Thursday, December 9, 2010
Breastfeeding- Good for Dads Too
Occasionally I'll hear that someone's husband or boyfriend didn't want them to breastfeed. The reasons vary but one thing I know for sure is how hard it is to breastfeed without support. That's not all though, I know there are some pretty darn good reasons a guy would want his girl to give lactating a try. So guys, I don't want to leave you out and neither does anyone else.
The real question is why wouldn't you want your partner to breastfeed your children?
I'm not a man. For me to write about this perspective is complete conjecture. Except somehow I manage to talk about breastfeeding with everyone, even my single male friends find themselves inexplicably discussing breastfeeding, the benefits of breastfeeding, the over-sexualization and objectification of breasts and women and what is normal and weird. It truly is amazing how often it comes up not to mention all the conversations I've had with The Piano Man on the subject. I've heard a lot from single men, dating men, married men, married and expecting, married with kids, and married with grown kids. After the post 8 Unexpected Benefits of Breastfeeding one of my single guy friends was completely fascinated about points 4 and 7 in particular. I don't know everything but I know a thing or two about several "selfish" reasons a guy would want the mother of their children to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding- Good For Dads Too- Why Guys DO Want The Mother of Their Children To Breastfeed
You are an important part of the equation
True, she may be the one with the goods but I promise you do matter. Getting the baby ready to eat, setting her up in a comfortable spot with a glass of water, putting on her favorite music or starting a movie, rubbing her feet or shoulders while she's nursing, helping with some house hold chore, making her a snack or even better a meal and in general keeping her company or gazing adoringly at her and your child will have her falling deeper in love with you by the second. You'll be a hero. And this is good, you'll like the outcome when she is deeper in love with you, trust me.
More money for your toys!
Formula is expensive, I mean really, REALLY expensive. Obviously, breastfeeding is cheaper than buying formula unless you qualify for free formula through WIC but the cost of formula aside, statistically speaking studies show that breastfed babies tend to go to the doctor less. On top of all those money saving advantageous there's even the amazing healing properties of breastmilk itself. Cuts, scrapes, rashes, eye infections and other ailments respond well to the application of breastmilk. This means less money spent on co-pays and prescriptions or time missing work and more for that big screen TV and a pair of diamond earrings for her.
No weight lifting- lighter diaper bag!
Formula lightens your wallet and weighs down the diaper bag. You won't feel like you're weight lifting every time you pick up the diaper bag if she's breastfeeding. If the diaper bag is heavy see if she's sneaking bricks in there or something because all you usually need in the diaper bag of a breastfed baby is a couple of diapers, wipes, small blanket, change of clothes and maybe a toy. No bottles to mix, no formula to lug around.
Late night store runs are limited to chocolate, beer and diapers
It's incredibly rare for a woman to run out of breastmilk, like seriously, almost never. If it does happen it means something is wrong. The entire system is demand and supply: baby demands, boobs supply. This means no panicky runs to the store late at night because someone forgot to pick up a new can of formula and starving your baby is not an option. Nope, if you're running to the store late at night it's for something else. Like chocolate. Or beer. Or diapers... unless you're cloth diapering but I'll save that for later.
It's like a comedy routine
There are some pretty funny moments that come with breastfeeding. Unexpected letdown, shirts with holes for nipples, strange bras, pumping experiences, spraying across the room and so much more. You're bound to find yourself laughing at some bizarre experience. Just be sure you're laughing with her, not at her or you might not get to enjoy some of those other benefits, you'll soon see what I mean.
Confidence is SEXY
Your girl is hot and sexy, right? You tell her this and she glows but argues with you saying she's not and that is so not sexy. Unfortunately media, the fashion industry, and a variety of other culprits have chipped away at women's confidence regarding their bodies. Even though we know the standards of beauty and sexy are based on fake women, we our own worst critics finding every flaw, real and imagined and are continually disappointed in our bodies. Oddly enough, many women find that childbirth and breastfeeding actually boost their confidence. To see what their bodies can do changes their perspective and gradually their imperfections become just a part of the package that grew and now nourishes their baby. Your baby. Giving them more confidence than ever before. Confidence is sexy, even sexier than she would be in any item from Victoria Secret. And if she doesn't become more confident in her body through motherhood, let her know that you are confident in her body anyway.
While I'm sure you love your partner's breast just the way they are, most women experience a bit of a size increase with pregnancy and when their milk comes in. It can be like Miracle Grow for Boobs. Larger boobs, who can complain about that? They also get a little more firm in their lactating state. Plus, you'll get to see them pretty much all the time since she's going to be breastfeeding every 2-3 hours, specially in the early days. And if she is in the mood, they can be a lot of fun to play with, like a whole new experience kind of fun. It's true that they may be a little different after breastfeeding, though you can't blame any sagging on breastfeeding, that's from pregnancy and genetics; but they are still boobs and hey, it keeps things interesting.
