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Father's/partner's role in breastfeeding

As a new dad or co-parent, you have a key role to play in breastfeeding. Your help and support will be vital in making breastfeeding work out for mother and baby.

You may have to remind yourself now and then that your time will come later when baby is a bit older and is past the breastfeeding stage. You may feel that your partner is the only who counts right now because she's the one with the 'food'. But that's not true.

Your partner needs your support
Believe it or not, you may be the key to getting breastfeeding to work out for mother and child. Your partner needs your support and encouragement. It may take time for breastfeeding to stabilise. Your partner has to get used to being a mother, and that involves a whole lot of hormonal changes, not to mention supplying food 24/7. Baby also needs to learn to suckle and take the right amount of milk. All this is going to take some time.
In this early phase, your partner needs all the help she can get. She and baby need calm and quiet on the couch or in bed, and all the time in the world for baby to feed as much as he or she wants and needs. You might like to bring mum a nice drink during breastfeeding sessions. All nursing mothers need to drink more than usual, since producing milk requires a lot of fluids. It's not unusual for mum to realise just how thirsty she is herself the instant baby is snugly installed and suckling away.
At first, it may all be a bit of a strain and worry for mum, whose nipples might get sore and tender from baby's intensive suckling. Studies show that your support makes all the difference when there's 'trouble in paradise'.

Take charge of daily chores
The best thing you can do to get breastfeeding off to a great start is to help out with household chores and keep life nice and simple. This will make it easier for your partner to concentrate fully on breastfeeding, which takes a lot of time, especially at the start. You may also appreciate the chance to take off and put your mind to practical tasks such as doing a big shop, and leave your partner and baby to relax in peace and quiet at home.

Why is breastfeeding so important?
The answer is very simple: mother's milk is incredibly nutritious and made specially for your baby.

Breast milk facts:
• It contains fatty acids and proteins vital for regenerating your child's cells and tissues.
• Its nutritional balance changes as your baby grows.
• It transfers antibodies from mother to child which protect against infections.
• It can prevent or delay allergies.
• It provides long-term protection against chronic diseases.

Further reading: Breastfeeding – getting off to a good start. This article is aimed at mums, but also contains useful reading for partners.
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