A Father’s perspective on breastfeeding:
There are countless choices that you and your partner are faced with when deciding to start a family. Like a lot of fathers I was excited to start a family and like most fathers I had a minimal understanding of what was required in the process of pregnancy, labor, delivery and caring for baby in the first years of life.
Throughout the process of all our children’s pregnancies, labor/delivery and first years I have been open to most ideas with the overarching goal of doing what is best for the health and well being of Krystyna and our children.
During our first preganancy Krystyna and I attended Bradley Method® birth classes. In addition to a comprehensive pregnancy/birth education Bradley® also has teaching curriculum for breastfeeding. Furthermore, Bradley® instructors encourage their students to get involved in the local chapters of the La Leche League breastfeeding groups.
Bradley® was my first real exposure to an in-depth knowledge of the countless benefits of breast-feeding for Mom and baby. I strongly encourage the Dads reading this to spend some time on the Internet researching the many benefits. You don’t have to spend much time reading to become an advocate for breastfeeding.
The benefits that stood out for me were:
1. Health of Mom:
Less breast cancer
Less ovarian cancer
Helps in repair of uterus
Helps Mom bond with baby
2. Health of baby
Better digestive health
Feedback loop between Mom and baby creates food tailored for baby’s needs at that moment.
Helps baby bond with Mom
So while attending the Bradley® classes for our first child and learning of the benefits I made a conscious decision to do everything I could to support her in her strong desire to breastfeed our children. What does support of the Dad mean? Come to find out this support came in many ways, some obvious and some not so obvious.
The obvious support is taking care of all the little details around the house and making sure Mom has everything she needs so that she can give her full attention to baby. Especially in those first days and weeks Mom will be recovering from labor and delivery and the new baby will consume most of her waking time.
Dads you need to make sure that the home environment is running as smooth as possible and that you are making sure that Mom is hydrated and well fed, 24 X 7. Some joke that breast-feeding is great for Dads, especially in the middle of the night, that Dads get to sleep....well supporting Mom means making sure that if there’s something that Mom needs done whether food/drink, something that Mom needs for comfort or taking care of anything in the household then you need to get up and do those things with *enthusiasm*.
The not so obvious support of Dad means understanding ( or learning ) that breastfeeding for first time Moms is new, it might be scary, it might hurt ( a lot ), it might be very difficult or not work at all. So your spouse may need your support if any or all of those things happen. You need to be there for her as she progresses through the learning curve. Support her if she wants to attend La Leche League meetings or talk to lactation consultants or other Mom’s groups. The more you actively support Mom during these initial days and weeks the more likely that Mom will stick with breastfeeding to her great benefit and the baby’s.
The last area of Dad’s support that I found was breastfeeding in public. This process is something else that has its own learning curve and Mom may also have varying degress of modesty issues. Helping Mom through the learning curve, staying close to her as she feeds your child will help give her the support she needs to overcome any issues she may have with public breastfeeding.
In short, my Dad’s perspective based on our experience and learning is that breastfeeding is VERY beneficial to Mom and baby. As such it’s my role as father to do everything I can to support Mom as she breastfeeds our children. This is *especially* important for the first baby as Mom is learning this new skill.
Why I chose today's picture: One of the other ways Bruss supported our breastfeeding relationship was by allowing our children to co-sleep with us. It is not something we had planned on doing. When we found it worked well and everyone got more sleep (though not always uninterrupted), Bruss selflessly gave up "our" bed and we have had a "family" bed since then.
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.