Going Dad: The Importance of Breastfeeding

We’re thrilled to introduce a guest post by R.C. Liley, creator of the blog, Going Dad.  R.C. is dad to daughter, Avery, and husband to his wife, Kelley.  He penned an article especially for Daily Mom and our Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign.  R.C. was also kind enough to answer a few questions about himself.  Read on to see what he had to say.

Daily Mom: Why do you think that partners play such an important role in the nursing process?

  • R.C.: For the same reason teams need each other in order to perform their best. Teammates are there to keep each other’s spirits up even when things aren’t going well, and it’s a great feeling knowing someone has your back no matter what. Trying to take on nursing alone, without the help/support of a partner, would be mentally and physically taxing. Without someone there to encourage you, assist you however possible, and remind you what a wonderful thing you possess, it might be easy to seek alternatives to nursing that are less beneficial to the baby.

Daily Mom: Did you and your wife always plan to breastfeed?  Was it always easy for you to be supportive?

  • R.C.: Yes and yes. We take nutrition seriously in our house and strive to eat whole food meals and rarely rely on packaged products. That said, breast milk is the only perfect food for babies as its sole purpose is to provide all of the nutrients a growing body requires. Being supportive for my wife was and still is top priority to ensure our little girl grows strong and healthy!

Daily Mom: Was it always easy for you to be supportive of your wife and her nursing relationship?

  • R.C.: There are times when I get frustrated because I am limited to just what’s in the bottle and can never provide that sense of comfort from nursing, but I’ve never felt jealous. If I was still working, that might be a different story, but as an at-home dad, I am happy when my wife can come home and nurse her since I know she misses Avery while at work.
At almost 9 months old, Avery is still getting most of her nutrition from breast milk and only eating steamed veggies at dinnertime. Kelley’s current goal is to breastfeed up to 18 months, so she’s halfway there!


Going Dad on….. The Importance of Breastfeeding

I realize not all mothers are capable of breastfeeding either because of an issue they have or their baby has. Please do not take offense to my thoughts on the importance of breastfeeding; we are fortunate enough that Going Mom is able to breastfeed Avery and we wouldn’t have it any other way. To those who want to but can’t, I am truly sorry and my sincerest thoughts go out to you.

The benefits of breastfeeding over formula are tremendous and will last a lifetime with your baby. From fewer illnesses and trips to the doctor, to a higher IQ, healthy weight, and increased bonding, breastfeeding (when able) is a no-brainer.

Breastfeeding also benefits the mother by burning extra calories, helping your uterus return to pre-pregnancy size, and reducing risk of breast and ovarian cancer. And, a benefit for the entire family, it saves time and money by not having to buy formula that you have to mix and measure.

As a guy, I obviously am not able to breastfeed, but that doesn’t mean I just sit back and let my darling wife do all the work. No way!! All of us men should stand behind their partners and support their breastfeeding as much as possible.

The role of a good dad means being present and supportive throughout…..well, forever! From the beginning, doing what I could to help Kelley’s breastfeeding efforts was important to me, and I know she appreciates all I have done. She told me so! 🙂

Going Dad’s Tips On Providing Support

Here are some of the ways I help Kelley give our precious daughter the best nutrition that benefits her health, immunity, growth, and development:

Take care of cleaning bottles and pump parts.

  • When Kelley comes home from a long day at a demanding job and somehow finding time to pump several times a day, the last thing she needs is to worry about cleaning everything to be ready for the next day. Instead, I’ll take all of the parts and accessories, make new bottles, and wash everything while she spends time with Avery.

Remind her how great it is that she is able to provide the best nutrition to our baby.

  • We both know it, everything I’ve mentioned above and more is all true, but it’s always good to be reminded of how awesome you are…amiright? 🙂

Cook healthy and tasty food.

  • Even before we were parents, I would take over most of the cooking, and now is no different. I cook with a lot of veggies, whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, and lean meats to prepare meals for work and home. I’m not only providing great nutrition for my beautiful wife, I’m providing for our beautiful baby too! I use packaged food sparingly and only after making sure the ingredients are worthy. The importance of nutrition is never ending, and the closer to being a whole, unprocessed food, the better.

Have her water bottle full and within reach.

  • When breastfeeding, it’s common to always feel thirsty as your body requires a lot of energy and nutrients to produce breast milk in addition to keep the body functioning. Water helps deliver nutrients where needed and should always be available to any breastfeeding mother.

Show sympathy and listen to her.

  • This is key to a healthy relationship whether you have a child or not, but just being there to listen means a lot. Lately, with Avery’s teeth coming in, Kelley has every right to need to vent to someone about the pain of biting! Avery actually took a shot at my nipple one day and OUCH, that is not easy to have to deal with several times a day. To all breastfeeding women, I bow down to your awesomeness!

Bring Avery to her in bed for nighttime and morning feedings.

  • As many know, breastfeeding is exhausting, but if you’re determined to give the best to your child (and don’t want to pump), feeding your baby when they wake at night or in the morning is vital. I do what I can by bringing Avery to Kelley when requested so all she needs to worry about is the feeding part.

Take care of diaper changes.

  • As mentioned many times already, breastfeeding is a full time job in and of itself, so having one less thing to worry about allows Kelley to focus on more important things; good, nutritious breast milk. I know I’m a stay-at-home dad and should be doing this, but I still worked the first couple of months and would take over the diaper changing when I could. It makes a world of difference!

As R.C. mentioned, there are plenty of ways that a partner can be helpful to their nursing counterpart. There is no need to take a hands-off approach just because you aren’t the one breastfeeding.  What other ways can a partner be helpful? Please share them in the comments and be sure to check out R.C.’s blog, Going Dad, for more about him and his adventures raising Avery as a stay-at-home dad.

Looking for Un-Nursing Wear?

If you need to add some nursing clothing to your wardrobe, but don’t want to spend money on pieces you’ll only wear for a short period of time, then head on over to Melody Lane for the best in regular clothing that is versatile enough to wear before, during, and after breastfeeding! They offer trendy, classic, and comfortable clothing that is hand-picked for all the life stages women usually experience. With nothing over $100, always free shipping, and new styles featured every season, Melody Lane makes sure your “fashion meets life”.

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Check out Daily Mom’s Mommy Moments Category for more tales on breastfeeding and raising a family.

Photo credits: Going Dad

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Katherine lives in Kansas City with her husband, toddler, and 3 furry children. When she is not at home with her daughter, she is finishing up her Ph.D. in psychology or working on one of her multiple half-finished art projects. She loves ceramics, crafts, fitness, paper mache, and pretending to learn French and Spanish.

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