MSNBC takes on the boob

Filed under: Just For Dads, Your Pregnancy, Nutrition: Health

MSNBC has an interesting and surprisingly neutral article about public breastfeeding. It covers a lot of recent incidents (that have also been covered here) without going over the top. There's also a sidebar that notes some of the legal protections given breastfeeding by various states with a link to more detailed information.

What I found most intriguing, however, was a related article titled "A guy's guide to breast-feeding: Don't be a boob." Before I continue let me offer a disclaimer -- I am a guy. Maybe not the world's most macho, gun-totin', football-watchin', beer-drinking he-man of a guy, but definitely a guy. And while those that know me well would admit that I am a dirty old man, they'll also, I hope, add that it's in the nicest and most respectful way.

So what about this guide for guys? I agree one shouldn't really be craning one's neck to get a better look. (Although, I did laugh my head off at a comment on another site: "As far as I'm concerned, the only thing wrong with breast-feeding in public is that the baby's head obstructs my view.") In fact, however, to most adult males, a breastfeeding woman simply isn't sexual. What I do disagree with, however, is that men have no business getting involved in the whole breastfeeding debate at all. My wife breastfed our kids -- note that I said "our" kids, not "her" kids -- and believe you me, there's no way I would have let some mall security guard tell her to go breastfeed in the bathroom. It does affect men and it is our business to make sure that their rights are protected.

In fact, I would argue that we have a very important role to play in breastfeeding by being as supportive of the process as possible. For a lot of new mothers, breastfeeding isn't easy. Getting a baby to latch on properly, becoming comfortable to the feeling of exposing oneself in public, dealing with the pain that often accompanies breastfeeding -- all these are issues where a supportive father can mean the difference between continuing and switching to formula.

What do you think -- are men part of the breastfeeding experience or should they just stay the hell away? Guys, were you involved or did you feel left out? Moms, did you feel support from your husbands/boyfriends or were you left on your own? Would having a more supportive partner made breastfeeding easier?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.