Children and families do better when fathers are involved. Support from her partner is an important factor in a woman’s decision to breastfeed, so dads should be educated on the basics and benefits of breastfeeding. The concept of “Dad” can include fathers, grandfathers, uncles, mother’s partner, etc.
Dads may have concerns about his partner breastfeeding including feeling left out; being concerned she does not have enough milk; concerns that breastfeeding will interfere with his intimate relationship with her, including changes in her breasts; and feeling that it is just too hard for her. Learning about breastfeeding ahead of the birth will help reassure dad about these issues. He can also reach out to the local WIC peer counselors/IBCLCs or go to the USDA WIC website Dad’s Breastfeeding Support page.
Dads should be encouraged to support moms before the baby is born by attending prenatal classes with her, participate in preparing for the birth by helping procure needed baby items, and helping with household chores. Once the baby is born, dads can encourage moms to breastfeed and praise her efforts; watch baby for early signs of hunger; bring mom snacks and water; make sure she is comfortable; change diapers; hold, cuddle, and bathe the baby; and help with meal preparation and other tasks to keep the household running.
For organizations working with fathers, the Engaging Men and Dads at WIC toolkit is a good resource for staff training and making your office environment welcoming.