Every parent, whether mom or dad is aware of the wide range of health benefits of Breastfeeding for the baby as well as the mother. But breastfeeding is not easy, it is like learning to ride a bicycle. You try, you fall, you practice, you get bruises, you practice some more and then you get a hang of it. A husband who was so excited about wearing the daddy shoes, may feel a little left out, because only a mom gets to breastfeed. Daddy may feel inadequate because he would not be able to contribute in child care as much as his partner. He may feel he is unable to bond with the baby as much as the baby’s mother. Even though the woman has got the food supplies taken care of, dads have a significant role to play in breastfeeding.
Here are ways dads can contribute to successful breastfeeding:
While the new baby and the new mother are still trying to master the art of breastfeeding, a dad can of great help by being supportive and assisting the mom in breastfeeding. Be thoughtful of what your partner may need, a pillow, a glass of water, a burp cloth or anything else.
Encourage, Encourage and Encourage!
I am grateful to my husband for the way he encouraged me to breastfeed. With a zillion people telling a mom, she needs to switch to formula, or the baby feeds too often, she isn’t producing enough milk, an encouraging word from her man can change the game. The biggest fear a new mom faces is being unable to feed her baby. An encouraging partner can help her overcome her fears and make peace with her new role as a mother. Tell your partner how perfect she is and she is doing everything just right.
Let her relax
New motherhood can be exhausting. Dad must give his partner some time for herself, when the baby is not breastfeeding. This way you would give mommy the much-needed ‘me time’ and you would get to spend ‘we time’ with the baby.
Just be there for her
Trust me without a doubt, when I say a new mom goes through immense emotional upheaval. You must have heard of dreaded pregnancy mood swings, but post pregnancy mood swings got the better of me. I needed my husband to be around at all times, whether I was crying like a baby or happy like I was in seventh heaven. Dads can help moms by just being around to listen to her vows and to give her a hug when she needs it.
Be the Knight in shining armor
There could be visitors advising new moms anti-breastfeeding or telling her how terrible it is to breastfeed, the vulnerable new mom would need her partner to barge in so she gets a buffer. Dads can also help moms with nursing I public. If your partner is comfortable without a cover, encourage it. If she decides to use a nursing cover, encourage that as well.
Dads can breastfeed too
Not with their nipple literally! But with feeding bottles and breastpumps, daddy can feed breastmilk to his baby. Dad feeding expressed milk at night, could give mom a longer nap time before the baby wakes up for the next feed. This practice also allows dads to experience an intimacy with the baby only a breastfeeding mom experiences.
Help her with other chores
Breastfeeding doesn’t need any supplies as such, but you as a partner can be thoughtful and help the new mom with other chores. This includes, cleaning up the baby, arranging baby clothes, taking care of the cooking and cleaning bit in the house, sterilizing the breastpump, feeding bottles and other things she could need help with. No matter how easy it looks, breastfeeding is physically and mentally tiring.
Burping the baby
One of the most underrated bit of baby care is burping the baby after a feed. If the mother has fed the baby and the dad is around, he could take the baby on his shoulders so she could burp. This would enable skin to skin contact with the baby.
The first few weeks of Breastfeeding are the toughest. Your partner needs you the most during this period. For dads who are just about to begin their breastfeeding journey with their partner here is a quick checklist you must follow to help breastfeeding moms:
– hand over a pillow (as many as she needs) to the new mum.
– help the baby latch
– make sure the baby and the mother are comfortable
– get a glass of water
– ask if she wants some snacks
– after a feed burp the baby
– change the baby’s clothes and nappy if needed
– swaddle the baby
– encourage your partner with lots of love
– smile, smile and smile
You are so loved daddy!