Dads play an important role in helping mom continue breast feeding so baby enjoys the benefits. Mutual respect, effort, understanding, communication and teamwork by both mom and dad are key elements. Studies show that dads can feel inadequate and wonder about their ability to effectively bond with their baby, while moms can feel isolated and resentful without dad’s help and encouragement. Fathers must realize what an important role they are able to play in the breast feeding process. Dads can solidify their relationship with both mom and the baby by:
1) Become Educated
Understanding the benefits of breast feeding as well as the breastfeeding process and techniques will make you a more effective participant and a better team-mate.
2) Be Supportive
Breastfeeding can be exhausting and very challenging for mom, especially during the early weeks when there is a significant learning curve. Your continued praise and encouragement are vital to mom.
3) Be Encouraging
Mom can often feel like she is doing all the work. Step up! Consider changing diapers, bathing the baby, bringing the baby to mom for feeding especially during the night, shopping, rocking, bottle feeding breast milk and taking the baby for walks in the stroller. All these can give mom some free time and let her know that she is not alone.
4) Understand the Importance of Intimacy
Breast feeding can be exhausting and cause sleepless nights. Exhaustion and hormone changes certainly effects sex drive. This doesn’t mean that mom isn’t in need of your emotional and physical closeness. Think back to when you began dating and I am certain you will find many ways to fulfill the need for intimacy other than sex. When she is interested in sex, make certain you are attentive to her needs. Vaginal delivery and resulting hormonal changes caused by breast feeding can result in both dryness and soreness. Communicate and determine if lubricants may be of assistance in making relations more enjoyable.
5) Bond with Your Baby
Skin to skin with your baby, singing lullabies, bathing and bottle feeding with mom’s breast milk can all improve the bond you develop with your baby.
If you communicate with each other, you will both have a better understanding of each other’s needs.
Dads can be the most important person in assisting mom to achieve a long lasting and rewarding breast feeding experience. By supporting, communicating, understanding, and comforting dad will not only help mom’s efforts, but also build a better relationship with her and with his child.