When your wife or partner first gets pregnant, it’s easy to feel a bit useless as a dad. Not only do you not have to go through the pain of carrying a child to term and the ultra-frightening delivery scenario, you’re not able to breastfeed your child the way she can.
Breastfeeding your child is one of the healthiest options you and your partner can take. The benefits outweigh any difficulties, like maintaining a feeding schedule, sore nipples and getting your child to take to the breast. However, there’s no need to feel like you’re not involved as a dad. There are many things you can do to help with the process and act as your partner’s personal breastfeeding cheerleader.
Though your wife or partner’s breasts have probably been strictly your domain in the past, your new child is going to be taking up quite a bit of their time for at least the next six months. Breastfeeding is one of the healthiest things you can do for your newborn. In addition to having the essential mix of nutrients, proteins and fats, it also wards off illness and potential bacterias that could harm your baby.
Also, breastfed babies were shown to achieve higher IQ scores in later life, and are less likely to develop into obese children. Considering all the benefits, what can you do as a dad to help foster this very important element of your baby’s life?
1) Be Encouraging
After giving birth, new moms can be on an emotional roller-coaster. There are late nights, a general lack of sleep and other motherhood aspects to get used to in addition to trying to get your baby to breastfeed. The first couple of weeks of trying to breastfeed can be tough as well, as both mom and baby get used to the routine and your child learns to latch on and nurse. Stay positive and encouraging for her. All of your support will help her to carry on even when the going has gotten tough.
2) Help Mom and Baby to Get Comfortable
As you’ve heard before, breastfeeding can be difficult, particularly during the first couple of weeks. When your partner sits down to breastfeed, you will be able to view how she is holding the baby from a different angle and sensitively offer suggestions on how she and the baby can be more comfortable.
You can invest in a nursing pillow, like the ones found at www.target.com/c/feeding-pillows-breastfeeding/mombo-by-comfort-harmony/-/N-5xtknZ55kvx, to help with positioning, and also make sure your designated breastfeeding space has soft lighting and a comfortable chair so they can feel cozy and relaxed.
3) Take Responsibility for Another Activity
Just because you’re not able to breastfeed the baby doesn’t mean you can’t be Super dad in another way. Take on the responsibility for at least one of the baby tasks. For example, you could handle all the bathing, or try to get in as many changes as possible. Every little bit you can contribute will help out enormously, particularly to a tired new mommy. Always be sure to ask your spouse how you can help out and encourage her to ask you to do things.
4) Help Out with Bottle Feedings
After three to four weeks, your partner can start using a breast pump to express milk and store it for later use. Here’s where you come in. Try taking over a few feedings with your baby. Not only will it allow you to form a closer bond with your child, it will give your missus some much-needed time off.
5) Look at the Financial Rewards
Breastfeeding beats formula hands down in the financial stakes, allowing you to save some much-needed cash for other things your child may need. Formula can costs parents upwards of $1,500 per year — money that could easily be used elsewhere. Look into what equipment you need to purchase as well, many breastfeeding supplies such as pumps are actually tax deductible.
Becoming the best dad you can be means supporting not only your child, but your partner as well. The first few weeks after giving birth can be particularly tough for her, so acting as her personal cheerleader will help her to adjust and feel comfortable about her new role. Try to volunteer where ever you can to help out. Everything you do helps your bond with your new baby to grow.
Writer Melanie Fleury has breastfed all four of her children with various degrees of success. She found that with a quiet room, a nursing pillow, which can be found at www.target.com/c/feeding-pillows-breastfeeding/mombo-by-comfort-harmony/-/N-5xtknZ55kvx, and a supportive spouse, the process was less stressful and much more successful.
Melanie has contributed several articles in the past please make sometime to read them: