Breastmilk is the best milk for babies and toddlers to receive. Formula is good, but breastmilk is better. Breastmilk does many things that formula cannot, plus it’s free. Breastmilk protects the baby from getting sick and boost his immune system. Breastmilk helps lower the baby's chance of SIDS, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. Breastfeeding helps mom lose pregnancy weight faster and lowers her risk of bone disease and some cancers.
So, if breastmilk is so healthy for the baby and mom, why is there push back against breastfeeding and public breastfeeding? I was a supporter of my wife's decision as she began to breastfeed, but I wasn’t really a supporter of breastfeeding for my child at first. Why? One reason is that I was not exposed to breastfeeding until my wife decided to breastfeed our little girl. Nobody in my family breastfed that I was aware of. It was something we did not speak about, so I did not have much experience with it. Another reason is I was a little selfish. I did not want anybody seeing my wife’s breasts. I was not comfortable at the time with her pulling her breast out in public and feeding our daughter. Because she wanted to respect how I FELT, she covered up when breastfeeding in public. When we have our next child, my wife can breastfeed when she wants, where she wants, and how she wants. It’s all about what would be best for my future child.
Now, that you have some perspective with where I was at, let me share my thoughts about why there is push-
back about public breastfeeding, especially from men. For many men breasts equals sex. We have been conditioned in our western society to associate breasts with sex. Think about it. Many women on television and movies show a lot of cleavage. On Spanish language stations, novelas, and even the lady news anchors are showing a whole lot of cleavage. Sex sells as we know. To be honest, early on when I used to see cleavage, it would have me thinking about breasts and seeing all the full breasts. Bare breasts excite many men. Remember, men are visual. So, once we get excited, our mind thinks about sex.
Here comes the challenge. What happens when the average man who does not have experience being around breastfeeding sees a mother breast feeding in public? There are a whole range of emotions that he is not ready to deal with. At first he may be excited because he may be seeing a little or all of a woman’s breast. But then, he is conflicted inside because the breast that he sees has a small child attached to the other end of it. Breasts are awesome. Breasts lead to sex is what we’ve been taught. Are breasts still sexually appealing with a child nursing from his mother? Most people would say no. Babies of course are cute and not in anyway sexually appealing nor should they be. So instead of dealing with his emotions and being mature enough to understand breasts no longer equal sex, but that breasts at this time equals nutrition. So now to this man, "breastfeeding is gross, nasty, and should not be done in my presence because I have not dealt with the way it makes me feel."
Breasts is a way God intended for mothers to feed and nourish their children. That fact goes for humans, but also other animals as well. It’s a natural activity in life. The bible speaks about breasts. In Proverbs 5, it makes reference to a man being satisfied by the breasts of the wife of his youth. In Exodus 2 and many other places, it brings us breastfeeding. Exodus 2:7-9 says, ““Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” 8 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.” I use the bible because that is the personal path I follow, but also from a historical reference book, it shows us that there has always been that balancing act. Breasts being for the pleasure of the husband and breasts being for the feeding of the child.
In conclusion, I want you to help me spread the word and educate other fathers and men on the topic of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is best for the child whenever possible. Oh, did I mention that it can save over $1500 a year in formula cost? Breasts do not always equal sex. Let’s start and continue the conversation with others about the necessity of the normalization of breastfeeding in public. If you see a mother nursing her child do not berate her, but praise her. Men, lets help other men become more comfortable in this area. Let’s support breastfeeding, it’s what we do!
D. David Bryant is a devoted husband, father, and entrepreneur. He is a noted fatherhood advocate and keynote speaker who has traveled the nation encouraging fathers and families. He is the author of the book, "And David Danced With All His Might" and creator of an original character named Bozo the H.O.Z.O. the Christian Clown. David is very charismatic and engaging. He has a way of breaking down topics that make sense to the audience he is speaking to whether it is a group of elementary students or a group of incarcerated fathers. To be added to our mailing list to receive more content from D. David Bryant click here. Find out more information about David at www.bryant-enterprises.com and www.bozothehozo.com.