In case you didn’t know, it’s World Breastfeeding Week. It’s probably a rarity for a husband to share his opinion of breastfeeding on social media but here goes. I 100% support and encourage breastfeeding. I also 100% support a family choosing what is best for them. That’s that.
Honestly, before The Lady Foster and I started a family I had no thoughts or stances on cord blood, cesareans, water-births, doulas, placenta encapsulation, natural vs. epidural – let alone breastfeeding. When we were pregnant with our first (and by we I mean my wife) I was the epitome of the uneducated man. “As long as mom and baby are healthy I don’t care if we use a catcher’s mitt to catch the baby when she comes out… a little game of baseball perhaps!”
Roxanne on the other hand was prepared for EVERYTHING. If our daughter had been born in a thunderstorm producing whale-sized hail – a whale storm – she’d have been ready. She was adamant about breastfeeding our children and as soon as Scarlette was born the process began. It was right then and there that I became a breastfeeding dadvocate.
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What Breastfeeding Means for Dad
A couple of months before Scarlette was born a man at my office had the audacity to tell me that since my wife was breastfeeding I could sleep through the night! “She’s got the feeding thing covered. Sleep easy and let her do the work.” What?!
Yeah. That actually happened. I was angry that someone I barely knew assumed they knew my marriage well enough to tell me to “take it easy” since breastfeeding didn’t involve me. That’s like saying I don’t need to be involved in my daughter’s ballet class since dancing is for girls – pure ignorance; arrogance even. I probably have better things to do anyway, like care for the grass or spit or something else manly.
The bottom line was, the first time I witnessed my wife breastfeeding I knew I had a role in it. And no, I was not of those dads that had sympathy lactation issues! That’s not what I mean.
It’s Never Enough to Say Enough – Show it
So what role did I fill through breastfeeding? True, I didn’t produce and give milk to my daughter (and two years later my son), but any man who thinks breastfeeding is as simple as that should repent or be punched. I was the re-latcher (infants don’t naturally latch onto the breast very well, just ask your wife), re-attacher, cheerleader, pump part cleaner, burper as well as the clogged milk duct masseuse – not to mention I frequently acted like the milk man, delivering pumped bottles of breast milk to the fridge or freezer.
Breastfeeding is no way a one parent experience and to the men who have allowed it to be such, I urge you to be involved. It’s not enough to say you support breastfeeding “because it’s cheaper…” Show her you support her by actually being supportive. What a woman’s body does to support life both and inside and outside the womb is nothing short of miraculous. Be a miracle-worker for your lady.
Be a Breastfeeding Dadvocate
I have grown to love watching my children nurse so much that I may actually shed some tears when my son weans. My wife is so sacrificial that watching her literally give of herself in order to sustain and develop the life of my own flesh and blood is one of the most beautiful experiences to behold.
Being a dadvocate of breastfeeding means more than spoken words to your wife or telling your buddies they have to wait in the other room while she feeds the milk monster… It means finding opportunities to be as sacrificial to the love of your life as she is being to your children. Real men sacrifice.
Perhaps some of you (men) are thinking, “Lucky for me – we bottle feed.” Even more reason for you to be involved in the lifelong process of caring for your children. Breastfeeding or not, raising littles is hard work – intended for a crew of two, not her minus you.
Breastfeeding is hard. Bottom line. Men, don’t let your lady go it alone (overnight or anytime for that matter) simply because she “has the goods.” If she has the goods then you ought to have the guts to sacrificially dadvocate for her and your children. Be awake, be engaged…
Be a breastfeeding dadvocate.
(photo credit to the talented Laura Vanderzee)