Surprising as it may sound but a mother’s success in breastfeeding can be dependent on the father’s support. A father’s role in breastfeeding is dynamic and important. If you’re wondering how you as a dad (or your husband – if you’re a mom) can help during this period, here are some helpful tips.
Encourage communication and teamwork. Parenting is teamwork and it can only succeed through proper communication. Before you think about having a baby, discuss if your wife wants to breastfeed. Keep an open mind about this matter, not everyone can and want to nurse. There is no need to pressure your wife about it.
There have been situations where the husband ends up pressuring the wife to breastfeed but for some reason, the mother didn’t have it in her to nurse. This kind of pressure humiliates the mother and discourages lactation. It is your role to protect your family so don’t put them in uncomfortable situations. While breastfeeding has a number of advantages, some mothers might not have it in them and that’s perfectly okay.
Provide support and encouragement. You are your wife’s number 1 cheerleader, rooting for her on the sidelines. The emotional support you need to give your wife during this moment couldn’t be more important. Consistently provide her with appreciation and encouragement. Tell her how proud you are of her. Doing so will make it easier for her to go through even the roughest stages of breastfeeding.
Bring the baby to your wife, help the baby to latch, and proactively give your wife what she needs and wants when she nurses. This kind of support goes a long way in boosting her confidence.
Read a book or two. Find books to help you understand breastfeeding. You can also attend seminars if available. There are also online resources to help you understand your role as a dad and in breastfeeding. Doing your research will help equip you with the right information you need.
Provide relief. Give your wife a simple back massage, a light snack, water, or anything that might help your wife to relax while she nurses. The relief she will get can help with the milk let down. Babies can feel it when the mother is agitated, which might make it even more difficult for them to calm down. Therefore, a relaxed mother is crucial when nursing. This is especially true in the beginning when both mother and child are still trying to find their rhythm in nursing.
Feed the baby. Yes, that’s right! You can actually feed the baby, well obviously not through your breasts but with the use of a bottle. The mother can use a breast pump to pump her own milk as early as 3 to 4 weeks. This will give you a chance to feed your baby from a bottle from time to time. Doing so can also encourage a healthy dad-baby relationship, will bring you closer to your child, and avoid any left out feelings on your part.
You can feed your little one on instances when your wife needs to take some time for herself. This will also make your wife feel more at ease as she knows the baby will not go hungry even when she’s out.
Do more around the house. Pick up more chores and try to do as much as you can to lighten the things your wife needs to think about. You don’t want her nursing your baby while stressing about all the things left undone.
Be a buffer for the visitors. Having a new baby is an exciting time for the whole family. You’ll be surprised to see a lot of people paying your baby a visit. Sometimes, having visitors can be stressful for new mothers as they need more time to rest. Act as a buffer and entertain visitors who don’t know when it’s time to leave. Protect your wife from family members who are unsupportive of her breastfeeding. Remember to always have your wife’s back.
Find a different activity for you and your baby. Your wife is already breastfeeding and she owns that activity. Find an activity you can do to bond with your baby like bath time, story time, or even both. This will make things easier as you and your wife now work as a single unit.