According to our 2009 survey, the greatest sources of support and encouragement mentioned by enthusiastic breastfeeding mothers, were their baby’s dads. Now more than ever, Dads are there -- and this means the world to breastfeeding moms and babies. The important supportive role fathers play, both emotional and physical, in breastfeeding is not to be underestimated, it is to be celebrated!
We spoke with Chris Pegula, inventor of Diaper Dude diaper bags and member of the BBIC advisory board for more insight on how dads play a part in the breastfeeding decision and process.
Q: What role do you think a dad should play in the decision to breastfeed their child?
A: When it comes to breast-feeding, most guys tend to assume that this is strictly a role for the women. The decision however should be mutual – a shared feeling about the upbringing of your child. As with most parenting issues there are no absolutes, nor right and wrong.
Q: What are some things any dad can do, to support his breastfeeding partner?
A: Partner support is crucial to a woman’s confidence, well-being and contentment throughout their breastfeeding experience. As a dad I believe it is important to sit with mom and baby during feedings, make eye contact with baby, stroke baby’s skin, talk to baby, etc. Even though you’re not part of the primary physical experience it is so important to lend your support and be there. Make it a team effort by taking over diaper duty, especially during the night feedings. Keep the dialogue open and be aware of what other needs your partner may have to make the process easier. Also remind your partner to eat and drink when they forget or get too tired. The reminder is good for both mom and baby.
Q: How can dads educate and prepare themselves to be an active partner in the breastfeeding process?
A: I find reading first hand accounts online by dads/parents to be the most entertaining, beneficial and instructive way to get ideas. While there are lots of books and resources for guys to get an education, the Internet is fast becoming the most common resource to answers questions. Most moms and dads feel they can find trustworthy information about products and services through online communities and blogs focused on their specific interests such as breast-feeding, parenting and other topics. Attending breast feeding classes and just talking with other dads is always a good call too.
Quick Tips From the Dude:
1. Participate in feedings by doing diaper changes; consider sitting with mom and baby during nursing sessions.
2. Prepare healthy food your partner to show you care and are committed to staying involved.
3. Look for help online: consult blogs and online communities that focus on parenting and breastfeeding.
4. The best way to show support: be present and willing to help as needed.