While most information on breastfeeding is geared towards women, the process of naturally feeding a baby truly can be a team effort. Breastfeeding is an incredible thing, but it can be thoroughly exhausting, and there’s no reason dads can’t be involved. As traditional parenting roles are pushed to the side, research and literature are focusing more and more on involving dads in tasks previously recognized as a “mom’s job.” But if parenting has taught us anything, it’s an all-hands-on-deck process – and finally, it’s being recognized as such.
Muhammed Nitoto, the man behind the chroniclesofdaddy Instagram page, shared some wisdom for Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Nitoto paired his viral post with a photo of himself next to his thoroughly exhausted wife, her eyes closed as she breastfeeds their young baby. A familiar scene for any parent, but as Nitoto explains, dads are far from helpless.
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“I figured I’d drop some knowledge on my fellow Dads and soon to be Dads,” Nitoto begins. “Here’s what it looks like for the first few weeks or months after your child is born. Yup if mom breastfeeds they pretty much are tucked like this and at times you’ll wonder ‘what is there for me to do?’ Here’s my top 5 tips for any Dad after your child is born.”
Offer to help with night feedings
Nitoto starts off simple, reminding dads that even if they aren’t doing the nighttime feedings, they can offer to help. A glass of water, a back rub – “The truth is most of the time she will say no,” he explains, “but just the fact that you offered will go far.”
Claim a feeding, any feeding
Next, Nitoto suggests claiming one feeding as yours every day if mom is willing to pump. That way, there’s no discussion of who does that feeding. Mom can relax, and you can bond with your baby one-on-one.
Don’t rush the process
Though breastfeeding can be challenging and exhausting at times, it’s also an extremely valuable bonding experience. It may be tempting to try to wean your baby off of nursing ASAP for mom’s sake, but it’s not that simple.
“I know everyone has a diffrent length of time they will breastfeed and as a Dad it’s hard to fully understand,” Nitoto explains. “Do not I repeat DO NOT try and rush this process it’s not our place and it’s not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can’t win.”
Be patient, Dad time is coming
This leads to Nitoto’s next point – it may seem like the early months are focused on mom and baby, but it won’t always feel that way. Becoming a dad is incredibly exciting, and you may feel a bit left out at times. But babies grow incredibly quickly, and before you know it, there will be more daddy time than you know what to do with.
If you can take paternity leave, do it
If you’re fortunate enough to have the option to take paternity leave, take full advantage. “You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life,” Nitoto says. “It doesn’t make you more of a man to not take the leave. It’s equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child.”