What Dads need to know
Last week in blog #13 about Dads & Breastfeeding, I wrote about 3 ways dads could help the breastfeeding mom. There are many ways a dad can be involved when their partner is breastfeeding. It is really helpful if a new dad sits and chats to his partner while she is feeding their baby. Obviously, as a dad, you can’t actually breastfeed your baby but your attitude and support are critical especially is this is the first child and the mom has to learn how to breastfeed. Apart from the many different ways you can help like bathing the baby or helping with cooking or bringing your partner a drink while she feeds the baby, there are certain things it is useful for a dad to know!
1: It takes time
Breastfeeding is not a quick affair. Each feeding session can last anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour for a new mom. And most newborns will need a feed 8-12 times a day!! Your partner is, therefore, going to be spending most of her day breastfeeding!
2: No pain, no gain does not hold true
Breastfeeding is not normally painful. It may be uncomfortable at first until baby latches on properly. This should be only for a minute or so. If the discomfort persists or pain continues then the baby may not be latched on properly or positioned correctly and your partner may need assistance. If you can’t help, then perhaps suggest a visit to a breastfeeding clinic, where professionals can teach the mom how to get baby to latch on correctly.
3: Settling a fussy baby
This is where dads can be really helpful. When your baby is fussy and won’t settle, the smell of milk on the breastfeeding mom may lead the baby to search for her breast instead of calming down. Your baby may then settle better if you hold him or carry him around.
4: After 6 weeks
It takes about 4-6 weeks for a mom to establish a good breastfeeding system. After this time, suggest that your partner express breast milk for bottle feeds which you, the dad, can take over – especially the middle of the night feeds! This will give your partner a much needed break.
5: Sagging breasts
Have no fear dads – breastfeeding does not cause sagging breasts!!!! Breast shape IS affected by pregnancy, genetics, age, smoking, weight loss or gain but NOT by breastfeeding. So you can rest easy be supportive in your partners efforts to breastfeed without thinking that this will result in her breasts sagging!!!
Dads are important. And your support of your partner when she is breastfeeding is vital. She needs to know that you are 100% with her in her breastfeeding and that you will help out in any way you can during those first few weeks. Breastfeeding makes your partner hungry and thirsty and you can encourage her to drink plenty of water and bring a snack of fruit or nuts for her to eat while she feeds. It’s the little things that count, believe me!! And soon, you too will be able to feed your baby on the expressed breast milk.
Any thoughts or comments are welcome in the comments box below!
Yours in lifestyle newborn photography