How dad can help with breastfeeding

As a dad, you can step in and help with lots of things connected with breastfeeding. You can especially help with practical things, and of course you can also back up breastfeeding itself.

Here are 8 tips on what you can do as a dad to help with breastfeeding:

  • Back your partner up on breastfeeding and talk to her about how it’s going.
  • Make sure your partner can sit comfortably with support and without tension when breastfeeding.
  • Take a walk with your baby in the pushchair between feeds to give your partner time to rest.
  • If your baby wakes up during the night, you can change and comfort the baby until he/she is ready to be breastfed.
  • Make sure your partner gets enough to eat and drink during the day.
  • Help your baby to burp when about halfway through breastfeeding.
  • You may also be the one to change your baby’s nappy a dry one is needed.
  • You can relieve your partner by taking care of the other child or children, if you have more than one.

Did you know that…
…breastfeeding can take a lot of energy, whether it goes according to plan or not. When you help out as a dad, you can both relieve your partner and strengthen the bond between you and your newborn baby.

A few facts about breastfeeding, hunger and what you can do as a dad

Your newborn baby will instinctively gravitate towards mum’s breast when placed with her. Working out the best way to breastfeed can be tricky, so maybe your partner needs some practice, and maybe you as a father will need time to find out what your role is during breastfeeding.

In the early days, your baby will want to be fed many times throughout the day and not always on a set schedule. Sometimes there are 4-6 hours between meals and other times only a couple of hours.

When your baby cries, he/she may be hungry, but the reason could also be a windy tummy or needing a nappy change, or your baby may just want to be close to mum or dad to feel calm and secure. Working out why your baby is crying can be difficult, so take your best guess – it will be as good as your partner’s.

It may be hard for your partner if the baby is still hungry after she has just breastfed for hours, and it can make her doubt whether she actually has enough milk. This is where dad’s support can help.

When breastfeeding isn’t going well

While many couples choose to breastfeed their baby, it’s not always the right answer for everyone. A baby can certainly live healthily and happily on infant formula. It is a good idea to remind your partner about that if she really wants to breastfeed, but it’s just not working.

If you can’t make breastfeeding work, but still want to, you can get advice and help from a health visitor or breastfeeding counsellor from your local authority.

For more information on breastfeeding, breastfeeding positions, bottle feeding and more, see the Danish Health Authority publication ‘Healthy Children – For parents with children aged 0-2 years’.