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. Kelly

    Well said! So awesome to hear this from a man. Thank you :)

  2. Momma Jorje

    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

    So so true! And yeah, those hormones that make new mommas uninterested in sex are trying to help space babies far enough apart that Momma can recover from having this baby first!

  3. Sarah

    Wow, what a wonderful ode to boobs ….. you actually understand how we women feel about breastfeeding!! It doesn’t mean we don’t love you guys any less, or fancy you any less it’s all about the best for your children and the next generation you have produced!!! Let’s hope more men read this and understand a real man’s thoughts!!! Thank you

  4. Laura

    you are right Emma, and Lindy. I am with you ! Love, love love this post ! keep it up !

  5. Sheridan  

    I love your post! I am going to link to it to my blog post about how Breasts are not for entertainment purposes. http://enjoybirth.com/blog/2010/08/19/breasts-not-for-entertainment-purposes/
    I love the timeshare analogy. :)

  6. Katherine

    Brilliant and very well said!!! Keep spreading the good word. There are many, many more men and women out there that need to hear this wise perspective. :)

    From an ever thankful, 2.5 year long breastfeeding mother and son.

  7. Jennifer

    Well written!! Thank you for showing that there are breastfeeding-supportive men out there. Your wife and children are blessed to have such a strong, understanding husband and father and I’m sure your babies have benefitted more than you even know. Women have been putting up with and trying to conquer the pressures of society for hundreds of years, especially when some male rabbi or other position of authority have their way. We need more brave husbands to speak out and show their support! Thank you!! PS. I am breastfeeding my 4 month old as I clumsily type this with one hand LOL

  8. Julie

    James, funny and well written article. Thank you. For not knowing five woman who breastfed growing up, I have breastfed (with my husband support) five children. Our baby is currently six months old. We learned along the way the difference between breast features and function. I DO believe Heavenly Father endowed us with a way to feed these sweet little ones He sends. My husband and I are also deeply in love. Your wife is lucky to have you and your support.

  9. Heather

    As for the “God wouldn’t have given us formula to feed our babies with, that is complete BS. was created by men who are trying to capitalize on doing things “the easy way”, making money from making you believe that your child is better off drinking that than from the breast. The reason why god created breasts is 1) to feed baby, and 2.) to be esthetically pleasing to men.

    Women for thousands of years have been doing it the natural way, so why shouldn’t we? Also, we see what we put into our bodies, so we know what is going into baby. Who knows what pesticides were used to make those strained carrots? You do not have control over the additives put into the formula… why would you put the unknown into your new born baby?

    Then there’s the argument that immunities are passed on through breast milk. Which is absolutely true. Every flu we got, every cold, we build up an immunity to that strain. So, why NOT pass on those experiences to your baby too? It will help your child develop their own immune system faster, giving them some foundation in which to build a house on.

    I am Christian, and I will NOT buy processed food. I will NOT buy tv dinners. I will NOT buy pre-made pet food. I will NOT buy sugar covered sugar. And I absolutely WILL NOT give my baby formula. I wouldn’t take it for myself, so why make my baby any different?

  10. Kimberly

    AMAZING, simply Amazing! Finally one of the precious few good men makes their opinion known! Thanks for standing up for what is the best and natural way and for promoting common sense! You are a hero to your wife, children and breastfeeding mothers everywhere! Bravo!

  11. Allie

    There is nothing sexier than a man who stands behind his wife and supports her in her decision to breastfeed and how she cares for her child. I wish there were more men like you out there, it would make those early mommy days so much easier.

  12. Lara de Martinez

    THANK YOU so much for a funny and well written apology of breastfeeding. It is so great to hear a man stand up for it and very validating. I will share this with my husband who told me that he loves me more for being a dedicated breastfeeding mom. :-D

  13. Kat

    What a FABULOUS article! :) My husband is like you and very supportive/hands on. I couldn’t do it without him! He’s shared “his property” with all three of our children and will again when this next one arrives. Thank you for helping other men realize what a blessing breastfeeding is!

  14. Zoe

    Love it!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS IT IS WONDERFUL TO HEAR!!! Thank you again!

  15. Betsy

    I really liked the article… but I also think it’s important to be sensitive to women that cannot breastfeed for one reason or another. There is a lot of negative talk about formula and using formula — for some people that is the only option… In the future try not to make it such an awful thing. Thanks!

  16. teresa. from england uk

    What a great dad and husband you are. I breast fed all three of my children my last child for 13months.I am now a grandma and it gives me great joy knowing that their parents are giving them the best start in life and who have a loving and caring relationship.

  17. Niffa

    He was completely correct in saying that his wife’s boobs were his. When you’re married you should be as one. All of her belongs to him and all of him belongs to her.

  18. Susan

    I agree with Ruth … I am also a Christian (and have many Christian friends like me)… I have 5 kids who I breastfed for about 2 years each (and they also slept with us) and I never used pain relief in labor (even had two home births). My husband was also a great support! God designed breasts to nurish babies (in the BEST, most complete way) and be beautiful for my husband… He hasn’t changed his mind.
    Loved this article.

  19. Joe

    Right on man! You got it down pat.

  20. t in hd

    Now, that is my definition of a REAL man. Clearly, there are still good ones out there. No fragile, shaky egos to deal with here!

    You’re lucky to have such a great mum to your kids and they are *just* as lucky to have you.

Leave a Comment

Send me an email when additional comments are made on this post.

All comments are subject to moderation, please see the comment policy for more information.