Aug 25, 2013

How Dads Can Help With Breastfeeding

(Daddy blogs)

Would it surprise you to know that the single most important factor in a new mum’s success with breastfeeding is the support she gets from her husband?

After all, when it comes to breastfeeding the science is clear - there is absolutely nothing better than breast milk for an infant. But not every new mum will find her breastfeeding journey easy. So one crucial thing that will help all mummies who are breastfeeding is the support of their partner. In fact, studies have shown that the attitude of the baby's father is the most important factor in whether or not a mother begins and continues to breastfeed.

And it is precisely with this in mind that I was one of the two Daddies - the other being Andy of SengkangBabies - who were invited to last Saturday's Breastfeeding Seminar organised by Philips AVENT.

Photo courtesy of Philips AVENT Singapore
We were there to give the Daddy's perspective on breastfeeding, and how we as husbands can do more to make the breastfeeding journey a little more pleasant for our wives. In fact, I was on air last Tuesday with 938Live during its 'Body & Soul' segment where I shared with listeners on the importance of Dads being involved in breastfeeding.

And when it came to the Breastfeeding Seminar proper, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many Dads present in the audience as well - definitely a good sign!

So what role can Daddy exactly play?

Be supportive. The best way you can help is simply by supporting your wife's decision to breastfeed. Learning about how breastfeeding works can make you be a better part of the team as well. 

Connect with baby. Take every opportunity to carry, cuddle and bathe your baby. And because babies adore skin-to-skin contact, putting them close to your bare chest can help settle them and help you bond.

Make yourself useful at home. Help out with the household chores so that Mummy can feed the baby for as long and as often as the baby needs.

Let Mummy rest. Remember, Mummy cannot produce enough milk if she is not getting enough rest. So for night feeds, consider helping to bring your baby to Mummy to nurse. After the feed, take him/her for a burp and nappy change, and lull him/her back to sleep if necessary. Just that few minutes a few times a night will make a big difference to your wife.

Help Mummy relax. Be her extra pair of hands - offer to prop her back with another pillow or offer a shoulder rub. And because breastfeeding can make her hungry and thirsty, help by bringing her a cup of warm drink or encouraging her to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Be the human shield. You know how in some instances, other family members or relatives will question the decision to breastfeed or perhaps they will suggest to supplement breast milk with formula milk? These are the times where Daddy needs to step in, be the protector and deflect these counter-productive words from his wife. Also, when the baby needs to nurse in public and a nursing room is not available, Daddy can help keep Mummy protected from prying eyes or curious onlookers just by shielding her.

Photo courtesy of Philips AVENT Singapore
Dads are important to babies no matter how they are fed. An important role of a Dad is to teach his baby there is more to love than food and a Dad can find his own way to get involved and have fun with baby too. Because at the end of the day, forging your own relationship with your baby will enrich both your lives - and Mummy's too.

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~Summer~ said...

Nice tips! I like the Let Mummy rest and even better, Be the human shield. Haha. I think we need that, especially if it's the first baby and we are clueless but the barrage of comments from family and friends don't seem to help and only demoralise or make us frantic. =) Thanks for sharing from a daddy's POV!

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi Summer,

Thanks! It came from many years of experience and learning from past mistakes too.

Well, at least the factory is closed and I don't have to go through that again! Hahaha! :p

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