Father’s Day is here and it’s got us thinking about how to build the crucial relationship between dads and their babies. Early on, this relationship can be a challenge for dad. He can be intimidated by the fragile life he’s holding in his arms and may worry he might do something wrong. One way to help dad cultivate this special relationship is to involve him in feeding time. He’ll get a chance to bond with baby and he’ll be helping you by giving you those precious opportunities to rest, which can make all the difference. There will be a learning curve at first but with patient coaching he’ll get there and the time invested will be well worth the effort.
With both of my children I have been unable to breastfeed due to a medication that I take. So including my husband in the feeding journey has always been a natural thing for our family. If you breastfeed, however, involving dad may feel like a difficult task. But it can be done! And dad’s relationship with baby will be all the better for it.
You can begin to involve dad by having him help prepare baby for feeding. While you prepare your breastfeeding area with whatever helps you feel comfortable, ask dad to pick baby up, give him snuggles and bring him to you to be fed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help during baby’s feeding if you need something. Involving dad in any way you can is important!
After feeding, give dad the opportunity for some skin-to-skin bonding with baby. When baby is full pass him or her to dad (carefully, you don’t want him to get thrown up on!) and he can burp baby and continue to build their special relationship. Seeing dad bonding and comforting baby will help you feel more comfortable with leaving him to care for her.
Pumping and Formula Feeding Families
Another way you can bring dad into the feeding journey is by adding breast pumping into your routine. If you’re ready to get some solid sleep at night, this is crucial! Plus, it’s always a great idea to have a small supply of pumped breast milk on hand for dad, babysitters and other family members to use if you need to be away for a few hours. Start by adding one to two pumping sessions a day into your routine and build up a stockpile.
You may also be supplementing or feeding exclusively with infant formula. Whichever you choose, dad will appreciate being able to help to you. You can have him help with any feeding time, but to start, you may want to have him wake up with baby once at night to allow you to get a solid stretch of sleep. You will be amazed at how much this extra uninterrupted sleep helps you function during the day!
If dad hasn’t woken up for a feeding before you may want to wake up with him for the first one just to help him learn the routine. Show him where you store nighttime bottles. Make him aware of any special night time only routines that you do with baby. You will both feel more comfortable by going over the whole regimen together.
Dad can use the BlueSmart mia to track the feedings he takes care of so both of you are on the same page. The BlueSmart mia can alert him when it’s time to feed, track the feeding duration and track the feeding amounts. All data collected syncs to the mobile app so you can both look at it later. The motion sensor can also alert him when the feeding angle is not optimal.
Encourage dad to make this time with baby as memorable as possible. Help him to feel comfortable and encourage skin-to-skin bonding. This intimate time between baby and dad allows them to make eye contact, be close to one another and build attachment. It’s such an important opportunity for relationship building.
There will certainly be some ups and downs as dad learns the routine but everyone’s relationship will be better for the effort you put in to involving dad in the feeding journey.