The Role of Dad in Breastfeeding

Many of us feel breastfeeding is an exclusive experience between mother and her baby. While breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding time for them, dad also plays an important role in the success in the choice to breastfeed. No need to give in to the bottle just yet. Read on for tips and tricks to show dad how much he is truly needed!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! When mom decides to breastfeed, dad can feel left out, not thinking there is much he can do to help with the new baby. There are lots of things dads can do that baby will enjoy and mom will really appreciate.

Both parents need to share the role of holding baby as often times when babies are fussing and mom is holding them, they think, “Hey, mom is holding me and I can smell food nearby so I guess I should be eating while I’m here.” If dad holds baby after eating, they should realize they don’t need more, they are just ready for someone else to hold and cuddle them. Babies not only hear mom’s voice for the 9 months inside the womb, but also dads. It is very soothing for baby to hear dad’s voice and a nice change of scenery when dad is holding them.

Dads can also help with a fussy baby by humming or singing to them. While walking, dancing or lying with baby on your chest, snuggle baby’s head against the front of your neck and drape your chin over baby’s head. Hum or sing a low pitched song while swaying side to side. The vibration of your voice box and jaw against your baby’s head can lull a tense baby to sleep.

It’s also very helpful for mom when she is breastfeeding baby to have dad burp the baby in between breasts. Babies get very warm and snuggly next to mom’s warm breasts and fall asleep easily. When they are put down, they wake up because they fell asleep before their tummy was full. If dad takes baby after eating then sits them on his lap to burp him, baby’s eyes will pop open. You might get a burp out and be ready to nurse some more. It will also help both mom and baby if dad changes the diaper then too. This way when they finish nursing the second breast, they are ready to fall asleep.

Other things dad can help with:

  • Bringing baby to mom in the middle of the night
  • Fix meals and snacks for the exhausted mommy
  • Bring water or drinks while nursing
  • Keep track of diaper changes (a great way to use their computer skills and create a spreadsheet!)

No matter how badly a mom wants to breastfeed, if her partner is not supportive of breastfeeding, it will not succeed. Just giving moral support and encouraging mom during the difficult times are huge helps. It is really great when dads attend breastfeeding classes with moms. Moms get sleep deprived and have a hard time remembering everything they have been taught so this is when dads can remind mom of some of the tips they learned. Dads can also be taught to check to make sure baby is latched on correctly by checking their bottom lip and give the chin a tug if it is pinching mom’s nipple.

Enjoy your new baby and remember, if you need help, don’t reach for the bottle of formula, call me or your local lactation consultant to get the help you need to make breastfeeding successful for your family.

Rekindling the Romance

Some women are concerned that breastfeeding will affect their intimate relationship with their husband. And while some men are squeamish about breastmilk, others love it! (Sorry to be blunt, but it’s true.) A mother who is exhausted from taking care of a new baby may not feel as sexual as she or her partner would like, but this could be the case whether she breastfeeds or not. Though for some women the constant (though non-sexual) nipple stimulation of nursing does reduce their desire for sexual stimulation.

So, I do believe that each couple must reach their own compromises in dealing with their intimate relationship while baby is nursing. But it is important to remember that the baby will only nurse for a few months or years and then daddy can ‘reclaim’ his territory (I say this jokingly). Some men never seem to have a problem with sharing and as long as neither baby nor dad is sick, there is no reason for him to avoid his wife’s breasts, though some couples do prefer to do so. This is such a personal issue. I feel that there is no right or wrong. We each must find our own ‘comfort’ zones. Remember, as with most parenting issues, there are no absolutes, nor right and wrong.

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Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime with your concerns. I am here to assist you in any way I can.

(402) 707-1696 or contact me.