How dads can be supportive during breastfeeding
By the time a baby is born, a mom would have gone through quite a lot both physically and emotionally. Pregnancy and delivery are draining in every way, and moms need all the help they can get especially during those first few months. That’s where dads come in.
There are lots of things dads can do to support breastfeeding moms. Most of these are simple tasks but they go a long way in contributing to successful breastfeeding and to help reduce the lack of sleep and frustration that moms can experience.
This guide will highlight some of the ways dads can be supportive during breastfeeding. We shall categorize them into two: things dads can do for the baby and things dads can do for mom.
Things dads can do for the baby
Here are some of the things dads can do for their little ones to ensure that moms have as much support as they need during breastfeeding.
1. Changing the baby
Once the baby has been breastfed, dad can step in to change them. Changing a baby is a simple skill that can be learnt quickly. What's more, it provides the perfect bonging opportunity between dad and baby. It also gives mom some space, allowing her to rest up and reenergize after the breastfeeding session. It will also make her calmer, less stressed, and more comfortable, ready for the next breastfeeding session.
Changing a baby may be simple, but it is a gesture that will go a long way to show that you are willing to provide all the support mom needs in this journey. Therefore, consider making it a point to change the baby at least once every day.
2. Bathing the baby
If your little one's routine calls for a feeding session before bathtime, why not take over bathing the baby every day? Mom will love you for it because bathing the baby allows her to get a few moments to herself to do whatever she likes. It’s a great way to get her to relax after a long day of caring for your little one.
If your little one breastfeeds after bathing, taking over bathtime will also help mom get ready for the next feeding. When you eventually hand the baby over to her, she will be calm and relaxed, exactly the state of mind she needs to be in to properly bond with the little angel.
Bathtime is also yet another great opportunity for dads to bond with their little ones. When you bathe your baby every day, they will start associating you with all the fun they have splashing in the water. And just like that you'll become the fun parent!
3. Burping the baby
Once the baby is full, dads can take over and burp them. Burping is an important part of feeding that helps release any gas that the little one may have swallowed accidentally, which can lead to discomfort in babies. A burped baby is a happy baby who sleeps like, well, a baby!
After burping your little one, you can take a walk together. Go outside to get some air and let them take in the surroundings. By the time you get back home, they'll be so tired they'll pass right out.
4. Help comfort the baby when they cry or fuss
A crying baby does not always have to be breastfed. If your little one is full and yet they are still crying or fussing, dad can become the go-to comforter. This way, dad will eventually learn how to interpret the baby’s cues and cries. Soon, they’ll be able to know exactly what the baby wants by the sounds they make.
5. Shopping for baby
Breastfeeding may be cheap, but there are lots of stuff that can make it a more comfortable and dun experience for mom and baby. Dad can buy a few blankets, toys, or nursing pillows that will help make every breastfeeding session as easy as pie.
Things dad can do for mom
Sure, doing anything for your little one also helps mom in some way. However, here are some of the things dads can do that will go a long way in making moms’ lives easier:
1. Making sure she's comfortable as she breastfeeds
Dad can ensure that all the feeding areas around the house are comfortable. Prop up a few pillows, clean the rooms and even change the lighting to make them softer and warmer.
If there are things that mom needs as she breastfeeds, dad can also ensure that she always has them within reach every time she sits down to feed the baby. For example, if she has a favorite book that she enjoys reading as she breastfeeds, make sure that it is close enough for comfortable access.
2. Keeping her hydrated
Breastfeeding literally drains mom as she does it. She'll get thirstier over time. As a dad, you can take it upon yourself to be in charge of her thirst management. Bring her some water or her favorite non-alcoholic, caffeine-free drink. Let her sip it slowly as she goes. She'll thank you for it.
3. Feeding her
Dad can also make sure mom gets at least 3 healthy meals a day. Since mom has a lot on her mind, it is easy for her to forget to take good care of herself during this time. Making sure mom eats well is also good for the baby, because the baby eats what mom eats. So be sure to keep a close eye on the nutritional value of the foods you provide as well. Don't forget about the all-important snacks as well. Breastfeeding moms need to consume 500 calories more than their usual intake. This means you should always ensure there is something nice and healthy for her to snack on. If she has any cravings, take care of those as well. It’s Ok to snack on a little junk food every now and then as long as it is not done too often. Just make sure to overcompensate with fruits and veggies to help keep those cravings at bay.
4. Buying her nice things
Moms need to feel loved especially during this time when their lives have been turned upside down. Dads can achieve this by buying them nice gifts every now and then. It’s a simple gesture that will show mom just how much you appreciate her.
Need a gift idea? How about this amazing breastfeeding bra? Not only is it highly functional, but it will also make her feel pretty even as she breastfeeds. Exactly the self-esteem boost she needs!
5. Grocery shopping
Since mom hardly ever leaves the house anymore, dad can take over grocery shopping. Let her make you a list and head out to your local grocery store to shop. Don’t forget to get her a few nice treats just because!
6. Taking care of the chores
As mom breastfeeds, she needs to be stressed as little as possible. Worrying about the various things she still has to do around the house is one of the things that can make her stressed out, and babies pick up on these things. Dads can step up and take care of all the chores. Additionally, they can help make sure things run smoothly by paying all the bills on time, making appointments, and so on. This way, mom won’t have to worry about any of these things as she breastfeeds.
7. Taking care of other kids
If you have other children, you can keep them occupied while the mom breastfeeds. This way, she will have some peace, allowing her to focus on the needs of the baby.
Being there for the other children will also reduce the parenting burden that the mother has to handle while breastfeeding. This will make her calmer, less stressed, and more peaceful.
Taking care of other children is also a great opportunity to spend some time with them. You’ll get to bond with them and know more about their lives, making you a better dad in the end.
As a dad, you need to do all you can to support a breastfeeding mom and make her life easier. Support for breastfeeding mothers is critical at this crucial stage. It is the only way to ensure that they are less stressed and healthy enough to provide the little angel with the best quality care they can.
With the tips outlined above, achieving this should be a breeze for you. And in the end, you will become a better partner and a better dad for it.
Angelia Smith - Feb. 08 2022
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