promote successful breastfeeding and to enrich the experience for the mother and subsequently the father."

Rahadian suggests standardized paternity leave policies are another piece of the puzzle here, because when dads get time off, they can devote more time to housework. But even without parental leave, partners can still do as Rahadian suggests and ask mama what she wants for dinner—so she can focus on making dinner for the baby.

You might also like:

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

Whether you're planning a quick trip to the lake or flying the fam to a resort, the results are the same: A happier, more connected family.

Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

Keep reading Show less
News

11 products to help parents survive the 4-month sleep regression 😴

So you—and baby—can start getting more rest.

Ah, the 4-month sleep regression...unlike, say, your baby's first solid food or her first steps, the 4-month sleep regression isn't a milestone that many parents typically look forward to. Whether you're currently in the midst of the madness or just anticipating what might be ahead, odds are you have some questions—and some worries—about this much talked-about sleep (or lack thereof) phase.

But guess what, mama? The news is good! According to experts, sleep regressions aren't really a thing; they're more like transitions. And they're actually a good thing—they mean your baby is growing, changing, developing, + finding new ways to interact with the world around them.

Keep reading Show less
Shop