When you’re around something all the time, like I was around breastfeeding, it’s natural to want to give it a try. Over the past six years, I watched my wife dutifully nurse our three kids, including our newborn. I saw how they suctioned onto her nipple with open maws and happily suckled, and I was intrigued. Plus, we weren’t having more kids. So if I wanted a turn, time was of the essence.
My wife didn’t say yes right away, and she threw up all these defenses like how my few sips would deprive the baby of crucial nourishment and possibly starve her. But my wife is reasonable and she knew that breastfeeding me wasn’t that big a deal, especially when I was willing to clean out the garage for it.
Here are the four best things about the experience:
1. My dad’s reaction
I admittedly had cold feet before we went through with it, and some adolescent impulse drove me to ask my father if he had ever tried my mother’s breast milk. His face twisted up in disdain and he stammered that a man breastfeeding from his wife was “intellectually incestuous,” “morally abhorrent,” and, “like drinking human blood.”
“But you love dairy,” I said.
“It’s like murdering one’s child, Michael.”
“So I take it you never tried Mom’s?” I asked.
2. It’s oddly sexual
My wife got out her nursing pillow and had me lie sideways on the couch and lined my nose right up to her nipple, like I was the baby, none of which felt sexual. But when I was actually slowly licking up on her nipple and working to extract her milk, in a strange role reversal where I was giving her a sort-of blowjob, it was edgy and fun and charged.
“That’s what’s been missing from our sex life!” I said, coming up for air.
3. It blew up the boring parent routine
Our lives as the parents of three young children have become so deadened and predictable that I often feel like I’m on one of those people movers at the airport bringing me straight toward death. Breastfeeding broke the routine. Suddenly, my wife and I were on an adventure and working together for the shared goal of having me extract some milk (before the baby woke up). We laughed a lot. Instead of talking past each other, I listened intently to her advice about how to improve my sucking technique and asked pertinent questions. It felt really good to be partners in crime again.
4. It made me a better person
OK, this may be a stretch, but I do think I’m now empathetic to the baby knowing what she has to go through to consume tiny quantities of sustenance. I’ve also found myself getting along much better with my younger sister—my “Irish twin”—who came along way too soon, giving our mother morning sickness and effectively kicking me off the boob. I’ve just been in a better mood overall since latching on that one time. Yesterday, my wife tried to initiate sex and I asked her if we could breastfeed instead. I love it. I’m never going to let her go dry.