The challenges of fatherhood are not always connected with the rising stress of caring for a newborn or lack of sleep. An intriguing study found out that fathers can experience mixed feelings during the breastfeeding period. While they feel excited and overjoyed about becoming a parent, some of them can also feel lonely, depressed, and incompetent.
The breastfeeding period might block fathers from connecting with their children.
While breastfeeding is a special mother-baby time that deepens the connection between them, some fathers can feel left out. Some of them even think that this process influences the creation of a bond with their child, and also their spousal relationship. This creates a lot of stress for fathers, which can make them feel jealous or depressed.
This can result in him being dissatisfied with himself.
Feeling excluded can also influence some fathers’ self-esteem and self-efficacy. Because they are not always allowed to fully participate in the baby’s life and provide them with necessary care, they feel that they are not competent enough and are helpless as fathers. These negative emotions even lead to arguments with their wives, the research reports.
Acting together makes men feel united as a family.
Men understand that mothers play the main role in breastfeeding and respect their decisions. On the other hand, some men reported that they enjoyed participating in the process like discussing the details and benefits with their significant others. They saw it as “negotiating a space for themselves within the decision-making process”. All in all, fathers highly value acting as a team, trying to do the best for their family
Many fathers believe that during the breastfeeding period, their role is to support and facilitate the process. They think it’s important to take care of their partner, provide food, help with chores, look after older children, and even take care of the infant. The emotional support and encouragement of their partners, just like breastfeeding, is a commendable activity that contributes to the family “team.”
They would gladly take on the feeding responsibility.
Another interesting finding reports that fathers think very positively about feeding the baby themselves with formula or breastmilk. This helps them to form a connection with their child, and better feel and understand their emotions — like satisfaction or discontent. And one thing that is very important is that bottle-feeding can make some of them feel that they are contributing to the baby’s development. One father even stated that feeding his son “helped remind him that he was a father.”
And they are eager to take on even more responsibilities.
Letting fathers get closely involved in the breastfeeding process can have a positive effect on both partners. Mothers might reconsider their views and allow their men to learn how to take care of the baby. It can be showing them how to recognize hunger, calming the baby, changing diapers, and cleaning them after a feeding. At the end, taking care of the baby together can help both partners to make their relationship stronger, and allow the baby to receive a lot of love from both of their parents.