Saturday 4 August 2012

DaddyBlog: Breastfeeding Is A Team Sport

~by Steve

I guess I should introduce myself.

I'm Stephen, the husband of Emi, and I have the great honour of writing the first monthly CBN 'DaddyBlog'. This is an honour I will share with Howard, who you will meet next month and no doubt decide is far funnier and more charismatic!

This is me.
I've chosen, this month, to discuss breastfeeding, to tie in with the fact that it's Global Breastfeeding Week. Now, I can hear a chorus of lactating Mamas singing the first verse of 'But You Don't Own A Set Of Mammaries' but, give me a chance here, I'm going to explain why I think breastfeeding is a team sport.

First things first. Men intrinsically do not understand breastfeeding. We can't. Our nipples are pointless. One of the most prominent thoughts that runs through the mind of a first-time (and some second-time) Daddies when faced with the sight of a tiny human sucking on his partner's boobs is "Erm, excuse me. I'm pretty sure those are mine.". This is in no way meant to be misogynistic, far from it, it's just a very hard concept for the male of the species to come to terms with - here's someone you've only just met, who's allowed multiple moments of intimacy with your partner. Let's face it, if a new work colleague did that the first time they met her, you would punch them. Hard. Probably in the nether regions.

I won't pretend to be an expert on British law, but I'm pretty sure this kind of act is frowned upon when performed on a newborn infant.

Nevertheless, men are left with these conflicting feelings of love and crotch-punchery, which leads me to the flip side of the patriarchal coin... One emblazoned with the phrase 'Okay, So I Love This Child... How Come It Likes Her Better?!'.

As a man, you've gotten over the initial shock of this midget userper, began to even enjoy having them around, but what happens? They don't seem that bothered about having a connection with you! As hard as it seems to understand, there is a genuine jealousy there in regards to bonding with your child. Luckily, we find other ways to bond, however. But there is still this Mama-Baby time that we can't be a part of. Right, guys?


As stated earlier, it is a team effort, and it can even strengthen the relationship between Mama and Daddy which, let's be honest, can be quite strained at times. So, I've compiled my best Daddy-of-two expertise tips on how to support your partner during breastfeeding.

1. The magic phrase - "Do You Need Anything?"

Utter these four words when she sits down to feed, and you'll be surprised just how supported she can feel. Whether it be a hot drink, or a nutritious snack, your partner will need sustenance, as an average nursing mother will burn and extra 500 calories a day (which is a Quarter Pounder with cheese from a well-known, Scottish-sounding High street fast food restaurant).

2. It doesn't matter what time it is.

Yes, you're tired, yes it's 3.47 in the morning BUT your partner STILL has to nurse. If she needs something (see above), provide it. She WILL be more knackered than you, trust me. Although, if you're smart, you will have provided a cornucopia of energy-giving snacks on a bedside table for pre-emptive kudos. And more sleep for you.

3. Learn to see breastfeeding for what it actually is...

...A completely fantastical wonder of nature. Once you've learnt this, TELL YOUR PARTNER! Let me put it this way, (drawing comparisons to a 50's B-movie), she grew a human - a real live functioning person! Not content with the minor miracle of turning one cell into about 50 trillion (eat your heart out, Jesus!), she then decides to produce sustenance for this human using her breasts, body parts that previously were naught but 'fun sacks' for your entertainment.

It's pretty damn amazing, isn't it?

4. Here's one I still have trouble remembering... Breastfeeding Can Be Ridiculously Uncomfortable.

Having only minimal personal experience of this, (we bed share, it's dark, newborns eyes are crap at the best of times) I'm going by what my wife has told me, so I'm guessing it's true. Add to this, toungue-ties, chafed nipples, teeth, and mastitis, and suddenly breastfeeding doesn't become the magic 'off-button' that many men feel it is, myself included sometimes.

5. Be The Knight In Shining Armour. Defend Her Choice.

As crazy as it sounds, your partner will still receive those tuts and 'looks' when she partakes in the most natural activity know to mothers. Let's face it, she has balls for doing it in the first place, she needs not the judgement of others for doing something that will be showing less flesh than the average British 12 year old.

