Fathers-to-be often ask themselves, if my partner breastfeeds, how will I be involved? Unfortunately, in many societies, the bottle is often perceived as THE way to get involved in the baby’s life. Moreover, it is often said that if a mother breastfeeds, a father cannot participate, or even worse, might feel left out if he cannot feed the baby.
Fathers (and other family members & friends ) CAN create a special relationship without feeding. Have you thought about how YOU will play your new role as a father? There are all kinds of amazing ways:
- Carrying your baby in your arms or in a carrier/sling
- Cuddling your baby
- Having your baby sleep on you, skin-to-skin (on a safe surface!)
- Giving your baby a bath
- Rocking your baby
- Singing songs or playing music for your baby
- Walking with your baby
- Talking to your baby
- Playing with your baby
Even when babies are just infants, there are many and varied activities that you can share with your little one. Your presence is unique and is not replaceable and this time is more important than food.
And of course, a father’s role is also as PROTECTOR to ensure his baby and the baby’s mother are supported and protected. A father’s greatest gift to a mother is to enable her to be 100% available to breastfeed her, and his, baby. For more ideas, download the tips sheet “What about Partners” from LLLI.
If you do take on the feeding role, read this post “When Mom is out: feeding the breastfed baby” for tips on how to do so in a manner that is symbiotic of not only the breastfeeding relationship, but also a baby’s physiologic rhythms.
Are you a father? How did YOU stay involved in the early days?