HOW TO BE A SUPER DAD FOR YOUR LITTLE ONE

Pregnancy is a beautiful and life-changing experience for both the parents in ways more than one. The first few weeks with a new baby open the window to a whole new range of emotions in the lives of new parents.

While taking care of a new-born is a physically and mentally exhaustive task for the mother who needs to be there for every little thing, the role of a father cannot be underestimated in the same. Men form an essential support system for their partner during the post-pregnancy period. Research has it that many women see their partner as their main source of support with breastfeeding. It has been shown that if fathers are supportive of breastfeeding, women are much more likely to continue.

As parents, a mother and father may have different roles to play in the post-pregnancy period and it can take little time to get used to the routine baby care, but in the end it is totally rewarding if it helps the baby. Experts believe that a father’s involvement in nurturing the baby is of great importance as it exerts a positive influence on the child’s development.

According to the National Health Service for Children in UK, “The involvement of prospective and new fathers in a child’s life is extremely important for maximizing the life-long wellbeing and outcomes of the child. Pregnancy and birth are the first major opportunities to engage fathers in appropriate care and upbringing of children.”

Today, such medical solutions and devices are available which enable fathers to feed expressed breast milk to the babies even when the mother is not around; thereby ensuring that a child does not suffer on the basic nutrition that comes from the mother.

Innovative tests have been devised based on intensive research that mimic a baby’s natural sucking behaviour and helps in the development of child’s facial muscles and jaw lines exactly the way it occurs in conventional breastfeeding process. Especially in case of working mothers, breast pumps come in real handy. With the availability of new technology which allows for double breast pumping and bi-phasic techniques, expressing breast milk has become a smooth sail for working mothers. The expressed milk can be stored and fed to baby as per its requirement without any hassle. Such novel solutions give fathers a chance to bond with their babies and play a crucial role in the child’s rearing in growth years.

Companies like Medela India manufacture pumps such as Calma which is an innovative feeding solution designed for breastfed babies. It does not interfere with breastfeeding and lets your baby feed the way they learned at the breast, which makes switching from breast to Calma and back easy.

This progressive medical technology is creating waves in the market for its novel uses and empowering even men to be more self-reliant and resourceful when it comes to the feeding needs of their babies.

At times, due to lack of knowledge and proper guidance, fathers, too, suffer from various insecurities and post-natal depression that could act as a deterrent to build a bond with the mother and baby. It is therefore very important for the parents to share the knowledge and responsibilities between them to make the tasks less cumbersome and fully enjoy parenthood.

Gone are the days when a father's role was limited to cheering on his wife to continue with breastfeeding. Today, many mothers pump their milk for various reasons, enabling fathers to feed expressed milk to the baby when the mother isn't around. This way they can ensure that the child does not miss out on the best possible nutrition even in the absence of the mother. Feeding the baby also gives dads a chance to bond with their baby and play a crucial role in the child's rearing right from the start.

The postnatal period is a critical phase in the lives of parents and new-born babies, and can result in wonders if done thoughtfully and in a right manner.

How dads can dad better?

  • Boost your partner’s confidence by encouraging her to learn new skills; reassure and praise – if she believes she can breastfeed, she probably will; encourage conversations about how both of you feel about dealing with the new life.
  • Get involved with the baby in activities like bathing and feeding to show you care.
  • Help to reduce the household chores your partner has to do so that she can feed the baby for as long and as often as the baby needs.
  • Encourage your partner to eat and drink properly so that she feels equipped to undertake post-natal challenges and at the same time take good care of her health also.
  • Ensure that your partner gets help from an expert or doctor if there is a difficulty with breastfeeding – practically all women can breastfeed if they get help when it’s needed.
  • If your partner feels like stopping early on, while she and the baby are still learning this skill, encourage her to keep going by being positive about the progress so far.
  • Learn ways and new age medical techniques that enable fathers to feed the babies with breast milk.

A healthy mother makes a healthy baby and hence it is the father's responsibility to ensure that his partner rests and eats and drinks to get adequate nutrition. In order to deal with post-natal challenges, it is imperative for mothers to focus on their health. If there is any challenge or difficulty in breastfeeding, help must be taken from a lactation consultant.

Over and above everything else, a father must always motivate and encourage his partner to breastfeed and make the environment as conducive as possible for her to continue.