As new parents, home from the hospital and on your own, you have one goal – to make sure your little one thrives with plenty of love, care and of course, nourishment from breastmilk. There’s no doubt that breastfeeding is a beautiful and emotional experience for a mum. However, when you’re a new mum it can take time before a comfortable routine sets in.
Here’s where dad can help. While mum has the breasts and the milk supply, dad has the job of supporting mum in her breastfeeding journey. In fact, dad getting involved with breastfeeding support is an integral part of binding a family unit and a way he can bond with the little one.
With this in mind, we bring you these great tips on breastfeeding support for dads.
1. Just being there
Rather than disappear when baby is breastfeeding, dads can make themselves available and be around for their partner. Being there enables the father to appreciate the efforts of his partner and can provide confidence and support for mum.
Becoming hands-on will also enable dad to get closer to mum in a supportive way, whether it’s being on hand to get her comfortable, fetch a drink of water or something for baby. No matter how small the gesture is from dad, it will mean a lot to a breastfeeding mum.
2. Listen and ‘latch on’
For dads wanting a more hands-on role with breastfeeding support, it might be best for them to read some good books on breastfeeding and familiarise themselves with common issues nursing mums may have, such as establishing her milk flow and getting baby to latch on and suckle. If mum is getting frustrated, then simply being able to listen to her is a real big help too. A dad who is knowledgeable about breastfeeding issues will also be able to gently support mum when it comes to getting the little one latch on, by helping baby to seal his or her lips around the nipple and areola for the best feeding position.
3. Be proactive
One of the best ways a dad can support his partner with breastfeeding is to be proactive with help, particularly in the early hours of the morning when baby needs a feed. Dads can actively volunteer to get out of bed and bring the baby to their partners – it brings the family closer together, their partners will be grateful for that little bit of extra support given, and dads will feel useful – even in the dead of the night!
4. Get cooking
One of the most useful ways a dad can help out with breastfeeding support is to get cooking! Nursing mums need plenty of nutrition, so dads, read up in advance on the best types of food for breastfeeding mums and learn how to work your way around the kitchen. Your partner will be so grateful to get an amazing, healthy home-cooked meal and dads get to add to their domestic skill-set!
5. Have the bottle to do it
If mum has an over-supply, or needs to get back to work eventually and is pumping and freezing breast-milk in preparation, then dads can step in and help with a feed or two. This gives mummy a well-deserved break and dad gets to bond with the baby – a win-win situation all around!