Fatherly Stuff: World Breastfeeding Week: A Dad's reflections

Aug 6, 2013

World Breastfeeding Week: A Dad's reflections

Romulus and Remus, they breastfed from go*dammed wolf and they became the founders of one of the greatest empires in the world. 

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I would give my take on the subject:

I don’t get why breastfeeding has become such a “hot button” issue.  Breast milk is awesome and if a mom wants to breastfeed, that’s great.  If not, that’s fine too.
Personally, I believe that there is too much medical evidence our there that points to the massive health benefits that breast milk provides over manufactured brands. That is why our first son was breastfed until he was about 18 months and we have every intention of doing the same for our infant.
With that being said, I also understand why parents may choose an alternate path. There are medical issues that can occur within women that may prevent them from feeding. But sometimes, parents might decide not to as a personal choice and that's okay. Or at least, it should be. Those parents do not deserve to be attacked by breastfeeding proponents. I mean, would you chide someone for eating a regular apple as opposed to one that is 100% organic? As great as breast milk is, there are millions of infants who were raised on formula who are perfectly healthy.  
In regards to public feeding, people really need to get over it. I think something that plays a part is the hyper sexuality of our society. This has caused many people to view breastfeeding as something that is obscene, as opposed to the natural function that it is. 


If a woman is breastfeeding and their baby is hungry, they should be able to feed their baby no matter where they are.  They shouldn’t be forced to do it in a public restroom. 

Would you eat in the bathroom? (Source)

One day, as the majority of the population evolves and become more progressive on this issue, I envision a society where the concept of a “breastfeeding station”: clean, comfortable areas for women to express milk to nourish their baby: is the norm. In this society that I’m thinking of, there will be as many of these stations; in malls, stores and restaurants; as there currently are restrooms. In order for this day to come, it will take more that just breastfeeding mothers to rally. We as men, as fathers need to come together and join them in support. This may mean standing up for the woman in the restaurant who is being sent to the bathroom to feed by the staff. Or maybe politely educating someone who has a negative stance on the matter. Only by doing this will real change occur.

There's always a "But"...
With all of the positives for the baby that come with breastfeeding, there can be some… let’s call them “hurdles” that dads come across during this period. Two of them instantly come to mind….

For one, when families make the choice to exclusively breastfeed and not use bottles, the father is left out of a very crucial part of the bonding experience with the infant. We are then left to find other ways to feel included and important during this time. 

The second “hurdle” is admittedly born out of selfishness. I believe however, that honesty is the best way to overcome most any hurdle. Studies have shown that breastfeeding can lower the estrogen levels in a woman, resulting in a dip in their libido. For a guy whose hormone levels have not been affected by pregnancy and are working just fine, this could prove to be a frustrating situation. In the past, I wrote a guideline for guys to help navigate through this complicated phase based on my experiences. But whatever you do, DO NOT ask your baby for their opinion.
Gee, thanks son

At the end of the day, despite any challenges a father may face during the early days, it is imperative to understand that anything that you are giving up pales in comparison to the wonderful gift of life  and nourishment your child is receiving. With a little patience, some compromise and a lot of communication, things will be back to normal before you know it.  Just hang in there, things will get better. For everyone. Everywhere.

Also, for your viewing pleasure, I thought it would be cool to post some a couple of hilarious standup male comedians treading some uncomfortable waters while trying to explain the wonders of breastfeeding

Question: What are you thoughts on breastfeeding in public?


  1. Thanks for your thoughts on the subject, Kyle! It's great to hear a Dad's opinion on the subject, although I agree with you that there's a perk that you miss out on when nursing is the chosen method of feeding. I breastfed both of my kids, and it was an experience I wouldn't change for the world.

    While you touched on the health benefits of breastfeeding, it's an interesting thing to note that there are great benefits both for the mother and for the child.

    I guess the only real idea I disagree with in your story though is about breastfeeding stations. Certainly, there should be places where, if a Mom wants privacy, she can go and feed her child. But, it should be equally acceptable for her to do so in public.

    It's possible that if a station were available, but a mother chose to nurse in public, some people would judge her for not using the station.

    Feeding areas should be available for any mother who wants to feed her child in private and quiet (meaning bottle-feeding Moms as well). They shouldn't be targeted specifically for those mothers who nurse their children, in my opinion.

    1. Thanks for your input, Tara. Your insights have certainly given me something to think about. I guess my thought processes was geared towards a compromise between those that would rather not see public breastfeeding and those that do. But you are right: It should be acceptable to do in any location, not just in private.

      I must admit that I am not knowledgeable on the benefits for the mother. This is something that I will have to do more research on. Thanks again for commenting and contributing to the discussion!

  2. I love love LOVE this! Thank you so much for writing it and I'll be sharing it with all my friends and groups. I agree with the comment above, though, that while the idea of feeding stations is interesting and if created, they should be available to bottle feeding mothers too, I hesitate to jump on that idea wholeheartedly. I'm afraid to equate breastfeeding with using the toilet. Really, the more apt comparison is to equate breastfeeding to someone eating in a restaurant. There should be no shame in allowing people to see your baby eating from a breast just as there is no shame in allowing people to see you or your older child eating from a fork/plate. Creating a special room for breastfeeding is saying that people need to be protected from seeing it, that there's something to be ashamed of. Sometimes the issue is the adult viewer's discomfort with seeing a breast which they wrongly sexualize. Sometimes the issue is that another child sees it and asks questions that the adult is uncomfortable answering. Guess what, kids ask inappropriate questions about EVERYTHING and we parents have to learn to deal with that, so this is no different. When my child asks why someone is in a wheelchair or uses a cane I have to answer those questions, so I'll answer him about why a baby is nursing, too. Love the cartoon you included because it really illustrates the hypocrisy.

    1. Great thoughts, Jen. This is the beauty of open, judgement-free dialogue. It was not my intention to equate breastfeeding with the going to the restroom with the suggestion of the feeding stations. I do see however, how, if implemented, could result is the regression in all of the progress that is being made in regards to the acceptance of breastfeeding. One of the main problems is most people just aren't used to it yet. But as time goes on, I think that will change. Thanks for contributing

  3. This is awesome Kyle!! Great to hear a mans POV! I really dont know much about the "mom world" as i am not a parent, but I cant imagine why they are all fighting about feeding children. As long as the child is healthy and fed, isnt that what is important? Sounds like you have it figured out well! :)

    1. Lol thanks Jen. No matter what your source of nourishment is, the bottom line is we are all parents. So the conversation needs to focus on that solidarity.

  4. Love this. That first cartoon is brilliant! So glad I came across your blog via New England Bloggers. Will definitely be reading this one more often!

    1. Thank you, Leah. I left you some love on your blog as well!