According to the study published online on June 16th, 2023, in the Journal of Pediatrics, fathers contribute a lot to the improvement of the health of new moms and infants. They support breastfeeding mothers and put the baby to sleep. The study emphasizes the dad’s role in the baby’s nutrition and how it can impact healthy parenting. Unlike the past generations, dads are now involved in the day-to-day activities of kids.
According to Dr. John James Parker, a pediatric instructor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, “Fathers are an important audience for health promotion campaigns, and clinicians and health care providers need to engage fathers and discuss all the ways that fathers can be helpful with an infant.”
Dads Support Breastfeeding Mothers
New moms are more likely to continue breastfeeding for a longer period with the support they get from the father. Additionally, dads also promote safe sleeping practices to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), give special breastfeeding massages, and take care of middle-of-the-night diaper duty.
Parker surveyed more than 250 new dads for around 6 months after the birth of their infant. 95% of moms breastfed babies after the infant’s father wanted them to do so. 78% of moms continued to breastfeed even after 8 weeks. On the other hand, only 69% of moms were breastfeeding efficiently when dads were not involved in the journey. Unfortunately, only 33% of women were breastfeeding after 8 weeks.
How Can Dads Help Breastfeeding Moms?
- Dads can provide nutrition for mothers.
- Ensure she takes enough rest between every breastfeeding session.
- Understand that breastfeeding is a team effort and fathers make a large contribution to successful breastfeeding.
- Dads can follow the AAP-recommended infant sleep practices for safety.
- Burp the baby after feeds.
- Support mom with breastfeeding positioning.
- Help with cleaning and cooking (if time allows).
- Skin-to-skin is equally important for both father and mother.
Parker believes that safe sleep options for infants should be directly discussed with the fathers and mothers to learn about the safest way and safest place for infants to sleep. The study strongly believes that when fathers are involved in feeding practices, there is success and it also improves breastfeeding outcomes. The good news is that dads are more involved now than in the generation past. Gender equality is the driving force that has brought this change.
What is Dad’s Role in the Baby’s Nutrition?
It is equally important to take care of grown-up kids and toddlers too. Mothers are the primary caregivers for young children. However, the involvement of fathers in proper feeding can help promote healthy children.
Fathers can also play an active role in cooking. Many fathers show interest in their kid’s day-to-day activities. 53% said they would stay home if finances weren’t an issue. Here are some ways for busy dads to improve their children’s nutrition.
Spend a Lot of Meal Time Together
Family meal time is very important so make it a point to spend some time with the kids for breakfast or dinner. You can take advantage of weekends and show your kids the value of family meals and see the difference it can make in their eating habits. Dad’s food habits can positively influence kids and it can impact kids’ eating habits and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Do not Try to Be Picky
Dads are as picky as kids making mealtime a big challenge. It is important to try healthy food and show your kid that you are willing to try new food. You must learn to accept and eat less-favorite food too. Do not avoid any kind of vegetables or fruits because as you age, your taste buds start accepting all kinds of tastes. It takes kids a lot of years to learn a variety of food and they look to parents for guidance.
Follow a Unified Eating Approach
Show some interest in food and both parents should put in an equal amount of effort to make mealtime more interesting and special. When it comes to feeding your child, you must divide the responsibility. If mom helps with the breakfast, dad should help with the dinner.
Do Not Skip Your Meal
Parents should not skip a meal. Skipping breakfast or eating something quickly isn’t a good idea. Ensure you spend enough time at the table to eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Do not skip food in a hurry. You will set a wrong example. You must should your kids that eating food is a priority for you and that you will spend enough time for the same.
Give Mom a Feeding Break
It is okay for dads to feed their children. If the mom is busy with her work, you can take the role and help the kids eat. Feeding and taking care of kids is never one person’s job. Fathers should be actively involved in preparing meals, cleaning up the dishes, planning the menu, and so on for a healthy eating session.
Talk to Kids
Fathers should often ask kids about their choices and preferences. You should also have a healthy discussion about food, exercise, and other lifestyle practices. Playtime with kids can make everyone feel better and it is a great way to spend quality time together.
Thanks to Dr. Parker for the recent study. Dads should strongly express how proud they are of the newborn, assisting with breastfeeding, and changing diapers. In turn, mothers should also be proud to receive support from their partners. It is not just the father’s attitude and support that matters. Mothers need support from grandmothers, other family members, and peers, to improve outcomes. They should understand dad’s role in the baby’s nutrition and share responsibilities accordingly for a healthy family.