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FOR RELEASE: June 15, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Father’s Day Tips for Dads to Support Breastfeeding Moms

Why should Dads support breastfeeding moms? Dads know that breastfeeding is a natural way to provide all the food their babies need for the first six months of life. Dads know that breastfeeding saves money and time on formula, bottles, and medical bills and reduces sick days used by working moms. Breastmilk changes to meet a baby’s nutrition needs as he or she grows and develops. Babies that are not breastfed are at increased risk for developing type 1 diabetes, childhood obesity, recurrent ear infections, leukemia, diarrhea, and respiratory infections like asthma and pneumonia. Breastmilk contains antibodies to help protect against infection and diseases. However, the most important reason, according to officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), is that breastfed babies are healthier.

Dads in Action is a new public education effort developed by the OSDH Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Breastfeeding program because Dads are an important part of a successful breastfeeding experience. The program’s major focus is to recognize the strong positive influence dads have in supporting breastfeeding moms and their babies.

“Our goal is to help families have healthy babies and beneficial support systems. Breastfeeding is a good first step. Breastfeeding makes healthier babies and reduces medical costs and sick leave, for both mother and child,” said OSDH WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator, Rosanne Smith.

Dads can be a big support to moms during pregnancy, labor, and delivery by encouraging mom’s decision to breastfeed her baby. Dads don’t have to feel left out. Involving the baby’s dad in the care of the baby promotes a strong family. Father’s Day is the perfect time to share information with a father-to-be or a new father on ways he can be part of the support system during breastfeeding.

Tips for dads during mom’s pregnancy:

  • Dads can encourage the mother to see a doctor as soon as she thinks she is pregnant.
  • Dads can encourage mom to make healthy food choices.
  • Dads can attend birthing, breastfeeding, and parenting classes with mom.
  • Dads can avoid smoking around mom to prevent second-hand smoke.

Tips for dads to support breastfeeding moms:

  • Dads can help or find help with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and household chores.
  • Dads can watch for signs that it is time to take the baby to mom for breastfeeding such as:
      --when the baby turns his or her head searching for the breast
      --when the baby makes a smacking sound
      --or the baby sucks his or her hand
  • Dads can limit visitors and visitor times so that mom and baby can rest.
  • Dads can prepare healthy meals for mom.
  • Dads can give mom a massage to help her relax and make it easier to produce breastmilk.
  • Dads can give positive reinforcement by telling mom that she is doing a good job.

Tips for dads to bond with their baby:

  • Dads can hold, talk, read, sing, and walk with their baby.
  • Dads can rock, bathe, diaper, and burp their baby.

“There are plenty of things that Dads in Action can do to help protect and support breastfeeding moms and their babies. It is in the best interest of all Oklahomans to build stronger families and communities through healthier babies,” Smith said.

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