No matter how hard we have tried to evolve and make men and woman “equal” there is still a significant difference between the sexes and one of those difference is breast milk. The bottom line is that women have it and men don’t. Since studies show that breast milk is best for the baby, it becomes the mother’s job, not the father’s. Yes it is true that mothers can pump their milk and put it into a bottle, but the way babies develop best is to get the breast milk directly from the breast. So how does the father fit into the breastfeeding scene? Here are a few tips for dads to help create a great breastfeeding environment for mom and babe.
- Breastfeeding is a learned behavior for both the mother and the baby so Dad needs to be patient and supportive as he learns the ropes.
- Dad need to know that breastfeeding is not supposed to be painful, so if you see Mom crying or cringing every time she latches the baby on, please find her a competent lactation consultant to teach her how to latch her baby on ‘pain-free.’
- It is often hard for a woman to get up and burp her baby, a great thing to do is offer to burp the baby for Mom. Most dads become ‘master baby burpers.’
- Changing the baby’s diaper will also be helpful for the breastfeeding mom. Women often struggle to find their ‘perfect’ breastfeeding position so it is difficult for the mother to get up losing that ‘perfect’ position to change the baby’s diaper.
- Women have to nurse babies every 1-3 hours which turns out to be 8-12 feeds in a 24 hr period. Encourage Mom to sometimes take a break from the baby and offer to hold the baby while she takes a shower or sits calmly to eat a meal. Most moms feel they need to be there for their baby’s every minute of the day and forget to take time for themselves. You’d be amazed at how rejuvenated Mom will feel if she takes a 15 minute shower and knows her baby is being well taken care of.
- Don’t forget how wonderful a foot or shoulder massage would be for Mom. Moms usually sit or lay in contorted positions when they are first learning how to nurse properly. Most of my clients complain are of arm or shoulder pain to me as much as nipple pain. Massage releases chemicals in the body that relax and invigorate the body. Mom will forever be thankful to you for that relaxing massage : )
GUEST POST By Sara Chana Silverstein, IBCLC
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