It is commonly thought breastfeeding is the mother’s job and while daddy’s nipples aren’t magically going to start filling with milk, there are some things he can do to feel part of it and help mom out.
Providing that you have a ready and able partner who is keen to help you out – after all, breastfeeding really is the choice of the family, not just the mother – there are actually ways that daddy can help out when it comes to feeding your child.
We all know that the first few days or even weeks (in my case) of breastfeeding can be tough and all that pressure seems to go on the sore and sleep deprived mum who’s trying to juggle life with a newborn baby with getting her own rest and recovery.
Little did we know that we really didn’t and don’t have to battle it out alone. You can read this through with your partner or send him the link so he can have a look on his own.
I promise you it will be an eye-opener for him. I also address most of my points to baby daddy as it’s meant for his read too!
1) Bring her stuff she needs
I can’t sress this one enough – how many times have you sat down to feed and forgotten your water bottle, snack, book….etc?
Yes we know that dad is taking care of the house perhaps and has his hands seemingly full. But that extra little effort to get her comfortable is so worth your while and she’ll thank you for it.
Chances are she’s probably been so caught up in getting in the right position, propping up her endless pillows and finally getting baby to start feeding that the other things slipped from her mind – and who can really blame her when she’s getting say, four hours sleep at night?
As time goes on, her breastfeeding habits will develop a predictability. So dads watch out for the signs on her face for any missed item – remember she passes up to eight hours a day feeding – and bring her a glass of juice and her phone.
2) Help her when baby doesn’t latch on
I now quiver at the thought of the old scenario my newborn baby used to produce. Every evening. I would spend let’s say, six hours trying to install a bedtime routine and get her down.
She just wasn’t having any of it!
Back to mummy who’s crying and pulling her hair out at 11.30 every night. There were times that I just needed my partner’s presence, support and a kiss on the forehead.
We know there’s not much you can do but just a little bit of reassurance (I would often ask him if I was doing okay) He would lie down by the other side of baby and try and calm her down so she would take my breast without fumbling and fidgeting.
And that would really calm me down. Soon after this little nightly struggle, we would both get to sleep a good three hours!!!
Even as time goes on and it seems like she’s got the nack of it, you can always check in on her and ask how the feedings are going, does she need anything…
3. TAKE. THE. BABY.
Breastfeeding can be one of the proudest and most joyful moments of a new mummy’s life. BUT it can also feel like she has a wriggly little worm attached to her body for hours on end.
In comes super daddy, takes away the worm and mum can go make herself a cup of tea or stare blankly out window – an all time favourite of mine.
Please don’t tell her that baby might need a feed when baby has done nothing but for the last hour. If she’s ready to pass him over, he doesn’t want to feed.
Baby can smell mummy milk
Plus sometimes babies can get fussy and struggle to calm down because there is the incessant yummy smell of mummy milk lingering nearby…which is why it’s a great bonding time that half hour a day – at least – for baby’s health and mum’s sanity.
You might even find that baby warms to you as you bathe her or put her in the sling for a walk around the block. At two months she’ll already be recognising you and smiling back up at you!
4) Cook like you know how to
So here’s a little well known secret:
Women find it sexy when their partner cooks for them. Expecially after they’ve just pushed a three and a half kilo baby out of their vagina. Who would feel like even scrambling eggs after that?
It doesn’t have to be fancy pantsy, it doesn’t have to marinade for hours on end before hitting the pan, it just has to be simple and nutricious.
I’m talking say, lentils, beans, rice, steamed veg – obviously cooked in your style. Once you’re out of the post partum freezer meals by Swaddles n’ Bottles, it’s time to get down to it.
Get your apron on and suprise her with some sexy delicious meals.
Tip: You can always cook for a couple of days’ worth – she probably won’t be too fussy as long as it’s food and word for the wise: serve her a big portion if you don’t want to be trapsing back to for her seconds.
If you really can’t manage it or you’re both knackered, make sure you have the number of your favourite takeaway handy or nip to the supermarket and stock up with some frozen pizza.
5) Snuggle on the sofa together
Perhaps you weren’t expecting this one, but believe it or not, emotional support is also part of the package. Mum’s life gets turned upside down when she doesn’t even know if it’s day or night anymore or which side the baby last fed on.
All of this new stuff can provoke a lot of emotions in a new mummy – think incredibly happy, then distressed, angry, resentful and weapy.
Newsflash: That’s ok, and it’s normal. It doesn’t mean she hates you nor the baby, it just means that she’s finding it tough.
Please don’t give out an exasperated sigh the fifth time she’s burst into tears in one day – letting it all out is actually a really good sign and you should be proud of her.
Offer emotional support
Now that mini rant’s over, I’ll get back to what I wanted to say. When you get back from work (if you have gone back, that is) try and spend some time together. She might not even feel like chewing your ear off, she’ll probably just want to catch up with your favourite series with you.
Get out the blankets, cook up some popcorn and be together. You may not get through a whole episode the first few times if your baby is fussy from a heavy let-down like mine was, but at least you tried.
One of the things that really hit me when me daughter was born was how much I was actually missing my partner. I love my baby, don’t get me wrong, but there’s nothing like a warm, perhaps bearded kiss after a hard day playing supermum. Again.
Ladies, I hope you get some use out of these tips for a new baby daddy, have I missed anything out? I’d love to know what you think!