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The figure and role of the father has traditionally been on one side of the maternity, and more specifically of breastfeeding. It is true that the mother is the only person who can breastfeed, however the father's role in breastfeeding is key for it to be successful.
And it is that, as the World Health Organization, adequate family support is very important for breastfeeding to succeed. But are parents aware of it? How can you help in this regard?
The World Health Organization defends that Breastfeeding as the ideal form of food for newborn children, as it provides the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development. It is recommended exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of life of the baby, adding complementary feeding (cereals, fruit, vegetables ...) until at least two years of age.
It is a process in which parents need to get involved from the get-go. How? In the first place, parents must be informed about the feeding and care of the newborn to become aware of the importance of their figure.
To receive the correct information, they can accompany the woman to the midwife's consultation, attend maternal education, attend groups of Breastfeeding from each health center or read different studies or articles ... In this way the father will realize that to breastfeed It is not only a matter of women, but it is a matter of two, rather three, where he is a fundamental pillar.
Once they have been informed, what can they do while the mother breastfeeds the baby?
1. Unconditional support and positive reinforcement
It is very common for the mother to be more sensitive than normal after delivery and the following days: she doubts herself, feels fatigue, irritability, in short, that her mood is altered.
This transitory period is known as maternity blues. It is a normal reaction produced by the hormonal changes of pregnancy and childbirth and that takes place in the first ten days postpartum. To this hormonal alteration must be added the care of the baby, interrupted sleep ...
The father must remind the mother that it is a transitory stage, and that everything he is doing for his little one is phenomenal, thus increasing confidence and self-esteem, essential in the first days.
2. Care during feeding
While the baby is nursing, the father will take care of the details so that the mother and the baby are as comfortable as possible: pleasant room temperature, a stool will be brought near the feet if he is sitting, glass of water, milk or juice… (during the drink the woman feels very thirsty), he will ask you if you need anything to reach him, in short, he will accompany you during it.
3. Unload the mother
If there are more children at home, the father will take care of them. It is very common for the young siblings - now older - to feel jealous of the new member of the family, but little by little it will go away.
4. Take on household chores
As for household chores, the father will try to take care of them, so the mother will have more time to rest (breastfeeding generates a lot of physical wear and tear) and breastfeed the baby.
5. Control visits
A fundamental point is the visits to the hospital and home when the mother has just given birth. It is very important that the couple mark their limits, and limit them only to the closest relatives. Visits are usually a source of stress for the mother and baby at this stage. They both need reassurance!
Thus, with everything we have just seen, parents can be an active part of parenting, being the breastfeeding the gateway to her.
You can read more articles similar to The role of the father in breastfeeding, in the category of On-site Breastfeeding.