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Monday, 24 June 2013

Top Breastfeeding Tips For Dads: Keep Britain Breastfeeding 2013

Today, a guest post from my husband, Chris, who is my biggest breastfeeding supporter! He wrote a post for the Scavenger Hunt last year too, which you can find here.



When our first daughter was born, we discovered things weren't quite right in the feeding department.
B's weight dropped quite a bit in the first few days and we were checked into the hospital as her sodium levels were low.
After 4 days of wasted time, we got discharged and B was diagnosed with tongue tie (http://milkmatters.org.uk/2011/04/15/hidden-cause-of-feeding-problems-however-you-feed-your-baby/) and had it snipped.
We also discovered that my wife had IGT (insufficient glandular tissue) which meant that she couldn't produce enough milk.
So, we had to supplement with formula milk.

In summary, I've experienced breast feeding and formula feeding; both the positives and the negatives.

So, because of my experience, here are some top tips and some how-tos that I wish I had known before I started my journey into the world of infant feeding...


1. Get tooled up
- Do some research, become a semi-pro in infant breastfeeding. This goes down very well with your lady, as well as reducing any confusion you may have when baby comes.
- Get the support numbers. Getting help and also encouragement can be extremely helpful. We had one rather tough night, that we only got through because we rang the helpline 3 times, just to make sure we were doing the right thing.
 - Get a breastfeeding pillow - this can really help during the learning stages, and it helps your lady know that you're on board with the feeding ;-) Man points!
- Also, do discuss feeding before the baby comes rather than waiting till they've arrived. Avoid bad timing.

2. Be careful of your manly instinct
I found myself asking my wife a lot of probing questions whenever I thought that breastfeeding wasn't working.
I call this section manly instinct because I found myself, and have seen a lot of other mates in the same position, wanting to make sure that our babies are being fed well and are putting on weight. The perception being that breastfeeding is not working. So...
B was very happy to sleep on my chest.
- If you find yourself thinking that breastfeeding is not working and you want to ask your partner a question, do some research or call the support number to get some insight and advice. Things like weight dropping and cluster feeding are totally normal, but at first glance seems like things aren't right, so check out some info.
- Get into a breast feeding support group on Facebook, lots of people with a variety of experience can both help you and encourage you.
- This is a great link that I came across in the early days, helping you know what to expect regarding normal newborn behaviour 
(http://theleakyboob.com/2011/08/baby-explains-normal-newborn-behavior/)

3. History lesson of feeding
Breastfeeding has been around for centuries. Formula, as we know it, and the aggressive marketing of it have only been around in recent times.
- Breastfeeding is normal. Formula feeding is not. (Obviously it's an acceptable replacement only in extreme circumstances, if donor breastmilk isn't available.)

4. The cave
We are the hunter gatherers...
- make sure there are snacks for mum. Breastfeeding can use up to 500 calories per day so you want to keep your lady well fuelled.
- there are some food stuffs that can help encourage milk production. Have a Google for galactagogues for recipes and ingredients. Oats, cookies, fennel, there are loads out there.

5. Bonding with your baby
We all want to bond with the baby.
Co-sleeping is a great way to bond.
I found in the beginning that because mum was breastfeeding the baby a lot of the time, I was feeling a little left out.
Then thoughts started to come into my head. "I could bottle feed the baby during the night! Let mum get some sleep, and I can bond with the baby!"
After a lot of thought and discussion, I found that my thoughts were not only stupid, but also counter-productive to everyone, including my will to bond, for the following reasons:
- The baby is going to be half asleep any ways, how is the baby going to bond with me?
- Mum is going to be awake anyway. They are built this way during motherhood.
Daddies can do skin-to-skin too.
- You can bond during the day when the baby is awake. How can you do it during the day when you're tired because you've been feeding them in the night?!
- The baby knows who you are. It's been listening to your voice for 9 months!
- The benefits of baby breastfeeding during the night (ideally in bed with mumma in a cot by the side of the bed) is massive!
- Your baby will notice you as a hunter gatherer, providing for both them and mumma in getting food, cleaning the house, etc...

