Where does Dad fit in?
By Dale Alleyne-Ho, ECE (Hons), CCBE, LE
on November 25, 2008
From breastfeeding support to making funny faces, Dads can create a special bond.
Being a dad is an important job and getting involved in all aspects of raising your baby is vital. Sharing in every experience will help create a strong bond between father and child. Here’s how to get involved.
Breastfeeding can even can often be a tough job for moms, but with the support and encouragement from a helpful partner, it can get easier. Dads should try to be involved every step of the way. They can share in the experience and bonding can begin.
Truth be known, fathers have a vital role to play in the success of breastfeeding. Their support and encouragement can help foster a positive breastfeeding experience.
The majority of parents will agree that breast is best. Mother’s milk is not only a great, readily available source of nutrition, but also contains antibodies to protect newborns from infections and disease. There is no preparation or clean up involved with breastfeeding, and it can be very cost effective when you add up the money spent on formula and bottles.
Be a motivator
The first few days of breastfeeding can be daunting for some. Mom may still be recuperating from the birth, suffering from lack of sleep, while still having to care for her newborn.
Breastfeeding may not be going as well as she had anticipated and she may feel like giving up on the whole idea. Having a partner that shows his support and encouragement at this time can really help. Dads can be supportive by:
- Offering the mother a nourishing drink or snack while nursing.
- Giving the mother a relaxing massage.
- Showing confidence in her abilities.
- Praising the mother’s slightest efforts.
What happens when breastfeeding isn’t going as you both originally planned? Mothers can hit an all-time low and fathers are not quite sure what to say. Dads should keep the lines of communication going and discuss problems and concerns with Mom. Dads might also suggest seeking the support of a lactation consultant or making an appointment at a breastfeeding clinic at a local hospital.
Bonding with your newborn
There is an undeniable bond between a mother and her baby. A mother supplies nourishment to her baby, and has the opportunity to engage in eye and skin-to-skin contact. So what about that bond between a father and his new child? Dads often feel left out and nervous because they are not involved in feedings and may not establish a bond with their child.
The paternal bond is just as important as the maternal bond when it comes to the overall healthy development of a child. Fathers can create their own unique bonding experiences between themselves and their baby. When it comes to feeding, when the baby is hungry, dads can take the baby over to Mom. Afterwards, dads can take over baby care again by diapering, playing or soothing the baby to sleep. Sharing little moments throughout the day really helps create a bond.
Holding the baby close
The next best thing to mamma’s milk is being held close. Babies depend on their parents to be there for them and holding them close gives a baby that sense of security and trust, and an overall feeling of comfort. Dads should make time to snuggle with the baby, or even use a sling to carry the baby around throughout the day. Try carrying the baby in a sling while watching TV, going for a walk, or doing light work around the house.
Babies are extra comforted by skin-on-skin contact. Dad can have his baby fall asleep on his bare chest. Babies enjoy the sound and feel of a parent’s heartbeat.
Bond through the power of play
Play is your baby’s unique way of learning about the world around them, acquiring new skills and mastering them by learning how to move, communicate, socialize and understand their environment.
Dads should get down to their baby’s level and have some fun. Talk, sing, and laugh with the baby. Play games, read stories, make faces, speak in funny voices or just sit and be together. In no time at all, a strong bond will form.
By Dale Alleyne-Ho, ECE (Hons), CCBE, LE|
November 25, 2008