Just like with new moms, new dads have a lot of new things to learn about being a parent. However, many aspects of raising a baby can be experienced and learned together by both parties.
Unfortunately, breastfeeding is one of the few parts of parenthood that mom and dad can't literally share together. Does that mean dad should go kick back and have a beer every time? Probably not.
Although breastfeeding is strictly "mom-only", that doesn't mean there aren't a few ways that dads can support her.
Here's seven ways dads can help breastfeeding moms. Share and let your man know!
Learn How Breastfeeding Works
Expecting mothers may often take a class to learn about not only the benefits of breastfeeding (like the ones we love at the Pump Station in Santa Monica), but different latching techniques and positioning. Typically dads don't attend.
However, by learning about breastfeeding too, it helps dad and mom be on the same page. Often times mom will be overwhelmed that she may forget some of the tricks learned in class that dad may remember. However, if mom insists she knows what she is doing, don't be insistent that she should do it another way, it might not end too well haha.
They say knowledge is power, so dads, learn more about this amazing super power mama's milk makers have.
Become a Baby Transporter
If you are able to learn the hunger cues of the baby, you can transport it to mom for its feedings, and then take it away to be burped after. It may not seem like a huge deal, but mom, who is perpetually exhausted, will really appreciate it.
This especially welcomed during night-time feedings where no one wants to be up and breastfeeding can take up to 45 minutes. It gives you both a chance to bond over how utterly tired you are and allows mom to get maximum sleep.
Take Care of Other Chores
While mom is breastfeeding, it is a good chance to help her out around the house a little. Take care of her normal chores when you can so that she will have less on her plate.
Even more helpful is taking on not only some of the diaper duty, but doing any breast pump washing when needed. This seems so little, but it can be incredibly helpful when mom is pumping four times a day and needs a clean pump each time to do it.
Do Something Nice
Your romantic life may be a little dead until your newborn can sleep through the night, but that doesn't mean you can't be nice to each other. Being a new mom is stressful and eternally tiring, so why not do something nice and unexpected for mom?
Skip flowers and diamonds, the key to a happy new mother is sleep and food. Instead bring her something to drink or a healthy snack while she is stuck nursing. Make her a home cooked meal and light a few candles or put on some soothing music.
Write her a sweet note...even a post it note on the fridge works!
Let her have a nap after nursing while you stay on baby watch, she will definitely appreciate it and think that is super sexy!
When both parents are tired, talking and especially listening tend to get pushed aside. However, dad needs to be sure to bring it back to the front of their mind. Mom will tell you what she needs. If she needs a break, give her one. If she needs some water, go get it or better yet, offer it. If she wants you to cheer her one like an athlete while breast-feeding that kid, you do your best cheerleader cheer. Even if she just wants to complain about how hard they are chomping down, one of the best things you can do is just be there to hear her. She will surely feel special and wanted.
So many new fathers are so used to doing the dishes or putting a load of laundry in at home while mom is breastfeeding that they end up wandering off to run an errand while she is doing it in public. Don't leave her alone! Not with all the controversy surrounding public breastfeeding these days. Be there just to ease her nerves and to support her if anyone seems to do "the stare". Soon enough she will feel more comfortable and at ease especially with you there as support.
Take her Shopping
Now we don't really mean go on a full on shopping spree...or do we haha? Nah, what this means is get her some feel good stuff to help her on her breastfeeding journey.
Nursing a baby is a long commitment and she may be nursing for months, a year, or more. It will be very important that mom has nursing pillows, quality nursing clothing, and things that just make her feel comfortable. Something new and maybe as a gift, like that nursing hoodie she's been eyeing, will surely brighten up her day. You don't need to do this all the time but once in a blue moon can make a difference.
Keep going dads! Be there and be supportive and this will be a bonding experience for all of you. You're doing great!!