I often get questions from pregnant moms about when she can start pumping so dad can feed the baby to ensure they bond. My response is always the same. It’s not the FEEDING part of breastfeeding that is the bonding experience. It’s the hormones that are flowing, its the skin to skin contact, it’s making time for your baby and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.
So how can we help dads feel more involved with breastfeeding? Here are a few ideas…
1. Dad can be mom’s #1 caregiver. By taking care of mom, bringing her snacks, water, pillows, or whatever she needs, Dad is helping her breastfeed the baby and that makes him a big part of the relationship.
2. Dad can be supportive. Go ahead, and cheer her on! Life with a newborn can be tiring and physically exhausting. Having someone to encourage mom and tell her she’s doing a great job can make those tough moments much easier to get through.
3. Dad can bathe the baby. After nursing a baby all day long, sometimes mom wants a few minutes alone. Bath time is a great time for skin to skin contact and baby/dad bonding.
4. Dad can sing to the baby. Low pitched voices are soothing to babies. They like dad’s strong arms. Holding the baby against your chest and softly singing can be a great way for dad and baby to bond.
5. Dad can do skin to skin. Skin to skin contact is a great comfort for babies, and a great way to bond with them, no matter who you are. So take off your shirt, get your baby down to a diaper, and enjoy some time together.
There are lots of ways for Dads and babies to bond. Spending time together is really the key. What worked best for your family?