Man, do us guys sure have it rough! Welcome to ParentalGrit, where we are taking on one of the biggest parenting debates of all-time: is breastfeeding harder on the mothers or fathers? Wait, what’s that you say? It’s not one of the most controversial debates in parenthood today? Grown adults don’t feud on social media like petulant children over this topic? Marriages aren’t continually strained as each spouse vehemently argues from their own point of view? Hmm. Then I guess it’s time for me to break the ice and finally share what all the fathers out there are thinking. It’s time to end this debate—well, after we start it first—once and for all.
First, breastfeeding is such an unfair blessing to all the nursing mothers. It allows moms to spend seemingly endless amounts of time with their infants; they get to wake up at 11:30 pm, 2:30 am, 5:30 am…whenever the little munchkin sounds the hunger alarm, mom gets to reconnect once more with the baby. Meanwhile, the poor fathers get stuck on the sidelines, sleeping soundly through the night without the opportunity to endure the nightly travail of a fully-nursed child hitting an energy boost in the middle of the night while mom desperately tries to calm him or her back to sleep. Mom gets all this extra quality bonding time, while dad has the misfortune of a decent night’s sleep and uninterrupted dreams.
Not only does daddy miss out on those tender midnight moments, but he also is denied many of the social benefits that coincide with nursing. Breastfeeding mothers have the unique circumstances that allow them to connect with the greater public. Unfortunately, dads will never know what it is like to be judged by dozens of strangers with incriminating stares (even when a nursing cover is utilized). Not only that, but fathers typically miss out on the volumes of parenting wisdom offered by friends, family, and strangers alike about how to properly feed a child. It’s really a sad predicament for fathers, as the only attention we get while venturing into public with our babies is the adoration of all females of all ages who shower us with kind and affectionate words on our fathering skills and the beauty of our children. Why can’t we, as fathers, get some of that condescending advice from time to time on how to raise our children?
Physically, it is just border line cruel that fathers not only miss out on the life-changing beauty of actually delivering the child, but also are deprived of the natural bond that can only develop when attaching a 10 pound drooling mutant to one’s chest. I have to admit, my jealousy knows no bounds as I watch my wife gleefully raise an 8 month-old beaver-toothed monster to her nipple. I mean, who wouldn’t want to experience getting their hair pulled, their lip hooked by stubby fingers, and their body occasionally covered bodily fluids escaping the nooks and crannies of a sagging diaper while trying to provide their child nourishment? Does any of this sound fair?
Finally, one has to sound the parental equity alarm bell, as breastfeeding is an enormous time drain that allows for ample hours dedicated to one-on-one bonding with the infant. Fathers simply don’t get the opportunity to plan their entire lives around the feeding schedule of a bottomless, pooping rugrat. Mothers have the constant reminder (a wailing baby) that more bonding time is needed with the infant. Dads, on the other hand, have to navigate their days and lives around what they actually need to accomplish. As for ventures into public and various trips, mothers get to constantly plot out when they’re going to need to pull over and find an uncomfortable booth or closet in a seedy highway service station to cram into while dad gets stuck napping in the car after flipping through his Fantasy Football scores.
It’s a difficult conquest we fathers face in the path to equality in the household. Some way, some how, we as fathers must come together and accept the fact that we don’t have the luxury of waking up at all hours, getting our most sensitive nerves chomped on, building our lives around an incessant feeding schedule, and constantly getting harassed by well-to-doers telling us exactly what we’re doing wrong. It’s a tough job we fathers have, but I think we can persevere if we really put our minds to it.