Fatherhood & Breastfeeding: How can you help?
You probably already know how good breastfeeding is for mom and baby. Even though breastfeeding is a mom’s job, having you there at-the-ready to find ways to support and help your wife is invaluable and a key factor in the success of breastfeeding. Pictures of breastfeeding are often portrayed with a mother and suckling baby. However, fathers play a major role as they provide emotional and physical support to both the mother and child.
Breastfeeding does not mean that you will have less time with your baby, feeding is only one of the many aspects of caring for a baby. In the first few weeks, feedings will be frequent and your partner will be exhausted. Be supportive and think of ways you can build your partner's confidence and relationship. Here are some tips for success:
- Make it easier for her by helping with baby care and bringing the baby to her to nurse. Getting her a drink or snack while she is nursing will also be helpful as nursing mothers need extra fluids and nutrients.
- Encourage your partner's decision to feed anywhere and anytime. In the beginning, some women may feel uncomfortable nursing in public. Exposing the breast to others while feeding is not necessary. With experience, your partner will be able to breastfeed without anyone knowing. If your wife still feels uncomfortable, buy a nursing cover. Some even come with internal pockets for storing nursing pads and other small items; plus, mom will be able to keep an eye on the baby while feeling more confident. In the end, make sure to let your partner know you believe in and admire her for what she is doing.
- Answer phone calls and doorbells when your partner needs to rest or would like privacy while nursing. Help with household chores and errands.
- Watch your baby nurse. Spend time lying or sitting by your partner and you will soon learn that breastfeeding is much more than just feeding.