How Can Dad Play a Role in Breastfeeding?

Some new dads feel lost once the baby arrives. They might feel like they can’t help since all baby wants to do is nurse. There are so many ways dad can support and help out mom. Here are some really simple ways dad can make breastfeeding a tag-team effort.

First and foremost, educate yourself. Read some of the books your partner is reading. Spend a little time browsing KellyMom. Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics has shown that fathers knowing “how to prevent and to manage the most common lactation difficulties is associated with higher rates of full breastfeeding at 6 months.” You may not be the one nursing your new baby, but being educated about nursing will not only help you know what to expect, but it will actually impact how successful mom is.

Another way you can be a huge help is playing the role of gofer. Once baby is latched on mom, will immediately realize she forgot her water bottle, she can’t reach the remote, and she is starving for that granola bar she left on the kitchen counter. Now is your chance, be the water bottle hero and grab those things for mom! She will be forever grateful and it will make both of your lives easier.

My husband did a great job of being my brain during nursing. I would take both of my kids into our living room and watch Netflix while I nursed at night. He would always set my boppy pillow, the remote, and my favorite Larabar on the couch right next to where I would sit down so I wouldn’t have to remember anything. Everything was right there! He deserved a medal for that idea.

Nighttime diaper duty is also a great way to be involved. When baby wakes up in the middle of the night, let mom get up go to the bathroom while you change baby’s diaper. That way mom will be able to nurse the baby with a fresh diaper so they can both go right back to sleep. I know I always forgot to get up to use the bathroom before I started nursing and it quickly became a race to finish up and sprint to the bathroom as fast as I could. This also makes mom feel like she’s not the only one on duty. Remember, you’re in this together and it’s nice to feel like everyone is doing something during those sleep-deprived nights.

The most important way you can help out is by being supportive. When your mother or her own mother makes less-than-helpful suggestions, stick up for her. When mom is doubting herself, encourage her. Defend her when others doubt her. Reassure her when she doubts herself. Lean into her mom instincts, and encourage her to listen to her gut. Educate yourself on all the decisions you make together, so that when she doesn’t have the words, you do.

All of this just lets mom know you care. It’s truly the little things that will help keep both of you happy and sane while everyone is getting the hang of breastfeeding.

Allison Klaine is the mother of two. Born and raised in the great state of Illinois. She hope to help other parents by figuring out solutions to the problems she had that at the time she was too sleep deprived to solve on her own.  

2 Responses to “How Can Dad Play a Role in Breastfeeding?”

  1. Jill says:

    My hubby has the ‘grab and change baby’ while I pee, hands baby off to me, and go back to sleep part of the evening routine. When baby is fed, he burps baby on way back to nursery across the hall and puts baby back down. It works brilliantly and allows mom to fully wake up (and not be uncomfy with a full bladder). During the very early newborn stages, dad does everything mom doesn’t get to. Laundry, dishes, food, caring for the older kids, etc. until he goes back to work. Last time he worked from home part time as well, his work was very flexible, so that he’d be around for a while, and again, let me shower, etc. when needed.

    I made sure that we had pre-frozen meals, menu ideas, things that could be dumped in the crock pot, extra bread and milk, etc. so that everything was super duper easy. Since then he’s mastered waffles and pancakes, so I’ve only made a bit of banana bread and cinnamon rolls, the rest will be up to him!

    • Jill says:

      mornings, anyway 😉 I still have meals going in the freezer, 1 month to go! but he’ll be doing most of the morning stuff himself and I’ll snuggle back to bed the first couple of weeks– baby is due to arrive 2 weeks before his 2 week Christmas break. yeah!