Breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding experience between you and your baby—it’s a time of calm closeness between Mom and baby. So even if it doesn’t seem like the most natural place for Dad to get involved, there are still ways to involve him in the breastfeeding.
According to La Leche League International, when the father spends significant amounts of time in contact with his infant, oxytocin levels rise, encouraging him to become more involved in the ongoing care.
Here are a few tips to involving Dad with breastfeeding an infant:
- Have Dad join you for breastfeeding class during your pregnancy and for your lactation consultation after your baby is born. Not only will he feel included, he can also help you carry out advice once you get home.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests you have Dad bring baby to you when it is time to nurse. This will increase baby’s association between Dad and feeding. Also let him be the one to burp, change and soothe the baby back to sleep afterward.
- Let Dad help you reposition your baby during feedings, helping you achieve a position and technique that is comfortable for both you and your child.
- Ask Dad to bring you water when you need it. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, prolactin can cause you to feel thirsty as your milk begins to flow.
- Accept his support. If he has attended the same classes you have, he may remember things you don’t. If you struggle with breastfeeding in the beginning, he may be able to remember positioning tips that you had forgotten.
- Encourage both skin and eye contact between Dad and baby. You experience these bonding practices while breastfeeding; make sure Dad doesn’t miss out by encouraging him to practice skin and eye contact while rocking, cuddling, and reading to baby after mealtime.
- Once breastfeeding is well established, use a breast pump or express milk manually and let Dad feed bottle-feed breast milk to him.
- Have Dad attend breastfeeding classes with you.
- It’s important for baby to associate Dad with feeding, too.
- Dad can help you with breastfeeding positioning and technique.
- Encourage Dad to practice skin and eye contact with baby after he is full.