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6 Tips for breastfeeding dads

Sara Chana Silverstein is a master herbalist (AHG), classical homeopath, board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), businesswoman, wife and mother of 7 children,& TV expert

Dads often feel they want to jump in and help out, but have no idea where they could be useful.

young couple breastfeeding

Photo credit: MercA Bellera/E+/Getty Images

Dads often complain that they feel left out when their babies are breastfeeding. They feel they want to jump in and help out, but have no idea where they could be useful. They see the mom and baby struggling and don’t really know how to offer help. Many will say to me, "Hey, if I could just breastfeed for my partner I’d gladly do it!” But, the truth is that, no matter how much we have evolved and men and women have become “equal,” men still do not have the breast milk to offer the baby. (Perhaps that’s not a pretty image or even a pleasant thought.) Yes, it is true that mothers can pump their milk and put it into a bottle, but the healthiest way for babies is to get the breast milk is directly from the breast.

So how do dads support and help during breastfeeding time? Here are a few ways dad can help while mom and babe breastfeed:

Grab a handful of pillows and plop them behind the mother's back, under her arms and in front of her to help support her baby.

Dads can also be a huge help by holding down the baby's flying arm while the mother is trying to achieve a good latch. Women always seem to struggle with the babies arms.

Offer to burp that baby. It is hard for a woman to get up once she is finally comfortably sitting or lying down, and most dads become "master baby burpers." The good ones can be seen dancing and singing around the room waiting for that magical burp to come out.

Changing the baby’s diaper will also be helpful for the breastfeeding mom. Women often struggle to find their "perfect" breastfeeding position, so it is difficult for the mother to get up to change the baby, afraid to lose that "flawless" position.

Encourage mom to take a break sometimes from the baby, after the baby has finished breastfeeding, so she can take a shower or sit calmly to eat a meal. Being together with a well-fed, burped baby is the best "hanging-out time."

How about giving the mom a wonderful a foot or shoulder massage? Okay, this may not really be a breastfeeding tip but it can sure make your lady happy! Moms usually sit or lay in contorted positions when they are first learning how to nurse properly. Mom will forever be thankful to you for soothing those strained muscles.

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