Why Breastfeed?, How
can Dad Help?, Is Baby Getting
Enough?, Is Breastfeeding
about Sex?, Nursing in Public,
Finding Breastfeeding Information
Did you know that Dad's role in caring for the baby
is often misunderstood? Some say that a father cannot bond with
his baby if he doesn't help in feeding the baby. There is so much
more to nurturing a baby than just feeding. In fact, did you know
that Dad is the first person to demonstrate to baby that food does
not always equate love.
Dads can often enhance bonding by:
*Having eye-to-eye contact
*Taking their babies for walks
*Holding baby close and talking to him or her. (when
baby is fussy, often the sound of Dad's voice and his touch will
calm baby down)
*Rocking, cuddling, playing and bathing the baby
*Changing and burping the baby
WHY BREASTFEED ?
Dad's thoughts are important in deciding whether
their baby will be breastfed. Many fathers say it makes no difference
how Mom chooses to feed their baby, until they learn the difference
between breastmilk and formula. Once Dads realize that breastmilk
is by far the best for their babies, they usually encourage Mom
to nurse. Just a few of the many differences and benefits include:
*Formula has only about 60 ingredients, breastmilk
has over 200
*Breastmilk has many ingredients that cannot be
put into formula
*Many illnesses that babies are exposed to are reduced
or prevented by breastfeeding
*Moms who nurse often have less depression after
the baby is born, and breastfeeding can lower the risk to mom of
certain cancers later in life
*Breastfeeding saves money
WHAT CAN DAD
DO TO HELP?
A few special ways that Dad can be involved and
help support mom are:
*Changing baby's diaper
*Get mom something to drink, eat, and/or read while
she is nursing
*Take over child care between nursings so mom can
get some rest, or have a little time to herself
*Do grocery shopping and share in household chores
*Tell your partner that she is doing a good job
and that you think what she is doing is important!!
*Share with friends, and family that your partner
is doing something unique and wonderfully important for your baby.
A FATHER'S SUPPORT IS IMPORTANT TO SUCCESSFUL
The first few weeks of breastfeeding are the most
challenging. Moms are often exhausted and/or experiencing discomfort
from childbirth. It is during this time that fathers can be most
helpful. Some questions Dads often ask:
*IS BABY GETTING
ENOUGH? Most new parents worry about this. REMEMBER it is
normal for baby to lose a little weight in the first few days of
life. As long as your baby is nursing 8 to 12 times in 24 hours,
wetting 6 to 10 diapers and having 2 - 4 bowel movements a day,
your baby is getting enough milk. Breastfeeding works by supply
and demand. The more a baby nurses, the more milk mother will have.
Encourage mom to nurse often.
PAINFUL? Breastfeeding should NOT hurt. There may be some
discomfort the first week or 10 days, but there should be NO lasting
pain. If mother is experiencing pain beyond the initial transient
soreness, encourage her to call her Lactation Consultant. In the
meantime she can use the treatments recommended for nipple
MY PARTNER'S BREASTS "OFF LIMITS" AND WHAT ABOUT SEX?
Breastfeeding doesn't mean that that breasts are "off limits".
It is good to know that in the early months of breastfeeding, the
same hormone that is released during orgasm also generally causes
milk to eject, so do not be surprised if Mom's milk lets-down (and/or
sprays) during lovemaking.
If this bothers you or your partner, she may be able to lessen this
possibility by nursing your little one just prior to lovemaking.
This can also help to increase the possibility that you will have
a bit of uninterrupted
time together while baby sleeps. Mom can also wear a sexy bra
(with pads inserted to absorb leaking) if both of you are okay with
Mom may experience some vaginal dryness due to the
hormonal influences of breastfeeding. Knowing this isn't because
she's not interested can help prevent unnecessary tension and frustration
for both dad and mom. You can read more on vaginal dryness and how
to work through this
Remember, lots of understanding, good communication,
frequent hugs, and a touch of humor can help mom and dad through
these early days of parenting.
*WILL SHE HAVE TO
NURSE IN PUBLIC, AND HOW CAN SHE DO THAT WITHOUT EXPOSING HERSELF?
Mom doesn't "have" to nurse in public,
but with a little practice at home in front of a mirror, often she
can learn to nurse the baby very discreetly. Many mothers soon become
very adept at putting baby to breast and nurse just about where
ever and whenever they want to.
There are some mothers, however, who are very shy
or uncomfortable with nursing in public. To help in this situation,
she can try a few different things. If she is in a department store,
and there is no nursing lounge, she can slip into a dressing room
for a few moments and nurse the baby there. She can also nurse in
the car just prior to going inside, weather permitting. In a restaurant,
try sitting in a back booth, and let mom sit on the inside, where
you can shield her from view. Reassure her that she is not exposed,
and/or help her with suggestions/adjustments to make it easier.
You can read more about nursing in public on Kelly's
Breastfeeding and Attachment Parenting Information site.
*WHERE DO WE FIND ACCURATE AND RELIABLE
INFORMATION ON BREASTFEEDING?
One of the most reliable sources of breastfeeding
information is the La Leche
League. There are also many useful and informative books, videos,
and websites on breastfeeding. Your local library should have material
available on breastfeeding. Your health care provider and/or your
local Health Department (WIC department) may also have some excellent
breastfeeding information. In addition, there is a wealth of information
regarding breastfeeding on the Internet. You can find various links
to breastfeeding sites under LINKS TO BREASTFEEDING
Be sure to check out Books
to Avoid (those that contain bad breastfeeding information).
For more information specifically for fathers of
breastfed babies (links):
Sources for above information include, but are not limited to:
Breastfeeding Answer Book
Milk, Money & Madness