A supportive partner can be a major factor in a new mom’s breastfeeding success. Dad can’t actually breastfeed the baby (although mom may wish that he could), but he can play a huge role in mom’s breastfeeding journey. Still, many dads don’t know exactly how to best help out. Today, we’re sharing 5 ways to get dads involved in breastfeeding – not only to give mom some backup, but also to build a stronger bond with the new baby.
5 Ways to Get Dads Involved in Breastfeeding
- Offer moral support. The first few months of breastfeeding can be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Words of encouragement can help mom keep at it when the going gets tough – or simply make her day a little brighter. Make it a habit to tell mom that she’s doing a great job, that you appreciate her, and that you’re proud of her (and any other nice things you can think of).
- Offer hands-on support. A newborn baby typically needs to nurse 9-12+ times a day, which means mom’s going to be spending a lot of time sitting around, stuck (lovingly) under your wee one. Make sure she has a comfortable nest and bring her blankets or pillows if she wishes. You can also provide her with water, snacks, a magazine – anything to help her pass the time pleasantly.
- Be an informed coach. Learn about breastfeeding by attending a prenatal breastfeeding course or getting online and doing some research. Simply learning more about your baby’s behavior and cues that they may be hungry will be a huge help. Also, if mom has a question or is struggling with anything, help her find answers, call your local La Leche League, or find a certified breastfeeding consultant if need be.
- Spend skin-to-skin time with baby. A breastfeeding mom naturally gets a lot of skin on skin time with baby, but dads can enjoy the experience, too. Some studies show that skin-to-skin contact can provide many benefits for a new baby like supporting the immune system, decreasing stress, improving brain development, and increasing breastfeeding rates. On top of all that, it also makes the body release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that helps establish a strong bond between dad and baby.
- Help with baby duties beyond breastfeeding. Give mom a well-deserved break by burping, diapering, bathing, holding, cooing, loving, swaddling, swinging, bouncing, rocking, and simply taking care of your baby’s non-feeding needs.
It’s not uncommon for dads to feel “left out” when their partners are breastfeeding, but as you can see, there are tons of easy ways to get involved. And don’t belittle your role in the journey! According to La Leche League International, your support is critical to a successful breastfeeding experience.
Do you have more ideas for how to get dads involved in breastfeeding? Let us know in the comments!