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. Sam

    I agree with this dad 2000%. Sometimes it’s not fun to take back seat to a hungry little boy. But I want the absolute best for my child and there can’t possibly be a better source of nutrition and bonding than milk directly from mommy.

  2. Lisa Hassell  

    Your wife is a lucky woman! I am still breastfeeding my 20-month-old and have a very supportive husband, thankfully. It’s always so reassuring to find people (especially men) who support & appreciate women trying to do the best thing for their babies.

  3. Emilee

    YAY TEAM DAD! What a great post!

  4. Lily's Mama

    I couldn’t be more proud to have a partner that supports BFing. It makes all the difference in the world to have support like that. I would breast feed regardless, but it means everything when he steps up to the plate and defends my decision to co-sleep to the inlaws who think it’s “unnecessary to bf past 3 months”. Here we are with a 10 month old in our bed, who IS an all-night-nurser. But still we sleep well, she sleeps well, we are happy, she is (soo) happy and we don’t plan on changing this arrangement anytime soon. So thank you to my sweetheart for backing me on this and every other breastfeeding battle we have ever faced (together!)
    and to all you supportive Dads out there, Good Job! Karma will pay you back for all the time you spent on the backburner.

  5. Emily

    What a fantastic post! I hope that more men will be able to find their way to this perspective.

  6. Kyleigh

    AWESOME!!!! It is so, so nice to see a man be so supportive and so educated. Your wife and children are incredibly lucky to have you.

  7. Aidan  

    James,
    You sir, are a legend among men, I now too can call myself a Breastfeeding Dad. My Daughter Rika Eden is the proud timeshare occupant of my Wife’s boobs and you know what what I will happily give her that right.

    The midnight to 8 am shift is made that little bit easier, as mummy-milk at night is filled with sleep-causing hormones that put the little one back to sleep rather quickly.

    It might sound like I am repeating myself, but thank you for the post and sharing…

    Regards,

    Aidan Dunne
    Ireland

  8. Megan

    Awesome post!!! You truly get it. Thank you for sharing in such a clear and hilarious way.

    I also wanted to share that the rabbi’s opinion does not represent the majority of rabbis and Jews’ opinions about nursing. Here’s an excellent post about the reality of what Judaism has to say about it: http://thecoveredwagon.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/tzniudnik-nursing-judaism-and-nip/

  9. Kelly

    You are an awesome husband and dad — thanks so much for taking this position and owning it. Husbands hearing this from another man is so helpful. Thanks for helping to make this world a better place.

  10. Dawn

    Thank you Daddy for posting this. Wonderfully put and it is obvious that you do have a love affair with your wife and are a great husband and father. Thank you for supporting what God created in women’s bodies.

  11. Rachel

    Rock on, Superman!!! If only EVERYONE could read these perfect words….

  12. Amy  

    I really enjoyed reading about a dad’s perspective and how it appears you have become comfortable in your role in the family, along with Joni Rae’s role as a momma. Congrats again to now being home with the fam as the GM of the English Pub. So excited for all of you!

  13. Pieter

    Hi James, thank you for this well written, sincere testimony. Just the words, and little bit of motivation I needed today.
    We also embrace breastfeeding for as long as possible, and little 7 month old Vera is thriving. I am very much involved with the whole process and love being a father, but I do get a bit frustrated, because my wife ONLY sleeps and breastfeeds and has very little energy for anything else. I am not demanding. I do a lot of the housework. Your words helped. We shall persevere. Breastmilk is the ultimate. Respect to all the mothers (and fathers) chosing the best for their babies, in the face of substantial pressure to adopt an inferior alternative.

  14. Bobby

    You are ACE. Great piece!

  15. Laura

    This is an amazing article! Thank you so much for posting this, you sound like a wonderful father and husband!

  16. Svimbi

    Ok, this is two years old, but I’ve just stumbled upon it, and after reading the comments I must share my somewhat different opinion. Not regarding BF, I agree it’s best-and what’s there to agree with, that has been amply proved.
    Now, what I didn’t like was the waterboy bit, when mothers are being put to a pedestal, believing it themselves, and then later complaining how their husbands say “Oh you do it, you’re so much better at it than me”. Yes, that happens when you learn to believe the waterboy story.
    No, we’re both MVPs.

  17. Isabel

    As a Mum to two breast fed kids, with a supportive partner who had his moments at times, it warms the cockles of my heart to read such sense and sensibility and I love that you’re spreading the word. Breast feeding without your partner on board would be nigh on impossible. That supporting role is a crucial one. And the evidence is in the sparkling eyes of bouncing babes. Well done

  18. Chris J.

    I could not agree more. I am a Christ follower. As a man, I recognize the breasts are for me, they were intended to feed babies and to produce vital nourishment for my two sons and soon to be born child (July). To me this what the breasts were intended for. Thanks for sharing and there are many men who stand with you and stand for our wives and children as well. Thank you!

  19. Pittipat  

    WOW! Thank God for men like you who understand why boobs were created in the first place. You make an awesome dad and an awesome husband (next to mine, of course). I hope that many other REAL men will read your testimony and be inspired by it as well.

  20. Niña Cabardo

    Thank you for writing this! I’m happy for your marriage and family that its leader (you) just “gets it” & has thrown himself into supporting breastfeeding :) from our experience, it’s not just best for baby, it’s best for family :)

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.