Mothers are often encouraged to breastfeed their children not just for the nutritional benefits breastmilk has but also because breastfeeding is a way for mother and baby to bond. This makes this a special time for the two. However, most fathers are left feeling less than useful during this time, not knowing what to do with themselves. Often you’ll hear, ‘There’s not much I can do’ when a man is asked how he helps the new mother.
This doesn’t have to be the case. A dad, Muhammed Nitoto, cleverly shared tips on what dads can do while mum is breastfeeding.
1. Take paternity leave
Many employers now offer paternity leave which, Nitoto emphasizes, dads should take. He quips, “You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life.” Dads too need to experience and enjoy baby’s first days on earth. This is also a great time for your child to get to know you and become more comfortable with you. In all honesty, it’s hurtful when your child rejects you because they don’t know you.
2. Get up at night
Night feedings can be a trying time. Their frequency often leaves mums sleep deprived since they hardly get a full night’s sleep. Nitoto suggests that when mum wakes up, dad should too. He can offer to get her a glass of water, mothers need to keep well hydrated when breastfeeding, and even offer to help her in any way. Other things that dad can do during these feeding times is to offer to burp the baby and sooth him back to sleep as mum lays down to sleep.
2. Offer to do one night feeding
Many mothers have now embraced pumping breastmilk and storing it for later feedings. Instead of letting mum get up for all the night feedings, offer to give baby the bottle for one or two night feedings. This will allow mum to get a bit more rest.
3. Allow baby to breastfeed to his satisfaction
As mentioned above, one of the benefits of breastfeeding is the opportunity for mother and baby to bond. Thus, dads should support breastfeeding instead of putting a time limit. Rushing the baby and mother will not only interfere with the bonding but also with how well your baby feeds.
Nitoto urges all dads to be patient as their role in the baby’s life will become more clearly defined the older they (baby) gets. “Babies grow fast; the stronger and bigger they get the more Daddy time will be coming your way,” he says.
These are just a few tips to help dads take a more active role in the early days of their children’s lives. Do you have any other tips?
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