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Top 10 things Dad can do while breastfeeding…written by a Dad…

Choosing to breastfeed doesn’t mean Dad is totally off the hook….or left out.There are many ways they can help the nursing process that don’t require milk ducts. Here is a clear list of breastfeeding duties for dad that you can print out and hand to your partner before the baby comes.

1. Learn about breastfeeding. The first step to helping in any situation is understanding what you’re dealing with. Read a breastfeeding book or better yet, go with your wife to a breastfeeding class.

::Ahem…This Tuesday May 27th at Indian

River m

Medical Center…5:30 ::

…Not only will this help you understand the basic terms that are now the center of your wife’s universe (like colostrum, latch, foremilk, and let-down) but it will show your wife how much you care about her efforts and how eager you are to be a solid parenting partner.

2. Keep water bottles full and within arm’s reach at all nursing stations. Breastfeeding makes a new mom very thirsty as her body likes extra fluids to help produce milk. When let-down would happen for me, it felt like someone suddenly stuffed my mouth full of cotton. She can’t exactly pull off that newborn she just spent 30 minutes trying to get latched on just to grab a glass of water. This is a simple, yet incredibly helpful service you can provide. Along these same lines, breastfeeding also burns so many extra calories that it can leave a mama ravenous in the middle of the night. Set her up with some snacks she can easily eat with one hand, like granola bars.

 

3. Help her create her nest. Usually just helping her set up her nest…on the couch…on the bed. Pillows for her back so she can make herself comfortable before bringing baby to the breast. a glass of water or juice close by. and remind her how awesome she is….doing this for your baby!

4. Prepare the breast pump if she is using one while she works or goes to school.. Pumping milk can be the least desirable aspect of breastfeeding for moms. . Share this chore by cleaning and assembling her pump parts so it’s one less thing for her to deal with. I know at first, it looks complicated and scary, but if a man can put together a carburetor he can assemble a breast pump. Read the manual and practice.

5. Provide some entertainment to keep her sane. No, we don’t expect you to put on a puppet show. Maybe help her have access to something soothing to keep her mind occupied during the  hours she will be sitting with your beautiful growing baby. Give her the remote control, her phone, a book, an iPad, etc. Keep all electronics fully charged for her when you can.

6. Step up in doing household chores. It will be hard for her to relax and focus on feeding the baby if the laundry is piling up and sink is overflowing with dirty dishes. You might not be able to step in and take over a feeding for her, but you can most definitely clean the house. Just keep thinking of anything you can take off her plate right now and do it.This beginning learning curve does not last forever. But the beginning is MOST important in establishing a great milk supply. YOU can be a part of it!

7. As often as you can without being disingenuous, say things like “thank you for doing this for our baby,” “you’re doing a great job,” or “I’m proud of you.” And maybe even throw in an occasional compliment about how pretty she looks with wet circles on the front of her shirt and spit up dribbling down her shoulder. She will be emotional and exhausted right now and she is working very hard. She needs to hear these things from her partner. It doesn’t take much for you to say these things but it will mean a whole lot in how much it helps her.

8. Freely and frequently give back and foot rubs without expecting the favor to be returned. Sometimes it’s hard finding the right position in the beginning, Let’s face it…she is healing from 9 months of pregnancy AND birth. Rub her tired muscles for her. The more relaxed she is the better the milk will flow, so doing this will definitely help your baby. The affectionate touch will also make her feel supported at a time when she really needs it.

 

9. Keep any other children or pets happily occupied while mom focuses on the job at hand. It’s not a good feeling when a baby who is latched onto her nipple suddenly yanks their head away because a toddler banged a toy next to him. A wonderful way you can help a nursing mother is to create a calm environment for her. This means making sure she is left alone from everyone, even the cat. Breastfeeding moms can often experience a sense of being “touched out” and might not want to deal with needy pets. You are her body guard, or more specifically her “boobie guard.”

10. Ask her what she needs. This sounds simple yet can be easy to forget. Ask her often what you can do to help her. Sometimes just you asking is all she really needs.

Think of yourself as her boxing coach. You can’t go in the ring doing the true work, but you can be in her corner waiting with a cool drink of water, a towel to wipe her brow and some motivational cheering to keep her spirits in fighting form.

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