Whether you’re a new dad, or already have children, a new baby always brings its own unique joys and challenges. When it comes to feeding baby, if mum is breastfeeding or expressing, it can often be hard for dads to know when and how they can get involved – but believe us when we say there are many things you can do to support baby’s mum, and to ensure you have your own bond and feeding experiences with baby.
Maybe the most obvious, but factors which can be overlooked when you’re immersed in the new baby bubble, are love, support and encouragement. All breastfeeding and expressing mums – but especially those who have not had a baby before – need to learn and practise, and by supporting them in doing this can mean so much.
Expressing breastmilk is best done in a relaxing and comfortable environment, and especially in the early stages, when baby is present. Support your partner by making sure she has found a comfortable position (be on-hand to offer pillows for support when needed) and that she has a glass of water easily accessible at all times – producing baby’s food is thirsty work! There has even been a study which proves the correlation between suckling, Oxytocin release, and immediate thirst.
Whilst expressing is often more effective when baby is present, mum might not find it comfortable or relaxing with them on their lap or in their arms; she may need both hands free to be able to work the pump and ensure it is in the correct position to enable the milk flow. So, we know you don’t need us to give you an excuse to cuddle and play with baby, but this is the perfect opportunity for you to do just that, and spend quality time with both your baby and partner.
Once expressing has finished, the milk needs to be labelled with the date and time and stored for use in the fridge or freezer. Also, the pumpset and component parts need to be cleaned. Offering to do both of these things will be so helpful to your partner and will encourage her to express more often, as she knows help is on hand.
These suggestions might seem quite obvious as ways of offering support, but sometimes it’s the little things which mean so much. Encouraging your partner by helping to make the whole expressing experience pleasant and enjoyable, means more hormones will be released, and more breastmilk will flow!
Expressing should be an enjoyable experience for both mum and dad – and keep in mind that everything you are doing to support your partner directly benefits your baby. We are always celebrating our amazing Ardo mums, but we also celebrate our Ardo dads in everything they do to help – you’re doing an amazing job!