Today is fathers day and tomorrow is the start of National Breastfeeding Celebration week in the UK. The theme this year is how breastfeeding can be supported by the wider family unit. Dads and breastfeeding often get missed from antenatal discussions yet partners and co-parents are the most important part of the breastfeeding dyads support network.

From pregnancy onward, dads and co-parents have an important role to play in the life of their child. From supporting the mother through the emotional and physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth, to supporting and nurturing the mother/baby bond once baby arrives. They can help to meet babies’ needs by supporting the mother during those early days. Many families worry that because baby is breastfed, they will have a stronger bond with the breastfeeding parent. There are often worries that dads/co-parents can feel left out. However, there are many ways fathers & co-parents can support both Mum and baby whilst forming an equally strong bond with the new family addition.

When a new baby arrives it can be hard trying to find your feet and figure out your role in this new family dynamic. Fathers & co-parents are just as important as mothers in the child’s life, even though in the early days especially, it can feel like the mother/breastfeeding parent is more able to meet baby’s needs.  

Here are some ideas for how dads and co-parents can help out and bond with baby aside from breastfeeding.

Baby Wearing

Carrying baby in a stretchy wrap is an amazing way to bond with them, and it’s not just for mums! Dads/co-parents carrying baby and having them snuggled against their chest, talking to them and kissing their head, helps to form an incredibly close connection. Baby wearing promotes physical health and cognitive development, as well as being incredibly soothing for them.  

Looking After Mum

Being a breastfeeding parent with a newborn is hard work! Partners can have a valuable role to play by looking after mum so that she can spend all the time she needs establishing her milk supply and keeping baby well nourished. Making sure mum has everything she needs while she is under a sleeping baby is really important. Ensure she has comfortable cushions, a drink, snacks etc. By looking after the breastfeeding parent you are making a really valuable contribution to the family unit.

Skin to Skin

Skin to skin cuddles help release the hormone oxytocin – often referred to as the ‘love hormone’ – and this doesn’t just apply to the breastfeeding parent. All the benefits of skin to skin apply when another caregiver is providing the naked cuddles too! These benefits include the calming and relaxing effect on baby, and the regulation of heart rate, breathing and temperature.

Increase Oxytocin

The hormone of love is a vital component of breastfeeding. So anything a co-parent can do to help increase mum’s oxytocin levels helps support the bond between her and baby. While it’s really important to help out with practical tasks, it’s also important to show Mum some love! Not only will it help increase her oxytocin levels and therefore aid breastfeeding, but it also reminds her that she is more than ‘just’ a breastfeeding mum. Cuddling up to mum and baby on the sofa, giving mum a massage while baby feeds, and telling her what an amazing job shes doing and how much you care are all lovely ways to help boost that love hormone!


You might enjoy bathing baby in his own bath while mum has a nice hot cuppa. Or it could be getting in the bath with baby and having some skin to skin co-bathing. Holding baby close to your chest in the warm water can be a very happy and relaxing time for both parent and baby.

Practical Help

There are lots of practical tasks that need to be taken care of with a new baby. These include changing nappies, getting baby dressed, winding etc, as well as helping to keep on top of household chores. Not only are you supporting your partner by helping with these tasks, but many of them are a great opportunity to bond with your baby, by singing and playing with them as you do them.

Reading & Playing

Reading to your baby helps to form a real connection, as well as giving them early exposure to books. Interactive games like peekaboo, copying funny faces or tickling games help to build babies’ brains . They also help to build strong emotional connections.

Baby Massage

Baby massage is a wonderful way to bond with your baby. It can be a calming and relaxing experience for babies and parents alike. Massage supports your baby’s body systems as well as their emotional and mental development. Early Nourishment run free baby massage courses, keep an eye out for our next course and book here.