Mum/a new parent may choose to feed their baby differently to their friends and family. They may also choose to parent differently. Being there for them when they disagree with you is important. On a practical level there are lots of things you can help with, but mum needs your support on an emotional level too. It’s important to recognise your support and approval really do matter, so try to be positive and reassuring, even if you did things differently.
If mum chooses to breastfeed, during the first few weeks the role of partners, family and friends is crucial. Mum needs to know they're not in this alone and that you’re there to give them support 24 hours a day without ever putting them under pressure.
You don't have to feed the baby to bond with them. There are plenty of things you can help out with:
- Know who you can turn to for help and advice
- Be positive, patient and never suggest mum gives up
- Offer moral support
- Go to support groups with them.
- Be there at important times like first feeds and the 10-day check up with the health visitor
- Change nappies, change nappies and change more nappies
- Make snacks for night time feeds if mum is feeling peckish
- Give baby their night-time bath
- Remember skin-to-skin contact is great for you to bond with baby too
- Understand why breastfeeding is important, even if you bottle-fed your children
- Spend time with any older siblings and make sure they feel special
- Babysit when mum needs a rest during the day
- Provide reassurance that mum is making the right decisions for their family
- Encourage mum to get additional support if they're is struggling
- Help out around the house
- Make drinks, snacks and meals
To find out more about breastfeeding and formula feeding, visit our infant feeding page.
Our baby brain video series talks about the things you can do to bond with baby. You don't have to be a baby's birth mum to have a special bond with them.
It's a good idea to know where to get support from so that you can help mum get the help they might need.
Call the Derbyshire Family Health Service on 01246 515100. Our information and support line for parents, carers and young people is available Monday to Friday, 9am - 4.30pm, except bank holidays.
Text Chat Health on 07507 327769. This is a confidential text messaging service for parents/ carers of 0 - 5 year olds, providing advice and support from one of our healthcare professionals from Monday to Friday, 9am – 4.30pm, except bank holidays.
A live web chat with our healthy family peer support workers is available on this website on the 0-5 years page, Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 12 noon.