The Surgeon General recommends that all moms breastfeed their babies. What was impressive was the recognition that simply asking or advising a woman to breastfeed is not enough because there are numerous barriers and challenges to breastfeeding, from going back to work to learning how to get a baby latched on and everything in between.

One aspect that I was happy to see addressed was the involvement of fathers.  One study showed that when fathers attended classes breastfeeding classes before the birth of their child their babies were more likely to be happy and breastfeeding at 6 months (25%) versus the babies whose fathers didn’t attend the classes (15%). Clearly having partner support is important, but not just so that they can cheer them on.

It’s also been shown that when the partner knows what some of the challenges are, they can help with problem solving and encouragement.  It also helps when a partner knows enough to not second guess and question what a mom is doing. This really undermines a person’s confidence. 

The worst questions to ask a breastfeeding mom

When partners have a little knowledge, they’re less likely to ask:

  • Are you sure that they’re getting enough?
  • Are you doing it right?
  • Why is the baby crying again?
  • Is there something wrong with the milk?
  • I thought this was supposed to be natural, why isn’t this easier?
  • Is there something wrong with your breasts?

These are the kinds of questions that people who don’t know anything about breastfeeding might ask in an attempt to be helpful, but it can create doubt, worry, and feelings of inadequacy in a sleep-deprived mother’s mind. She may question herself, get discouraged and decide to give up.

Why Dads should go to the Breastfeeding Classes

It’s not to see other women’s breasts! I’ve always encouraged Dads to attend any and all pre-delivery classes including the breastfeeding classes that are offered. Dads are a little reluctant at first, then warm to the idea when I explain that the class doesn’t require anyone to remove their clothes.  I’ve seen the dads who do go to the prenatal breastfeeding classes in the delivery room and the maternity rooms. They’re a lot more comfortable helping their partners get the baby in the right position and supporting her physically and emotionally.

So if you’re an expectant dad, find a prenatal breastfeeding class.  Your partner and your baby will be glad you did!

For more information on all aspects of breastfeeding, you can read my book: Nurse Barb’s Personal Guide to Breastfeeding.

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