jon and i started out at pretty different places in our nursing journey- he is from a large family where breastfeeding was the norm and i had zero knowledge about it. it's been interesting to see how our two viewpoints merged. some things that are a huge deal to me (nursing in public) aren't at all interesting to him and vice-versa. it's a decision that is always discussed in terms of the woman- is she nursing, are you nursing, do you plan to breastfeed– but it deeply affects our partners lives as well.
breastfeeding from this dad's perspective:
did you have any exposure to breastfeeding before we had a baby? what did you think of it then?
Not much besides growing up in my huge family but I never really noticed it. It never concerned me. I really knew no other way so it wasn't a big deal.
did you have an opinion on whether or not jude should be breastfed? did you care?
After looking at all the pros before hand (and watching House) I did think breastfeeding was the best route as long as you were able. I did care. I wanted to be sure Jude got all the immunities he could and that he got the best nutrition early on.
how was the first few weeks of breastfeeding, from an observer's perspective?
The first few weeks were an adjustment for all of us. But it was really amazing to see nature working and that you were all Jude needed to survive and thrive in this world. Not a huge adjustment but, definetly an adjustment.
did you feel that you weren't able to bond with jude (because of breastfeeding)?
I wouldn't say I couldn't bond with him I just had to find another way. It took longer for me to form the same connection that you formed with him by breastfeeding. You were the foods so you were very important to him from the off. Whereas I was the goofy singing dancing fun guy that he had to warm up to.
has anything been weird/surprising about it?
you've been awesome at supporting me- what would you say to dads who aren't supportive?
Lazy. bastards. There is no excuse or reason for a lack of support for breastfeeding.
how do you feel about nursing past 1 year- "extended" nursing or whatever everyone's calling it these days?
We've discussed this a bit and as I was quoting WHO stats for our other medical decisions the fact that they recommend it is aces with me.
so, you're a man, (and a father), when you see a woman nursing in public what do you think about it? I've got no problem with it at all. If someone is feeding their child its fine by me.
how do you think the breastfeeding changes the mom/dad parenting dynamic?
It sets up the roles of the parents early on. Mom is security and food and Dad is... well I'm not really sure what my role was early on besides support for you. That part took longer.
do you think i play the, "but i feed the BABY all night" card?
You have been guilty of playing this card in the past but we all need a break now and then, and I think that it was well played even if I was grumpy when you did.
does nursing create a division of labor issue?
I think it can. Since you are the one actively feeding him it can seem like you are taking a disproportionate amount of the load in terms of taking care of him. It can sometimes seem like you do more of the work, especially when its the evening "dinner" meal. I had to pick up other tasks around the house to try and become more equitable in our labor divisions. But I have always been the one to make dinner so sometimes I think about it more like a tit for tat and thats where it becomes an issue. Score keeping is bad.
what words of wisdom would you have for a soon-to-be dad whose wife is planning to breastfeed?
I would tell first time breastfeeding dads to prepare to support and defend your wife in public and most importantly be supportive. Get her whatever she asks for when she asks for it because as soon as she starts nursing she will need a glass of water or a pillow or a cookie or for that stupid dog to just go away. And just because you can see her breasts does not mean that you should oogle them and think they are out for you. They are not.