Nursing: Not As Easy As You'd Think!
Breastfeeding is one of the healthiest things parents can do for their baby. It is not only good for your little one's growth and development, but is equally beneficial for your partner. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mothers breastfeed at least through Baby's first year and preferably for up to two years (while giving complementary foods after six months).
However, nursing can be very difficult for some families. Many people think breastfeeding should just happen naturally, so when a new mother has trouble, she may blame herself and feel depressed and guilty. But the truth is that nursing is a skill both babies and mothers need to learn together. And this is where dads can help!
Help your partner nurse by making sure she has enough to drink during the day and especially during or just after she nurses. If she has trouble nursing, you can help her seek out a lactation consultant (a professional who can facilitate the breastfeeding process; many make home visits) by calling her OB office, the hospital where she delivered, or your newborn's pediatrician. But the most important thing you can do is to remind her that she is not at fault if trouble arises. Many women struggle with breastfeeding, and some are never able to successfully nurse. Listen to her and offer her lots of love and support throughout the experience.
Whether nursing goes smoothly or not, talk with your partner about pumping milk once breastfeeding is well established so you can do one or two feedings a day (or at night!). One of the most important ways fathers bond with their babies is by meeting their core needs. By feeding Baby, you're showing her that you're not just a supporting role, but a primary caretaker. This can make a real difference as you begin building a strong relationship with your child.