What's Dad Got to Do With It?
It's a biological fact: Dads cannot breastfeed. You might feel a little left out when this new person arrives and your partner is spending much of her waking time nursing.
Remember that you're important! Your support is key to breastfeeding, because breast milk is the best possible food for your baby's first year.
A mom who has the support of her baby's father is more likely to stick with breastfeeding and that means a stronger, healthier baby.
The number one reason to support breastfeeding is that it gives your baby a great source of nutrition. But dads who've been there say they also like the low cost and the convenience a baby who gets hungry in the middle of the night has an instant source of satisfaction instead of fussing and crying while formula is prepared and heated.
From the very beginning, you can do things with your baby to form a bond between you two carrying him, holding him, showing him the world. Babies love skin-to-skin contact, and you may enjoy just talking and smiling with your baby on your bare chest, snuggled under a blanket.
Other ways dad can help:
- In the first days of your baby's life, encourage frequent feeding this will help ensure a good supply of milk for your baby.
- Bring the baby to your partner when it's time to nurse.
- Use pillows to support your partner and the baby in a comfortable feeding position.
- Bring a warm towel to help wipe up spills and soothe mom's breasts.
- After a feeding, burp the baby and change his diaper while mom has a hot shower.
- If there are problems with breastfeeding, seek help and information to solve them.
- Let your baby's mom know that she's a good mother and that you love that she's giving your baby the best food.
- Make sure mom eats properly even when the baby is taking up most of her energy.
- Encourage your partner to take breaks and spend time out of the house.
- Touch, hold and rock your baby.
- Talk to your baby in calm, gentle tones. Many babies find it easier to go to sleep with a male voice talking to them.
- Once the baby is a few weeks old, take your turn feeding a bottle of expressed breast milk.
- Act as a “human shield” to preserve mom's privacy when nursing in public.
- Learn about breastfeedingand child development, so that you understand the benefits of breastfeeding.
- Resist the temptation to calm your baby with breast milk substitutes (pacifiers, formula).
- Encourage your partner to stick with breastfeeding even if it doesn't come easily.
- Head off critical comments from extended family and affirm your shared decision to breastfeed.
Remember that you two are a team, and your baby needs both of you!
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