Dear Mr. Dad,
My wife gave birth two weeks ago and been trying to nurse our son ever since. We always thought that breastfeeding was going to be so easy and so natural but every feeding seems to cause my wife more pain. We've read a lot about the benefits of breastfeeding and both agree that it would be the best thing for our baby, but my wife is about to give up altogether. Is there anything I can do to help?
When my oldest was born, my wife had a terrible time getting the hang of it so the nursing staff sent in a lactation consultant to help her. The consultant turned out to be a man, which I thought was incredibly funny. It also illustrated a very important point: Despite everything we hear about how natural and easy breastfeeding is, it's actually a learned skill -- for both baby and mother.
The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be stressful and frustrating for the new mom, so much so that she may be tempted to throw in the towel. This is where you come in. If she's having problems, she's going to need as much support from you as possible. In fact, the more supportive and encouraging you are, the more she'll enjoy her breastfeeding experience and the longer she'll do it. Here are some ways to stay involved:
-- "Mr. Dad"
A nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott is the bestselling author of The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be, The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year, Fathering Your Toddler, The Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads, and four other books on fatherhood. He has written on parenting, fatherhood, and health for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and dozens of other periodicals. He also hosts "Positive Parenting," which airs on a dozen stations in the US and worldwide on the American Forces Network. Armin lives with his family in Oakland, California. You may visit his website at mrdad.com to learn more.