There are so many ways a dad can be involved when their partner is breastfeeding:
- With a new baby in the house, there will be lots of tasks to help out with whilst your partner is feeding. During this time, you can simply sit and chat to your partner to feel connected during this time or probably something your partner will really appreciate would be to help with home tasks like cleaning, washing or simply meal prep ahead of time.
- When it’s not feed time, make sure to enjoy a little one-on-one time with your baby. It’s important that your new little one learns that love can also come without food.
- As a dad, you obviously can’t actually breastfeed yourself. But your attitude and support can be really important as your partner learns how.
How to help?
- Learning the ins and outs of how breastfeeding works and the challenges which sometimes could with this, you can feel a bigger connection and feel like a key member of the breastfeeding team!
- Think about opportunities to carry your baby in a sling. Cuddling skin-to-skin can help settle your baby and help you bond.
- Bathing your baby can be soothing for them, and a beautiful bonding time for you both.
- Try to make sure you’re home as much as possible to take care of the little tasks like housework or cooking. Helping with the little things, will definitely be the biggest help to you and your partner.
- When your partner is breastfeeding, and an extra pair of hands will be super useful — even just offering to bring her a glass of water or another pillow if she needs one will make all the difference.
- For night feeds, one idea is to bring your baby to your partner in bed. After the feed, take your child for a burp and nappy change, and settle them back to sleep. This will be a big help, even if you only do it for some night feeds.
- There might be some hangry moments for your partner. One thing is for sure, breastfeeding will make your partner hungry and thirsty. You can help by encouraging her to drink plenty of water, and by supplying lots of fruits and vegetables for her to eat.
What you need to know
- It’s very normal for if your partner has difficulties with breastfeeding, encourage her to seek assistance, as nearly all problems can be overcome with the right information. However, if you have really exhausted all avenues and your partner still finds she can’t breastfeed or decides not to breastfeed, reassure her that it’s OK.
- Always look for the positives. There are lots of other options, perhaps one option may be for her to express her breast milk. This means you and your partner can share the feeding, while your baby still gets the best food. It might be possible for her to partially breastfeed.
- Breastfeeding isn’t always quick. For a lot of new mums, each feeding session is different and can last anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour. Most newborns feed 8 to 12 times a day.
- Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable, especially at first. If the baby is attached properly, any discomfort should subside after 30 – 60 seconds. But if the pain continues, your baby might not be attached or positioned correctly. Pain isn’t normal and your partner should seek assistance.
- In some cases, after breastfeeding you might be able to settle your baby better than your breastfeeding partner. When your baby is fussy, the smell of milk on your partner can lead your baby to search for her breasts instead of calming down. In these situations, your child might settle better in your arms.
After a couple of months mum and baby will have established a good breastfeeding system and you can talk about expressing breast milk for occasional bottle feeds. This means you can do some of the feeds and give your partner a little break too!