Babies need only milk as food for their first 6 months. The most natural food for human babies is human milk, that is, breast milk.
Discuss with your partner how your baby will be fed, explore what systems you can put in place before your baby is born and how you can support each other in meeting this important need for your baby. This may be one of the first important decisions you will make for your baby.
Click to access The National Maternity Hospital Breastfeeding Booklet
For information on breastfeeding and formula feeding from the HSE website, click here.
Advantages of Breastfeeding
- Human milk is uniquely suited for human infants
- Human milk is easy to digest and contains more than 200 components that babies need in the early months of life.
- Factors in breast milk protect infants from a wide variety of illnesses.
- Breastfeeding is associated with reduced risk of sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Human milk protects premature infants from life-threatening gastrointestinal disease
- Being able to give support and encouragement to your partner so that they can breastfeed your baby means you are playing a crucial part in giving your baby the best nutritional start in life.
How Dads can support breastfeeding Mums
- Demonstrate support in any way you can. Research shows that mums who feel supported will feed their babies for longer and feel more confident doing so.
- Talk to your partner about how you can offer support. This might be cooking meals and ensuring the laundry and shopping is done. It might include keeping mum company while she feeds or entertaining visitors so mum can feed baby in a quieter place.
- Spend time with your baby. Practise skin to skin contact with your baby whenever possible. It soothes baby and will allow mum time to rest after breastfeeds. Click on the link to learn more about skin to skin contact and the benefits for mum and baby especially while breastfeeding.
- Settle your baby after feeds and change their nappy if necessary.
- Bring your baby for a walk, around the house or outside, chatting about what you see. This will give mum a chance to rest or shower.
- Babies are often soothed by movement and your voice so they like being carried around and chatted to or taken out in the pram or buggy.