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Dads play an important role in supporting mothers who decide to breastfeed. Support and encouragement are a ‘must’ so that baby and mum can feel comfortable. Sometimes dads want to ask questions and don’t always feel they can or don’t wish to upset their wife/partner if they have decided they are going to breastfeed.

What you can do to help?

What you can do to help

It’s normal to feel like a bit of a spare part at first but there are plenty of ways to get involved and play your part:  

  • Give compliments - this really is vital to keep your wife/partner happy and positive. It is important you tell her how well she is doing and offer your support and love. 
  • Encourage your partner to eat and drink regularly so she feels more able to cope 
  • Listen and talk honestly about how you feel 
  • Be involved with the baby in other ways so that caring is shared. 

You can also help with housework and any other siblings

Do I really make a difference?

Do i really make a difference?

Dads play a big part in their partner’s decision to breastfeed, so if you’re positive then your partner should feel more comfortable and proud to breastfeed. A woman is more likely to choose to breastfeed if she is sure her partner is positive about it.

I'm worried that I'll feel pushed out

I'm worried that i'll feel pushed out

It’s normal to feel a bit left out when everything seems to be about the baby and your partner’s doing all the feeding and this can take a little while to get used to. Fathers can sometimes feel jealous or left out as mother and baby form a very close relationship. But breastfeeding is only one way of caring for your baby.

You can still be involved by:

  • Playing 
  • Soothing 
  • Bathing 
  • Changing nappies 
  • Entertaining 
  • Winding 
  • Talking 
  • Taking for walks 
  • Lay baby on your chest, skin to skin

Once your partner is breastfeeding successfully then she might be able to express some milk so that you can feed your baby too. It’s really important not to introduce formula milk to replace breastfeeding, as it will affect the amount of milk your partner produces and there might not be enough milk for your baby. Ideally, bottle teats (and dummies) should be avoided for the first 6 weeks or so until your baby has learned to use their mouth to breastfeed as some babies can have problems with attachment back to the breast.

I feel uncomfortable about my wife/partner breastfeeding in public

I feel uncomfortable about my wife/partner breastfeeding in public

Many men worry about this and by discussing this together you can agree how to handle it. Lots of men change their minds once baby is born and are used to seeing breastfeeding. There is usually little or no breast showing when baby is feeding. Lots of places welcome breastfeeding now and provide facilities for mothers to feed in private if they prefer.

Will breastfeeding affect our sex life?

Will breastfeeding affect our sex life?

Tiredness may affect this more. There are a few things you need to know below but there is no reason why you can’t still enjoy sex whilst breastfeeding is taking place:

  • A women’s vagina is a little drier during breastfeeding so using a lubricant gel can help
  • Any breast stimulation can cause milk to flow so keep a towel handy
  • Sometimes it is better if you have sex after the baby has had a feed
  • Your partner/wife may enjoy sex more and is more comfortable with her body as a result of giving birth and breastfeeding.

Do fathers needs to know much about breastfeeding?

Do fathers need to know much about breastfeeding?

You may find it helpful to know how breastfeeding works and what is normal behaviour for breastfed babies. Here are some useful facts:

  • Babies will be happier if they are fed as soon as they show signs of being hungry.
  • Breastfed babies usually feed frequently (at least 2 - 3 hourly) in the early weeks, especially during the evenings, but every baby is individual.
  • Some babies are slow feeders at first, but they get quicker as they get older.
  • The more the baby feeds, the more milk the mother makes.
  • Babies are usually less windy, and put on weight better, if they finish feeding from the first breast before being offered the second so that they get plenty of the fat-rich hindmilk.
  • A mother will enjoy feeding more if she is comfortable and relaxed.
  • The baby needs to open his mouth really wide, have the nipple in the top part of his mouth and have his chin against his mother's breast to feed well, as he massages the milk out with his tongue.

Nipple soreness or pain during feeding is generally a sign that baby is not getting a large enough mouthful of breast.