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Toolbox of Breastfeeding Teamwork Strategies

Updated: May 31

How to achieve important parenting goals.

When breastfeeding support takes on a teamwork approach, the potentially negative effects of a mother feeling like a failure can be reduced, and breastfeeding duration can be enhanced. Fathers need to know that there are many ways that they can support breastfeeding and that various types of support can be valuable.


Providing fathers with a toolbox of potential support behaviors is important in order to increase their sense of efficacy in providing support.

Education and communication to become breastfeeding savvy


1. Discuss how long you plan to continue breastfeeding early on.

2. Discuss with your partner ideas for trying to solve breastfeeding problems or make suggestions for creative or different ways to make breastfeeding work better.

3. Learn more about breastfeeding by reading books or articles on breastfeeding.

4. Speak up in support of your partner or defend breastfeeding when someone makes a negative breastfeeding comment.

5. Help your partner get assistance from others for solving breastfeeding problems or improving breastfeeding.

6. Remind your partner of the benefits that breastfeeding has for her and for your baby.

7. Show patience and a willingness to wait for your opportunity to feed the baby.

8. Support your partner's attendance at a breastfeeding support group.


Helping


1. Help to take care of other childcare tasks with the baby.

2. Willingly give something up in order to make breastfeeding easier.

3. Help out with other household tasks and responsibilities to free up your partner's time and energy.

4. Help out with breastfeeding expressed milk at night.

5. Care for your baby during and after breastfeeding is done.

6. Try to improve your partner's health and nutrition.

7. Give your partner a break from the baby.


Appreciation

1. Praise your partner for breastfeeding and let her know that what she is doing is a beautiful, worthwhile thing.

2. Let your partner know that breastfeeding is natural and/or give her the message that she is breastfeeding because she wants the best for her baby.

3. Listen to and encourage your partner when she is feeling frustrated or discouraged about breastfeeding.

4. Tell your partner that you value and support her mothering decisions and intuitions around breastfeeding.


Breastfeeding presence


1. Try to improve the breastfeeding experience by getting equipment or supplies ready for breastfeeding.

2. Act attentively towards your partner during breastfeeding.

3. Quietly share time and watch or hold your partner during breastfeeding.

4. Physically help with breastfeeding-related activities.

5. Help create a quiet, pleasant environment for breastfeeding, for example, tidy up the room, light a candle, or play soothing music.

6. Show pleasure and satisfaction while your partner is breastfeeding.


Responsiveness

1. Make it easy for your partner to breastfeed while the entertaining company or visiting others.

2. Be patient and understanding of the time it takes to breastfeed and don't get upset if the other housework is not done.

3. Show your comfort with breastfeeding in public and help her feel comfortable too.

4. Pay attention to how much and how your partner wants you to participate in breastfeeding.


Conclusion

When breastfeeding support takes on a teamwork approach, the potentially negative effects of a mother feeling like a failure can be reduced, and breastfeeding duration can be enhanced. Fathers need to know that there are many ways that they can support breastfeeding and that various types of support can be valuable. Providing fathers with a toolbox of potential support behaviors is important in order to increase their sense of efficacy in providing support. However, fathers should also understand how to offer and provide support in a way that is sensitive to what mothers actually need. Thus, health professionals should help fathers develop a greater awareness of how mothers value their involvement as couples work together to achieve important parenting goals for the health and wellbeing of their children.


Sources:

They’re born to get breastfed - how fathers view breastfeeding: a mixed method study, Emily Hansen, Leigh Tesch and Jennifer Ayton, June 2018

Fathers and breastfeeding: Attitudes, involvement and support, Hibah Maki A Al Namir, Anne-Marie Brady, Louise Gallagher, July 2017

Relationships between types of father breastfeeding support and breastfeeding outcomes, Lynn A. Rempel, John K Rempel and Katrina C.J. Moore, July, 2017

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