6. Take defensive action!
The mothers right to breastfeed when out and about is defined by international law. They are allowed to do it.
Daddy Lion protecting his pride!
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also recommend that women breastfeed their children up to 2 years and beyond (they'll be starting of foods before that time so they won't be only on the breast by year 2).
I and other men in my position have had experiences where mumma has been challenged by members of the public, and in some cases, staff at local establishments, requesting they either stop breastfeeding or go into the toilets to do it.
So...
- Women can breast feed wherever they want, and the law protects them in this way. Tell the challengers this fact, if they continue, call the police as they are harassing you.
- If someone suggests your lady goes and breastfeeds in the toilet, ask them whether they would eat their lunch in the toilet. You can bet the answer will be no.

I mentioned the WHO's recommendation because some people for some reason find it weird if mothers are breastfeeding beyond 2 months. Again, this is not weird, it is normal.
I've seen a lot of experiences, myself included, that have seen friends and family members using phrases such as...
"When are you going to wean them?" (around month 3)
"Breast feeding is weird!" (around month 2)
"Give that baby a bottle!" (around week 4)
Another co-sleeping photo, just because it's so great.

Statements such as these can really discourage your lady when they are trying to breastfeed at do what's right for baby.
Be mindful of family opinion. Not just from the mothers side but also from your side.
I would recommend talking to your parents about feeding before hand, to make sure they understand what your decision is regarding feeding. It's your baby, not theirs. You want to try and avoid a mumma vs. the in-laws, type incident. If people make these statements when in with mum, tell them politely but firmly, what you're doing and why. Have responses ready. Not only will you help encourage your lady, but also maybe encourage your friends to breastfeed. Stick to your guns!

7. No more hassle!
As someone who has both had to be part of a dual breast-milk/formula feeding regimen, I've got some advice for those who are thinking of exclusively or combination formula feeding and using bottles...
Bond through bathtime.
It's such a pain in the arse! Cleaning, sterilising, boiling, scooping, shaking, cooling, feeding! This daily routine is such a drag when in a breastfeeding world, this hassle just doesn't exist. If I'd had the choice, I wouldn't have done this, and would have saved me and hour and a half every day! Also, it takes a while for a bottle to cool 
down. Why should a baby have to wait for milk?

8. Support, support, SUPPORT!!
In words and in actions, support your lady!
Establishing breastfeeding is bloody hard, which I didn't quite appreciate at first. I can't believe my wife didn't kill me after my inadvertent attempts to discourage her. 
With all that's mentioned above, your support will help guarentee successful breastfeeding. Making your lady feel that you're on her side will help in itself massively.


My inability to breastfeed B didn't affect our bond.

Check out some other Keep Britain Breastfeeding Bloggers:
Life, Love and Living with Boys - Wife and Mummy to two cheeky boys under four.  Filling my 'spare' time with blogging and volunteering as a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter.  Breastfeeding was cut shorter than I'd hoped first time round so this is my inspiration for supporting other Mums and helping them avoid the 'Booby Traps'.  This time round I made sure that I was well informed and still happily breastfeeding my youngest who turned two in April.
Mama Geek - The tale of a late 20's geek as I stumble through the weird and wonderful world of motherhood!  I have two little girls called Georgie and Lydia, a fab husband called James and an adorable dog called Homily.  Stick around to share our journey :-)
Simply Hayley -  I'm Hayley, I'm a twenty something young single Mum to two stunning boys, 20 months and 6 years.  We live in West London/North Surrey.
Seven Year Hitch -  From freelance journalist and content provider to mum and creative writer.
Mummies Waiting - my blog about our journey through pregnancy, birth and parenting life.  I post weekly updates about Kairi's (my baby's) life.
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25 comments:

  1. My advice would be to just relax... Breastfeeding can become a stressful experience (especially if you let others interfere too much) - Breastfeeding is a special and unique experience between you and baby. Try to remember why you're doing it and most importantly: PERSEVERE! It takes time! :)

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  2. Be calm, it'll help you latch your baby correctly, it'll help your baby feed, it'll help you make more milk and everyone will be happier. If you're stressed then get up and walk about for 5 minutes, then try again :)

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  3. A supportive person to help you is so important so make sure you surround yourself with positive support.

