A Dad’s Opinion on Breastfeeding

Hello there! My name is James, and I fully support the breastfeeding mothers of the world.

“Ahhhh,” you say, “he must come from California.”

Nope. I live in New England.

“Well, then he must be one of those “dot edu” types: all lectures, tweed coats, and lettuce leaves all day.”

Wrong again! I drive an 18-wheeler across all 48 states, and my ever-expanding beltline gives sincere testimony to my love affair with bacon cheeseburgers.

I also have a serious love affair with my wife, which people sometimes find hard to believe. You know, with my being a truck driver, her being a breastfeeding mom, and with three kids to boot. There’s people out there who think it’s not possible for a woman to breastfeed her kids and still keep her man happy. Like Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of TLC’s Shalom in the Home, who in 2006 used God as a reason to advise a mother that by breastfeeding “she had committed the cardinal sin of marriage, which is to put someone else before her spouse, even if that someone is your child . . . her obsession had turned one of her most attractive body parts into a feeding station, an attractive cafeteria rather than a scintillating piece of flesh.”

Um, alright. Let me give the opinion of a real (satisfied) Dad with a real breastfeeding wife and real breastfed children.

My wife has fantastic boobs. I love them. I could fill up the rest of this post telling how I feel about them, but there’s not enough time or room to do the subject justice.

When I first met my wife, her boobs were mine.

She wore special bras to make them look a certain way . . . for me.

She would wear lacy things on them to make them a sultry sight . . . for me.

When she took them out she was taking them out . . . for me.

Then came the children.

At that time our roles changed, as well they should.

We were still awake at 4AM. But instead of a post -Karaoke and -beer gathering at Der Waffle House, it was tiptoeing away from a (please lord this time) lightly dozing bundle of noise. Our job as parents, above all else, is to provide the best start in life to our little adults-to-be. To this end it seems obvious to me that the best food for baby comes from its mother. Let’s review that one more time . . . the best vitamin-laced, antibody-rich, brain-growing-fat-having, pre-heated, sterile, portable nummy goodness comes from the MOTHER.

So back to the good Rabbi’s word . . . do you really think God (or whatever name you use), having created us in their image and oh by the way witnessing a few thousand millennia of successful child rearing, would suddenly turned around circa 1950 and pronounce . . .holy crap! . . . that whole mother’s milk thing was a mistake! . . . boobs are just scintillating pieces of flesh to keep men happy in marriage! what to do?? how do we feed the babies now?? . . . wait, wait, got it! . . . Dear Nestlé, please make some petrified dehydrated powdery stuff in a distant factory, get some doctors on board and sell, sell, sell. There, that ought to fix the problem.

Right.

Look, we’re parents now. My wife’s underwear drawer is still full of special bras.

But now they have funny trap doors on them . . . for Cooper.

She still gets her boobs out . . . but now it’s for Cooper (ever see a father and son drool simultaneously?!)

My “boobs” have become his “breasts”. And before Cooper they belonged to Willow, and before Willow they belonged to Patrick . . . . I still have a timeshare option that has become vested, but I haven’t had outright ownership since 2004. And that’s exactly the way it should be. It’s not the same as when it was just me and her, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.

Guys listen, the reason that the bedroom activity slows down after birth has nothing to do with boob allocation schedules (thanks for the input anyway, oh wise Rabbi). It has everything to do with hormone adjustments and lack of sleep. (Oh, and by the way fellas, as those lean weeks stretch into lean months, a maid service and a day spa is going to get you a lot further than whining about when is it going to be “your” turn). Give her your support and do not put pressure on her to stop. She and the baby will find their own way. The mother is the quarterback of Team Baby, you are the waterboy. Shut up and do your job.

Go buy a comfy couch – if you want to sleep you may be spending a lot of nights there.

I have spent more nights dragging my pillow out of the bedroom at 2:30 in the morning in the vague direction of the living room than I care to remember. But at least that way I can get some sleep, so can the now-free-to-spread-out-and-not-worry-about-disturbing-me mother, and the baby gets a midnight miracle-grow top up.

I don’t relish the split shift nights, but as a husband and father my job is to support my wife when she is obviously more knowledgeable and better equipped to make decisions about these things than I am. Common sense, really.

