8 things Dad can do to help you breastfeed.
When I was pregnant with my first, my husband thought that the "whole breastfeeding thing" was on me. Hahahahaha (Insert evil laugh here).
Yes, you make the milk with your body, but Dads can have a huge impact in your success during your journey.
#1 Be your #1 supporter. Seriously. You are much more likely to succeed when you have someone in your corner. 17% of breastfed babies are given formula by 2 days old. TWO DAYS OLD. Why? Because something makes us think we can't do it. But, we CAN. When he is there to cheer you on through cracked nipples, thrush, mastitis, cluster feeding or your judgy sister-in-law, you are much less likely to throw in the towel. Lactation isn't for the faint of heart!
#2 Feed you. Breastfeeding / producing milk burns 20 calories per ounce of milk produced. On average, that is about 480 calories per day . This means you must replace those calories to continue your supply. Breastfeeding cravings trump pregnancy cravings, so having him there to throw you a protein bar or make you some spaghetti at 2am is key.
#3 Hydrate you. Probably even more important than the food, is the water. One book we read to our kids says "A cow drinks a bathtub of water to produce milk every day". Yes, cows are bigger, but still - we need water. Constantly. Bottoms up!
#4 Research. The more he knows about the process, and what it takes to be successful, the more he will be able to help you. Kellymom is my favorite resource.
#5 Prep your pump station/bag. This includes #2 and #3, but also prepping your pump parts. Clean those bottles, flanges & membranes! Pumping is the worst, so the less hassle you have to do, the easier it will be on you.
#6 Milk storage. If you are a pumping mom, you are storing milk. He can help with portioning, freezing, rotating, etc. It's not all on you, Mama!
#7 Educate. It is exhausting to continuously educate everyone on the quirks of breastmilk. Don't microwave it. Swirl, don't shake. Yes, it can stay room temp for a few hours. No, you can't re-heat it. With his mom, your daycare provider, your sister, etc... he needs to spread the knowledge around to everyone who may feed your child so the burden isn't only on you.
#8 Give you a break. Your baby will literally be attached to you more often than not, especially during the first 6-8 weeks. It may *look* like you are having the time of your life, but I guarantee if someone was sucking on his nipples 8 hrs a day, he'd be running for the hills. A warm bath, cooking you dinner, or a solo trip to the grocery store are the least he can do.
These are just a few things that he can do to help you. You ARE providing life to the baby you two created, after-all...
Happy Pumping <3