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Breastfeeding naturally creates a strong bond between a mother and her baby.  A father can sometimes feel left out, not sure of his role in nourishing this precious new bundle.  But there is a lot he can do to help mama and the newborn nurse successfully.  In the beginning, nursing mothers are nursing ALL THE TIME. Most newborns need to nurse every 2-3 hours.  Some days, they want it every hour.  A mother can become overwhelmed and tired as she struggles to meet her baby’s needs in addition to recovering from childbirth. Here, Dad can step in and play a crucial role in helping Mama establish a good nursing relationship with the baby, which will give both of them all sorts of advantages now and later on in life.

Here are 5 things that a father can do to play a part in breastfeeding:

  1. Use words of encouragement. Breastfeeding can be difficult at first and some sweet words can go a long way. If a father tells the mother she is doing a great job and to keep up the good work, her confidence will increase and carry her through the more difficult times of nursing.

 

  1. Help Mama relax. A stressed mama is a not going to be a successful at breastfeeding. To help relieve stress, Dad can give her a back rub while she nurses and bring her some tea. (click here for more ideas on relaxing while breastfeeding)

 

 

  1. Make sure Mama is taking care of herself. With all that goes in the care of a newborn, it is easy for a mother to forget her own needs. A father can help by making sure she is eating a variety of nutritious foods and drinking plenty of water. Filling up her water glass each time she nurses is a huge help.

 

  1. Feeding baby an occasional pumped bottle. This isn’t for everyone as pumping can be difficult and stressful in and of itself. But if a mama is comfortable with pumping, a daddy can give the baby the occasional bottle as a little break for mama as well as a bonding experience for him and baby.

 

 

  1. Do a little extra housework. Make it a habit to take over the dishes after dinner while mama breastfeeds the baby. Cook dinner a few times a week or go get takeout. Taking that little burden away from a mother will help her establish a good nursing relationship with the baby.

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Numerous studies have shown that the more support a mother gets, the more successful she is as breastfeeding her baby. Fathers are a crucial part of this support. They are usually spending the most time with mother and baby.  If you need further guidance on how Dad can play a role in successful breastfeeding, call a lactation consultant or your doula. They will have plenty ideas and be ready and willing to help.

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