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Got Milk? A Dad’s View on Breastfeeding.

This “Got Milk?” post was second in a series I put together last year.

View From the Couch

(a dad’s opinion on breastfeeding)

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

“Ahhhh,” you say, “he must live in California.”

Nope. I live in New England.

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

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 adore my wife -which some people might find odd since she is a breastfeeding stay at home mom to our four children. There are people who think it’s not possible for a woman to breastfeed her kids and still keep her man happy. But I’m not interested in what they have to say.  What I’d like to do is give you the opinion of a real 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 for my enjoyment.

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 both of 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 what we think is the best start in life to our little adults-to-be. If this isn’t your goal as well then perhaps you should think about doubling up on your contraception.

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, preheated, sterile, portable nummy goodness comes from the MOTHER.  For those of you that have a religious outlook on life, if you believe in a creator (doesn’t matter what name you give them) do you really think that having created us in their image (and oh by the way witnessing a few thousand millennia of successful child rearing) they suddenly turned around circa 1950 and pronounced… “Holy crap!  That whole mother’s milk thing was a mistake!  What to do?? Wait, wait, got it!  Dear Nestle, 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.”

I understand that some mothers have issues with breastfeeding complications, (I don’t actually “understand” the issues, because I’m not a doctor and I don’t have breasts, but I understand that they do exist) but what I don’t get is why a mother -given the option, with all the proper working parts- would CHOOSE formula feeding over breastfeeding.

Anyway, back to the Dad part of life.

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 quite often, but now it is 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.

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 Boteach) 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 your wife 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 are going to be spending a lot of nights there.  I have spent more nights dragging my pillow out of the bedroom in the vague direction of the living room at two-thirty in the morning 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 people like 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.  Everyday that your child gets to breastfeed is a gift, a treasure that will have longstanding physical and psychological benefits for both mother and baby.  Support your wife and encourage her, put a spare sheet behind the sofa and be a proud breastfeeding Dad.

James Latham

*This is a repost- the original entry and comments can be read here: Got Milk: Part Two -there isn’t much difference I edited out some stuff that I didn’t think was important anymore- and fixed some stuff that was bugging me.  I wanted my new readers to read the awesomeness that is the huz.

36 Responses to Got Milk? A Dad’s View on Breastfeeding.

  1. Love it! this is my first time. Would have loved reading it 4 years ago, and sharing with hubby. It might have made our own experiences easier. I’m glad you reposted!

  2. What a fabulous partner you have!
    Wonderful post and one that certainly deserves to be re-posted and shared often.

    My own husband is supportive, but hasn’t *quite* fully embraced my needs as a BFing mom and graduate student. He’s never been foolish enough to even imply I not breastfeed, and he’s been smart enough to embrace the futon when he wants more sleep. But he doesn’t quite understand my need for just-me-space when I don’t have a child underfoot.

    • Sounds like a great husband! I think “just me” time is VERY important. Having people climb all over you, ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, means that you desperately NEED to have some alone time now and then.


  3. Hey – new to the blog here (was looking up homeschooling/unschooling online) but I had to say that I LOVE this post. Rarely do you get an honest point of view from the man in the relationship and this is so, so great!

    Thank you for sharing :)

  4. I also wish I and my now ex husband would have seen this first time round. You are fab, and I hope there are more dads round like you these days. And I hope you don’t mind sharing your views round the truckers dinner table after a hard days driving.

  5. Love this post! Thanks James :)

    PS it’s only crazy american christians that have problems with breastfeeding, don’t understand why as I don’t understand quite a lot of their arguments for things.. I think I can safely say that Christians in the rest of the world don’t agree with them!

    Greetings from Iceland and God bless :)

  6. Damn, that made me cry. Your husband rocks.

    Glad I found your blog via the Target Nurse-In page. I’m enjoying your stuff!

  7. My children are now 22 and 19! I had the same amazing support from my hubby way back in 1989… and breastfeeding was neither popular or nor socially acceptable then.

    I still have the same amazing support from my true love as this week, my baby starts her university education. :) Thanks for reminding me how blessed I am to have such a great hubby and best friend! :)

  8. You my sir, deserve an award. We have Purple Hearts as one of the highest honors in the Army – you should get a Purple Boob. There needs to be more men out there like you. Preach on!

    Also – hats off to you. My Daddy is an OTR trucker. =D

  9. Could not agree more. I too am a breastfeeding dad. Yup, 3 AM couch trip is standard practice. Why? because my son’s well being and future is more important than my convenience.

    How and when why did a parent’s convenience take importance over a child’s needs? Formula feeding, crying it out, forced separation, separate sleeping; all of these are not in the best developmental interest of a child. They are solely in the interest and ease of the parents.

    Well choose as you like, but like Joni and her husband, I’ll take a little inconvenience now for a healthy, strong, caring and well adjusted son later. Is it more work? yep. But when I watch my 20 month old son interact with other kids with the kind of self-possession that took me a lifetime to acquire, I know we’ve made the right choice.

  10. LOVE IT! Thanks for being yet another name on my list of awesome men/dads! You are what makes modern parenting work. Keep it up!

  11. This is awesome and your hubby rocks! I am most definitely going to have to read this to my hubby :) He has done the 2:30 am trek across the house too (although to the guest room) many times. I’m sure it will be nice for him to hear that he is not the only one. haha

  12. I am envious of you. I don’t ever has to worry about breastfeeding being an issue with a man again but, boy is it hard to find one as open minded and well grounded as your husband.

  13. i really enjoyed reading this :) we are on child #1 a beautiful little boy who is 13 months old now and still nurses 5 times a day on a good day. i smiled the entire time reading this :) esp. the part about simultaneously dad/son drooling over the boobies :)

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