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Dads and Breastfeeding: How to Help

Many new parents may believe that dads and breastfeeding don’t mix.  Dads can’t supply the milk, so they can’t have anything to do with the breastfeeding journey.  My husband and I have found this to be 100% false!  We have both loved our breastfeeding experience. It has helped us to feel closer to each other and to our baby girl.

Here are some of the many ways that you, Dad, can participate in breastfeeding.

dads and breastfeeding

Bring me the Baby

Yes, she might be in the bassinet right next to my side of the bed, but it is so helpful when you gather her up and put her in my arms.  It gives me a moment to get settled myself and ready for her without having to leave her to cry while she waits for me.  Especially newly postpartum when everything hurts, I don’t move very fast.  When you get up to bring me the baby, it makes me feel supported by you and reminds me that you see the hard work I’m doing.

Do the Dishes

If I’m pumping, it is incredibly helpful for you to wash the pump parts when I finish.  I know you can’t pump the milk yourself. But honestly, washing those parts is half the battle and it’s something that either of us can take care of.  When you step up and wash the parts without being asked, it shows me how much you want to help me in this breastfeeding journey.

But Really, Do the Dishes

I’m literally tied down by this baby for a large portion of our day.  Housework can feel overwhelming to me right now.  On top of all of the work that I am doing with the baby and the little sleep that I am getting, breastfeeding drains my energy in ways that I may not have expected.  Helping out with things like cooking meals, putting away laundry, and yes, doing the dishes, is invaluable to me right now.  When you serve me by taking on tasks that are usually my responsibility, you lighten my load and reduce my stress.

Put your Hands to Use

Remember that one night that we had been up seventeen million times with baby girl, and it just seemed like she was going to nurse until the end of time?  I was beyond exhausted nursing her in our rocking chair.  You were beyond exhausted too. But you sat down on the floor and rubbed my feet while I nursed.  When you rub my feet, or put your arm around my shoulders, or just give me a pat on the knee, it makes me feel loved and appreciated.  I’m doing hard work!  Your appreciation goes a long way.

dads and breastfeeding vertical

Take Charge of Hydration

When I am nursing, I am thirsty.  All. Of. The. Time.  It is so helpful when you take charge of keeping my water cup filled and within reach.  I never think about getting it before I start nursing because I am so preoccupied with the baby being hungry.  When you take care of me and my needs it lets me take care of the baby.  Oh, and don’t forget the snacks!

Reserve Some Time

It’s important that you have a special time with baby, too.  I get to have that time while nursing. But you need to have your own dedicated time with our sweet baby.  Maybe for an hour or so in the morning before you go to work (bonus points if I get to stay in bed!) or in the evening while I shower.  Maybe you rock babe to sleep after I nurse her for the night. Or maybe you give her a bottle of pumped milk before bed.  When you reserve a time that’s all yours, it gives you a chance to connect with our baby and it gives me a moment of rest.

Ask me Questions

Ask me how things are going with breastfeeding.  Talk about baby’s latch or about how I’m feeling. Ask me about how often baby is nursing.  Don’t drill me, but be interested.  This is a big part of my life right now, and a major part of baby’s life. When you ask questions about our breastfeeding, it shows me that you’re in this with me.

Dads, there are many ways that you can help with breastfeeding and participate in this amazing journey that mom and baby are on!  Dads and breastfeeding absolutely go together. You just have to be intentional about jumping in.  Ask what Mom needs, ask what would be helpful, and stick with it all the way through.  You may not be able to provide the milk, but there are plenty of very important ways that you can help.

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