If breastfeeding, nursing bras, and breast pumps seem foreign to you, it’s time to learn something new and insightful about the health and wellbeing of your family. Breastfeeding may not have been a choice you made, or even one you felt you could make when you had your children. But through grandparenting, you can support breastfeeding in wonderful, meaningful ways.
As a grandparent, your familial role is changing and it’s all so new and exciting! Welcoming a grandchild is a joyous time for your family and you can be an integral part in making the transition easier for everyone, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Being part of your daughter or daughter-in-law’s support system is an amazing way to show your love and be a major part of your grandchild’s early life.
Breastfeeding education can be a tremendous help to you and your daughter as she navigates a new experience. The facts point to incredible benefits for both your grandchild and child, ranging from improved cognition and long-term physical health, to quicker bonding and a stronger mother-child relationship. Knowing the basics of latch, positions, hunger cues, and breastfeeding problem-solving also makes you an invaluable resource when mom needs help. Having two or more adults involved in breastfeeding greatly increases success rates. There are plenty of online references – like our Breastfeeding A-Z guide and Free Downloadable Breastfeeding Handbook – or you and your daughter can take a breastfeeding class together.
You can also help prepare your daughter in advance with a few supplies she may need for a successful breastfeeding journey. These include nursing bras and nursing tanks (which you can buy during her pregnancy so she can wear them as maternity bras and maternity tanks), a nursing pillow, and lanolin cream. Our New Mom Box is a curated kit of breastfeeding essentials that makes the perfect gift for moms-to-be or new moms.
If you’re looking for a creative idea for a baby shower, make it a maternity and nursing event. Guests can offer advice from their experiences during pregnancy and breastfeeding and give gifts to prepare mom with a maternity and nursing wardrobe. She’ll want to have maternity bras and essentials that transition to nursing bras as soon as her regular bras start feeling snug. And she will want a variety of nursing bras throughout her breastfeeding experience, including nursing sports bras, nursing sleep bras, nursing t shirt bras, lace nursing bras, and stretchy options that will keep up with the ebb and flow of her breast milk.
Your daughter’s decision to breastfeed is her own, and you nor anyone else should make her feel differently. Even when she struggles – and she likely will at times – premature weaning is probably not the solution, especially if she can work through it with lactation help or moral support. To avoid passing judgement, consider how you phrase your responses and suggestions to ensure they are truly supportive. Listen and understand before commenting, and then brainstorm solutions together using phrases like “have you considered” rather than “you should do this.” Also, stand up for your daughter’s decisions by being her spokesperson to others who may not agree.
Sure, you want to hold your grandchild as much as possible. But while mom is breastfeeding, there is plenty you can do to help around the house and with the baby. Household chores like cooking, cleaning and laundry are wonderful tasks for grandparents to take on during feedings or while mom is resting. Also, during feedings offer to burp the baby, change diapers, grab snacks and water for mom, or sit and chat. These precious moments are full of bonding.
Engaged grandparents can be a helpful and supportive part of the breastfeeding journey. We hope this special time is meaningful for your entire family!