Friday, November 20, 2009

Our Moedergroep of November 19th 2009

Topic:  The Father's role in the breastfeeding relationship
Attendance :  +/- 19

Every month Fundacion Pro Lechi Mama Aruba organizes what we call a "Moedergroep". It's where expectant parents, and 1st, 2nd, 3rd time parents come together to receive the most current and up-to-date information on all topics that are breastfeeding related. We also invite the moms and dads to join in and relate their experiences about the topic in discussion. It's a place not simply to learn stuff, like a class room, but more like a support group for those who are breastfeeding or who plan to do so. Those present from Pro Lechi Mama are professionals in the lactation field, ready to answer all of your questions. Let's look at some outstanding points from last night's discussion.

Minouche Lopez opened the moedergroep and discussed how

  • a father may feel left out in the beginning of the breastfeeding relationship.
  • Babies see their moms only as "tietie" or the source of nourishment and thus a strong attachment to mom
  • Fathers shouldn't feel unduly concerned or guilty about this but that as the baby grows and gets older, this will change and the child will develop and forge stronger bonds with the father
Wendy Martijn and Noortje van Pelt continues :

  • A question is asked to a mom who has had a child before " How did your husband support your decision to breastfeed?"  - Mom's experience : "He didn't. I received the most help from my mom"
  • The father's role is extremely important and can mean the difference between breastfeeding and formula feeding.
  • Many mothers cite their reason for not continuing with breastfeeding was the lack of moral or support where house-hold chores are concerned. Fathers in our culture need to generally be more supportive, assuming more household duties during the first six turbulent weeks when breastfeeding cessation is at its highest risk. 
  • Fathers also need to recognize and be assertive when guests who come to visit, stay for too long, by taking his partner and baby's needs into consideration and politely asking the guests to return at another time.
  • A father does well to understand that, as difficult as the first weeks and months are on him, his wife/partner needs his full support to be able to continue. 
  • Many mothers need and deserve the moral support of her partner  reassuring her with words such as "You're doing such a fantastic job nursing" or "I know these problems are very painful and exhausting for you, but keep it up, and these problems will subside, I know you can get through it!"
  • The more children the couple has, the more essential and important the role of the father becomes. With each subsequent baby, it is harder for a mother to successfully breastfeed her baby. A supportive father does well to help as much as is possible around the house and with older children, to give the new mom and baby a good rest and chance to recover from the birth. 
  • As one father there relates : "We had our children close together in age. My wife tandem fed both, I tried to help out as much as I could. While one child fed, I was with the other, playing and bonding. If for example, my wife needed to rest by herself at night, I would go and sleep in the other room with the baby, and bring the baby to her whenever he needed to feed and then return to sleep with the baby, giving my wife the much needed space and rest for that night."
  • Sometimes a new mother needs her rest without the baby. What can dad do? Simple. After the child has nursed at the breast, proceed with the baby to another room to let mom rest. Having a sling is a life saver many times. Secure the baby in the sling close to you, grab a vacuum , and clean away! The white noise will lull any fussy baby to sleep, you'll get chores done all the while having one-on-one time with your baby!

We hope to see you at next month's moedergroep! Stay pending for the invitation

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