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. Valencia

    Absolutely wonderful! I do have to disagree with Lindy who commented that ‘a lot of religious types (mostly Christian) can be so anti-natural’. Well that’s just wrong. As someone who has been to a lot of different churches of all denominations in all parts of the country except New England, I can tell you that breast feeding is welcomed and encouraged in most churches. They do prefer you use a blanket or something instead if just whipping it out, but I’ve noticed that most other places do too. Heck, I’ve never gotten a funny look or offensive comment in church, but I’ve had plenty in the local mall, which happens to be in a pretty liberal’only eat, drink, wear organic’ area. I’m sorry if you have had bad experiences, but don’t paint all of us ‘religious types’ with such broad brushstrokes. Btw, a rabbi is a Jew.

  2. Melissa

    God Bless You James !! Well said !!

  3. Nicole

    Love this & my fiance thought it was funny too. His favorite part was the trap doors! Although I’ve managed to find a few pieces of nursing wear that don’t look like I borrowed them from my Grandma. Our son is almost 1 but those first few weeks were a struggle. I’m glad I have had his support from day 1 (even if the felt that the breastfeeding class at the hospital was really boring). It’s true things change after you have a baby and it wasn’t the breastfeeding that challenged our sex life. Now that our lives are starting to ‘normalize’ again he’s glad to have his ‘boobs’ back again but my baby boy still gets his momma’s milk! Every man should stand behind the woman he loves whenever it comes to their child. It is team work for sure. She’s putting her needs last so you should be able to do the same, it doesn’t last forever.

  4. canada bastley

    I’m so glad I never had children and never had to deal with any of this it sounds like an absolutely miserable sleep deprived sacrificial life (for me anyway..I know parents revel in it). I’m all for pro breastfeeding though. Go moms.

  5. Rebecca

    this is awesome and I wish a lot more guys would read this so they would think differently about women who breastfeed. you are truly one in a million and your wife is lucky to have someone so understanding by her side. Thank You for putting your opinion out in the open :)

  6. Trevora21

    I know this thread is a little old but…..Dude thank you for giving me the slap to the face I think has been coming to me I haven’t looked at it from that perspective. I just kind of have been throwing myself a pity party. Well folks, the party is over you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here. Time to pick up my slack and do whats required for our children….let alone what I need to do for “our” mom. Because God knows she looks after me like I’m one of the boys.

  7. Disa

    You just plain rock!! Would you go on a lecture circuit!

  8. Louise

    Way to go! My boys were breastfed and are now late primary school aged. And my boobs belong again to my man, and it’s worth the timeshare for a while!

  9. Vicki

    what an amazing man with a brilliant respect for his wife & a handle on the whole support the normal ‘thing’

  10. fiona heares

    You rock!

  11. Leah

    Now that ladies and gentlemen is a REAL man!!!

  12. Beverly

    I’m in my late 50s and just married off the last of my children this past weekend. I nursed my children solely for their first year of life. I was very fortunate to be married to a man that believed the same way, sans maid service and day spa. However, I was the one who would get up and take the babies into the living room to nurse. He bought me a nice gliding rocker and a recliner loveseat, so I was all set to go, with options! My husband worked hard all day providing a home for us so I wanted to make sure he had a good night’s sleep. I also didn’t want babies sleeping in our room. My schedule was more flexible for napping when babies/children napped. All to say, my children grew up to be very bright, well-adjusted men who married the loves of their lives and will help to create the next generation someday, aka. my grandchildren!

  13. Julie

    Oops I Need glasses!! It says New England NOT England! Still a cute story

  14. Ken Gawryluk

    I am not quite sure what this Rabbi said regarding breast feeding but sounds like he is out too lunch. I am a Pastor in Canada and I can tell you God is all for mothers breast feeding their babies, He is the the one that came up with the idea. The comments that this Husband has made is the most Godly words I have heard in regards to Fatherhood, Husband and laying your life down for someone. I am sorry their is people out there that misrepresent God, I deal with it on a weekly basis.

  15. Linda

    Great post, My Husband Feels the exact same was and is very supportive of me still breastfeeding my 23 month old. Wish there were more accepting people like this

  16. Alan

    Hey – Thanks for writing this, saves me having to. If I ever need to explain my relationship with my wife’s boobs I simply have to copy and paste, change some names and hey presto!

    Its nice to hear from men like us, isnt it.

    Alan.

  17. Chasity Boatman

    You’re awesome! Breastfeeding is discussed many times in the bible. Wet nursing is the reason that Moses survived. Good for you for supporting your wife.

  18. Monica

    This was wonderful! My husband says that you summed up his feelings much more eloquently than he ever could and he thanks you!

  19. sapphire

    James, you are awesome. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Keep up the good work.

  20. summer robinson

    You rock! Every mom should have a husband like you :)

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