It's hard being a new parent. That may be the understatement of the year!! We usually focus on the tough adjustment that Mom has to make, but Dad faces some pretty serious changes, too! I love it when couples come in for a consultation together. I love to see fathers who are supportive and head-over-heals in love with both mom and baby. One couple I saw recently stood out because Dad was so concerned about every detail of Mom's breastfeeding. He called me several times after the consult with additional questions and was so appreciative of the support we were providing their family.
That's why it is so painful for us to see fathers who aren't supportive. When Dad is so concerned about getting his sleep, about getting Mom back to work, about having us "fix things" so they can leave quickly, it really raises some red flags. New moms are experiencing some dramatic hormonal changes, and it's normal for them to feel a little weepy. But woe to the BAD DAD who is the cause of his wife's tears! I wish we could wave a magic "Be Kind to Your Wife" wand, and help fathers like that learn to support their wives. Unfortunately, we don't have a magic wand like that, so sometimes we end up just crying with Mom!
I think every expectant father should be required to read Father's First Steps: 25 Things Every New Dad Should Know by Robert Sears and James Sears. Thing 7 that every new dad should know is "You Are Part of the Breastfeeding Team." If every father could just understand how critical his support is to his wife's breastfeeding success, our job as lactation consultants would be so much easier! Men who read this book (which is available at A Nurturing Moment) will have a head start on understanding how to be a really good daddy. So if you know a father-to-be, do his wife a favor, and get him a copy of this amazing little book!