The birth of a new life is a beautiful and life-changing experience for both parents, but it also brings with it a lot of exhaustion and hard work. While mothers bear the brunt of birthing and breastfeeding, the role of the father cannot be underestimated post-partum. His contributions help not only the mother but the baby as well. Research indicates that many women see their partner as their main source of support with breastfeeding. It has been shown that if fathers are supportive of breastfeeding, women are much more likely to continue, which is, of course, a big benefit to the baby.
As parents, a mother and father may have different roles to play in the post-pregnancy period and it can take some time to get used to the routine baby care, but in the end it is totally rewarding if it helps the baby. A father's involvement in nurturing the baby is of great importance as it exerts a positive influence on the child's development.
Gone are the days when a father's role was limited to cheering on his wife to continue with breastfeeding. Today, many mothers pump their milk for various reasons, enabling fathers to feed expressed milk to the baby when the mother isn't around. This way they can ensure that the child does not miss out on the best possible nutrition even in the absence of the mother. Feeding the baby also gives dads a chance to bond with their baby and play a crucial role in the child's rearing right from the start.
Dads, there are a number of ways in which you can support your partner to breastfeed. A lot of mothers often feel overwhelmed as breastfeeding is a round-the-clock job that requires a substantial amount of the mother's time and attention. You can boost her confidence by reassuring and praising her and by making sure she's comfortable while feeding – you can get her a snack or something to drink or maybe put on some music that she enjoys. You can also take over tasks such as bathing the baby and changing diapers. If she is expressing milk you can be in charge of storing it and feeding it to the baby.
A healthy mother makes a healthy baby and hence it is the father's responsibility to ensure that his partner rests and eats and drinks to get adequate nutrition. In order to deal with post-natal challenges, it is imperative for mothers to focus on their health. If there is any challenge or difficulty in breastfeeding, help must be taken from a lactation consultant.
Over and above everything else, a father must always motivate and encourage his partner to breastfeed and make the environment as conducive as possible for her to continue.