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The Fine Art of Fathering

By Jane Kouba
Blue Island, Illinois, USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 11 No. 3, May-June 1994, p. 84

A friend of mine recently decided to bottle feed so that her husband could share a role in caring for their baby. This saddened me because I know fathers can be involved with their breastfeeding babies in many other ways.

Right from the start my husband, Michael, became involved with our baby, Shane. He was a devoted labor coach who was present at the birth. He has done much to create a warm relationship with Shane since then.

Michael carries Shane in the hiking carrier when we go into the woods. Shane likes being so close to his daddy and is able to see many things being up so high.

Other times Michael's the only one who can burp the baby. He can also soothe Shane with his deep voice.

Sometimes I'll watch Shane pulling on his daddy's nose and beard and laugh along with them. I'm amused when they listen to country music together. But, by far, the most entertaining activity I have observed is when they lie on the couch and read magazines together!

I know that the father's role in caring for his breastfed baby is a real issue for many couples. Even though Shane does spend more time with me now than with his dad, I'm glad I'm breastfeeding. I'll always cherish this short but sweet time I have with my son.

When Michael considered the emotional and physical benefits of breastfeeding, it's no wonder he said, "I can wait--he needs you now." We're putting Shane's needs first.

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