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Questions from dads

  • Is it true that not all women can produce milk? My partner had to give up breastfeeding our first child because she didn’t have enough milk.
    Given the right help almost all women can breastfeed. But lots of women find they have to give up breastfeeding before they had intended to because of problems with soreness and concerns that their baby isn’t getting enough milk. That’s why most breastfeeding mothers need help and support to be able to breastfeed for as long as they wish. The section on positioning and attachment will provide further information on how your partner can avoid getting sore nipples and how to make sure your baby is getting enough milk.
  • I’m worried that my partner will have it all to do and she’ll be exhausted with looking after the baby and doing all the feeds. What can I do to help?
    After having a baby most women do feel really tired and often very emotional, as there is such a lot to do and to get used to. Coping with the demands of a new baby can be stressful and your help and reassurance can make all the difference. Some of the ways you can help are making sure your partner and baby are comfortable while feeding, or bringing your partner something to drink and a healthy snack such a piece of fruit or a slice of toast. Do as much of the housework and cooking as you can, so that she can concentrate on feeding the baby. You can also get involved with caring for your baby by changing nappies, bathing him and settling him after feeds. See Top 20 tips for Dads, Families and Friends
  • I’d like to be able to feed the baby; can we give our breastfed baby a bottle?
    After the first few weeks, when your partner and baby have got used to breastfeeding and it’s going well you can give your baby the odd bottle of milk, preferably expressed breastmilk. It’s important to wait until breastfeeding is going really well as some babies get confused between feeding on the breast and sucking from a bottle. This is because the way a baby gets milk from the breast is very different to sucking on a bottle. Your partner also needs to know that if she misses out on feeds her milk supply can go down. It’s best to give your baby expressed breastmilk rather than formula milk. Your partner can express her milk by hand or by using a breast pump. For more information see the section on Expressing Breast Milk.
  • My baby is breastfeeding well but will not drink from a bottle, why is this?
    Your baby is showing a preference for the texture of the breast, which is perfectly normal. A bottle teat is very different and doesn’t respond in the same way as a human breast. Offering feeds by bottle and teat can make it more difficult for baby to attach to the breast at subsequent breastfeeds, especially in the first few weeks. You may want to get involved in other ways, such as co-bathing, winding, cuddling and holding baby after the feed. If your baby is older than 5 months then you can use a cup to feed.
  • I don’t like the idea of my partner breastfeeding in public or when we have visitors. Does she need to feed the baby when other people are there?
    Babies need to feed often and should be breastfed on demand. That means they should feed when they want and for as long as they need to. Some feeds might be a few hours apart and some feeds will be one on top of the other. On average babies feed 8 to 10 times a day. So it is very likely that your baby will need feeding when others are around. It is quite easy to breastfeed and not show anything; it can just look as if the baby is having a cuddle. See the section on Breastfeeding in Public for tips and advice.If your baby needs to be fed while you are out you can help by finding a nice quiet area and helping your partner feel comfortable. The ‘Breastfeeding Friendly Award scheme’ has identified places throughout Sheffield where breastfeeding is welcome.
  • Will breastfeeding affect our sex life?
    You can both still enjoy an active sex life while breastfeeding. It can be difficult to find the time and energy when you are new parents, and it does help to plan ahead a bit. It’s always a good idea to make sure the baby has just had a feed. That way you are less likely to be disturbed by a crying baby and your partner will be more comfortable. You should also remember that her breasts will tend to be more sensitive while breastfeeding.
  • What is the impact of breastfeeding on breasts?
    Most people think that breastfeeding will make breasts saggy. This is not true (See Worries and Concerns). Saggy breasts are usually caused by ageing and gravity, or by pregnancy itself – not by breastfeeding.
    In fact, breastfeeding can have a positive impact on your breasts. Many women find that their breasts are very soft and supple due to the frequent moisturisation through breastfeeding to stop their nipples cracking and prevent mastitis. It is also very likely that the milk which has been naturally produced for breastfeeding – whether used or not – has made your partners breasts bigger!