Puff out your chest, grow a pair, and calmly explain how proud of her you are for nurturing your child. Failing that, "...And why, pray tell good Sir, were you staring at my lady's chest?! You have insulted her honour, and I demand satisfaction!" accompanied by an angry fist clench, and possibly the production of a rapier usually gets the point across.

Plus, legally, she's entitled to do it anywhere!
As a side note, I've always been ready for the above, but have never had the chance! All the old women that come up to Emi congratulate her on her choice!

And finally...

6. Remember earlier when I mentioned Daddy bonding with Baby? Find A Way To Do This.

Whether it's carrying them in a sling, or reading them stories, Find A Way. The reason I feel this is so important is because it means breastfeeding no longer becomes the answer to every question.

Your baby bumps herself? Feeling safe with Daddy can make it all better.

You have a tired, whiny little darling? A cuddle and a bounce with Daddy can be the balm for a blissful night's sleep.

Your partner feels empty, 'touched out' and to put it mildly 'like a cow'? "That's ok, darling. I'll take her for a bit while you read 50 Shades Of Grey and relax for a while."

Trust me. Get over it. Get involved. Make it a team sport. (Just always remember your wife is the Captain. Or star Quarterback. Depends which country you're reading this in.)

Until next time,


"There are three reasons for breast-feeding: the milk is always at the right temperature, it comes in attractive containers, and the cat can't get it." ~ Irena Chalmers


  1. Stephen got to say u thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog.
    Not only was it interesting reading from a mans point if view it was really witty had me laughing to myself as I read but as I was reading it I couldn't help wishing it had been around for hubby to read whilst I had been breast feeding!!
    Well done Stephen really looking forward to reading your next blog. X

  2. Brilliant and hilarious, thank you Steve.

  3. Hilarious and brilliant, thanks Steve.

  4. This is brilliant, just brilliant.

  5. Funny and informative read. And it's nice to get the dad's side of the story too. Congratulations on a wonderful blog!

  6. What a wonderful post! I'm sitting here giggling to myself now :D Looking forward to reading more!

  7. Love it, very good points. Will sit Colin down to read in a bit :)

  8. Well done Stephen! Nice read! My hubby is quite supportive too, and I guess, proud as well.

  9. Great, first blog post I have ever read, brill, look forward to hearing more from you

  10. What a lovely post, wish my dh had had this to read when we became parents.

  11. hmmmmm enjoyed BUT BIG BUT

    the connection with your child being a dad ,i never had a problem with ,the little folks do go through times when they seem to prefer either parents company

    our youngest lad (now 6 months) goes nuts when he hears my voice after being at work all day

    and as they grow sometimes its a mummy day ,some times its a daddy day

    as an advocate of booby feeding i never ever felt jealous of sharing my wifes boobs with any of our kids

    the 3 am bit ect still happens even when they are off the boob plus walking and talking ""!""

    think the most important thing here is to remember you are a couple ,a lot of mums and dads lose site of this and become "parents" as much as we all love our kids,many couples when the years of looking after /chasing after/cleaning after /all the things these little people claim from our time

    when the door shuts for the last time and the house is empty they dont now each other

    1. Emi - I think it's wonderful that you felt like you never had a problem bonding with your child; I have no doubt your partner felt very supported by you.

      Some women don't have that luck, and sometimes Daddies do need a reminder that boobs are not a magical off-switch! ;)

  12. 'Men intrinsically do not understand breastfeeding'. No. Speak for yourself.

    1. Emi - As a woman, I can only *imagine* what it is like to be kicked in the balls.

      As a man, you can only *imagine* what childbirth is like.

      As a man, you can only *imagine* what breastfeeding is like as an experience.

      You can understand it from a theory level, know how it works etc.

      You can't understand something fully until you experience it yourself.

      Ergo, a man will never truly understand breastfeeding; the delight of knowing you are sustaining life, the horror of the pain of mastitis and cracked, bleeding nipples, the embarrassment of milking through your top, the awful feeling of being 'touched out', the wonder of looking deep into your Little's eyes as they feed...

      You can imagine... but you don't *know*.

    2. Hadn't thought about that.

      (Childbirth is probably worse.)

  13. Great Blog! Nice to hear a man's point of view. I just sent to my hubby to read :-)

    -Mom of 2 in NJ, USA