By Hannah Schenker
When it comes to breastfeeding, dads may feel a bit left out – after all, they aren’t the ones producing milk! If it’s not going well, they may feel a bit helpless and not know what to do. But according to research from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, they absolutely can affect breastfeeding outcomes, and it comes down to something very simple:
Do the laundry. Make dinner. Clean up. Make mum a cup of tea.
Happy mum = better chances of breastfeeding success, so it really comes down to making mum as stress-free and relaxed as possible.
Perhaps that seems obvious, but it has been confirmed by University of Waikato masters student Angga Rahadian’s in her research focusing on improving breastfeeding success rates. She has been interested in what role the partner has when it comes to breastfeeding success, and found that two particular areas of support were vital: physical support, and psychological support. While she was only looking at heterosexual couples, the same findings may be applied to any relationship.
“Physical support is like massaging the wife when they feel tired and cooking or doing household chores,” Rahadian said.
Psychological support could be the father/partner educating themselves on breastfeeding, protecting their baby’s mum from negative comments from visiting family and friends, or simply asking her whether she’d like a cup of tea and sit down to listen to how she’s doing.
Having an encouraging partner may mean the difference between persevering when there are breastfeeding struggles, or giving up altogether. When the partner picks up the slack at home and supports mum to be able to spend as much time with her baby, focusing on breastfeeding, then mum will be far more relaxed and produce more milk. Dads may not have as much time at home as they’d like, but when they are there, they can make a big difference by doing these things.