Breastfeeding tips: how dads can support new mums

Some tips for new Dads on how they can support their partners when learning to breastfeed.  

Breastfeeding is between mum and baby, and has nothing to do with dad – right?
On the contrary, fathers can play a huge role in the feeding process, including giving your partner the support she may need to give breastfeeding a go.
It can take mum a little while before she gets the hang of it so during this time, your support and encouragement can boost her confidence.  This is especially important if she experiences any problems such as mastitis or cracked or dry nipples.

How dads can help encourage good breastfeeding routines

  • Pay attention during those antenatal classes, especially when the topic turns to breastfeeding! The more you learn about how breastfeeding works, the more you can support your partner through any early challenges.
  • Be your partner’s extra pair of hands when she’s is breastfeeding – bring her water or snacks, prop her up comfortably with pillows, and be available to help her with whatever she needs.
  • Understand that breastfeeding takes time – when your little one is a newborn, mum can be feeding him or her for up to an hour at a time, up to 10 times a day.
  • When you’re home, help with housework, cleaning and cooking as much as possible. This helps take the pressure off mum so she can relax and focus on establishing a good feeding routine and a strong milk supply.
Dad cleaning the house
  • Consider bringing your baby to your partner in bed during night feeds rather than her tending to the baby every feed – afterwards, help settle the little one back to sleep and let your partner get some shut-eye. Even if this is the exception rather than the rule, it will be a huge help in allowing your partner to get some rest.
  • Be patient if your partner doesn’t feel like being intimate right away – she’s grown and birthed a tiny human, and now she’s responsible for feeding it 24/7. Quite often, the last thing she feels like is more touching after caring for a baby all day.
  • Encourage your partner to seek some help if she seems to be having difficulties breastfeeding – groups like the Australian Breastfeeding Association can provide a range of tips, guidance and support to do with breastfeeding, formula feeding and weaning.
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