So, you and your partner have decided that your baby will be breastfed. I know that some dads will be wondering how they can help when the mum is breastfeeding or how you can bond with your child. Well, I’m glad you asked because actually, there is A LOT that you can do to help out. Here is my breastfeeding advice for dads.
Get Up In The Night
Babies wake in the night for a feed; this will always happen. However, just because you are not the one feeding your baby, there are still reasons for you to get up. For example, you could go and cuddle your little one whilst mum gets out of bed and goes to the toilet. Believe me; it’s a long process after giving birth, both getting out of bed and going for a wee. They may also need a nappy change. Baby, that is, not mum.
It’s also for company. When Daz was on Paternity leave in the first weeks, he would get up in the night with me when Little J woke for a feed. This simple gesture made such a difference as it made me feel less alone.
Obviously, this will only really be possible whilst you’re on paternity leave and when you’re not working etc.
Fetch Mum’s Stuff
When baby wants to feed, baby usually wants to feed NOW. Sometimes mum doesn’t have time to grab all the bits she needs. Or she might still be in pain from giving birth. Make sure that you are on hand to fetch the feeding pillow and spare muslin or a drink of water/hairband/snacks/remote control.
Let Mum Get Some Sleep!
Just because mum is the one feeding baby, it doesn’t mean that she isn’t entitled to lay in or a nap. Obviously, baby will need feeding first, but once they have a belly full of milk, take the little one downstairs and let mum get some well-deserved rest. Even if mum gets half an hour, it makes a difference!
Breastfeeding is tough, but that doesn’t mean that mum wants to stop. Try to be kind and understanding and do whatever you can to make the journey just a little bit easier such as changing the nappy or burping after a feed.
You could also do any jobs that need doing whilst mum is feeding, such as the washing up, hoovering or washing.
How To Bond With Your Baby
Just because you cannot feed your child, it doesn’t mean you can’t still bond with them in other ways. Some ways to bond with your child are:
Seriously, nobody cares that you can’t sing or don’t know the words, sing whatever you want! We used to play a Foo Fighters song at a low volume for Little J. Just make sure there’s no swearing or anything too inappropriate and sing away!
Yes, your newborn baby has no idea, and you could be reading the microwave instruction manual for all they know, but they will just love hearing the sound of your voice.
Cuddles And Chat
Have cuddles with your little one, make eye contact and chat about whatever. Tell them about your day, what you’re eating for tea, about the weather, talk about the stock market if you want! The point I’m making is, babies don’t care what you talk about; they just like being close and hearing the sound of your voice.
Bath time can be a lovely bonding experience. Obviously, make sure that you are comfortable and follow all of the correct bath time safety advice for newborns, such as never leaving your baby alone, making sure the temperature of the water is okay and having everything you need already to hand.
Simple playtime is a great bonding experience. Your little one may not be able to do much yet, but simple games you can play are:
- Gentle tickling
- Counting fingers and toes
- Pulling faces
- Feeling different textures such as soft teddies and fabric books etc.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can bond with your newborn and help out mum! I hope that you have found this helpful and that it gives you a good idea of how you can be more supportive to mum and get that special bond with your little one.