10 Ways Fathers Can Help Mum Breastfeed

When everything is working well breastfeeding can be an intimate bonding time between mother and child.  When things aren't working so well Mums can feel helpless.  Either way husbands can feel disconnected during their wife's breastfeeding.

But fathers can still participate and even help out to make things easier for Mum and the family.  If Mum is lucky enough to be breastfeeding twins a father's help is even more important.  Here are ten ways fathers can help when Mum is breastfeeding.

1.  Help set up.

This can be as easy as clearing a seat or the couch or can mean finding pillows or cushions to help prop up a breastfeeding pillow or a sore back.

2.  Get Mum a drink and something to eat.

It is essential that breast feeding mums keep themselves hydrated.  Water is best from what I have read.  Mum also needs enough food for herself and her baby.  Not enough food and water means breast milk supply could be affected.

3.  Get the wraps, cloths or beds ready

Laying out the swaddling wraps, getting some burping cloths or bibs ready or setting up the pram means less work for Mum when she finishes feeding.

4.  Entertain Mum.

My wife is easily catered to because she has games on her mobile phone to keep her occupied.  But you may want to have a book/magazine or tv show/movie ready for Mum.

5.  Be part of the Brains Trust.

When our babies first started breastfeeding we were both sleep deprived and stressed because our babies didn't know how to breastfeed naturally.  This meant properly attaching them to the breast depended on our knowledge and memory of the advice we received from the lactation consultant and child care nurses.  Having both of you present to discuss how to do things is always better than one tired mother trying to breastfeed by herself.

6.  Try not to talk during Dream feeds.

When we are meant to be sleeping our brains aren't at their best.  Leave discussions about chores, family issues and anything that requires more than basic thought for later.  Avoid any topic that may be emotional or lead to an argument for later.  Talk can stimulate your baby and you really need them to go back to sleep when it is 3am.

7.  Run Interference

Running Interference is an American football term but the concept is universal.  Your job as father and husband is to preserve and protect.  Mum needs a peaceful setting for breastfeeding or at least an environment of her choosing.  It is amazing how many distractions can get in the way of Mum and her breastfeeding;  Doorbells, phonecalls, visitors, nosey relatives, other children and so on.  

8.  Encourage Mum

Breast feeding can be hard.  Very Hard.  This is especially so if your baby is premature, Mum's 'let down' doesn't come easily or if supply is an issue.  So, emotional support is paramount.  Whether Mum needs support to continue breastfeeding or is instead thinking of bottlefeeding, your role as father and husband is to support her and be a part of the decision making process.  Your support can mean the difference between breastfeeding and bottlefeeding.  Support is essential regardless of the situation you find yourself in.

9.  Use the time wisely

Sometime Mum is fine breastfeeding by herself.  She has entertainment, food and drink and you can feel like a third wheel.  Get to it then!  15 - 30 minutes is more than enough time to make a quick run to the shops, wash the dishes, hang out the washing or whatever.

10.  Fill In The Blank

What ideas have you got?  How do you think Dad can help with the breastfeeding?