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A Dad’s Role With A Breastfed Baby

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Meet Devin: a devoted father to three young children, with a fourth on the way in March ’24! His professional journey has spanned various roles in sales, but he found his true calling when he decided to prioritize family time over long work hours. In his dad blog,, Devin shares personal stories and tips to inspire other men to be better fathers and husbands. Here he shares his perspective of a dad’s role with a breastfed baby. His blog is a treasure trove of lessons learned from his own experiences as a parent and husband.

In my early 20s, I didn’t think I was ever going to be a father. Years later, my wife, Katie, and I had 3 under 3. Our first was a NICU baby. He was stuck in the NICU for 7 days, and the staff wouldn’t let Katie try breastfeeding until the 4th day. By the time she was allowed to try, our son refused to latch. He only wanted the bottle.

She spoke with multiple experts to try to make breastfeeding work. She was heartbroken when she decided it was time to stop.

Our firstborn was bottle-fed, so I had the opportunity to feed him. I’m glad I had that experience because our other kids were breastfed. I experienced the positives and negatives of feeding a baby. 

It sounds cheesy, but I could feel myself connecting more with our son while I was feeding him. On the other hand, I don’t like being stuck in one place. It feels uncomfortable after a while. I was busy and impatient on some days. I tell him to hurry up, and he returns the favor by spitting up down my back. We had oodles of fun. 

I wasn’t breastfeeding, but I got a glimpse of what it might be like. I mean a really small glimpse. I had no idea how difficult and taxing it was going to be on my wife’s body

dad's role with a breastfed baby

My wife was excited to breastfeed our 2nd baby. The birth went much more smoothly, and she started breastfeeding right away… and it hurt. She was crying from the pain. The nurses told her to keep trying and that it would get better. A few days go by and nothing changes. 

By some miracle, the hospital’s pediatric surgeon came to check on Katie and the baby because one of her surgeries was canceled. Katie asked her to check our baby’s tongue tie and she immediately recommended that we revise it. 

Katie finally got some relief after the tongue tie revision. The exercises to keep the tongue tie from healing back up are no fun. I’m squeamish, so I have to admit that my wife did most of the exercises. 

Breastfeeding was better, but after a few months, my wife decided she didn’t enjoy it. She continued breastfeeding because she felt too guilty not to. We weren’t in the best financial position to pay for formula, and she was well aware of all the benefits of breastfeeding

It was time for me to wear my underwear over my pants and put my cape on. She was making a big sacrifice for our family, so I needed to support her as much as I could. I wasn’t off the hook from feeding time just because she was breastfeeding. If anything, she needs my help even more when breastfeeding. 

I didn’t want to burden her with the entire mental load of feeding the baby. I never fed the baby, but I knew exactly when she needed to eat. I knew her eating schedule. I recognized the hunger cues. I didn’t need to ask Katie if the baby needed to eat. I knew it was time for her to eat. 

I let Katie get comfortable and in the position she needed to be. Our kids were picky eaters. I don’t know if it’s common for babies only to want to eat in one position. Once she was comfortable, I gave her the baby. I made sure she had everything she needed. The things she needed most were a blanket, her phone, the TV remote, and, most importantly, SNACKS

My wife struggles to eat as much as she needs to in a day. When she’s breastfeeding, she needs more. If she didn’t have her snacks while breastfeeding, she’d hardly eat at all. She only wants to eat fresh foods while she is breastfeeding, so we keep a lot of fruits and vegetables in the house.

I’ll make her ants on a log. One of her favorites is sliced strawberries with whipped cream. We love cantaloupe and watermelon in our house. We rarely have leftover watermelon. If I have the time, I’ll prepare a salad for her. I love to cook, so doing all this is a breeze for me. I enjoy chopping up all the veggies and putting everything together. Her biggest struggle is getting enough protein. We wouldn’t survive in our house without protein smoothies.

Another thing I think husbands need to take charge of is washing the breast pump parts. Pumping is already an absolute pain in the butt. I don’t want to make her wash the parts too. One of the best decisions we made was buying her a wearable breast pump. We bought the Momcozy, and it has been a game-changer. She feels so much more free. She has to sit down with the baby for breastfeeding sessions, but if she is pumping, she can be out and about now. Pump parts aren’t fun to clean. I make a massive mess in the kitchen when I make dinner. I have to clean all of that, so what’s the big deal if I add a few pump parts to the cleaning?

After a long day of working, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids, we need a break. We timed our kids perfectly so that as soon as the baby was sleeping through the night, the next one came. I am not a morning person. My wife is the only person I have let have a conversation with me before 9:00 AM. Waking up when the kids are crying at night is honestly something I still struggle with. With breastfeeding children, we saw that it’s good to have the dad get up when the baby is crying.

As they get older, they don’t need as many night feedings. If Mom keeps getting up with the baby, the baby is going to expect to be fed. Let’s be real, I don’t blame my wife for feeding them. She’s tired. She wants to do whatever it takes for the crying to stop. I get up with the baby, so I can do the crying instead. This is something that I haven’t been great at. One of my goals for this year is to be better at getting up with the kids in the middle of the night. So far, it’s gone pretty well. The real struggle is when baby #4 comes in a couple of months.

dad's role with a breastfed baby

Sleep deprivation combines with all of the chaos in our lives and creates one of our worst enemies: anxiety. Post-partum anxiety has hit my wife hard after each of the kids. I’m so proud of how she has been able to push through it. I see her trying to shift her mindset every day. Breastfeeding is a huge concern and cause of anxiety in her.

When our first baby was bottle-fed, it was easy to keep track of how much he was eating. We always knew he was okay because we knew exactly how much milk he was getting. With breastfed children, you don’t know. Are they crying because they’re hungry? Are they eating enough during the day? Do they still need to be eating at night? The only thing I can do for her is let her know that everything is going to be okay.

We have very small children. All 3 have been under the 10th percentile for weight through their first year. Every doctor that we have had has hammered anxiety into my wife that our kids might not be eating enough because they are so small. I have to reassure her that we have small babies, that I was a small baby, and that she comes from a family of jockeys. I check the baby’s soft spot with her and tell her that they are okay. If the baby is having a bottle of breastmilk, we measure it to reassure her that they are eating.

She mostly needs me to hold her tight and tell her everything is going to be okay. I need to do that for her regularly.

When we got married, I knew that Katie planned to breastfeed the children. I thought I was so lucky. I was so naive. I was also selfish. We’ve grown as a couple and as people. I’ve learned a lot about myself thanks to our kids. They have truly shown me the parts of me I need to improve. I’m thankful every day that I’m the dad because I don’t think I have what it takes to fill the mom’s role. Breastfeeding is only a small part of that role, but I do what I can to fulfill my own role with our breastfed children.

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