Many fathers to be express concerns about how they’ll best be able to support their partner after the baby arrives when it comes to breastfeeding and similarly don’t want to feel left out of the feeding routine. We are going to look at how dads and breastfeeding can work !
Playing a Valuable Role
While the mother’s role and the father’s or partner’s role is different when it comes to breastfeeding it doesn’t mean that his part is any less valuable, just different. Some worry they may feel shut out by what is an obviously close bond forged during breastfeeding or even jealous however there are still many ways in which Dad may be involved.
It is important to remember that breastfeeding is only one of the very many parts of caring for baby. There is no need to be excluded from feeding times as sitting with your partner and enjoying this naturally close and peaceful time together is a lovely and precious time.
Other valuable roles include helping with winding (or burping) the baby, talking to, singing to and playing with baby, bathing, soothing, changing nappies and clothing, taking baby out for walks and of course there will always be plenty to do on a night-time. Those precious first weeks where the baby develops so quickly are a magical time and there is no need for Dad to feel left out when looking after a baby is a twenty four hour (yet very rewarding) job. Many fathers enjoying using a sling to carry their young both for convenience and to enjoy a similar physical closeness that mothers do during breastfeeding.
Despite being a most natural way to feed a newborn breastfeeding does not come easily to all women, with problems with latching on, soreness (even mastitis), worry about supply and of course tiredness. A valuable, in fact essential part of a partner’s role is to help support breastfeeding, offering physical and mental aid wherever needed. This is not a role that should be under-estimated as the support a Dad gives during this time may make all the difference to how well breastfeeding goes and how enjoyable the early weeks and months are.
Finding Out More
Antenatal classes, the NCT and a number of other breastfeeding and parenting organisations offer a wealth of guidance and support not only on the act of breastfeeding itself, also on how Dad may be involved and how to support feeding effectively and lovingly while feeling involved and similarly enjoying the experience.