Please take a second to welcome guest blogger Lexi Rodrigo
August 1 to 8 was World Breastfeeding Week and this year’s theme was all about giving mothers the support they need to breastfeed successfully.
Breastfeeding advocates have long known that mothers need support in breastfeeding. Now there’s proof. According to a recent Cochrane Review of 34 studies in 14 countries, support from both lay persons and professionals help increase the duration of breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding.
Husbands or partners, in particular, have a big role to play to ensure that women breastfeed and continue breastfeeding.
Here are seven ways that fathers can support the breastfeeding mother and child:
1. Support the woman’s decision to have a natural childbirth.
Babies who are born without drugs tend to have a better start with breastfeeding. Mother and baby are both fully conscious and alert after birth. Babies who aren’t groggy from drugs have a natural instinct to nurse immediately after birth. Mommy should also be alert and strong enough to bring baby to the breast within the first hour of birth.
2. Allow the mother to room in with baby.
When mother and baby are together, they have unlimited opportunities to breastfeed. On the other hand, if baby is in the nursery, the mother will usually have to breastfeed according to the hospital’s feeding schedules. Meantime, baby gets infant formula or glucose water and a pacifier.
3. Take over most of the household responsibilities.
It takes time for a mother and her baby to settle into a good breastfeeding routine. A new mother also needs plenty of time to rest and recover from birth. Her husband or partner should take over the cooking and cleaning and give her plenty of time to bond with the new baby.
4. Wake up in the middle of the night, too.
Many fathers of breastfed babies are spoiled; they don’t need to get up in the middle of the night to prepare a bottle of formula! But do empathize with the nursing Mommy who has to feed a newborn around the clock. At least get up to burp and change the baby. If baby still has the days and nights mixed up, be the one to stay up with him or her. Learn how to soothe your own baby to sleep and let the new mother sleep.
5. Be proud when your wife/partner breastfeeds in public.
Women need support to breastfeed in public. Some women are so embarrassed they’d rather give a bottle of expressed breastmilk or formula than nurse when outside! Others give up breastfeeding altogether because they cannot overcome the embarrassment. If the baby’s father is proud to show off his child nursing in public, the mother will become more comfortable. Dads can help provide more privacy to the breastfeeding Mom, too, by shielding her from prying eyes while she gets settled into a discreet position.
6. Never question the purchase of breastfeeding supplies and gadgets.
Breastfeeding is free, but certain paraphernalia help to make breastfeeding more pleasant and more convenient. These include a breastfeeding pillow, breastfeeding clothes, a rocking chair or glider, a breastpump and breastmilk storage containers, breastfeeding blankets, and baby slings. And don’t forget the books about breastfeeding. Fathers should support this sudden obsession with anything related breastfeeding — within your family’s means, of course. Remember that anything that will keep a woman breastfeeding is well worth its price.
7. Promote breastfeeding to everyone you know.
Brag about your breastfed child; you have good reason to do so. Children who are not breastfed get sick more often and have lower IQ than breastfed children. Encourage pregnant women you know to breastfeed. Tell other fathers to encourage their wives to breastfeed, too.
Fathers have a crucial role in breastfeeding. Fathers also benefit when mothers successfully breastfeed their children breastfeed successfully. They have a happier, healthier family, and the economic benefits are significant.
Lexi Rodrigo is a stay at home Mom to 3 children, a freelance writer and Internet entrepreneur. Get more information on breastfeeding benefits and other natural parenting tips by visiting http://www.natural-moms.com.