Meigs Health Today: Dads Role in Breastfeeding

By Amber Evans, WIC Breastfeeding Peer Helper

​Support can make all the difference! Did you know dadsplay a very important role

in breastfeeding? Mothers who receive support from their partner are proven to have a higher success rate than those who do not. Breastfeeding can come easyto some, but others need extra encouragement and support to be successful. There are many ways dads can be involved with breastfeeding and support their partner. 

Learning the basics of breastfeeding and knowing what to expect in those first few days can go a long way. WIC offers classes to pregnant mothers who are interested in breastfeeding their child after birth. Dads too can come and support their partner all while learning the core points of breastfeeding.Having a plan for the hospital is a good way to ensure your supporting your partner.

Mothers who plan to breastfeed should always let the hospital know before the baby arrives. Once the baby is born dad can hold his baby skin to skin between feedings to give mom a break. This not only helps mom, but it is a great way to bond with your baby. If mom is struggling, ask the staff for help or encourage mom to contact her local WIC breastfeeding staff or peer helper. The support doesn’t have to stop there!  

Once you are home with your baby there are many ways to continue supporting mom. Dads can help with basic care and needs such as soothing, bathing, changing, dressing, and burping baby. Keeping mom company during feedings and making sure she has plenty to eat and drink. Dads can also help her with chores, running errands, cooking, cleaning, and laundry. If you have other children, helping her with them can let her focus on breastfeeding.

​Another way dad can help by bringing the pump to mom and preparing it for a pumping session. He can help get things cleaned up and properly sterilized for next use, safely store pumped milk, and even feed baby some of the milk that mom pumps out. It is not recommended to give a breastfed baby a bottle until they are a least a month old and breastfeeding is going well. This makes sure that mom and baby have developed a good breastfeeding technique and has a lesser chance of developing a preference to the bottle. 

Lift mom up with encouraging words! Help her feel good by reminding her she is doing a great job and you are proud of her. Breastfeeding is something mom and baby learn together. Celebrate small milestones. Do something special for her. Not everyone agrees with breastfeeding but you can be the first one to stand up against the negative comments and discouragement. Dads’ support is one of the more important factors in breastfeeding success.

For more information about breastfeeding or other WIC services, please call 7409920392 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to noon or 1-4 p.m.