Friday, June 15, 2012

How can new dads help with breastfeeding?

Now that we’ve talked about moms and breastfeeding, we should discuss the role of new dads and breastfeeding. How can new dads of breastfed babies help lighten mom’s load? In a variety of ways!
New moms are often exhausted the first few months because of getting up during the night to nurse. Here’s some tips for new dads to help her avoid feeling overwhelmed:

 • When you come home from work, take care of the baby so she can sit down and relax or catch a nap.

• Volunteer to pick up the groceries, make dinner or bring dinner home a couple of nights each week to give her a break.

• Helping to clean the house – be it dishes, vacuuming or laundry is something that will definitely be appreciated and it will make her feel supported.

• Check if she would like something to drink as nursing moms are often very thirsty.

• Letting her have a few hours free on the weekends will help her have a life of her own….encourage her to go out to lunch with friends, shopping or just sit and read a good book.

• Set up “date nights” to take your favorite gal out to dinner or the movies…setting up a babysitter will be a huge help.

• Listen to her…ask her about her day…she’s been talking “baby talk” all day…she needs adult conversation and to know that what she does is just as important to your family as what you are doing!

• Comfort her on days when she’s tired, the baby’s been crying all day or she’s sore from breastfeeding. Offer to bring her hot compresses, ointment and most importantly, take over caring for the baby so she has some down time.

• Take turns bathing and changing the baby. She’s been changing diapers all day.

There is a payoff for you too!

• Your relationship with both mom and baby are important both as a family and as individuals. Date night will help maintain your closeness as a couple. Taking care of baby will help form a strong bond with baby.

• Happier mommies make for happier families—feeling supported will make a difference in her attitude towards you and motherhood.

• Notice her efforts on getting her figure back. Does her hair look nice?  Is she doing a great job as a mom? 
Compliments go a LONG way!

• If you are hands on with helping her, she will be much more receptive to the times you want to watch the big game with your friends.

• Acknowledge her hard work…encouragement really helps at a time when she may feel insecure about whether she’s doing things right. Remember, what goes around comes around. She will be more supportive of you if she feels supported.  And she will cut you some slack.

Most importantly, parenting is hard work! You may be tired after a long day. If the new mom is headed back into the work world, she is probably even more tired than you are! It is easier to just let her take care of the baby but remember that you have a responsibility to be a hands on partner as this is your child too! Your involvement will greatly impact the success and happiness of your family. And it will definitely determine your closeness with them.

We wish all our dads a Happy Father's Day!

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