The comments from Rabbi Boteach, whilst probably drummed up to get attention, can still be dangerous and lead to the continued and unfair stigma attached to one of the natural cornerstones of parenthood.

Every day your child gets to breastfeed is a gift, a treasure that has longstanding physical and psychological benefits for both mother and baby.

Support them, encourage them, buy flowers and pretty shoes, put a spare sheet behind the sofa, relish the way your marriage has changed and grown instead of moaning about the way it used to be, and be a proud, proud breastfeeding Dad.

__________________________________

A version of this post originally appeared on Tales of Kitchen Witch Momma and is written by Joni Rae’s husband, James.

126 Responses to A Dad’s Opinion on Breastfeeding

  1. Jennifer

    “maid service and a day spa is going to get you a lot further than whining about when is it going to be “your” turn” – I love it! Thanks for a well written and heartfelt perspective of you life as a family.

  2. Larissa

    I completely agree with everything you posted. On behalf of the wife of any man who changes his mind because he read your post, thank you.

  3. Kevin

    Amen brother, I feel the same way. The best thing we can do as fathers is support the ones we love in every way they need, including supporting their decision to breast feed for as long as they need/want to

  4. Jodi

    Breastfeeding mothers everywhere are giving you a standing ovation. I am currently breastfeeding my 2nd child my 5 mo old son my daughter was breastfed before him. Its the most natural thing in the world. Breast is best
    Thank you for this post

  5. Lindy

    OMG I can’t believe Boteach said that! UGH!!! And I used to like him… Not surprised though- I’ve notice a lot of religious types (mainly Christian) can be SO anti-natural. It’s all “God wouldn’t have created dr’s, formula, epidurals, etc. if He didn’t want us to use them…” Yeah, well he wouldn’t have created crack, guns, and prostitution either then… Yeah for supporting BFing!

    • Michelle

      I am a Bible-believing Christian that shares her bed with a nursing toddler and satisfied Daddy. I also birth at home and homeschool. Just thought you might be blessed to hear that some of u religious types are very pro-natural.

      • Emilee

        hehe, yep we are out there! We just aren’t the mainstream.

      • Michelle H.

        I haven’t been able to go to church because my daughter’s sooo stranger aware, even at two years old – plus, she’s a very picky eater. And when she’s in need of comfort or familiarity, guess what she wants? My breasts. I’m also freebirthing in the water next year, planning on homeschooling, & pro-natural, like Michelle put it. :) Oh, I just nursed in church, uncovered (but still modest), for the first time. Not even a sideways glance.

    • Ninja

      I’m a practising Muslim and I am all for natural ways too..I am breastfeeding my daughter..if things were in my hands then I’d have had her at home as well, but had to have a caesarean (in UK that puts a no-no to home births for future pregnancy)..by breastfeeding my children until I wean them, is part of their rights over me as laid out in our Holy book…but I will definitely continie breastfeeding even while weaning :)….there are lots of religious folks out there who do it (in all faiths, breastfeeding is getting big in UK thank God :D )

    • Jeff

      @Lindy- God did not create the things you listed. Humans did, because God created free will and gave it to us. Breast-feeding is natural and it is the way it was intended to be. although, it can be a good thing that humans created formula, because, as I’m sure you are aware, all mothers are not capable of breast-feeding. That was the case with my children’s mother. So, unfortunately, we had to use formula. Nonetheless, my children have remained healthy into their teens so far. I am not against breast-feeding by any means. Just want to say that sometimes it is just not possible.

  6. Julia  

    What a sweet, sweet post from an obviously wonderful dad and husband. Thanks for sharing your experience! Mostly, thanks for “getting it”!

  7. Jamie

    I love this and thank you for writing it!! Your wife is blessed to have such an understanding and caring husband that supports her. Unbelievable on the Rabbi comment though:/

  8. Emma Kwasnica

    oh, James! You are a delight to read. Such wonderful balm for the soul from a loving father –and idyllic husband. :P
    I just wanted to say that I loved this piece, but for one line :
    “When I first met my wife, her boobs were mine.”
    Actually, they weren’t. They were *hers*.
    :-))
    Excellent post!
    -Emma, in Montréal
    Eats On Feets GLOBAL
    http://www.eatsonfeats.org

    • Jocelyn

      This was my though too. The breasts are hers, always. She chooses to share them with her husband and children.

