To the Father of the Breastfed Baby
The key to successful breastfeeding is motivation and support. This will be your major role as the father of the breastfed baby, as your partner will need both your practical and emotional support.
Here are some suggestions as to how you can best do this:
Help with baby care: Breastfeeding does not mean that you will have less time with your baby. Feeding is only one of the many tasks involved in the physical and emotional nuturing of your baby. True it does involve a large amount of time in the early weeks, but there are many other ways to interact with and care for your baby, such as bathing, massage, playing together or going for walks.
Breastfeeding is a learned skill. Often people think that breastfeeding is instinctive because it is a natural process. Not only do mum and baby have to learn new skills, they have to learn to do them together. Encourage her along the way, assist her when possible by ensuring that she is comfortable, that she gets the appropriate help if having difficulties, and that she gets some rest and time to herself.
Breastfeeding and sex. Sensitivity to your partners needs is important as she gains confidence in breastfeeding and recovers from the birth and interrupted sleep. She may lose interest in sex temporarily, because of the physical and emotional changes and adjustment, but this can happen whether she breast or bottle feeds.
Be a breastfeeding advocate. Your advocacy role may take many forms:
-Answer telephones or doorbells when your partner needs to rest or desires privacy for nursing
- voice your support of the breastfeeding mother and baby, to well meaning people who make statements like "Are you sure she has enough milk?" (Your answer - Yes because he has 6-8 wet nappies a day)
-Fix your partner a drink or snack while she is breastfeeding. Sit and have a chat while your baby is quietly feeding.
-Give your partner at least 3 hugs a day. Let her know that you support her breastfeeding and that you love her.
-Enjoy your baby and your new family