Infant Tips

The Breastfeeding Father!

Food and love are are two things everyone wants to give the new baby. To show their love and affection everyone - big brothers, dad, grandparents -  wants to grab a bottle and “feed the baby”.  In this month’s Blog we celebrate the Breastfeeding Father!  Yes, that’s right, because a man who supports a breastfeeding mother is helping to insure that his child is fed the best stuff on Earth.  Breastfeeding benefits from the support of a team and, to use a dad sort of analogy, dad can be a key player and show his love even if he isn’t pitching or hitting.  Last month we talked about how mother is hard wired for breastfeeding; it appears father is too.  Across cultures, dads hold and bounce their babies in similar ways.  There are countless ways a father can help with breastfeeding and be an important player on the team: 
  • Encourage mom to breastfeed
  • Show mom you believe in her and breastfeeding by being patient
  • Hold and soothe the baby when he gets fussy
  • Change diapers
  • Bathe the baby
  • Bring mom drinks and food
  • Do the housework
  • Prepare small meals for mom to eat throughout the day
  • Massage her back to help her relax and let the prolactin flow (“milk making” hormone)
  • Bring her pillows to get comfortable
  • Learn all you can about breastfeeding
  • Make sure the phone, favorite book or TV remote are close at hand
  • Watch for early signs that baby is hungry and bring him to mom
  • Be bold and carry your baby in a sling or other baby carrier
  • Show your baby  the world around her, talk to her, read to her
  • And did we say encourage and support mom in breastfeeding?!
If you can take care of many of these other things, mother and baby are able to listen to their instincts, learn each other’s cues and establish a solid breastfeeding relationship early on.  Like any team member, you support and work together.  Be an advocate for your feeding and parenting choices with family and friends, keep visitors away for the first week until you have a chance to establish breastfeeding and bond with your new family.  Becoming a family begins a life-long adventure of parenting that enhances your relationship with your spouse or partner; you will learn more about yourself through your child or children than you ever imagined!  Fathers are an integral force in their children’s lives; no doubt their role in shaping the future of our world begins with their ability to nurture, nourish and enjoy their children!  If you encounter a situation where you think you might need additional help or further evaluation, contact a lactation consultant, your health care professional or your pediatrician.  When it comes to fathers, no one can fill your shoes; so listen to your fathering instincts by responding to your partner’s needs for encouragement and by fulfilling your new baby’s desire to be cuddled and loved.

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