Husbands play a vital role in breastfeeding

Published: Aug 07, 2019, 17:22 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development

Representational picture
Representational picture

Do you know? A husband's or a family's role in taking care and nurture of a baby can play a big part in that decision. A husband's support is important for the wife. This is so because breastfeeding is not just between the mother and baby, even fathers have to do their bit for a successful breastfeeding relationship. Here, we brief you about the father's role when it comes to breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a foundation for life. It is the best dietary start for a newborn infant and impetus for the mother to inculcate healthy dietary habits and lifestyle for her infant. It is loaded with antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. It promotes healthy weight gain of the child, and keeps obesity away.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, is recommended by WHO as the perfect food for the newborn, and feeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth. Moreover, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.

Also Read: World breastfeeding week: Benefits of breastfeeding

Role of husband/ partner in breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is not only limited to the mother and baby. To enable a lactating mother to initiate and sustain breastfeeding, the support of her husband/partner is very important. This empowerment can happen only by providing them adequate knowledge about benefits off breastfeeding. It will help mothers to make the rational choice of breastfeeding their newborn infants. Practically, this is done by involving prospective fathers in the discussion about breastfeeding during antenatal visits. The useful information for husband could be the possible stress mother will have while having sleepless nights post-delivery while taking care of her baby, possibility and identification of postnatal depression and necessary time-offs/personal time during this period.

Furthermore, still, there is a lack of knowledge when it comes to breastfeeding. Moreover, the lack of family support and poor skills of time management, contribute to their choice to feed their child formula over breastmilk. Thus, the wife should be motivated to get into a healthy discussion wither her husband. A supportive environment should be created for the mother.

Fathers should aim to bond with their babies: The role of dad is pivotal in calming the fussy baby. Once the baby is breastfed, the baby should be taken over, and the dad can burp him. Nothing can be wonderful for the baby than the loving arms of the father. It is the need of the hour that like a mother, a baby should also have a loving, and a close bond with the father, Are you aware? A lot of skin-to-skin contacts is essential and good for both, the bay and father. Fathers can build a healthy relationship with their babies by cuddling, bathing, reading stories for their babies. This will help the father and baby, to strengthen their bond and relationship.

Fathers should spend valuable time with their babies: Dads, how about hanging out with your babies? Yes, you have heard it right! This can really be a good idea. New dads can take their babies for a walk, grocery shopping, or play with them as and when they get an opportunity. This will help the mothers to get some much-needed rest and that 'ME' time. Not only this, dads will be able to get to know their child and can nurture him/her.

A husband can take care of the wife, while she is breastfeeding: Yes, you can certainly do so. A husband can look after his wife's food habits, serve her some food or water or even help her positioning the newborn. A new mom needs to stay hydrated. So, make sure that you offer her water from time to time. Take care of your wife's chores; this will help her breastfeed the child with ease. Your wife only needs your support and help. You can be the biggest cheerleader for your wife and the baby too. When your wife finds it difficult to breastfeed, your words, "Let's try it again," can encourage her. If your wife is exhausted, then calm her down by caring for her. See to it that your wife gets enough rest. Thus, a couple should set up breastfeeding goal for their baby so that the baby can get adequate nutrition.

- By Dr Suresh Birajdar, Consultant, Pediatrics and Neonatology, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar

Also Read: Importance and advantages of breastfeeding

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