Within The Dad Network, we often get asked how dads can get involved with feeding when the parents have taken the decision to breastfeed their baby. I think this is a good question, not just because it shows that dads aren’t seeing breastfeeding as a convenient time to go and check the latest scores or catch up on some Z’s, but because it shows dads are wanting to get involved in every aspect of their child’s life.
Breastfeeding does present an obvious problem though.
Well, two, roundish, milky problems actually…
National Breastfeeding Celebration Week started yesterday and whilst much of the focus will be on mums, it’s crucial that us dads aren’t forgotten. There isn’t a single aspect of parenting that Dad can’t be a part of.
Anyway, Lansinoh, the nipple cream company, (that’s not their actual strap line, but it’s how I referred to them when I used to have to go and get the tube of cream for Jen!) have asked us to write a quick article sharing a few ways that us dads can get fully immersed in the world of breastfeeding. So here you go :)
What can dad do to get involved?
- Supporting mum so she can relax while breastfeeding is crucial – If mum is relaxed then it will make her be able to feed far more efficiently. From my experience, this is easier said than done… but worth trying. For example, you might want to try looking after other children, having a tidy up, plump up the cushions, make the remote handy, making her a drink etc.
- Explore expressing. This may be something you decide to do and it’s great because it allows you to feed your baby with breastmilk yourself. Expressing isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and we found that we had to be persistent but the rewards are amazing. FYI, expressed milk can be stored in the back of the fridge for 24 hours or in the freezer for 3 months so having a backup feed or two in the freezer means you can help out when needed.
- Feeding time is a great way to bond – yes you can change nappies and help in many other ways but that special, nurturing, cuddle time during a feed is a lovely experience which can be shared. Sit with your partner during the feed, look into your baby’s eyes in the same way that mum does and talk to your baby. It may be her boob, but you can still be present!
- Encouragement. No-one ever said that breastfeeding is easy. But the encouragement, support, thanks and praise you can give to mum can be the difference between giving up and persisting.
- Discuss options together. There are plenty of decisions to make when feeding is concerned; When to wean off the boob? Expressing? Choosing equipment? Follow on milk? Whatever you choose, make sure you’re part of the decision making process.
5 great ways to get yourself involved with feeding your baby.