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  4. Such an amazing post, i'm now going to share this to all my friends and followers and post it desperately to my other half. I've been bf for 9 weeks now and this post would have been fab at the beginning. I also found the 'Leakyboob' post and shared it to all my breastfeeding friends and it even made some of my friuends decide to feed for longer :)

    (Hope you dont mind, im also linking this to my great things to read on my blog too)

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  5. Just try to relax. I swear my daughter used to fuss more when I was stressing out which made latching a lip and tongue tied newborn even harder. The early weeks seem hard but they pass all to quickly. Keep at it. You can do it. So nice to hear from a supportive partner

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  6. Be patient with yourself and baby especially when they get big enough to get distracted.

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  7. Some great tips there, a partners support is invaluable. I'm not sure how we'd have got on if it wasn't for my husband being there supporting me. In the early days he make a point of making me some sandwiches and leaving easy to eat snacks around with bottles of water before he went to work. Wherever I was feeding I could keep hydrated, and didn't go hungry even during the growth spurt cluster feeding days.

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  8. Find support groups BEFORE baby arrives. I wish I'd got to know people before I needed help.

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  9. Its great to have a post from the dads perspective, I think all to often they get forgotten in the preparation for breastfeeding, when they are actually intrinsic to its success. Without my partner there to support me i would not have succeeded in breastfeeding my first child.

    my top tip would be to get to your local support groups before baby arrives, meet the breastfeeding supporters and local breastfeeding mums. These people and their companionship, support, knowledge and experience will be so valuable to you, and its easier to go to them after baby is born if you have already met them

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  10. relax, cover yourself with a scarf if needed

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  11. Wow! You're such an involved father! And I thought my husband did well. He'll have to read this. ;) My tip is not to wait to go to a breastfeeding group. Don't feel you have to have it all sorted before you get there. That's not what it's all about.

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  12. Get as much help as you can with your latch, and don't let the ignorance of midwives/ hospital staff put you off!

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  13. I wear a nursing top to help make feeding quick and easy on the go!

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  14. So nice to have a post with a father's point of view. I think I need to direct my Other Half to it! He's always been fairly supportive but I reckon that he could do with reminding about the cave supplying if we have a third (although perhaps not the galactagogue googling - cos then he might see that chocolate is anti-lactogenic...hehe).

    PS. Love the pictures too :)

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  15. See a lactation consultant if you're having problems, most other HCPs are useless at giving breastfeeding advice/info. E.g. they rarely diagnose tongue tie (especially posterior) which is present in ~10% of babies.

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  16. My top tip would be to ignore all the well meant advice against breastfeeding. It's what our bodies are designed to do and with the right attitude, and support if necessary, we can all do it just fine!

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  17. my top tip is to get a shawl!

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  18. My top tip is to ensure you have everything you may need within reach.

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  19. My top tip dont let anyone question your supply, if your baby is producing plenty of wet and dirty nappies your doing just fine :)

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  20. Samantha Bowes28 June 2013 at 13:43

    Love this man's perspective. I really do think breastfeeding has to be something both parents are passionate about or at least both willing to try. Without your partners support it can be so hard. There's some brill top tips but I would say mine would be to stick it out for 6 months and when you get to 6 months you'll be glad you did. Breastfeeding maybe natural but that doesn't mean it's easy or straightforward!

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  21. Top tip: believe in your body. As long as you're looking after it, then it will be looking after your baby just fine :)

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  22. Buy lots of cheap vests to wear under clothes- one up and one down!

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