“The guys who fear becoming fathers don’t understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent” Frank Pittman, Man Enough.
Are you a dad-to-be who’s partner is planning to breastfeed? Do you think that breastfeeding is something a woman does alone? Think again. One of the most important factors in determining whether a woman breastfeeds is the support of her partner. Here are some things you can do before the baby is even born that will help ensure that your baby gets off to a good start.
Remind the mom-to-be that you know what breasts are for and how amazing she is. Let her know that you appreciate that she wants to give your baby the best possible start in life. Marvel out loud that she will be able to nourish your baby with her breasts.
Go to a prenatal breastfeeding class with your partner. Listen. Take notes. Ask questions.
Read about breastfeeding. Learn the facts. Dr. William Sears and Dr. Jack Newman are authors that dads tend to enjoy.
Surprise your wife with some beautiful nursing pajamas. (The shirt will have openings to enable easy access to her breasts.)
Counter any criticism with confidence.
Interview pediatricians and do some research to find breastfeeding-friendly doctors in your area.
Ask friends, neighbors and healthcare providers about recommended lactation consultants. Talk to them or send them an email. Get a sense of who they are. Have a name or two on hand and bring their phone numbers to the hospital or birthing center. Your wife will love it if you take some ownership of the decision to breastfeed.
Arrange for meals and other support from family/friends/neighbors for the first 6 weeks or so. This is even more important if you will be returning to work soon after the birth.
Learn why breastfeeding is important to the mother of your baby. Have confidence in her and be proud of her choice!
See also: Breastfeeding Dads: A Love Note