The Panel of Dads, Part 1
Posted By: Mike Schaffer
Your eyes are not deceiving you! Mike Schaffer is here to provide our first-ever male breastfeeding perspective.
With my first child coming any day now (seriously, you may be reading this while I am holding her), it’s time to get some quality advice. As Bravado’s first male breastfeeding blogger, I feel it is my duty to bring you more notes and tips from those of us X AND Y chromosomes. So, I created The Panel of Dads!
Joining me on the panel are three dads whose wives breastfed their children:
- Jeff: Father of a newborn from Boston, MA
- Richie: Father of two (3 and 6) from Fort Worth, TX
- Michael: Father of two (4 and 2) from Berkley Heights, NY
I asked each of them a series of questions and we’ll discuss their responses over the next two weeks.
Why did you plan to breastfeed?
All three referenced the health benefits for the baby. Richie mentioned the emotional bonding between mom and baby as a key reason, as well.
On a scale of 1 (nothing) to 10 (expert), rate your knowledge of breastfeeding:
- Jeff: 9
- Richie: 5.5
- Michael: 7
- (For the record, I’d rank myself an 8.5. I aced breastfeeding class. Boobyah!)
So in the first few questions, we learned that all the dads were interested in the health benefits of breastfeeding and that they all seemed fairly knowledgeable of the subject.
However, this next question is where we start to see that each dad’s personality was part of the overall experience for the family.
If your partner breastfed, how did you support her?
- Jeff wrote a little ditty called “The Booby Buffet” that he sang when his newborn son was feeding. Enough said. (Note to self: bribe Jeff for a copy of the lyrics.)
- Richie provided some awesome advice about how breastfeeding impacted his marriage: “[I] gave her space/privacy when she wanted it and remained supportive (and not grossed-out) when it became so casual when she eventually did it in front of me. The thing about breastfeeding is that my wife started to feel less sexy and more like a feeding machine. Men have an important role to be sensitive to their partner's feelings. This may not always come naturally to guys, but it's crucial during what can be a challenging time in a relationship.”
- Michael became an expert, reading as much as possible. He also protected his wife as she breastfed at home and in public, while encouraging her as she pumped at the office while resuming her career.
I really liked how each of the dads created their role in the breastfeeding process, even though it’s kind of impossible to be one of the two most active participants.
Next week, I’ll ask the dads for their #1 breastfeeding tips and more! Stay tuned!
I like what Richie did for his wife while she breastfed. My sister and DH would be in the same room and while they brought me "udder covers" to breastfeed I never really felt comfortable feeding my baby in front of both of them or even when it was just one of them. I understand they wanted to be around the baby 24/7 but I wish they'd hear me out, consider my feelings for privacy and let me breastfeed / pump alone. They never left me or my baby alone... a blessing and a curse at the same time! :)