This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
Alright dads, here are a few things I’ve learned about breastfeeding the last few weeks:
1) You know that old saying there are two things you should never argue about in polite company, politics and religion? Well, to a pregnant woman or a new mom, breastfeeding is just as controversial. From what I’ve read, formula is fine and all but nothing beats the real thing. Therefore I didn’t even ask MJ what she planned to do, I just went into this whole thing assuming she’d breastfeed. Luckily, she agreed and so it was never an issue. But I know couples who have disagreed mightily over this. And guys, if you’re a fan of breastfeeding and Mom isn’t, don’t waste your time trying to show her all the scientific evidence proving the natural way is the best way to go. In fact, don’t say anything at all. Because in the end, your nipples aren’t the ones that will be raw and she has the final say. Arguing about breastfeeding can be dangerous to your health, so even though you may disagree just support her in her decision.
2) Have you seen the cost of formula lately? It’s absolutely insane!! My good friends are formula feeding their new baby and it’s costing them about $70 a week. That’s outrageous. That’s also why I’ve asked MJ to breastfeed Will until he’s about 12 years old. It’s either that or he doesn’t go to college.
3) Breastfeeding is not always easy. I know most of you probably know that, but I’m a guy and I had no idea it was such a complex issue. There are all kinds of different holds and positions and tricks to get him to latch on, but I just thought it was “nipple to mouth” and that was that. So don’t make the same mistake I did and cast a flippant remark her way along the lines of “What are you complaining about? Just stick it in his mouth it’s not that complicated!” Yeah…I never said I was a smart man.
4) Make sure Mom has a good nursing bra. I won’t lie to you, I have no idea what makes a nursing bra good. But I know when MJ got one that was satisfactory, she was a whole lot happier. My advice is to ask lots of new moms what they prefer and buy what they suggest. It’ll make you look like a hero and lets her know you care and you’re involved.
5) Alright, this is the biggie. I’m a guy. Therefore I love boobs. Basically when I see boobs I becomee a stereotypical, drooling caveman and I stare. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I’m alone on this one. So even though my wife knows I’m just a sketchy pervert at my core, she somehow thought I would change with the arrival of the baby. And I don’t blame her. After all, I witnessed a new life enter the world. And shortly thereafter, I saw the miracle that is a mother feeding her baby and providing him with the nectar of life. Is there anything in the world more beautiful than that? I don’t think so. When a mother is breastfeeding her child she should be revered because her body is truly a miraculous temple providing all the nutrients my child needs to survive in these early months.
Yet every single time she feeds Will, I have the same reaction:
My wife still gets upset every time this happens because — God bless her — she expects more from me and she’s sickened when I turn into “such a guy.” But even though I’m honored she has such high standards for me, I don’t think there’s any way to meet them.
I love her. I love boobs. What’s a guy supposed to do?