The first week of August marks World Breastfeeding Week, a full seven days of encouraging new mothers to feed their babies from the breast. Are you ladies “pumped” or what? (Heh). Important man angle: “Studies show that the father’s stated preference for breastfeeding was found to be the most important factor influencing a woman’s decision to breastfeed.”
I’m reminded of a section from Mary McCarthy‘s The Group, recently highlighted by Sady Doyle:
In fiction, we have Mary McCarthy’s 1963 novel The Group, in which the fragile Priss has a nervous breakdown because her husband insists she breastfeed their newborn. Priss doesn’t have enough milk; the perpetually hungry baby never stops crying; Priss never stops feeling like a failure. She comes to dislike her husband. (“Up to now [his politics] had not mattered; most men she knew were Republicans… But she did not like the thought of a Republican controlling the destiny of a helpless baby.”) She comes to dislike her baby. (“She felt, to her shame, that he was a piece of hospital property that had been dumped on her and abandoned—they would never come to take him away.”)
Get to it, dads!
Photo via National Media Museum