Although new moms are inundated with information on how to best go about breastfeeding, new dads often aren't given the same treatment. In fact, many fathers may not realize just how much they can do to feel involved, helpful, and included in breastfeeding. Fortunately, one dad has just shed some light on exactly how to get involved in the first few weeks of baby's life.
In a post on Instagram that has since gone viral, user Muhammed Nitoto (known on the app as @chroniclesofdaddy), celebrated Breastfeeding Awareness Month by sharing what he has learned from helping his own wife breastfeed their children. The picture he posted features his wife in bed, looking completely exhausted while nursing one of their kids—a scene many parents are probably familiar with.
Nitoto wrote, "Here's what it looks like for the first few weeks or months after your child is born. Yup if mom breastfeeds they pretty much are tucked like this and at times you'll wonder, 'what is there for me to do?'" He notes that while it's easy for a dad to feel helpless, there's a lot they can do to help out.
1. Get Up for Night Feedings
Nitoto's first tip is about night feedings, when moms have to wake up throughout the night to feed their little one (AKA a time they could definitely use an extra hand). He wrote, "You get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far."
2. Mom Pumps, Dad Feeds
The dad suggested choosing at least one feeding to take over. Mom can pump and then let dad handle feeding the baby while she takes a nap. He wrote, "Mom will take on almost everything and will burn herself out if you let her. At times, you may have to force her to rest without worrying about the baby. This is an easy way to do that without a fight." Moms may be reluctant to take a nap knowing she'll just have to get up and feed if necessary, but knowing Dad can take the reins can be comforting.
3. Don't Rush It
He also urged other dads not to "put a time limit" on how long a feeding takes, explaining, "It's not just about feeding your child, it's about them bonding as well. I know everyone has a different length of time they will breastfeed and as a dad it's hard to fully understand. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try and rush this process, it's not our place and it's not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can't win."
4. Dad Time Will Come
Nitoto asked dads to be patient through the first few weeks with their baby, saying, "I know as a Dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and yet not as important yet. Your time will come faster than you know. Babies grow fast and the stronger bigger they get the more Daddy Time will be coming your way."
5. Take Paternity Leave
The dad reminded anyone reading to take advantage of paternity leave if they're able to. "The early stages of a child's life are not just for moms to enjoy," Nitoto explained, stressing that money isn't as important as being with the new baby. He added, "There are no instant replays in life. It doesn't make you more of a man to not take the leave. It's equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child."
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This article originally appeared on Parents.com