- Be a Learner. Learn all you can about breastfeeding before baby is born. Help the mom remember the things you learned. Remind her that she makes more milk by feeding more often. Discourage the use of water or formula supplements, as this will decrease her milk supply. Check to see if she and the baby are positioned correctly. Help to make her comfortable. Bring her a glass of water or juice as she will be thirsty when breastfeeding.
- Be a Cheerleader. Mom may need encouragement at first. Even if things don’t get off to a good start, be optimistic and positive. You’ll be a hero forever. Get help for her if breastfeeding is not going well.
- Be patient. It takes time to learn a new process. Don’t expect mom and baby to be able to immediately succeed at breastfeeding. Don’t be quick to offer a bottle of formula because mom is tired, you want to help, or you are worried about how much the baby is really getting. Your intentions are good, but they may cause her milk supply to decrease. Your baby is getting enough breastmilk if he is steadily gaining weight and has five or more very wet diapers a day and three or more stools each day - a stool after every feeding is ideal for the first month, then the number of stools per day may decrease.
- Be a protector. Protect mom and baby from being overwhelmed by visitors and well-meaning relatives. Protect mom from any people who may upset her. Protect both from anything in your life that is overwhelming or negative. That’s one of the reasons why dads are so important.
- Be a helper. Giving birth is a major life event. Mom needs help getting back into the swing of things. Assume responsibility for most household and cooking chores or find someone else who can help. Entertain older children and meet their needs so mom can focus on the new baby.
- Be a friend. Mom needs more love and support now than at any other time in her life. Be there for her. Entertain her, comfort her, love her. Mom will think you are wonderful!
- Be a father. Hold and love your new baby. Change his diaper. Bathe your baby. Play with him. Take baby with you on a walk. Sing and talk to him. You are so special to your new baby. Look at how his face lights up when you come into the room!
- Be a part of the breastfeeding process. Bring baby to mom when he’s hungry. Sometimes, sit and relax with mom and baby while they breastfeed. Tell mom and baby how much you love them. Tell mom what a good mother she is and what a wonderful thing she is doing for your little one. Think about what a wonderful thing you are doing in supporting breastfeeding.
- Be a breastfeeding advocate. Tell all of your friends and relatives how wonderful breastfeeding is and how wonderful mom is to care for your child in such a special way.
- Be proud of your efforts. You are being a man. You are protecting and supporting mom and baby. How special you are! How loved you are! What a wonderful father you are to your baby!
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