Mother’s breast milk is ideal for the baby. Its composition is unique and varies depending on the needs of the baby. Breastfeeding helps protect your baby from infections and illnesses, and also reduces the risk of developing asthma or allergies. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends feeding your baby exclusively with breast milk until it reaches the age of 6 months.
The editors talked about joint births, the importance of breastfeeding and the role of fathers in its development in this World Week of Breastfeeding with MD Michael Abu-Duckn, Chief Physician, Department of Gynecology, St. Joseph Hospital (Berlin, Germany).
At the moment, 60-95% of children around the world are applied to the breast after birth. However, as they grow older, this proportion gradually decreases, and at the age of 6 months, breast milk receives a significantly smaller number of babies. Lack of time for a mother can be one of the factors for early interruption of feeding, since after the birth of a child, many women tend to combine care for the baby and work. According to the calculation of the Federal State Statistics Service, in Russia less than half (slightly more than 40%) of children aged 3 to 6 months are breast-fed.
Philips Avent has conducted a global study on breastfeeding and the role of fathers in this process. In total, more than 3,500 female users of the Pregnancy + mobile application from 14 countries took part in the survey. On average, mothers are satisfied with the level of support provided by their partners in the process of breastfeeding. The survey was also conducted in Russia – 235 women took part in it. According to the data obtained, the vast majority of the partners of the respondents (92%) soothe the babies, 77% look after the children while they sleep, a little less than half – get up for night feeding (48%) or wash bottles and breast pumps (46%).
The role of the father has changed over the past few decades. Men are now much more willing to take part in raising children. Not only are dads more likely to be present during childbirth – they also take on a significant part of the responsibilities for caring for children. Including, some modern dads support the process of breastfeeding, which is especially valuable. This helps to establish a connection between the father and the baby and can positively affect their future relationship.
According to studies, women who feel support from their partners are more likely to begin breastfeeding and will be able to continue breastfeeding longer. The fact that modern dads are more and more ready to get involved in the process of caring for a child is especially important.
Is there a connection, for example, between joint birth and support by a man of HS?
A man who was present at the birth can set priorities in the future life in the family in a different way, and the feeding process itself will be perceived as natural.
For example, in matters of breastfeeding, a father is more likely to be guided by the benefits for the baby and his mother, rather than questions of decency or public approval. This can be especially pronounced when a mother needs to feed her baby outside the home.
The presence of the pope during childbirth is also useful because it is possible to provide skin-to-skin contact for the baby and father. This is especially important immediately after the birth of the child. The baby who was just born left an almost sterile environment and ended up in a world full of bacteria. If his first contact is with mom and / or dad, their bacteria will “settle” on his skin, spread quickly and form a barrier against “alien”, pathogenic bacteria. In order for this to happen and immunity is formed in the child, they just wipe the newly born baby, put a hat on it and put it on their chest or dad or mom, covering with a blanket on top.
The immune system of a child who has not had skin-to-skin contact and, accordingly, interaction with the bacteria of the mother or father, can be weakened and undergo various diseases. And if the child was put on the chest not only of the mother, but also of the father, the baby gets the opportunity to “get acquainted” with the flora of both, his immunity becomes stronger, and he gets a great barrier from hospital infections. Contact with dad also allows the baby to recognize him better in the future, to feel more protected and, accordingly, more calm. Kids who applied “skin-to-skin” not only with their mother, but also with their father, shout less, and they form the nervous system more quickly.
It is no secret that it is not always possible to establish breastfeeding. In this case, women often experience complexes due to the need to feed with the mixture. What to do with the emerging guilt?
Mother’s milk is by far the best nutrition for the baby. But sometimes breastfeeding becomes impossible for a variety of reasons. Many women have difficulty trying to breastfeed. If this happens, it is important to remember that modern artificial mixtures are an alternative that is adapted to the needs of the child. In addition, breastfeeding is only one of the contributions to the development of the baby. For example, a mother can talk with a child or read for him. Also, bodily contact is useful for children, so it is very important to stroke the baby and apply it “skin-to-skin”.
What help can a partner provide for breastfeeding?
When lactation is just beginning, it is especially important for a woman to feel the support of a partner – moral and not only. First of all, it should be noted that help with breastfeeding does not mean help only at the moment when the mother feeds the baby.
For successful feeding, it is necessary to create a peaceful atmosphere and, if possible, eliminate stressful situations so that mom can relax and focus on the baby.
It is proved that when the mother is calm, the flow of milk increases, and it becomes easier for the baby to get food.
Of course, the father can connect directly at the stage of feeding the baby. For example, prepare a place: place a comfortable pillow for feeding and dim the light. Upon completion, if necessary, to swaddle the child.
Dad can also calm the baby when he is naughty, and feed him with expressed milk at night, so that mom can sleep. For successful expressing, relaxation is also necessary, therefore, it will not be superfluous to pick up an electronic breast pump, which will first prepare the breast with a gentle massage and only then proceed with expressing. A similar device is, for example, Philips Avent.
It is important for a woman to feel that even with breastfeeding she has the opportunity to devote some time to herself – for example, go to the hairdresser or to the doctor. For this, it is necessary that one of the relatives could stay at home and feed the baby with expressed milk. So, mom will appreciate the help with creating a milk bank (an individual milk supply just for such cases). The father can learn the rules for collecting and storing breast milk, make sure that there are ready-made bags or containers at home, and sign the date of decantation.
It happens that a man is against breastfeeding. For example, dads who observe difficulties at the stage of establishing a wife’s lactation (for example, manifestations of lactostasis) may be afraid that breastfeeding will harm her health.
In such a situation, it is important to talk about the fact that during the restructuring of the body, difficulties can arise, and this is natural, and in the long term, breastfeeding is even beneficial for the health of mothers. It protects against postpartum depression and reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Men can also be embarrassed by the need to regularly feed the baby – often this means that the woman will be forced to feed in public places. Even those fathers who do not see the problem of women breastfeeding outside the house are not always ready to see the mother of their child in this role.
In such cases, it is important to recall that there is special clothing adapted for discreet feeding in public places, and breastfeeding itself is a baby’s natural process of obtaining nutrition, which is extremely important for his good health and proper development.