Here, let me help you with that
With all that growth and the new activity she's going to need some lotion and maybe lanolin, surely you wouldn't mind helping her rub some lotion all over those magic breasts, right? And some women end up with serious engorgement and sometimes babies have trouble relieving it, rumor has it the milk tastes pretty good, like the milk left over after a bowl of cereal. I'm willing to bet you could quickly figure out a good latch to help her find some relief and who knows, you might even enjoy "having" to help her out.
I shared before in the 8 Unexpected Benefits of Breastfeeding that some women have their milk let down, leaking and spraying all over the place when they orgasm. While I'm not always a fan of it myself, usually it's not a problem at all. Actually it's like a standing ovation, a very wet standing ovation. Just in case you weren't sure before, consider your milk shower a neon flashing sign and an announcement that you were awesome. You can towel off knowing you rocked her world. Don't let it rain on your parade, that's for sure, just turn it into part of the fun.
Something new to try
If you've tried licking chocolate or whipped cream of your partner, why not expand to breastmilk? And I've heard breastmilk makes a fantastic lubricant which is good because it's not unusual for a woman to need a little help in that area after having a baby and during breastfeeding.
Hold the PMS please
Breastfeeding, specifically exclusive breastfeeding (nothing but breastmilk) helps keep a woman's fertility from returning. Some women do have it return sooner but many women experience a delay in their cycle for at least 6 months, more often closer to a year and sometimes more. This is Mother Nature's way of providing a spacing between pregnancy that is easier on a woman's body. Of course, there are other benefits here you can enjoy, no PMS, no "off" times of the month, and saving money on feminine hygiene products to name a few. You could get an extended break from finding tampons on the shopping list saving you from the awkward aisle at the grocery store.
Won't Need A Gas Mask for Diaper Changes!
It may seem hard to believe but there really are levels of poop and I love breastmilk poop. Having done both breasfeeding and formula feeding myself plus changed countless diapers as a babysitter and of friends' babies I can say with confidence that while poop is poop breastmilk poop isn't nearly as shitty as formula poop. It's all about the proteins, there is more in breastmilk a baby's body can use so less waste in their excrement. Same thing with gas too, breastfed babies usually (there is always the exception to the rule) have less gas than formula fed babies and what they have usually isn't quite as rank.
Sweet Baby Breath
Like poop it turns out there actually is a difference in types of spit up. Pretty much all babies are going to spit up at some point, some a lot, some a little. The good news is that breastmilk is easier to digest than formula which is great even for those babies with reflux issues. Just like breastmilk smells more pleasant than formula, so does breastmilk spit up. As an added bonus, the proteins in breastmilk spit up break down easier making for fewer stains. Not that you're going to like it or anything, I'm just saying it could be worse. And breastfed babies have super sweet breath, you'll be sniffing your baby's mouth it smells so good.
Statistically breastfed babies get sick less often thanks to the customized specific immune boosters breastmilk produces. There is always someone that will point out their formula fed baby was never sick but their friend's breastfed baby was always sick but generally speaking, the statistics point to a lower risk of illness in breastfed babies compared to formula fed babies. And healthy babies are happy babies! Sick babies cry... a lot.
More Zzzzzzz's for you
Yep, you'll probably get more sleep if she's breastfeeding than if you choose formula. Even if you help get her set up to feed when the baby wakes, you get to go back to sleep. And if you choose to co-sleep you may not even notice when she feeds the baby, dreaming blissfully and sleeping like… well, like a man whose partner is breastfeeding. By the way, I wouldn't point this one out to your partner or you may find yourself keeping her company when she's having trouble sleeping and staying up feeding the baby.
You won't be a Schmuck
That's right, I said it. If none of these things ever happen for you and your partner in the breastfeeding journey she's still going to need your support. Supporting your partner in breastfeeding means you won't be "that guy." The guy that put his wants, desires and supposed needs above those of his baby. The guy that acts like he owns the mother of his children and her body. The guy that can't handle being a grown-up, is afraid of making personal sacrifices to be sure his offspring are well cared for. No, guys that support their wives or girlfriends breastfeeding are instantly hot, seen as more sensitive and she is glad to have him. Guys that support their partner breastfeeding are the kind of men that are mature enough to understand the complex nature of family life and they and their families will likely thrive together as a result.
With all this you may find yourself turning into a lactivist. It's ok, breastfeeding women think guy lactivists are sexy. Not sure what a lactivist is? Check out our list and see how you compare. And I hope you have just as much fun discovering many more reasons why you would want your wife or girlfriend to breastfeed. To read what my guy has to say on the topic, check out his post "Mammaries... I Mean Memories..."