Doting dads best for breast
Supportive dads who chip in around the house could help to boost breast milk production in mothers, new research shows.
Mums who feel supported by their partners have better milk production and more success in exclusively breastfeeding, University of Waikato masters student Angga Rahadian’s research found.
Happy mums are the most important thing when it comes to feeding, with stress known to dry up the breast milk, Rahadian said.
While Rahadian, originally from Jakarta, based her research around Indonesian parents, her supervisor Dr Polly Atatoa Carr said it applied here.
The research comes amid dropping breastfeeding rates in New Zealand.
Last year research found only 16 per cent of New Zealand mums were exclusively breastfeeding for the six-month period recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Yet few breastfeeding campaigns target fathers, Atatoa Carr said.
In Rahadian’s study, physical and psychological support increased success.
‘‘Physical support is like massaging the wife when they feel tired and cooking or doing household chores,’’ Rahadian said.
Psychological support included encouragement, shielding mothers from negative comments or something small like asking her what she wants for dinner.
First-time mum Dena Baxter said breastfeeding wasn’t easy to begin with and an encouraging partner made it easier.
‘‘He’s really good at telling me that I’m doing good and I’m a good mum and doing good to nourish our baby.’’
Some days, her 3-week-old baby Waimarie Broadhurst is cruisy. Other days all hours are spent on the couch rocking and feeding her, with little time to do anything else.
‘‘It’s really good knowing that he isn’t going to mind if the house is a mess or dinner isn’t made.’’