I did warn that this is a blog about my life as a whole, not just the 'being a convert' bit, so let me flag this post up if the title doesnt make it clear enough - i am going to be talking about breast feeding - okay as long as you know what your getting.
I realise that their are few things more likely to cause an onslaught of flaming that suggesting that breast feeding has anything to do with men - but - having read a couple of blogs in the last few days talking about breastfeeding i thought it might be worth putting something down from a male perspective.
There seems to be me too be a direct relationship between how long a mum feeds for - or whether she does at all, and what her partner thinks about this (if she has one). Even writing that sentance i could feel myself being really careful about gender terms, and partner as opposed to husband - but i am talknig about male partners here for a minute, because that the perspective i can talk about.
Prior to the birth of our daughter i struggled with women breastfeeding in public - or in private with me present. I mean seriously - breast from a male perspective are sexual. Seeing naked breasts gets us aroused - thats the whole point of breasts for most men. This means we are faced by a seriously confused situation when in the presence of someone who has a boob out - even if obscured by a child's heads - and we are meant to be engaged in normal conversation with them over a cup of tea. The 14 year old boy in us is shouting 'BOOBS!!!!' while the slightly more mature part of us is trying to keep eye contact with the lass concerned's eye, and show that we really are okay with all this. Its not to easy. Particualy as most of us are not confrunted with this a lot. I mean if you work full time, go to pubs and clubs for your social life, etc then actually you don't encounter many women with small children who are breast-feeding. This means when you do encounter it - its always a bit surprising.
While the idea of random women getting their boobs out in non-sexual settings the idea of our partners doing so is deeply disturbing. Add to this that many new mums when first feeding have a really tough time and want to give up - or want to carry on but are in pain, and add to all this that the idea of feeding a baby a bottle at least gives you something you feel you can do as a dad - and well in honesty its not looking good for breastfeeding.
So thats the negative - and their is a lot of it - their is however a way through - their are some major major 'bloke' things assoicated with your other half breast feeding!
1) FACTS : for many men the idea of being more knowladagable than someone else is very appealing. Breastfeeding is a topic that few people know a lot about - even mums. Do some reading, be an expert. For example:
-breastfeeding should begin within an hour of birth, and pacifiers should be avoided.
-breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants, it helps prevent diarrhoea and pneumoina which are the main causes of baby deaths!
-adults who wre breastfed as babies have lower blood pressure, lower cholestiral, lower rates of obesity, and type 2-diabete. - Here is the big one - THEY DO BETTER ON IQ TESTS!! seriously if you want a smart kid then encouraging your other half to breast feed will help your kid be bright!!
2) PROTECTIVE : If your other half is breatfeeding in a cafe and someone tells you she should be - you get to be bolchy, you get to defend her, to point out the law on it, to 'man up'.
3) SUPPORTIVE : One of the things most of us like - is to be held in high regard by our wives / partners friends. Being supportive on breastfeeding is a real winner here.
4) LESS SCREAMING : nothing shuts up a screaming child quicker than breastfeeding.
5) POINTING OUT TO PEOPLE THAT THEY ARE IDEOTS : Okay whether you do this outloud, or just walk around feeling superior - if people are feeding their kids cows milk you can think - how odd - how freaky - when you actually pause to think about it, a kid drinking milk from a cow instead of a human just makes no sense at all. And forumla is barking. It costs a fortune, and means that you spend half your life steralising containers and trying to get milk to just the right tempeture etc. Plus its not as good as breast milk! Any human breast milk is going to be better for a child than formula - BUT - breast milk from your babys mother, is going to be specially made - your partner by spending time with your kid, and kissing them on the forehead etc picks up on the germs they come into contact with, they then make antibodies to deal with them, and within two hours the breastmilk changes to help deal with it! Seriously its good stuff!!