Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Role of Breastfeeding Dads

No. I don't mean dads that do the actual breastfeeding. I'm talking about the dads of breastfed babies. Few people realise it but breastfeeding is really a team sport. Or at least a doubles game. Staying away from Richard always reminds me of what a big help he is.

Anyhow, here's what a breastfeeding dad can do:

In the early days:
1) Read up on breastfeeding (or even become an expert if you feel like it) so that both the new mom and dad are on the same page. It also helps to have another person 'defend' the new family's ideas on feeding the baby when well meaning people dampen the breastfeeding mood.

2) Go get the baby up and hand him to the new (and probably healing) mother. Saves her walking around.

3) Help to burp the baby and put the baby back to sleep after a feed.

4) Share a drink or snacks with the mom during feeds. Some young babies, like Aaron, can feed for up to 45 mins!

Any time:
4) Provide encouragement and moral support, especially in the middle of the night. Night time support is especially helpful because it means a lot to the the mom when you would give up sleep to help her. Just staying up to chat really helps. Yes, dads probaby have to go to work the next day but so does the mom!

5) Neck and shoulder massages :)

6) Change the baby's diaper during a feed. Tricky but can be done. This avoids fully waking the baby and creating more work by having to put it to sleep again.

So those are my few pointers based on the experience that we had. For further reading on the role of dads, check out this article.


John said...

Changing while mom is feeding, never tried that. I guess it's too late now. Mine are 18 and 15 yrs old. I'll recommend it to my son and future son-in-law when the time comes!

number said...

Maybe another one is to entertain the feeding mother via chit chatting coz feeding up to 45 mins could be really boring.....unless there's an APACER full of MP3 songs or audio books...;)

Evelyn said...

Hmm.. so, why do some guys have man-boobs if they arent meant for breast feeding? :-P Just being silly...

Bilbo said...

As a new grandparent again, I'll be watching our son-in-law as he supports our daughter in the breastfeeding of little Leya. So far, based on observations during one day of life, he'll do fine.