When you become a dad, there are so many emotions you experience. In addition there are nerves that start to creep in as well. You are now in charge of another human being. There are so many changes that you will go through as a dad. Yet, as we all know, mom has gone through so many more changes. Now more than ever is when you need to be there not only for your child, but your wife. I have teamed up with Medela and their Kin program to help dads understand things you might miss when new baby arrives. As a father of two, I would like to share with you some of the things that I did to help out my wife when she was breastfeeding.
Go Beyond Washing Bottles When It Comes To Breastfeeding
One of the biggest themes I hear from new dads is that they feel useless when it comes to feeding their baby. New dads look for ways to connect with their child. It is tough since the mom is the one who nurses their child. When our kids were little, I told my wife I would be happy to do anything to help with feeding our child. My wife started pumping breast milk using Medela products long before I started the Art of Fatherhood. I would clean the equipment, bottles and parts to try and do my part. I would help with bottle feedings. This gave my wife some time and me some quality bonding moments with our new baby.
That was an easy part. When my wife went back to work, I needed to step up my game even more. I was the stay at home dad. I would communicate with my wife on how many bags of breast milk I used that day. It was a way for us to keep up with the demand of her breast milk. When my wife would have dinner out with her team for work or she would have a much deserved night out with her friends after work, I would meet her in the parking lot so she could nurse our children. It was through communication that helped my wife and I create a plan that would work for us. A piece of advice I would offer to new parents is talk openly with each other and how you can work together during this time when your wife is breastfeeding. Each family is different and you need to do what is best for your family.
What I Learned Working With Medela
One way that we can all help moms feel comfortable with nursing is making sure that both at home and at work there is a safe environment for breastfeeding and pumping breast milk. My wife, like many women who got back into the workforce after having a child, had a lot to deal with on many fronts. One is getting back into their routine at work. There is also the stress of balancing work and home. The list goes on and on. These factors and others are things we should all think about to make sure that women feel supported when going back to work.
What about a safe place at work for women to either breastfeed or pump their breast milk? I would encourage men and women to talk with their HR department. They can learn what the company has in place in terms of nursing stations and ways to talk with women who are coming back from maternity leave. Of course it might be an awkward conversation without knowing what to say. Men might feel uncomfortable talking to women who need help in creating an area where she feels safe to nurse at work. This is where talking to your HR team comes into play. The more steps that are already taken before women get back to the office, the better it will be for everyone. Whether you are at home or in the office, take the time to go the extra distance to create a welcoming atmosphere for women who are nursing. For more on how you can help check out the Kin program over at the Medela website.
Please note: I am working with Medela on a sponsored campaign. I am receiving payment for my work, but my thoughts are my own.