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. Steven O.

    I never got to have that time with my fiancee of having her breasts at all to myself. She was breastfeeding her son, whom I claim as my own, when we got together and I thought it was a beautiful thing. This guy definitely tells it like it is. I live my fiancee and I loved being there for her while she was breastfeeding. Every guy needs to read and understand this.

  2. Lacy

    First thank you for being a wonderfully supportive husband and dad. Second I do agree that breastfeeding is best but to those of you bashing formula as if it is unchristian or makes a mother a horrible provider for her child thank you so much for making mothers like me who were physically unable to breastfeed feel like inadequate unfit monsters. You should feel really proud of your Christian selves! Maybe you should be greatfull that you were able to share this wonderful gift and experience with your children and try having a little tolerance and understanding for others who either can not do the same or choose to different for their own valid reasons. Not everyone is the same or makes the same choices as you for various reasons and guess what… that should be OK.

    • Andi  

      I think he’s trying to get at the fact the rabbi was saying women shouldn’t breast feed because the breasts or for the man.
      I know where you’re coming from, it’s hard not having the choice about formula feeding and it’s something I’m always going to feel bad for, but it’s not your fault, at least you tried. If there is another time you might be able to try again and succeed. Breast feeding is harder, but once it’s set up everything is fine.
      Good luck

  3. tonya

    what a grown up ! God bless you & your. Your children will grow to be amazing adults & spouses because of you & your wifes commitment to them and each other !

  4. Anotha Motha

    I agree 100% with this article — with dads needing to be on board, that breast feeding is completely natural and God-given, etc. Hooray for pro-bf folks. But as a momma who was not physically able to bf… Please be kind to bottle-feeding mommies you may come across. Bottle feeding isn’t always out of selfishness or convenience.

  5. Samantha

    I just read this, and I just want to say THANK YOU!!! I wish that other dads felt this way!! I am currently nursing our 4th baby and he is 9 months old. I wish I had the support that you give to your wife!

  6. kathryn

    Love it, and spot on about the spa day, although a long soak in a hot bath or even a lie in and a cup of coffee will go a long way!!

  7. Marlene Murray  

    I LOVE this piece. What an exceptional man, father and husband you are. Not to mention a fabuolus writer!

  8. Andi  

    I wish the dad of my first kid would have been supportive like that. Men don’t seem to care how much things change when a women gives birth, and I’m glad someone like you recognises and respects that, more men like this are needed in the world.

  9. Nursing since 1977

    I would like to speak on behalf of this Christian family. My husband wears the title if Rev. In front of his name and we are absolute supporters of nursing. My husband could have written what you said, exactly, except, I started nursing in 1977 and continued with all my children until my youngest, who is now 11 yrs old, weaned himself. So I guess you can say, I started when nursing a child was so “uncool”. In fact I had NO support to do it, except my grandmother who lived hours away. The pediatrician put my oldest son on formula in the hospital and sent me home with a nice freebie pkg of formula. I was young but knew instinctively it was not right and started nursing my son as immediately w/o a hitch. From there I stood firm, regardless of how much ppl AND the doctors tried to talk me out of it. Years later as my oldest sons married and had children of their own, I was thrilled beyond words when they decided that they were going to nurse my grand babies. I completely and fully support them. For those that have no support, I understand, but want to encourage you that I feel this is one if the very best things I could have done, and my DIL’s could do for the precious babies that were put in our care. A HUGE hug to you Sir Daddy for fully supporting your wife while she gives your children the best start possible. The breasts will turn into “boobs” again one day, but you won’t ever have the chance to give your children this precious gift again. * standing ovation to all the nursing moms and dads!!!,

  10. Michelle H.

    I’m linking this to my FB page!!! As the mom of a two year old nursling, this is a very important subject to me. By the way, the boyfriend (soon to be hubby) is quite satisfied & very happy about the bond I have with our daughter. We’re both Christians and I am trying to get us into the more natural way of life. :)

  11. Vicki

    I love this man for standing up for his wife. My husband was always supportive of my breastfeeding but i know alot of woman do not have this kind of support and I hope their spouse will see this any think twice before putting pressure on their wives to “share”

  12. christelle harris

    omg sweet dude !!!! great job . you put a smile on my face today !

  13. Kelsey

    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. – I LOVED THIS!

    Everything about this made me so happy! Thank you for being awesome!

  14. Beckie

    Wow, what a lucky woman! What lucky children and what wonderfully supportive man!

  15. natalie

    II need help. i exclusively pumped ad a compromisr because my husband ead repulsed at the sight of breastfeeding. He was disgusted and I felt like I needed to hide it from him….so aftet 8 days of breastfeeding I switched yo exclusive pumping. My baby got breast milk one wsy or another but it was a pain in the rear and I want yo breastfeed with the next. But my husband doest support me…..?II

  16. Wendy

    This is great, but just one little correction, your wife’s breasts have always belonged to her, and she has chosen to share them with you in the same way that you share your body with her. When she wears lacy bras or gets her boobs out it is not just for your pleasure it is also for her own, just like she may decide to get them out because she’s hot and wants to cool down. A woman’s body never belongs to her husband, her children or anyone else. Being sensual pieces of flesh, or baby feeders is is what she allows if she chooses.

  17. Lauren

    What a good guy. This put the biggest smile on my face. I don’t have children yet but my husband has told me time and time again that when we do he wants me to be a breast feeding mom. These are the kind of dads who know what’s up. It’s for your child. Loved this.

  18. Robyn

    You forgot to mention how inexpensive breastfeeding is. I’ll never forget my proud moment, when my father in law told my husband that now we’re expecting number 3 we can look forward to more expensive formula to buy. My husband burst out laughing and said: “my wife breast feeds until they wouldn’t even need formula anymore- and that’s FREE baby!” It may seem less than sentimental, but he was proud, so I felt proud. :)

  19. Jonathan  

    I really enjoyed reading this and totally agree with what you said about breastfeeding, especially the notion that men have a role to play in supporting breastfeeding. I also did a blog post about this a while back to mark World Breastfeeding Week. Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://dadsthewayilikeit.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/breastfeeding-why-dads-are-important-too/

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