Helping with feeds
Having a new baby can definitely be a frustrating time – for you, because you've got such a big job to do, and for dads, because they feel a bit like a spare part. But there's actually quite a lot dads can do to help, even though they’re not the one with the on-tap milk supply!
- Some mums find expressing milk difficult or painful so this isn't always an option, but if you are able to express milk it will allow your partner to take over some of the feeds. You should wait until your baby is 6 to 8 weeks old and used to breastfeeding before you start letting your partner take over some feeds.
- By then your milk supply will be well established, and it will also ensure that your baby doesn’t start to prefer a bottle to your breast.
- Getting dad involved with some feeds can help them to bond with the baby but give it some time – your baby may take time to adjust to this new feeding method, so make sure your partner keeps on trying.
- Taking over one of the night-time feeds if he can will be the greatest help, as it allows you to have a much longer sleep.
Skin-to-skin contact with dad
A good way for dad to build the bond with your baby is to have skin-to-skin contact with them, just as your baby has with you during breastfeeds. So try getting dad to put your baby on his bare chest for a cuddle, or even a quick nap!
Once the bond is built with dad, your baby may feel more comfortable about taking feeds of expressed milk from him. But don’t let dad take it personally if your baby is reluctant to feed from a bottle; some babies simply prefer the breast.
Getting support from your partner
Breastfeeding can be hard work. You’re quite likely to be emotional in the first few weeks after giving birth with little energy for anything more than looking after your baby.
It’s important for dads to be supportive and understanding and to deal with the majority of the tasks that need doing around the home, including cleaning, shopping and cooking.