Written by Calvin Russell Jr.
Women spend several months preparing to breastfeed their child. Reading books, blogs, & social media posts about the tips and tricks of breastfeeding. At many hospitals, they even offer lactation consultants to assist moms after delivery. This process can be difficult, especially if this is your first child. However, women shouldn’t have to struggle through this process alone. Your #1 cheerleader should be with you during this process. Yes, the father plays a huge role during breastfeeding and should be there for the mom as much as possible. Of course, the dad can’t replace the mom during this stage but we can be extremely helpful in many ways. Read how I played a role in my wife’s decision to breastfeed our son, below:
A Dads Role During Breastfeeding
Once the woman decides to breastfeed, the man should immediately start educating himself on the process and importance of it. Self-Education on breastfeeding is essential in a partnership. My wife and I were lucky enough to catch a FREE breastfeeding class at Babies R US. So, I would call your local Babies R US store and ask them what classes are coming up.
Once I saw the difference between formula (man-made milk) and breastfeeding during that class, I was sold on supporting my wife through the process. I saw breast latching techniques, how to hold the baby during breastfeeding, and I even furthered my education through YouTube breastfeeding videos. All I wanted to do, was to make sure that when the time came, my wife knew I would be well educated and ready for any situation.
Team No Sleep
In the very early stages of the babies life, he/she must eat every 2 hours for a few weeks. This is where the hard work comes in. Since men can’t breastfeed, most men stay sleep while the mom gets up to breastfeed, but not me.
First, let me say that I am not 100% perfect, but I can say that it would suck having one person do all or most of the work. So, my goal was to wake up when my wife got up to feed. We would watch short videos on Netflix or Youtube to keep us entertained while she pumped her breastmilk. I figured if we both could make a child, we both can contribute with feeding the child.
Free Breast Pump
Some insurance companies will send out a complimentary breast pump based on the insurance plan you have. Unfortunately, our free one sucked and we ended up renting one at the local hospital. So, I would call your insurance company first to see if you qualify for a free breast pump a day which pump they will send to you. Our insurance is a major bramd name so, we expected a nice pump. However, the suction was just okay, nothing like the performance of the rented Medela Breast Pump.
Milk Storage Assistance
I assisted with milk storage by pouring the milk into Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags and writing the dates and times onto each one. By pumping after she finished feeding the baby on her breast, allowed us to store-up more milk.
Helpful Items To Buy
Nursing Pillow: My wife was uninterested in purchasing a nursing pillow, since there were so many throw pillows at the house. After much research, I decided to purchase the boppy pillow one day after work and when she started to use it, she couldn’t believe the difference in comfort.
Bottle Cleaner and Rack: This came in handy once we got the hang of using the breast pump and storing some milk for days ahead.
Lansinoh Bags: For milk storage up to one year.
Freezer Lunch Bag: This kept the milk fresh and cold for outside trips.
A Push Gift: This is optional but damn near mandatory lol. 9 months of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and no sleep, there should be a nice gift, right?
The Bottom Line
During pregnancy and delivery, men can’t compare to women. It’s a lot to deal with on both sides but, you must be ready for any situation as a husband and dad. Its unfortunate that some men don’t see it that way and again, I am not perfect. But you must put yourself in a new mom shoes. They have no choice when it comes to where the milk is coming from and who will pump it out. We can’t take their place, but we can at least understand what the role of a father is during breastfeeding. I hope this article helped a few men out there. I remember those times like it was yesterday and I wanted to give as much advice and insight to a new dad. Until next time!