Breastsleeping sounds like a predominantly "mom" issue — you need boobs and you need to be able to feed your baby throughout the night with those boobs for it to work. But there are actually a few ways dads can and should help with breastsleeping, just like any other parenting choice.
Breastsleeping is supposedly safer for babies, guarantees more sleep for both moms and little ones, and is actually your natural instinct as a mom. But that doesn't mean it's something you can do without your partner's support and help. Like any parenting decision you make, both you and your baby's father should be on board with the idea, committed to it, and eager to make it work. But a lot of parents still struggle with how dads can "help" and be more involved in certain situations other than agreeing it's a good idea.
Breastsleeping requires bed-sharing, so it's imperative that your SO get on board if they plan to sleep in the same bed as you and your baby. There are seven ways dads can and should help with breastsleeping and all seven can make them feel just as included and as important as you in the entire process. Plus, when your partner is putting in the work and helping you, it can make you feel even more confident and secure as a parent.
1. He Can Support Your Decision
Obviously, both of you have to be on board for breastsleeping to work. This isn't a decision only one of you can make, so talk about it, share the details of it, and get your partner's support as a way for them to help you with breastsleeping.
2. He Can Keep The Bed Free Of Hazards
Breastsleeping isn't suggested lightly — there are safety guidelines to follow like making sure the bed is free of hazards and that it's a safe sleeping environment. Make sure your partner knows so he can help keep it up, like making sure there are no loose blankets, that there aren't clothes piled on the bed, and that the sheets are pulled tightly.
3. He Can Change The Baby At Night
You know what would be hugely beneficial? If dad would help change the baby in the middle of the night. Breastsleeping means more sleep for you, but it also means sleep that's helping you stay alert to your baby's needs, so it's not always the deepest. If your little one needs changing, ask Dad if he can step in and take care of that role so that you can continue to get some much-needed rest and everyone's happy.
4. He Can Understand That You May Feel Touched Out
Because, it happens. You've had a baby attached to your boobs for most of the day, and at night you're wrapped around your little one while they nurse on demand. It's beneficial, sure, but it can lead to you feeling seriously touched out. According to La Leche League USA, being touched out can make you feel irritable, claustrophobic, or like you want to scream. It's very normal and, usually, all it takes is a little alone time to feel better. If your partner is bothered by you feeling touched out, just talk to them about it so that you can continue breastsleeping without guilt or worry.
5. He Should Also Think Of Himself As A Primary Caregiver
One of the main issues a lot of people have with breastsleeping is the fear that one of the parents may unintentionally harm the baby while sleeping. But to keep that at baby, the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at University of Notre Dame recommended that fathers should think of themselves as the primary caregiver while breastsleeping, just like mothers. It keeps them as alert as mom to their baby's needs and eliminates the idea that breastsleeping is "just for moms. "
6. He Can Understand That Sleeping Near Baby Can Help His Attachment, Too
According to the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at University of Notre Dame, co-sleeping isn't just helpful for you and baby to bond — it's beneficial for dad, too. For dads who work outside of the home, it can be incredibly helpful for them to bedshare with their little one as a way to strengthen their attachment while they're sleeping.
7. He Can Back You Up If People Get Critical
Breastsleeping is a hot button issue and whether it's your family or your pediatrician being critical of your decision, your partner should back you up. This is easily one of the best ways to help with breastsleeping. According to Fit Pregnancy, one of the biggest reasons women quit breastfeeding is because they have no support. With your partner backing you up on your decision to breastsleep, it can encourage you to continue.