Before Joey was born, there was NO question in my mind about his initial nutrition: I was going to breastfeed. I think one of the first things I learned while studying to become a registered dietitian was “breast is best for baby!” That catch phrase didn’t prepare me for the struggle that breastfeeding turned out to be. It was HARD. A lot harder than I had anticipated. But a certain someone made the experience easier. No, it wasn’t the lactation consultants in the hospital or the tips and tricks I read daily from experts at BabyCenter and KellyMom. It was Joey’s Dad, my husband, Ted.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting his support to be the one that got me through the first month or two. What could a man possibly know about breastfeeding?! But I was delightfully surprised- and thankful for his daily encouragement and presence. Come to think of it, he’s my number one supporter for everything else in life. So why wouldn’t he be for breastfeeding?! So here’s what I learned from Ted, and what I want to share with new dads about how dad can help with breastfeeding.
DID YOU KNOW……
Dad’s can be involved in the breastfeeding process just as much as mom, even though they are not the one’s supplying the food. Although I’ve often thought breastfeeding would be MUCH easier if Dad was able to feed too! [He’ll likely spit out his coffee reading that comment].
Here’s how dad can help with breastfeeding:
- Learn all you can about breastfeeding- attend a breastfeeding class with mom, read up about breastfeeding online
- Help with positioning, burping, and diapering, especially the diapering!!! Breastfeeding is notorious for diaper blow-outs!
- Let your partner know you are proud of her and think she’s amazing, even when she hasn’t showered or brushed her teeth in 2 days.
- Spend time alone each day with your baby- go for a walk, splash in the tub during bath time, sing, dance, or read together.
- If your partner is pumping milk, offer to bottle feed baby at night or during the day to give mommy a much-deserved break [mainly for sleep or to eat a meal, uninterrupted].
- Spend time alone each week with your partner- a continued connection with your partner will help with both of your moods and baby’s too!
- Lastly, if your partner isn’t breastfeeding, you’ll be husband of the year if you split bottle duty 50/50! When I stopped nursing Joey around 3-4 months of age, Ted would give him the bottles of formula when he was home and able to.
Breastfeeding does take time and energy, especially during the first few weeks of your baby’s life. New moms, let your partner know how much you need their support as you both learn to care for your baby. And don’t forget your partner needs support too! Take him up on the offer for help… all three of you will benefit from the mutual family support system.