Having a new baby can sometimes be a frustrating time. It can be for you, because you've got such an important big job to do, and for dads too, because they can sometimes feel a bit like a spare part. But there's actually quite a lot dads can do to help, even though they're not the one with the on-tap milk supply!
- Some mums find expressing milk difficult or painful so this isn't always an option. However, if you are able to express milk you should wait until your baby is six to eight weeks old and comfortable with breastfeeding before you start letting your partner take over some feeds. This should prevent your milk supply from drying up and make sure your baby doesn't start to prefer a bottle over your breast.
- Getting dad involved with some feeds certainly helps them to bond with the baby, but give it some time – your baby may take a while to adjust to this new feeding method, so encourage your partner to keep trying
- Taking over one of the night-time feeds when he can, is one of the greatest helps a dad can give to your baby, as it allows you to have a much longer sleep.
Skin-to-skin contact with dad
A good way for dad to build the bond with baby is for them to have skin-to-skin contact, just as your baby has with you during breastfeeds. A great way to do this is for dad to put baby on his shirtless chest for a cuddle, or even a quick nap!
Once the bond is built with dad, your baby may feel more comfortable about taking bottle feeds of expressed milk from him. But dad shouldn't take it personally if your baby doesn't take a bottle feed; some babies simply prefer the breast.
Getting support from your partner
Although breastfeeding gives your baby everything they need nutritionally and helps you bond, it can be hard work. You're quite likely to be emotional in the first few weeks after giving birth with little energy for anything more than looking after your baby
This means it's important for dads to be extra supportive and understanding and take on the majority of the tasks that need doing around the home, including cleaning, shopping and cooking.