Friday, February 15, 2013

Daddy Love and the Breastfeeding Mom: How Dads Can Help With Breastfeeding

Chocolate hearts and roses may be the go-to gift on Valentine’s Day, but one of the best gifts Dad can give a new mom is his support of her breastfeeding their baby.

Breastfeeding can be a rocky road for some, especially first time mothers. And, Dads, you may feel that breastfeeding doesn’t leave room for you. But it does! Your support is often one of the greatest reasons Moms continue with breastfeeding.

You may not be able to breastfeed, Dad, but your help is a much needed pillar of strength for Mom. Need help figuring out how to help? Below are some tips:

Photo courtesy of Kourtlyn Lott
  • Be encouraging to your wife’s breastfeeding efforts
  • Bring Mom some water or snacks during a feeding
  • Offer to rock and burp baby after Mom has finished a feeding
  • Try getting up with Mom for nighttime feedings to keep her company or bring the baby to her—breastfeeding in the middle of the night can be lonely
  • Offer to feed the baby expressed breastmilk so Mom can get a pedicure, take a walk or have lunch with a friend
  • Be careful and sensitive by not pushing alternatives to breastfeeding especially in the first few weeks when it can be derailed by interventions like offering a bottle before breastfeeding is firmly established (within the first 3-4 weeks)
  • Be a referee between your breastfeeding partner and friends and relatives who push for supplementing or offering the baby a bottle. They are likely well-meaning but may not understand that until breastfeeding is established it is important for mom and baby to set her supply and ensure baby is getting the nutrients, nurturing and nourishment only feeding at the breast can provide. 
  • Your refereeing duties will also come into play when these same well-intending relatives push for baby to have solids before 6 months because of their experiences. Having a united front in these situations can be a huge help to mom in feeling supported in her breastfeeding journey.
Another way you can help with breastfeeding is to learn more about it. Read up on breastfeeding so you can better understand what your partner is going through and the benefits for baby and mom because there are many for both. If your partner is having issues, consider taking a class together or accompanying her visits to a lactation professional. For more information, visit the March of Dimes or Lansinoh website for some great ideas on how Dad can help Mom and forge his own relationship with baby.

Sometimes it helps to know others are going through the same struggles and triumphs as your family. For some advice from a Dad’s point-of-view, check out this great blog with breastfeeding tips! 


Deena Blumenfeld RYT, RPYT, LCCE said...

This, I think, is the most common question I get in my Breastfeeding Essentials class, from dads. Thank you for answering it so succinctly!

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