What Women Want | by This Dad Can

In a week where its been all boobies, breastfeeding and babies, we speak to Jon Neville from This Dad Can, just about how dad's might be feeling this World Breastfeeding Week and what they can do to support their super breastfeeding women ....

Find out more about Jon & This Dad Can at www.thisdadcan.co.uk

So, what do women want?

To coincide with World Breastfeeding Week 2017, we asked mums who had
previously breastfed, what advice would they give to new dads regarding
breastfeeding? And what can dads do to support them?


“Mum’s need reminding to drink lots and eat lots”.

“It's not easy being Dad, as baby may just want mum, but nappy changes can
be great as it's a time that baby is normally alert and responsive to facial
expressions and often when our babies have smiled a lot”

“It’s easy to feel like a spare part as a dad, but there are ways of overcoming
this and being involved as much as is physically possible. Enjoy having a new
baby and all the amazing things that will happen in your life as a result of it!!”

“It made me feel a tad left out compared with bottle feeding, but we overcame
that by having bath time, as my time”

“As a new Dad, I was unsure how to parent. It seemed whenever I held the
baby they would cry; however, they would calm down with mum. It’s easy for
your brain to generalise and conclude that you are not needed or capable. I
think this can be a really testing time for new dads. Stick in there, come up
with creative solutions, as it becomes easier with time”


So, what can dads do to support mums when they breastfeed? Here’s your run down of top tips and practical nudges.

  1. Provide emotional support

“Remind her about the hard work she is doing growing your baby. It doesn't stop when she gives birth! Give her cuddles or hold her hand (but don't mention sex!) but also don't be upset if she is 'touched out'. Cherish her. Tell her she's beautiful when she's on her knees because the baby has fed all night”

“He reassures me that everything is ok when I'm feeling down (day three was the pits). He constantly admires my new boobs, but knows not to touch”

“Offer her comfort she is doing a great job”

“Never NEVER spill expressed milk, and if it does spill understand the sheer heartbreak of the situation”

“When mum is frustrated and upset and struggling gently remind them why to keep breastfeeding and mention how proud you are and give all the support you can. Understand how tough it really is to have someone attached to you for hours”

“Be as understanding and empathetic as possible”

“Dads should be prepared to be up in the night even if it's not feeding - the lack of sleep was horrendous for me and I really struggled mentally with it. My husband would settle our babies if I was struggling but I've had to have a 'chat' with my brother because he felt he couldn't 'do anything' at night. Even if it's just saying 'it will be ok' or taking hold of the baby when it won't sleep, it helps. I've had people tell me that my husband shouldn't help or be up in the nights as he has to work in the morning, that's fine when you have one baby and can sleep in the day if you're lucky enough to be off work. But having another child and not being able to sleep or having to work yourself, you should help each other out.”

  1. Provide easy reach treats

“He gets me water, constantly throughout the day and makes sure I look after myself (sleep when babies sleeping, eat good and healthy food as well as all the treats I fancy)”

“Drinks and snacks!! Especially at stupid o'clock in the morning”

“When my husband went back to work he used to leave a jug of water with lots of ice and a glass next to my seat on the sofa, sometimes snacks and sandwiches in the fridge. Or some kind of lunch. He used to make a lot of flap jacks as they are amazing for supply” 

“If mum is up a lot on the night either help by leaving snacks and drinks available or jump up and make some toast as night feeds are bloody hungry work”

“Bring her little gifts (bar of chocolate, single flower) to show her you've been thinking about her”

  1. Baby Care

“My husband did everything but breastfeed for my two. Nappy changes, burping, bath-time, cuddles while mummy sleeps”

“He'll change babies nappy while I sort myself out to feed, even in the middle of the night”

“He totally does bath time to give me a break”

“When baby isn't feeding esp during cluster feeds take baby for an hour so mum can rest”

“Getting a good sling (see a sling Library if possible) can be a life saver for everyone but Dad can wear Baby and keep them calm and comforted much more than just holding them, as it can replicate a womb like position, meaning baby is happy with Dad whilst Mum gets a shower or a nice hour nap mid-afternoon to help with the night feeds”

“Dads can do skin to skin too and not only will it help mum get some breathing room, it'll probably melt her heart a little too and bond you and baby”

“When babies been very fussy all day and attached to mum, taking them out for a little walk or car ride while mum gets to be on her own for a few minutes honestly does a world of good!”

“If you have more children then taking the baby for a little while somewhere out of sight and hearing so that Mum gets time with the other children too. The amount of physical contact I had with baby number two frustrated my then toddler and he was envious. So, I needed special one on one time with him”

  1. Educate yourself

“Breastfeeding is super tiring I don't think men get that so be aware she may be sat on the couch a lot but she'll be tired”

“Offer to run the shop for a nipple shield or lansinoh if she has sore nipples”

“Look into local breastfeeding support so you know what's available on the hard days”

“Oh, and expressing is HARD. A lot of people think that it's as easy as pumping and handing off to dad so they can be involved- it's really not that simple. If she suggests giving expressing a go then support her but don't push it. Especially if/when baby is feeding a lot. Expressing seems like an impossibility then!”

  1. Step up a gear with the domestic chores

“Cook for her, even clean the house so when she's not feeding she can at least have a relax”

“Give mum time to just be with baby, not worrying about what's for tea, not worrying about older siblings, washing, tidying the house, buying nappies etc”

“When baby is cluster feeding it's more than likely she's sat there frustrated that she can't do anything but feed so if their bits to be done around the house, do them, or ask if there's something that they'd like you to do”

“Do the thinking for her... is there food in the house? What needs cooking? Does the laundry need doing? Are older siblings entertained? Do any bills need paying? Birthday cards or presents needed?”

  1. Provide positive intervention to negative attitudes

“One of the most important ways he supported me was to not allow any negativity, in the form of pressure to introduce bottles from family members”

“Stand up for her if offhand comments about feeding are made”

Care of other children

“He entertains my other two kids when I can't”

  1. Reduce your expectations

“Don’t be annoyed when you come home from work if all mum has been able to do is cluster feed the baby. Remember this time won't last too long and to cherish it while they're teeny” 

“I think expectations make a huge difference. Breastfed babies feed a lot and when THEY want to. This can make it really hard for dads who are used to feeling in control. Really important to go with the flow”

“My husband sometimes felt a bit lost and that he couldn't help out as much especially with my son as he was so attached to me. It is difficult for dads who may be used to being in control. Dads need to let go of what they can't do, breastfeed, and focus on what they can do.

Becoming a parent is a profound season. It often impacts your personality, relationships and lifestyle. We often access whatever help we can find. Above is a short list of practical pointers to make life a tad easier.

As a new dad, I wanted to be involved. I wanted to learn how to best support my child and their mother. I wanted to ensure I was doing things well. My story is far from unique which is what drove my ambition to found This Dad Can. This Dad Can is an online resource for new or expecting fathers. We resource men to be the Dads they want to be. We save them valuable time and money by avoiding the common parenting mistakes. Reduce hassle and resource men to be the best they can be.


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