Lorna C. Aliperti, APRN, IBCLC
203.536.6002


Home » Lactation Information » Dads and Babies

Dads and Babies

Research Shows Involved Dads Make a Difference:

Children of fathers who play an active role in their care have fewer discipline problems, more confidence, and a greater ability to handle stress. Their sons are more masculine and their daughters are more feminine. Their language and problem solving abilities are increased. They do better in school.

Why?

Fathers teach babies and children different things–they play more with them while the mom spends more time caretaking. They tend to encourage physical challenges and investigation. The baby learns about two different people instead of one, so it makes sense that they get a better head start.

Suggestions to “do the dishes” and “change diapers” don’t address a new father’s desire to be an important part of his newborn’s life. Dads need ways to be of real help to their partner and to learn ways of caring for their baby, especially if mom is breastfeeding.

Be there for her

During the first days, one of the most important roles you can play is to encourage your partner in her breastfeeding efforts. Starting out is often marked by difficulty with latch on, confusion about when and how to feed, and much self-doubt. Boosting her confidence is invaluable. You might keep track of diapers (see the log) to help reassure her that the baby is getting enough or to know if there might be need for help.

Learn how to calm your baby

This is an invaluable skill. There are many tricks, and babies can be very individual about what works. Many babies have an irritable period which can last several hours when they cry for no apparent reason and you can try:

Movement: use a rocking chair, or walk around with the baby in a carrier on your chest. Put the baby in an infant swing, or, as a last resort, drive around in the car with the baby in the car seat—this usually works with even the fussiest baby.

Sound: helps especially when combined with movement. Play the radio, or try white noise, as with a vacuum cleaner, running water, or even TV static.

Skin to skin contact: babies having trouble falling asleep often like lying on dad’s chest. They like the warmth of his skin and sound of his heartbeat.

Finger pacifier: breastfed babies often like to suck on a (clean) finger with the nail side against the tongue. Move the pad of the finger to gently touch the roof of their mouth several times to start baby sucking—he will usually take it from there. This is handy when crying in public is attracting attention and mom can’t nurse. Dad’s larger finger is also helpful in “suck training” the baby who is having difficulty latching on.

Swaddling: ask someone to show you how to tightly swaddle the baby. Many babies will go right to sleep after a pat or two when snugly wrapped.

As you get to know your baby, you will learn what he likes and develop your own style. Don’t try to do it just like mom—dads are different and that’s what makes them so important to their baby’s development.

Sex life?

New moms are rarely enthusiastic about resuming sex and few count the days until the doctor’s OK. Many are “touched out” from a baby that wants to be held all day, exhausted, and are often not happy with their postpartum figures. Lower hormone levels tend to further inhibit sexual interest. However, you do need to maintain your relationship. As far away as it seems, someday this little bundle will walk away—with your credit cards—to be on their own, and you’ll have only each other. Try to be slow, gentle, and add whatever touches—sexy movies, candlelight, dinner out—that have worked in the past. Let her know she is still attractive to you.

Links:

Abbey Fox

I can’t thank you enough for everything–your encouragement, patience and enthusiasm–without you this would have been over LONG ago. Harrison thanks you as well!

Abbey Fox

Jonathan Sollinger, M.D., Willows Pediatric

I have frequently referred patients to Lorna and been very pleased with the results. She responds quickly, the moms like her, and she is flexible and knowledgeable in her treatment of both mother and baby.

Jonathan Sollinger, M.D., Willows Pediatric

Elizabeth Gallo

Lorna is professional, knowledgeable and caring. She saw me and my baby through some of the toughest weeks of breastfeeding. I felt comfortable calling her whenever I needed help and she was always there. Without her expertise and support I highly doubt we would be nursing as happily as we are today. She was an indispensable asset to me.

Elizabeth Gallo

Kathryn Laird

I really appreciate your help, Lorna. Things started turning around after your visit. Although I had already reduced my milk intake, eliminating all remaining dairy had an enormous impact on Avery’s issues, and really solved our colic problems pretty much right off the bat. One thing that was very telling is that about a month later, I had about 24 hours where I decided I’d try milk again, and we had sour cream, cheese and whatnot…We had a miserable 24 hours and I actually threw away three bottles that I had pumped because it was just so bad. I immediately went back on soy milk. Thanks again.

Kathryn Laird

Amy Mora

Lorna, you are wonderful. You saved my child from having to go on formula. I was able to continue breastfeeding. (I had yeast and it was horrible!)

Amy Mora

Susan Kunin

Lorna, I sincerely thank you. You made what was a difficult beginning, one of the most wonderful things I have ever done. You are caring, knowledgeable and always there for moral support. I have recommended you to many new moms, and they all have similar success stories. I truly appreciate everything you have done for us.

Susan Kunin

Marlene Ferguson

Lorna was a godsend. Michael was losing weight and no one at the hospital was able to help him to latch on. She got him started breastfeeding and then showed me how to do it myself. He’s now gaining an ounce a day.

Marlene Ferguson

Henry M. Rascoff, MD, Riverside Pediatrics

There are extremely few specialists to whom I refer patients that I hear 100 percent glowing remarks about. You are at the very top of that short list, and the one and only lactation consultant whose name crosses my lips when a private referral is needed. Thank you so much for the superb care you provide.

Henry M. Rascoff, MD, Riverside Pediatrics

Cathy Grammon

The service and products were great. Lorna was especially helpful during that first difficult week. She gave me the moral support I needed to keep going.

Cathy Grammon

Eliza Miller

Lorna’s help was invaluable in breastfeeding my twins. She helped me through the early days of dealing with tiny, sleepy babies, sore nipples, engorgement, and oversupply, and I found myself calling on her again in later months as I had recurring plugged ducts and milk blebs. Her advice was always practical, easy to follow and yielded immediate postiive results. Today I’m still nursing my fourteen-month-olds–thank you Lorna!

Eliza Miller