Congratulations, you’re a grandmother! You’ve got one of the best jobs in the world. Make the most of it by giving your daughter or daughter-in-law the support she needs to breastfeed your new grandbaby.
How to Help
The longer mom breastfeeds, the better it is for her and your grandbaby. Breastfeeding has benefits that last all through life, and your support, encouragement, and help can get your daughter through the rough times. Here are some things you can do to help:
Inform your daughter
Let your daughter know about the benefits of breastfeeding. Start talking about it before baby comes—this is when most moms decide how they will feed their babies.
Learn about myths
Learn all about breastfeeding and the myths that might affect your daughter's decision to breastfeed. Learn how breastmilk is better than formula. The more you know, the more you can give her helpful information.
Offer to provide a meal, do household chores, run errands, or care for other children in the home.
Look for hunger cues
Help mom look for baby's early hunger cues such as licking his lips, sucking his tongue or hand, searching for the breast, or making small sounds.
Help with mom's comfort
Make sure mom is comfy and has a snack and glass of water nearby when she breastfeeds.
Hold the baby
Hold baby for 20 to 30 minutes after he breastfeeds. That's about how long it takes baby to fall into deep sleep so you can put him down for a nap. More grandma time!
Keep the house quiet
Help keep the house quiet while baby's sleeping so mom can take a nap, too.
Help if baby is upset
Babies cry for all sorts of reasons. It doesn't always mean they are hungry. If baby's crying, check to see if he needs a diaper change or just needs to be cuddled or calmed.
Offer to bottle feed
In the first 4 to 6 weeks, baby should do all his sucking at mom's breast. Breastfeeding works by supply and demand, so the more baby nurses, the bigger mom's milk supply will be. After 4 to 6 weeks, you can help by offering pumped breastmilk in a bottle when mom needs to get away.
Be an encouraging voice
Breastfeeding can be tough for any mom, especially at first. Let her know it gets easier with time and the journey is worth it.
8 out of 10 Texas moms breastfeed!
Even if you had trouble breastfeeding or didn't breastfeed your children, your daughter will probably be able to breastfeed successfully. In fact, she can probably breastfeed even if she had trouble breastfeeding her last baby.
Breastfeeding in public is protected by law.
Texas law says a mother is allowed to nurse her baby anywhere she is allowed to be. There are clothing options to help moms be comfortable when they breastfeed in public. Your support can give your daughter the confidence to breastfeed wherever she is.
What if mom seems depressed?
Many women experience depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy. It is not a sign of weakness or being a bad mother. It is a medical condition that can cause her to stop breastfeeding and can have long-term health effects. Here is some useful information from the National Institutes of Health on how to identify the signs of depression and what you can do to help.
Know the signs
Because you know your daughter well, you may be the first to spot signs of perinatal depression, such as:
Frequent sadness, irritability, or anger.
Foggy thinking or difficulty completing tasks.
"Robotic" actions, like she's going through the motions.
Anxiety around the baby.
Saying that she's a failure as a mother.
Lack of interest in activities she usually enjoys.
Listen to her
Ask how she is feeling emotionally, not just physically.
Be kind and understanding about her concerns.
Listen without offering advice.
Let her know that depression is a common medical condition and can be treated. It is not a sign that she is weak or a bad mother.
Encourage her to seek help quickly.
Watch the baby to give mom time to herself.
Arrange to take care of meals, household chores, and shopping so she can get some rest.
Give her time away from home to do activities with friends.