We often hear that breastmilk is suitable for babies up to two years old. Though there is a debate about whether breastfeeding impacts a baby, as other research shows that breastmilk is just the same as ready-made powdered milk, it has been socially accepted that breastfeeding is beneficial.

Breastfeeding is when a mother feeds her baby breast milk, usually directly from her breast. It's also called nursing. Decision-making on breastfeeding is a personal matter. It's also likely to draw opinions from partners, families, and friends. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and many other medical experts recommend breastfeeding exclusively (no formula, juice, or water) for six months. It suggests continuing to breastfeed through the baby's first year of life after the introduction of other foods.

Father's Role in Breastfeeding

How comes a father's role in breastfeeding? Isn't it just between the mother and the baby? Is there a possibility that a father could breastfeed his child? These are the common questions that will quickly come to our mind when we are asked, what is the role of a father in breastfeeding? Looking at the bigger picture, the question does not mean that it is the father who will breastfeed the baby. Still, his role is to ensure that the mother will be supported in all aspects, like mental, emotional, moral, physical, and even financial.

For mental aspects, a mother who has just given birth may not think appropriately as they have just completed a life cycle and she is still enduring various pains. A father needs to help his partner decide on different things. He should assist the mother in various decision-making processes so as not to add to the mother's existing stress. Also, with a peaceful mind, the mother can focus on taking care of her newborn child, especially during breastfeeding moments.

As to the emotional aspect, every mother experiences postpartum depression, and this is a vital stage of their lives where they need complete care, especially from their husbands. It is common for girls to be attention-seekers sometimes, but this postpartum is not a joke. They are not just seeking attention but experiencing different anxieties and depression. As a father, he should not be short-tempered but instead have a more comprehensive understanding of his partner. No treatment or medicine can quickly cure postpartum depression, but not adding to the mother's irritation or loneliness will already help their emotional state.

Another vital role of a father in ensuring that his partner will feel better is his moral support. Make her feel that he is always there to support the mother and the baby, build a good family, and ensure that it is not only the mother who will raise the child. This moral support will do a lot for the mother's well-being.

For physical support, three-and-a-half months of maternity leave will not be given to a pregnant employee for no reason. Through a thorough study, the mother should focus on taking care of her baby in its first 100 days, as this is the most crucial part for all newborn babies. With this, it is the father's duty and responsibility to ensure that his partner will not be overworked. If the current setup is that the mother is doing household chores, it should not be the father doing it. But the father should consider hiring someone else to do those jobs to ensure that the mother will not be loaded with different tasks.

Last is financial help, which is the duty of every husband, with or without a child. The father should ensure that he can provide at least all the baby's basic needs, such as diapers, milk, wipes, vitamins, etc., and also the mother's needs, such as vitamins and healthy foods.

With all this support, a mother will have a healthy body and a peaceful mind, which, over the long run, will help her produce more milk for the baby. Though the mother, not the father, has a direct role in breastfeeding, the father will play a vital role in ensuring that the mother can fulfill her role.

In my personal experience, I had a struggle with breastfeeding my firstborn son. During the first seven days old of my son, I have a low milk supply. It made me very paranoid. After all, I do not know that having a low milk supply in the first few days is normal because my newborn, with its tiny stomach, only needs a few volumes of milk. To help me ease my worries, my husband kept on feeding me malunggay soup as it could enhance my milk supply. The second struggle I experienced has an inverted nipple which led to my son's difficulty latching my breast. My husband helped me successfully make our newborn latch by pulling my nipples with a syringe every time we fed our newborn. We continued to do this process until I had enough supply of milk and until my nipples started to appear.

Without the presence of my husband in my breastfeeding journey, I had possibly given up, got depressed about not being able to feed my baby, and would never attain a stable supply of breastmilk to feed our baby in two years.