Dads are awesome, aren't they? They'll carry our little ones around on their shoulders for hours on end and swing our kids way higher than we moms ever could. And now they want to help out with breastfeeding. I love you, Dads.
A new study has come out that shows that the partners of breastfeeding women sometimes feel left out and want to know how to support and help out. The research, from Swansea University, showed that new fathers feel positive about breastfeeding and want to be able to support their partner. Dr. Amy Brown, one of the authors of the study, said: "We know that women who feel that their partner is supportive and encouraging of breastfeeding are more likely to continue breastfeeding. Our findings show that men want to do this which is fantastic news but feel unprepared or unsure of how they can help."
That is fantastic news! And even more fantastic? Here are 15 ways real dads helped out with breastfeeding. Feel free to use any of the tips, new dads and dads-to-be!
1. Diaper changing (I didn't even change a diaper the first week both times, and then he fielded them whenever he was home after that pretty much). And in the first couple of weeks, he reassuringly talked me down from the formula ledge a few times, which was probably the most helpful thing. Like he said it was there to use if I really needed it, but did I really need it? Helped me put it in perspective.
2. He told me he loved me no matter what I did. He would support me in whatever decision I made to breastfeed or not to breastfeed. So if it turned out breastfeeding wasn't for me -- he would not second guess me for a even a minute. I loved that.
3. He piled pillows all around me for support and fed me chocolate cake.
4. He bought me Guinness when I wasn’t producing much milk. He totally wanted the whole breastfeeding thing to work out -- even more than I probably did!
5. He read a bunch of books and articles about breastfeeding. When I gave birth, he asked the nurses to get the lactation consultant immediately. He encouraged me when I wanted to give up. He told me every day how wonderful I was doing. When my milk tried to dry up, he went out and got me oatmeal and vitamins to help boost my supply. He is my biggest supporter.
6. He drove two hours into another state to get me the breast pump I needed (no local store had it in stock). He took care of my daughter while I pumped. He would help bag her milk for freezing and wash my pumping supplies. His most important job was to pick me up non-alcoholic beer, which I needed to drink when my milk supply would decrease.
7. He supported me and reassured me when I made the decision to switch to formula with my first.
8. He brought me whatever I needed, waited on me hand and foot. And with our second and third, he took care of the other kids' needs so I could focus and relax.
9. He stood up for me against his Mom. She wasn't comfortable with my nursing at first and things would get awkward! But he never let her forget how it was best for me and baby and she eventually came around.
10. He never let my nursing be awkward for friends. He'd sit next to me and I'd start nursing and none of his friends or their wives would say a word. I know he talked with a few in private who were uncomfortable, and he ironed out all the social issues for me. He has a way with words that put his friends at ease and suddenly nobody cared!
11. For the first couple weeks, he was the nighttime diaper changer cleaner upper ... then he'd bring baby to me. That's all the help I needed.
12. He fielded the booby haters for me when they tried to make me quit, and he "milked" me when I had clogged ducts and was in a lot of pain.
13. One night I was so tired, I had just had my c-section, and I guess I was completely out of it. I started nursing and had fallen asleep. I woke up to my hubby holding our baby on my breast. It was the funniest thing and he told me, "It's okay, babe, I got it, go back to sleep."
14. With the first two I had engorgement, so he helped with massage and hot packs.
15. He comforted me when I was ready to quit because baby bear was having trouble latching. He went out and bought me lanolin when my nips were cracked and bleeding, but most importantly, he reassured me that not breastfeeding didn't make me a bad mother. I pushed through it and made it work eventually, but I would've given up without him.
How did your partner help with nursing?
Image via Lisa Wiltse/Corbis