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Guide to nursing for dads and partners

Breastfeeding is the only thing you can't do. But you're still nearly as important as your partner in the breastfeeding process. That's because help and support are the key to successful breastfeeding.

You might be telling yourself your time will come later, when your baby is a little older and past the breastfeeding stage. You think only your partner is important because she’s the one with the breasts. But that’s not true.

Your partner needs support
Believe it or not, you're the key to making breastfeeding work. Your partner needs support. Breastfeeding doesn’t always start off smoothly. Your partner needs to get used to being a mum (there are a lot of hormones involved here) and having to provide food 24 hours a day; and your baby needs to get used to sucking and getting the right amount of milk. This all takes a while.

During this phase, your partner needs all the help she can get. She and the baby need peace and quiet to just sit on the sofa or lie on the bed and breastfeed as much as baby wants. Your partner needs support and encouragement, especially if problems arise early on, for example if her breasts and nipples get sore and the baby wants to eat non-stop. Studies have shown that your support is invaluable when the going gets tough.

Take care of the day-to-day stuff
Helping with the day-to-day chores, like freezing individual portions of food or fetching glasses of water (all mothers get very thirsty while breastfeeding, since milk production requires a lot of liquid) is the best thing you can do to make sure breastfeeding goes well.

But why is breastfeeding so important? The answer is simple: because breast-milk is incredibly nutritious.
Facts about breast-milk:
• It contains fatty acids and proteins vital to baby’s cell and tissue growth.
• Its nutritional content changes as the baby grows.
• It transfers antibodies from the mother, which guard against infection.
• It prevents or delays allergies.
• It provides long-term protection against various chronic diseases.

So it’s vital to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Your job here is to take care of everything except the actual feeding.

There are many articles about breastfeeding on this website. They’re targeted at mothers, but they also make interesting reading with a lot of tips for dads and partners. Check them out.

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