It's hard to see beyond the haze of love you feel while breastfeeding, but when you do you might see that your partner feels left out. Working out a few clear roles for him to take in your baby's nursing schedule helps him create his own bond with baby. Every dad's comfort level is different, though, so invite him to weigh in while you craft the perfect nursing scenario for all three of you.
Having a willing partner is like having a personal breastfeeding assistant. Show him he's needed by establishing some nursing jobs that are all his. He can be the one to wake the baby when it's time to eat and carry her to you. Breastfeeding expert Teresa Pitman of the La Leche League Canada suggests that your partner act as a breastfeeding coach, helping adjust the baby's position and rearranging your clothes or helping you cover up during public nursing sessions. When baby's satisfied, make it your partner's job to burp and change her.
Invite Dad to join in on the warm, physical bonding that happens during nursing. Try out some positions that involve him when you're breastfeeding at home. Invite him to sit on the couch next to you, draping his arm around you so he can rub the baby's head or feet. He may also sit behind you while you lean back against him so he can watch the baby's face over your shoulder. Another option is to ask him to rub your shoulders or back while you nurse so you can feel just as nurtured as your baby does.
Give Him a Turn
Though your partner's nipples aren't as functional as yours, he can still be an active part of your baby's feedings. If you're comfortable doing so, pump breast milk just before a feeding and let him feed the baby from a bottle. Don't start this process too early, though. Your baby uses a different technique to drink from a bottle than from a breast. Bottle feeding before your breastfeeding routine is solid can lead to nipple confusion, notes the AskDrSears website. Wait until your baby is a few months old and breastfeeding is going smoothly before introducing bottles.
Many fathers know that breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby, though some probably don't know why breastfeeding is superior to bottle feeding. Help your partner see that supporting breastfeeding is a way of caring for his child. Ask your doctor to talk to him about all the perks of breastfeeding or give him some information yourself. Women whose partners support breastfeeding are more likely to continue doing it, notes the American Academy of Family Physicians, while women who think their partners have negative opinions about breastfeeding are more likely to quit. Praise your baby's father for working with you to give your little one the best possible care.