Wondering how dads can support breastfeeding? Being a first time daddy brought a different look at childbirth and gave me a greater respect for motherhood. Not knowing much about what to expect once my son was born made me nervous. The biggest thing for me was supporting my wife through this process. As the days grew closer to the big day, I wondered what formula we would use, would he cry a lot or was I actually up to the challenge of being a dad?
My wife always talked about breastfeeding and I thought she was just talking or would give up after a month or so. Little did I know she was very serious about naturally providing for our son.
Like so many other partners I worried about where I would fit in, what my role was going to be since my wife was breastfeeding and when was I going to have an opportunity for bonding in the early stages.
So here’s my list of how dads can help with newborns and ways to bond.
How dads can support breastfeeding in the hospital
- Crowd control– You will have plenty of visitors during your hospital stay. Be mindful of the need for privacy while getting adjusted to breastfeeding.
- Bonding time– If the hospital your partner is delivering at has “magic hour”. Use it! Spend time with your partner and newborn. It was important for us to get to know each other right away as a family of 3.
- Correct latch– When it’s your first, breastfeeding is new for everyone. Help with getting the baby latched on correctly. I never knew how much suction a baby could generate during nursing, but to see the faces my wife made when he latched on improperly sent an obvious message.
- Hydration- This one is for both at home and in the hospital. They need to stay well hydrated when nursing. It helps with supply and moms have increased thirst when breastfeeding.
How to involve dad in breastfeeding at home
- Rest– I made sure to take over so she could get some rest and take naps. We took turns with this, which always felt like 5 second blinks. Lol!
- Help prepare meals– I’ve never been so tired in my life but caring for your family will always push you to keep going.
- Store milk– Put milk in storage bags and label for later use. Either place it in the fridge or the freezer for much later use.
- Change diapers– I became an instant pro at changing diapers.
- Baths– A great time for bonding while mom takes some time for herself.
How can husbands help during breastfeeding at night?
- Wake up– When your child wakes and mommy has to wake up too, get up with them. Even if it’s just for a little while. Don’t be that person in a photo circulating on social media where your partner is watching you sleep while she is up with the baby.
- Nighttime– During those nighttime wake-ups help put the haaku or nature bond on the other breast to collect milk if your partner has one. It really takes teamwork for a successful process.
- Back to sleep- Put the baby back to sleep after nursing- Take over after mom finishes nursing. You can burp the baby during this time and put the baby back to sleep.
Tip: Learn breastfeeding facts, tips and resources here!