After waiting my entire life for it, the science fiction promises of a wonderful world where food comes in pills and happiness is dispensed in a refreshing mist spray are finally coming true!
When you’re just about at the end of your rope, spritz yourself a dose of California Baby Mommy and Daddy Overtired and Cranky Spray mood lifter and breathe a sigh of relief as the tension dissipates.
Hmmmm, wonder if it’s strong enough to wind down a three year old? Maybe I’ll try spraying it in the cats face first to see if it calms him down.
In the absence of the ability for many of us Dad’s to be like Mr B Wijeratne, a Sri Lankan Dad who can breastfeed his children, I thought I would list a few tips on how Dad’s can support Mom’s who breastfeed. Short of doing it ourselves (and apparently with the right conditions we can), there are many other ways we can help make the process go a bit smoother. Here are 9 tips I’ve put together. Feel free to add your own as a comment.
- Reevaluate our relationship with breasts. As men, our relationship with breasts is long and complicated. We have probably gone through most of our lives viewing breasts as sexual objects, so adjusting our skewed view of breasts and their purpose is extremely important. The boobies have changed, and it may take a bit of a mind shift to get used to seeing your partner pop them out in public, for example.
- Recognize that the physical act of breastfeeding is not easy. Especially at the beginning as Mom’s try to figure out things like positioning, latching on. It seems strange. You would think that something so fundamental to our species survival should be easy. It’s not, at least at the beginning.
- Learn all you can about breastfeeding and be her second set of ears. Like all aspects of parenting, everyone has an opinion and a strategy. Help her sort and sift through the information and learn all about tender breasts, engorgement, sore nipples, nursing injuries and cluster feedings. Read The Lactivist (aside: she has a great corporate bully story to tell about her battle with the Pork Board if you appreciate those kinds of stories). There are also, as you would expect, tons of great books out there, including
- Support her if she gets discouraged. Especially in the first few weeks, when lack of sleep and hormonal changes can sometimes make new mothers waver in their determination to breastfeed. Be positive and work with her to stick with it. Acknowledge how difficult it is, but reassure her that it does get much, much easier. This is tough because no one wants to feel like they are pressuring their partner to do something they really don’t want to do. Also, as guys, I think we tend to try to find solutions for problems that affect the people we love, when really all they need is a bit of support and encouragement. I almost blew this one and suggested in week 2 that maybe we should try a bit of formula. Fortunately, my wife was committed enough to breastfeeding that she ignored my well meaning advice.
- Should someone question any of your reasons or strategies around breastfeeding, be in her corner. Be vocal in sticking up for her with friends and family. We need to step in and run interference, even if/especially if the offender is Mom. Don’t allow your partner to be the brunt of extended family’s critical words about her breastfeeding relationship.
- Bring her food and drinks while she is breastfeeding. Grab her a book, the TV remote or the telephone.
- Get her some help. Buy her a breastfeeding pillow or a nursing stool. If she is having problems, find a good lactation consultant in your area to help.
- Puck up more of the domestic duties. Especially true when the cluster feeds and growth spurts can keep Mom bust for long stretches at a time.
- Remind her that breastfeeding is one of the most important things she can do to get your baby off to a good start in life, and increase her health and well-being. According to The World Health Organization, “Breastmilk promotes sensory and cognitive development, and protects the infant against infectious and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea or pneumonia, and helps for a quicker recovery during illness” and “Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers, it helps to space children, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer, increases family and national resources, is a secure way of feeding and is safe for the environment.”
Yes, it seems obviously self evident, but I never realized just how much more difficult it would be. It is not a simple equation where 2 kids = 2 times as hard. It’s more than that.
With one kid, we always had some respite close at hand – the other parent. If what you were doing wasn’t working, you could always do the hand off and take a break. Now, there is no hand off, only a trade. You trade a newborn for a 3 year old or vice versa. You are always dealing with kids.
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We attended our first family protest yesterday for an issue that directly affects our children – the lack of quality childcare in Canada.
In a nutshell, the federal government has decided that their childcare strategy consists of giving parents $100 a month (taxable, which is why it really works out to around $73 per month) to spend with as they wish on childcare under the guise that this will offer families “more freedom of childcare choice”.
It’s a crock, and here’s why. Continue reading →
Pantone pink No. 241…it’s the official shade of pink that Disney uses in their massively popular Princess line. And we seem to be awash in it these days with The Girl.
Christmas and birthday this year brought with it a slew of pink Princess branded products. To be fair, there was also some lavender, but for the most part The Girl’s playroom resembles the inside of a Pepto Bismal bottle. We are surrounded by Princesses.
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Dad enters the home, tired after a long, hard week at work.
Enter The Girl, bouncing into Dad’s arms, obviously feeling better after being up all night with croup. “Dad! I watched a show today called The Backyardigans and they went into the backyard and had and adventure and they had to look out for booby catchers!”
Dad tosses confused look at Mom.
The first annual Kids and Media conference Beyond Primetime kicks off today in New York. Sponsored by the excellent web resource CommonSenseMedia.org, I hope to see a lot of discussion floating around the media and the blogsphere about kids and the media as a result of this conference.
Unlike other events of this type, this one seems a tad different in that the discussion of kids and media use is framed by the context of media use being a public health issue, rather than a social or moral issue. That’s not to say that health is not a social or moral issue, but it’s refreshing to see the context of healthy kids being used to frame the issue of media consumption by kids.
It’s not hard to see the correlation between increased media consumption and health problems in kids. In Canada, rates of childhood obesity have almost tripled over the past 20 years.
The correlation goes beyond speculation that there might be links between media consumption and health. There are direct links. Children who watch more than five hours of TV per day are four-and-a-half times more likely to become overweight than those who watch two hours or less, and kids who watch more than two hours of television a day are more likely to smoke and have high cholesterol.
Which is why conferences like this one are important.
The speaker list is an impressive who’s who list of academics, CEO’s and NGO’s covering all aspects of the media landscape. If you happen to live in New York, you might be interested in checking this conference out.
I’ve been following the case of the Jehovah Witness parent’s who gave birth to sextuplets in Vancouver, BC on January5th/6th and I can’t understand the parents logic.
In a nutshell, the couple has refused to give their babies medically necessary blood transfusions because it is against their religion. 2 of the babies have died, and now child protection authorities are stepping in to protect 3 of the remaining 4 children. Earlier this week, 2 of those children were given blood transfusions. The parents are responding by suing to authorities, saying the province has violated their constitutional rights.
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