      GREAT post! Thank you, James for being a great father/husband.

    • bigwyfe

      Completely agree, Emma. I think it is fantastic that the author of this post is so vocally pro-breastfeeding, but at no point in her life did his wife’s body/boobs ‘belong’ to anyone but herself.

    • Megan

      I completely agree with you, Emma. That line threw me because the rest of the post was so spot-on. A woman’s breasts, and the rest of her body, always belong to her – never to her husband or children. James, I only hope that was just a very poor choice of words, and you don’t actually believe otherwise. Other than that, thanks for a great post. I’ll never understand how something so obviously natural can incite so much controversy. (For the record, I’m speaking as a supporter, not to defend myself. I’m not a parent.)

  9. Kati

    OMG!! LOVE IT! My husband was fully on board with us breastfeeding our son. When I put US, I mean it! My husband was there when I need some water, an pillow or whatever when I was BF. Once, my son and I got the hang of it, is was there to help burp or change his diaper. My husband is a hands on dad! Not afraid to roll up his sleeves with the best of them!
    Thank you again for posting this! You need to shout this to everyone!! If more dads were like you and my husband, BF would be normal and not a fashion fopa :D

  10. Boobycookie Bee

    Ahhhhh :)
    Spoken like a REAL man, unlike Rabbi Shmuckey. THANK YOU for pointing that out from a man’s point of view. You sound just like my own husband. I am sure your wife feels as blessed as I do to have married a man who “gets it” – including how making mommy’s life easier gets you a lot further than whining like you’re her fourth child. Awesome job, dude!

  11. Kristine

    “The mother is the quarterback of Team Baby, you are the waterboy. Shut up and do your job.”
    Love it!
    What a great post – thank you thank you thank you for writing it!

  12. Amber S.

    I agree with Emma, but LOVE the post nonetheless. Funny and fantastic. :D

  13. Karen

    Thank you for posting this. As a BF mother of my first child, it means a lot to see that there are men who support us! My husband supports me fully, and appreciate him, the same way I’m sure your wife appreciates your support.

  14. DanielleB

    It’s clearly been stated plenty of times in here already but thank you! Nice to hear that from a man’s point of view and to know that there are men willing to stand up and say it!

  15. Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths  

    Love this!
    Thank you so much. I’ve linked to it from my group.
    :)
    Good job daddy-o!

  16. Laura

    love this post! what a lucky wife you have – so supportive!

  17. Mo

    Thank you!

    What a fantastic post! Witty, well-thought out and oh, so true. And that maid service and day spa sounds spot on!:-)

  18. Teva  

    Thank you so much for writing this! I think it is so well written, and from a man’s perspective. So refreshing. Thank you!

    -Teva

  19. Amy

    Thank you. My hubby is the same as you and I love him immensely for it! I shared this on my facebook page saying: “Love this A LOT! All MEN: husbands, dads, sons, brothers, uncles, grandpas, etc. should read and learn what REAL men should think/do/say about breastfeeding! My breastfeeding relationship with my children is what it is in part due to the support of my spouse. I love you for that, hubby of mine!!”

  20. Ruth

    Absolutely brilliant!! Neither of my kids could breastfeed, so there I was hooked up to a pump station (just like cattle!) for 5 months each. Our daughter was a term baby, but our son was born at 25 weeks. Without my husbands support, I could not have given our children such an better start to their lives.

    This is awesomely written, from a Dad who really gets what it is to be a Dad… There is a difference between being a father and being a Dad, and you get it! Congrats on being such a supportive husband, and thank you for showing other men how to be great Dads!!

    And for LINDY: I am Christian, I did not use any pain relief in labour, I gave breastmilk until my supply dried up (despite trying 11 different pumps!) I co-sleep, wear my babies (in a sling) and am their 24/7 mum who has never cracked a jar of baby food – everything in our house is as natural as it can be! The Lord blessed us with these children, and thankfully with the intelligence to do what is right by them :)

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