How can dads support breastfeeding moms? Start with these 6 ways dads help at home and encourage moms to breastfeed the baby.
For many moms, breastfeeding would be a whole lot harder without a partner by their side. Even though mom is the only one who can actually breastfeed the baby, she’s certainly not alone in the journey. Support is crucial, especially when challenges arise and motivation is low.
At the same time, dads can feel at a loss with breastfeeding and how to support their partners. They don’t know what it’s like to breastfeed and might feel awkward. It’s also the only thing both parents can’t equally do. Dad wants to help but may not know exactly how to.
How can dads support breastfeeding moms?
Breastfeeding proved far more difficult than I imagined. The pain was unreal, and I felt tethered to my baby 24/7. I even resented the fact that I was the only one who could breastfeed—any time he cried, I was the only one who could do anything about it.
Thankfully, my husband was a trooper the whole time. While he couldn’t take my place, he did all he could to make the experience easier on me. Even though breastfeeding is a “mom-only” task, consider these six ways dads can show support:
1. Let mom rest and relax
Breastfeeding releases hormones to help mom relax and bond with the baby. During breastfeeding, allow her the time and space to do just that. Create a conducive environment by giving her what she needs—nursing pillow, a glass of water, her phone.
When she’s not breastfeeding, provide opportunities for her to take a nap, enjoy a meal, or prop her feet up. In other words, go the extra mile to help her relax and enjoy the experience.
2. Bring baby to mom for night time feedings
At four in the morning, mom will appreciate you bringing the baby to her so she can continue lying down. This gives her more opportunities to keep resting, especially when she’s going to be up for several minutes nursing the baby.
Bringing the baby to her also offers her the support she craves. She knows she’s not the only one who has to get up in the middle of the night when you’re by her side. Tag-teaming offers morale when she can be at her lowest, sleep-deprived point.
Free resource: Do you struggle with getting your newborn to sleep? His awake time just might be affecting how well he sleeps or not. Join my newsletter and get One Mistake You’re Making with Your Baby’s Awake Time and discover one mistake you may be making with his awake time.
Don’t make the same mistakes I did—help him fall asleep with this one simple trick! Grab it below:
3. Change diapers (and do other chores)
A dad once described his and his wife’s duties: “She handles the input, I handle the output.”
With breastfeeding so time-consuming, dads can help moms reclaim her time by changing diapers. During nighttime wake ups, tend to the crying baby and change his diaper before handing him to mom.
Other awesome things you can do? Wash the dishes, because they will pile up (even with paper plates and take out dinners). Cook meals and slice fruits she can snack on while she nurses. Run daily household chores, especially strenuous ones she may not feel up to doing.
4. Treat mom to something special
Surprise mom with restaurant-style breakfasts of scrambled eggs, pancakes, orange juice, with a flower on the table. Or take the baby for a walk so she can enjoy time to herself or to relax with a long bath.
Newborn days are all about survival mode, but enjoying something completely for pleasure and not because it’s a “must” is rewarding. A special treat breaks the rut she might find herself in, and will surely appreciate the extra effort you’ve done.
5. Remind mom about the benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding has a ton of benefits, from better immunity to a wider food palate. And mom’s best breastfeeding cheerleader is you reminding her of all the reasons she’s doing this in the first place.
Point out that her breast milk has antibodies to help ward off potential sickness from the baby. Heap that extra serving on her plate since she needs the extra calories for milk production. And talk about how much time and money you’ve saved by breastfeeding.
6. Don’t push or pressure
While reminding mom of the benefits of breastfeeding is key, don’t cross the line to the point of pushing or pressuring her to keep going, no matter what.
Ask her if she’d like you to feed the baby with expressed breast milk or formula. If she runs into obstacles like thrush or clogged ducts, support her with whatever she decides to do. While you want to cheer her on with breastfeeding, realize that this is her personal choice as well.
Even though breastfeeding is a mom-only role, dads can still support breastfeeding moms.
Give mom plenty of opportunities to rest and relax, and change diapers or getting up to fetch the baby at night. Pamper her with much-needed special treats, and remind her of the benefits of breastfeeding without pushing too much guilt her way.
With your support, she can continue to breastfeed with confidence and comfort—with you by her side through it all.
Get more tips:
- 12 Breastfeeding Secrets Every Mom Should Know
- Dad Bashing: Why We Need to Stop Making Fun of Dads
- Why Dads Should Wake Up for Night Feeds
- How to Involve Dads in the Household: 8 Effective Ways
- Essential Breastfeeding Supplies You Need to Have
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and get One Mistake You’re Making with Your Baby’s Awake Time below: