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Father playing with his baby

Tips for fathers on how to assist their partners during breastfeeding

Supporting my partner during breastfeeding the baby ‒ is that possible? Of course it is! And you will manage. You can primarily help by completely supporting your partner’s decision to breastfeed your baby and by assisting her if she encounters problems.

Later, when it is time for weaning, you can even play the leading role.

Read here how the relationship to your partner may change, which questions may arise and how you can be of help:

Tip 1: Knowledge is everything!

You and your partner should find out what to expect during the breastfeeding period. In so doing, you will discover how healthy breast milk is and how marvellously it adapts to the needs of the growing baby (>> Breastfeeding). You will be amazed!

Tip 2: In an atmosphere of tranquility and comfort...

...everything is much more relaxed. Try as far as possible to keep stress as well as hustle and bustle away from mother and child, particularly when it comes to breastfeeding. The baby will then drink in a more settled way and your partner can enjoy small breaks.

Tip 3: Burping is necessary!

Even if your baby drank very peacefully, he/she will still have swallowed a couple of air bubbles. That means: The air needs to come out! This is a perfect chance for you to take over particularly in the night your partner will appreciate this.

 

To wind your baby, place him/her half over your shoulder and pat him lightly (!) on the back. If your baby burps, he/she may also bring up some milk. So make sure you always have a cloth at the ready.

Tip 4: Problems?

Let’s tackle them together! Under Breastfeeding problems there is plenty of information on how to solve any challenges which may arise.

If your partner is suffering from hot or painful breasts, for example, you can prepare a cottage cheese compress, buy suitable teas or a nipple shield from the pharmacy or drugstore, carry the baby around if he/she only wants to suck at the breast all the time, and so on. There are many things you can do!

Tip 5: Don’t be envious!

Be honest: Can you sometimes not help feeling that you have put a little competitor into the world, who claims your partner’s breasts all for him or herself? And that you hardly have a chance to get near her any more? Don’t have a bad conscience about this; many dads feel the same way. Always remember how important breast milk is for your child and that this phase will pass.

Tip 6: When will we have sex again?

This varies greatly and depends primarily on the well-being of your partner. Show understanding here and do not expect readiness on her part too soon. However, you can rest assured that sex will be enjoyable again, irrespective of whether your partner is nursing or not. After all, it is recommended that women breastfeed completely for at least six months, and you will most probably not want to wait that long...

Tip 7: What a bust!

The breasts of your partner are probably double the size they were prior to pregnancy ‒ full and round. Although they may be highly alluring, you should hold yourself in check a little. Particularly at the start of the breastfeeding period the breasts are mostly very sensitive and the nipples are possibly sore from the unaccustomed strain of the baby sucking on them.

Tip 8: Breastfeeding is not a contraceptive

Let’s presume that you and your partner do not want to have another child right away. If that is the case, it is important for you both to be aware that breastfeeding in no way offers contraceptive protection. You should rather use barrier methods such as condoms, a diaphragm, FemCap or Lea’s Shield. The coil can only be inserted six to eight weeks after birth.

Tip 9: Returning to pre-pregnancy weight

Many women worry that they will not get their old, pre-pregnancy figure back quickly enough. However, right now they need all the reserves they can get and should under no circumstances try and lose weight by going on a diet! The excess weight will gradually disappear by itself through breastfeeding. Encourage your partner and let her know that you also find her attractive with a fuller figure.

However, it is important that your partner does postpartum gymnastics regularly ‒ for example using our Postnatal Pilates video (language: German). Be sure to remind your partner every now and then to do some postnatal exercises.

Tip 10: Weaning

At some point, the time will come when your partner feels your baby needs to be weaned. Do not get involved in this! This is a matter purely between mother and child. When the time does come, however, you can offer a great deal of support to both of them. It is difficult for your child when he/she is not put to the breast as usual. Your baby might even protest very loudly. Carry your child and give him/her as much love and comfort as you can.