Friday, December 9, 2011

Daddy's Role in Breastfeeding

Image: Louisa Stokes /
When I teach a breastfeeding class, I always ask the dads to come, too. It's really important for Dad to be there for several reasons. The most obvious one is that Dad is the most important support person for his wife. He needs to know how breastfeeding works. Since pregnant women tend to have "Mommy Brain," Dad may remember some points that Mom forgets. But there are several other really important things that Dad can do to help make breastfeeding successful.

  1. Dad can get a better view of baby's latch than Mom can. I teach Dad to look for flanged lips and a deep latch.
  2. Dad can help make sure that baby has a good suck/swallow ratio. He can watch the sucks and listen for swallows. The ratio should be 1:1 or 1:2. 
  3. He can help Mom with things like suck training and syringe feeding if necessary.
  4. He can make sure that Mom gets the 2400 calories that she needs every day and make sure that she drinks plenty of water.
  5. He has the very important responsibility of protecting Mom from too many visitors and/or relatives who aren't supportive of her breastfeeding efforts.
Dad is going to stay very busy! The wonderful book by Dr. Robert Sears and his brother, Dr. James Sears, Father's First Steps makes a great gift for any expectant dad. Their list of 25 things that every new father should know will further help Dad be a terrific breastfeeding father! 

If your husband was a terrific breastfeeding father, leave a comment telling just how he supported you. A great dad deserves some special recognition!

1 comment:

  1. My husband has been an amazing supporter and is a primary reason why we are still nursing at 10 months old. I'm very grateful to have such a supportive partner!