This “Got Milk?” post is second in a series I am putting together on breastfeeding.
You can read Part One here.
View From the Couch
(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…….”His freaky ass must come from California.”
Nope, I live in New England.
“Well then he must be one of those .edu types, all lectures, tweed coats and lettuce leaves all day long.”
Wrong again! I drive an 18 wheeler across all 48 states and my ever expanding belt-line gives sincere testimony to my love affair with bacon cheeseburgers.
But there have been remarks that recently came to light from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and whilst they are over four years old they still need to be addressed and corrected.
The original article came out in June 2006 and in August of the same year he explained his comments. I am not particularly interested in what Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has to say, he is after all a publicity hound who sold a book of tapes he had of conversations with Michael Jackson coincidentally after the singer’s untimely but profitable death.
I am also not interested in his retraction, quite often the damage has already been done in the realm of public opinion by the time the truth sticks its pesky nose into people’s business.
But what I would like to do is to give 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 firstly there’s not enough time to do the subject justice and secondly I’d like to keep this a g- rated blog!
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 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 tip toeing 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. If you do not want to have this responsibility perhaps you should double up on your contraception.
To this end it seems obvious to me (and to any reasonable mind) that the best food for baby comes from its mother.
Let’s review that one more time………….the best vitamin laced, anti-body rich, brain-growing-fat-having, pre heated, 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, but I understand that they exist) but what I don’t get is why a mother~given the option~would CHOOSE formula feeding over breast feeding.
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……….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.
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 are going to 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. 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 them, encourage them, buy flowers and pretty shoes, put a spare sheet behind the sofa and be a proud, proud breastfeeding Dad.