Yep I’m a guy a guy who grew up in a world where the breast signaled temptation and fantasy, I even remember my younger years when me and a friend of mine thought we were being the most outrageously awesome young males collecting sun page 3 girls and placing them in a folder that we could flick through and appreciate to put it politely. The point I’m making here is that when I was younger we had to work harder to see the naked flesh of a female, this is not an obstacle that faces the modern man or women, images of breasts are literally everywhere, the unhealthy image that is being set up of women’s breasts is going to make practices as natural breastfeeding harder not easier.
Being sexually curious as your growing up is great and should be explored, it’s as natural as a female breastfeeding her young, however if a young males first and overwhelming image of breasts is artificially sexualised then the other function breastfeeding, which in the big scheme of things is a tad more important becomes almost forgotten by both the male and more alarmingly the female!
With that in mind who am I to comment on the topic of breastfeeding? I really shouldn’t, but something has been niggling at me now for some time, being a fan of natural law a mother nurses her young simple, for sure complications occur and yes it’s not always possible, natural law or not nature has a mysterious way about her, but to simply not take part by choice makes no sense to me.
Whilst I’m a guy I am also a father, a father to a 6 year old boy and nearly 2 year old girl, both have been and are still being breastfed, my son has only recently stopped breastfeeding, which means he was breastfed up to the age of six at which point he simply stopped asking for what he called ‘booba’, he occasionally still asks, but it’s rare these days.
My daughter is currently breastfeeding, she happily announces that she wants ‘bomba’ so my wife’s breasts have endearingly been named ‘booba’ and ‘bomba’.
Adele is successfully breastfeeding, but I get it, not all women can, I’ve heard the multiple reasons why not, I must say some reasons are weak, but that is still that women’s choice, but what has intrigued me is what is informing that decision making process? I come from the mind set that if you want something enough you will find a way! Now don’t get me wrong I appreciate that some obstacles simply cannot be overcome, the obstacle is asking us to surrender, let go, accept and find another way, which could be a breast milk bank or a friend who can help nurse your young, either way obstacles exist and so do ways round them, through them and over them.
I remember watching a program about breastfeeding with my wife Adele as we were expecting parents, the program explored the many different ways and challenges that lay ahead, but the part that stood out for me at that time was when the young lady declared that she would not be breastfeeding because her breasts were for her man!
Now ultimately that is her choice, but as a man that actually made me feel sad for her and disappointed in him and confused at how as a society we have got to a point where people look at it that way, perhaps I shouldn’t be concerned because it’s her choice as I said, however I couldn’t help but disagree with her statement, simply because if her breasts belonged to anyone it was her, not to mention nature has her producing milk for a reason, again the societal influence lay heavy on this young couple because he as the man in a relationship with the mother to be could easily have stepped in and said no, stop, what is best for the baby? Whilst the decision I believe ultimately rests with the female I believe a male voice can help.
Other women on the show were cutting the breastfeeding time down because of work commitments, work will always come back, your child will only be young and requiring your breast milk for a short period of time, which if you make the time for now it can be achieved, not easy I appreciate that, but things that are worth while so often are not easy.
As a man I cannot and do not wish to own Adele’s breasts or any other body part for that matter, it is her body, much the same way my body is mine, I must respect her body and more importantly her as a human being, now more than ever before she is going to need my support as her body and her go through a change I will never experience called ‘motherhood’.
To me personally breastfeeding looks both like hard work and pretty easy, hard work because well Adele is on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week and so far has been for the last 6 years, now that’s endurance and perseverance. Easy because she has finally settled into the rhythm and so it’s very natural for her, it had challenges in the beginning for sure, but as she persevered she found a way and now it is very natural.
I remember another breastfeeding encounter I had before becoming a parent. Me and Adele were at a local community center to teach children’s yoga, the class was part of a bigger event, whilst we were waiting to teach our class I took a seat and watched the current activities being presented, a lady with a newborn sat next to me, I carried on watching the activities when she asked me a question, at this point I turned my attention and gaze towards her, however my eyes fell upon a naked pair of breasts, I personally was not offended in anyway shape or form a mum feeding her baby is nature’s design, however it was reminiscent of those days spent looking at the page 3 models only now it was real time and I was trapped between awkward images in my head and responses to my real time situation, there shouldn’t have been conflict, but there was internally. I gave the best answer I could muster under such circumstances and averted my attention back to the activities.
Adeles boobs were as I said on 24 hour demand and still are, they have been on an interesting journey shall we say. I still remember them in bras and out of bras during our before parenthood years, I remember the size and shape, it should be mentioned here that the size and shape was also affected by the birth control pill, both the going into it and coming of it, however the effect that extending breast feeding has on the female breast is something quite amazing. Over the 6 years they came out of bras as it was easier to feed from loose tops, which meant they went loose 😀 if you catch my meaning, then the vein network or mamory gland expansion or whatever it is that makes bumps and pulses appear throughout the breast cause another reaction, then if she doesn’t balance the feeding from left ‘booba’ to right ‘bomba’ then one becomes abnormally large whilst the other experiences deflation, which has me 😂 laughing and we won’t even go into what happens with the nipples😝.
It’s not funny at first for the female, this after all is her body, something she took a lot of time to dress and present to the world at large in a way that would make her feel confident and happy in the skin that she was in and now it was doing crazy out of shape and order things.
Feeding two children at once deserves a medal, but even that she begun and they begun to make look easy and after 6 years of breastfeeding the lop sided, bumpy, pulsing, overall weird going ons of the female breast evened out, there is good news on the aesthetic front, the breasts recover themselves and are even more beautiful than before, 6 years out of a bra and all that tugging, pinching, grabbing and dragging has encouraged them to shape up if you like.
From the male perspective it’s a beautiful thing to observe, your children are bonding in a very special way with their mother, they are receiving the best nutrition available and when they need comforting because it’s a big and scary world out there especially when your pint sized the boob is a great tool for comforting them.
Yes the changes are challenging and yes you loose something you once had, but with patience and perseverance you gain things you never knew you would.
Extended breastfeeding naturally lends itself to co-sleeping and this is another life changing process that I may talk about and share at a later date.
On a closing note, yes the men in your life have more than likely been exposed to and willing participants of The sexualisation of the female in a variety of ways, which can present challenges when entering the parenthood and exploring extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping, however theses obstacles and challenges can be overcome if both parties work together as a team, that both parties accept where they have come from, where they are and where you envisage yourselves moving towards.
On a final closing note, I wish all you super breastfeeding mums out there a wonderful bonding experience with your child and all you awesome fathers and husbands of super breastfeeding mums I wish you all the joy and humour of watching the transition and demise of your ladies udders I mean breasts 😀 because if you don’t laugh well?