When Dads Should Have a Say in Breastfeeding Decisions

Rant 21

baby drinking bottle

Another day, and another post by a dad saying screw breastfeeding, we chose formula. Chris Kornelis, a music editor for Seattle Weekly, sounds like he had some pretty good reasons to throw in the towel. Er, I mean, to encourage his wife to throw in the towel. She really wanted to breastfeed but their baby had trouble latching, and it sounds like his wife wasn’t producing a lot of milk. They even worked with a lactation consultant. They’re weren’t getting enough sleep.

Finally, they went for the formula. And everything got better! Both parents got more sleep and Kornelis had an easier time bonding with his new son. Plus — they got to drop off the baby and work on their relationship. And that’s pretty much where Kornelis lost me. Should dads have a say on breastfeeding? Maybe the question is: are dads mature and unselfish enough to weigh in on that question?

Look, I know every family’s story is different. But these stories always make me think the same thing: Dads, for once this is not all about YOU. It’s about what works for your new child and what works for mom. You don’t come first in this scenario — sorry! And this is just the beginning of ways you’ll have to MAN THE HELL UP and put your needs/wants on the back burner for the best interests for the family. If dads can keep that foremost in their minds, I think it goes a long way towards helping a family make the right choice about breastfeeding.

As for working on your marriage, here’s what I think. There are many different ways to work on your marriage. They don’t all involve one-on-one date nights. Different moments in life call for different approaches. When you’re the throes of those newborn weeks, the best way for husbands to “work on their marriage” is to support their wives. Just make her comfortable, make sure she has everything she needs, make sure she feels loved no matter what. And remember this stage doesn’t last forever.

Women need time for those stitches and tears and stretches to heal. We need time to deal with the crazy hormones. The last thing we need is pressure to feed a grown man’s emotional and sexual needs. You can “work on your marriage” the FUN way in a few months. Wait your freakin’ turn, man. What’s more, there are many different ways dads can bond with their babies even if mom is breastfeeding. Convenient Daddy bonding shouldn’t take priority over breastfeeding.

So should dads have a say about breastfeeding? Sure … but only if their priorities are in order. It’s totally fair to say, “Hon, I think we’ve tried everything and you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself. I think you and the baby would be happier if we switched to formula.” Sometimes moms, in our hormonal haze and Type-A personalities, need a reality check from our partners. Back to Kornelis, their lactation consulted had his wife hooked up to machines with an unworkable routine (I know because I got the same advice and it was totally useless). I think they made the right decision. But that’s because giving up on breastfeeding was the best thing for his wife and his baby.

So have that conversation — will we support breastfeeding? Have it before the baby comes. Ask yourselves what you’ll do if you have trouble with latching and lactating. Figure out how far you’re willing to go with a lactation consultant. But just keep in mind: Baby and mom have WAY more at stake here than dad does.

Do you think dads should have a say in decisions about breastfeeding?

Image via Katerha/Flickr



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Nina Autumn Turley

never! Its moms body, moms baby, moms business...all he did was donate the sperm, if he wants to keep his family life together yes he needs to be there for the mom so she can be there for the baby...six weeks later he can hope for her to be ready to turn attention to him, but in reality men need to realize it takes 3-6 months for a mom to recoup, and if he doesn't want to participate with mom in breastfeeding encouragement it will take all 3- 6 months...after all it truly takes 2 years to fully recoup body and mind wise with any baby...which is why I don't get people who have babies back to back on pourpose but I suppose they think its GODS will...so be it! To each their own!

Bastinne Simon

I don't think the dad in this situation was wrong, especially if his wife agreed to switch to formula and if they are all happy then what's the fuss? That was my situation. Baby wouldn't cooperate no matter what we tried and I was becoming depressed. My husband and I agreed to move on and switch to formula and everyone was happy :)

MomLi... MomLily67

Yes, they contribute to make a baby, you moron.

Mrscj... Mrscjones

This is the reason most women end up single or doing everything themselves after a baby because for some reason the man that helped you make the baby is no longer important. If you didn't want a man's opinion should have had ivf.

Ashley Lott

Dad is half the parenting team

MissC... MissCatalina

Wtf, yes. How do you automatically assume that because dads are male that they are immature, selfish, & their babies aren't their priority? I mean...are you talking about your own husband? I know plenty of dads who felt the same way about their (now) ex-wives. And husbands are required to work on their marriage whole-heartedly while the wife/mom sits there bitching? Yeah, I wouldn't even call that a marriage.

To answer your question, I do think the fathers should have a say. In fact, I'd be ecstatic if my hubby helped me make parenting decisions.

jingl... jinglebells8677

I think if the wife wants to keep trying to breast feed then the husband should support her. I don't think it should be his choice on weather or not she keeps doing it of that's what she wants to do. My husband was very supportive even when his family told me to put our daughter on formula to make my life easier. They where just made cuz I had to have the baby with me so she could eat. The dad above should of never made the comment about dropping the baby off to work on their marriage. When you decides to have kids the kids come first. The marriage is still important but when you have kids they come first and after all their needs are met then you can work on other things. My husband and I have 4 kids and a baby on the way and our kids after never stopped us from having a good marriage. I think the dad made poor comments but it sounds like his wife was having a hard time and maybe switching to formula was best for there family

MissC... MissCatalina

People are taking his statements out of context.

"Betsy and I got to go away for a long weekend—to be together, to work on our marriage, something that was not just good for us, but good for the baby, too."

What's so horrifying about what he said? Just because you disagree with vacationing after a baby doesn't mean what he stated was wrong. Even the writer of the original article is biased. The dad never said he was against breastfeeding, but it literally was just not happening for his wife, so instead of trying to FORCE her to breastfeed, they opted for formula & it turned out to be best for THEIR family. Sheesh.

The reason I'm on dad's side here is because I had a hard time breastfeeding my daughter. I gave birth at 17 & didn't know any better, so I tried breastfeeding at the advice of the nurses. No matter how hard I tried, or what position I put her in, she just wouldn't latch on. After struggling for an hour to get her to eat, I guess I waited too long & she ended up with jaundice. Over the next 3 weeks, I used a breast pump which helped a ton, but I just wasn't producing enough milk. Eating a healthy diet didn't change it :/. I felt that it just wasn't meant to be, so I switched to formula. You can't pump out milk that just isn't there.

Mary Sheridan Faubion-Arling

Dads should totally have a say in whetther or not to breast feed!!! They have to deal with less intelligent babu pies tht are not breast fed, less'healthy, ECt...

Most people make choices ignorant of the facts, 

The only ? To ask is whats best for the baby!!!!


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