Breastfeeding and Dad

Susie McGee
breastfeed and dad

What about breastfeeding and Dad? Is he excluded? Some people have that misconception! In fact, other friends and family members may try to discourage a new mother from breastfeeding by mistakenly believing that the father can't bond with baby. This simply isn't true! In fact, there are lots of ways for dad to establish a wonderful relationship with baby!

Breastfeeding and Dad Misconceptions

Now matter how well meaning they might be, many family members and friends mistakenly try to discourage new moms from nursing their babies. They list several misconceptions to support their reasoning. Though they may feel that they are helping the new parents, they are very misguided in their perceptions. Common misconceptions include the following:

  1. Baby will only want to be taken care by mom if she breastfeeds.
  2. Dad can't ever experience holding and feeding his baby.
  3. Dad won't be able to establish a bond with baby.
  4. Breastfeeding mothers are too caught up in their babies, and the relationship will suffer.

Of course, these are just a few of the many misconceptions nursing mothers might have to address.

Baby Care

Just because a mom chooses to breastfeed her baby doesn't mean that baby will only want to be cared by her. As any new parent knows, babies need lots of care, and that doesn't just mean feeding! There's lots of ways for dad to take care of baby.

  1. Before baby is even born, new dads can begin reading baby care books and magazines and attending childbirth and childcare classes to prepare for the arrival of their new bundle of joy.
  2. Once baby has arrived, dad can begin taking care of him by changing his diapers and rocking him to sleep.
  3. Even if a baby seems to nurse around the clock, dad can still burp baby and then put her to sleep. In fact, babies love to sleep on their daddies' chest! What a great way to bond!
  4. Bathing baby is a wonderful way for dad to get involved in his care.
  5. How about taking baby for a walk in a baby carrier with baby snuggled close to dad's chest?

Breastfeeding and Daddy

Sometimes breastfeeding can be exhausting for nursing mothers. Dads can ease the strain if moms want to try pumping and storing some breast milk in bottles. This way, mom can get some much needed rest while dad gives baby a bottle. A word of caution, though, you'll probably want to wait until baby is well-established in breastfeeding to avoid nipple confusion.

Bonding With Baby

By taking care of baby, a new dad is also creating a wonderful bond that will last throughout a child's lifetime. Dads show babies that there is life outside of mom, and baby will learn that there are many other important people in his life.

Relationships

The birth of a new baby is exciting, exhilarating, and exhausting, which can take a toll on the new parents. Just because a mom chooses to nurse her baby, however, doesn't mean that the relationship of the new parents will suffer. If anything, dad may marvel at and adore his wife even more because she is nourishing their newborn. What better way to spend time together than to snuggle up in the bed or on the couch watching baby nurse? These are bonding moments for the whole family!

Support

Dads need to make every effort to support their partners' decision to breastfeed.

  • Be a buffer between the nursing mom and interfering friends and relatives.
  • Be sure everyone knows that you support your partner's decision to breastfeed.
  • Read up on breastfeeding so that you can be more knowledgeable once baby arrives.
  • Finally, continue to offer your partner support as she gets the hang of breastfeeding.'''

For more information and support on breastfeeding, check out your local La Leche League and read our other great breastfeeding articles.

Related Baby Links

Breastfeeding and Dad