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Kailee Riches Photography Mothers' Stories
Jake Sound, Riverside, California, USA
Photo: Kailee Riches

Being a Dad advocate for breastfeeding.

It’s not easy being a parent, though, in all sincerity, I’ve never regretted having children, not even when I’ve lost my temper and shouted things like, “No means No!” or when I’ve almost crashed the car because of the squabbling in the backseat. Even at those times of frustration and stress, I can still honestly say that I am proud to be a father. I’m just sometimes not as cool at doing it as at others.

Of course, I’m a huge dad advocate for breastfeeding. All four of my offspring saved me a huge number of hours’ sleep over the years by clinging to their mother all night long, instead of needing me to pace the floor to comfort or feed them. Just that in itself is enough to sell breastfeeding to any dad, I reckon. I didn’t have to get up in the night, or even wake up, apart from on the rare occasion one of the children was sick or too excited about the next day to stay in bed.

Some men are jealous of their partners because they can’t feed their babies too and they want to give them a bottle. I think that’s simply crazy. If I had breasts, it would be another matter. Frankly, you are missing nothing by not having to prepare bottles of artificial milk.

Some dads suggest giving a bottle for other reasons: to give mom a break or because they can’t fix what’s not working with feeding. Doing this, in most cases, undermines her. You can support your partner by doing a million and one things that don’t involve bottles. Try asking what she needs doing. If breastfeeding isn’t going well, then rather than telling her to quit, help her find how to fix it. Contact La Leche League or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant for support.

Watching the mother of my children feeding and comforting them is a sight for sore eyes, and I still swell with pride and joy at the beauty of the scene, no matter how unlike one of those photos on Breastfeeding Today the pair of them looks! My wife is more likely to be in sweat pants and a poop-stained t-shirt than wearing a floaty white dress with flowers in her hair and she’ll be sitting on the floor in a pile of laundry eating cookies, not dreamily reclining on a fallen tree in a forest clearing … But she’s every bit as lovely as the mom in the professional photo shoot.

OK, she may yell at me for forgetting to pick up the groceries I’d promised earlier to collect on my way home and she might not have had time to wash my shirts, but I can see from the milk-drunk clammy bundle that’s breathing peacefully on her lap, she’s had more important work to do. I know she will cheer up if I call for a pizza or speedily knock up a pan of noodles.

I respect all she has done to make breastfeeding work and the many hours nursing has filled, which she has selflessly given. I honor her patience and fortitude throughout. I love it when she hands over our little children with sticky hands, dirty diapers, and a boundless energy for life and tickles. I understand why she then retreats into the shower, locking the door, and only emerging three-quarters of an hour later. I hope we share the burden as well as the happy times and cuddles. Although I guess I should learn how to work the washing machine and try harder not to lose the grocery list …

Resources

Choosing Breastfeeding

Daddy We Love You!

Dad of a Breastfed Toddler

Embarrass Dad with Breastfeeding?

Greg’s Story

How I’m Right and My Wife Isn’t


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