Anyone who has tried breastfeeding is probably well aware it takes dedication, time, and lots of patience. That's why this dad's viral post about supporting breastfeeding moms should be required reading, as he clearly articulated actionable steps for partners who might need guidance in this area. Instead of relying on platitudes and worn-out phrases, he immediately cut to the heart of this issue with five pieces of advice.
Muhammed Nitoto, who describes himself as a "Dad-Vocate," posted a now viral selfie to his Chronicles of Daddy Instagram account, a snap which features his sleeping wife and son, who still appears to be attached to his mother's breast. Nitoto, who holds hands with his wife in the Sept. 5 photo, tells new dads that this image is what life with a newborn is all about, and it's gonna be that way for a while.
After giving dads a photographic glimpse into their future, he outlines five steps they can take to support their breastfeeding partners. And I commend him for this because many dads are wondering how they can help mom when their baby is literally attached at the boob.
First things first, Nitoto encourages parents to offer help during those late-night feedings. "When mom wakes up in the middle of the night. You get up and ask if she needs any help or water," he wrote. "The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far."
He then advises dads to take over one feeding, as it can give their partner the opportunity to rest.
"Ask mom if she can pump and then pick 1 feeding that you will always do," he penned. "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."
Anyone who's gotten up numerous times during the night to feed a crying baby knows that it's hard to function the next day on little to no sleep. Naps are essential. And, as Nitoto says, dads can help.
It's also important for dads to go with the flow. Time just kind of flies out the window with a newborn and things move at a slower pace so it's just easier to adjust than fight against the changes.
"Don't put a time limit on how long mom breastfeed the baby. It's not just about feeding your child it's about them bonding as well," he said.
He continued, "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."
When the baby is spending so much time with mom, it's easy for dads to wonder when they'll get the chance to bond. He says the time comes faster than one would expect, and that it helps to be patient.
"Be patient. I know as a Dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and yet not as important yet," he added. "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."
Finally, he encourages men to take paternity leave if they have it because these first few weeks of life are so precious.
"You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life," he concluded. "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."
So far, the post has garnered nearly 10,000 likes. And many have reached out with words of thanks and support.
One mom-to-be said, "You’re a Godsend my guy. We just announced our pregnancy today and these tips will certainly come in handy. Thank you!"
Another commenter shared her experiences with breastfeeding, "Great insight! My hubby is super understanding also, going on Breastfeeding 16 months with our son and still co-sleeping and he complains very little."
Breastfeeding is no easy feat. It's both emotionally and physically draining, but moms can do anything they set their minds to, especially when they have help from supportive partners. Here's to Nitoto for the tips everyone should take to heart.