Breast is still best, even if it’s Dad’s??

This is a darn interesting, and, yes, amusing article perfectly timed for Father’s Day, from the UK-based Times Online…
By Alexandra Frean
Times Online
June 13, 2005
A man’s nipples are perfectly suited to soothing a crying baby until it can be fed, according to a report on fatherhood.
It names the Aka Pygmies, a hunter-gatherer tribe from the northern Congo, as the best fathers. When the mother is not available, the father calms his baby by giving him or her a nipple to suck.
Aka Pygmy men do more in the way of childcare than fathers in any other society, according to the FatherWorld report, published today by Fathers Direct, a British charity.

Aka fathers may hold their baby close to their bodies for a couple of hours at a time, according to Barry Hewlett, an American anthropologist who has studied the tribe for more than 20 years.
On average, Aka fathers hold or are within reach of their infants 47 per cent of the time. They beat Swedish fathers, who are number one in the developed world, and who, on average, do 45 per cent of parental childcare.
British fathers are the fourth-most involved in the West, and do a third of parental childcare, according to the report, which is based on a review of existing research literature.
Caroline Flint, the former president of the Royal College of Midwives, said that she had come across many examples of men in Britain “suckling” their babies, even though it might not be something they talked about very much.
She said: “It’s not a case of the man saying to the baby, OHere you are, have my booby’, but usually of the baby snuffling along the father’s chest, finding the nipple and sucking. The men are usually very surprised, but the babies seem content.”
Sebastian Kraemer, a child psychiatrist at the Whittington Hospital in London, said: “It is possible that in prehistoric societies this was a normal way of fathering.” He said that it would be wrong to assume from the past 10,000 years of history that our prevailing model of mother-based childcare was the right one.
Of 156 cultures studied for the report, only 20 per cent were found to promote men’s close relationships with infants, with only 5 per cent doing the same for a father’s involvement with young children.
The report estimates that fathers worldwide contribute between a quarter and a third as much time as women to childcare, but it notes that active fathering is on the increase. In Britain the amount of time that fathers spend with their children has risen by eight times in the past 30 years.
Michael Lamb, professor of psychology at Cambridge University and a world expert on fatherhood, said: “Internationally, over the past 20 years, we have seen fathers who live with their children spending more time with them and doing more diverse activities, not just in Britain but in every known society.”

8 comments on “Breast is still best, even if it’s Dad’s??

  1. Now, I’m all about father-involvement (I am a full-time dad), but I’ve never been too interested in offering my children my nipple. I mean, they’re pretty happy with my pinky when they need to suck, so I think I’ll stick with that.

  2. Finally! I have shared with my husband for two years now my theory of why men have nipples, and he thought I was joking. And he would laugh when I would tell other dads, too, that I think men’s nipples are intended to be natural pacifiers. No one took me seriously. Can’t wait to send my husband a link to this article!!;-) It makes my day.

  3. I think that is awesome. My milk supply dried as a result of meds I was on that I thought were safe, however I am still my 8 month old son’s “human pacifier.” I see nothing wrong with a father “nursing” his child. It is a wonderful bonding experience.

  4. Hi, Dave (and posters) !
    Although I never did it myself, I remember reading or seeing on TV some time ago, that some anthropologists believe that both cavewomen’s AND cavemen’s breasts were not too dissimilar in appearance AND function, and that the functionality and appearance of the man’s breasts diminished as he (the more muscular and aggressive) rose to the challenge of being the more capable “hunter” for the family/clan, while the woman’s position became more of the “nurturer”.
    Since God made breasts for the purpose of providing food and comfort for our young (and not just as “adornments of differentiation” or something to entice the opposite sex), I can imagine those anthropologists were probably correct.
    Society, as a whole, gives its Imprimator to a particular thought or action (whether a woman – or man – can/should “nurse”, etc.), but as we all know… society, as a whole, can be “wrong”, too, as indeed it has about many things.
    Your friend in Christ on the net,
    Rev. Hal Humphries

  5. Hi there, just wondering if anybody knows a way I can exchange my boobs as a pacifier for my nine month old boy for something else? I haven’t had a full sleep cycle since he was born, have had about 10 bouts of mastitis and I’m beside myself. I wish he would accept a pacifier, but he won’t. I am in tears about it alot 🙁
    I’ve done so much research and cannot find any answers at all. Does anybody know any tricks? Thanks, Kate.

  6. Hi Kate,
    I am the mother of a 19 month old who breastfed 12-15 times per 24hrs til she was 15 months old, if you need tricks to deal with the nights, write to me : Also, there is surely a reason for your recurrent mastitis (sometimes it’s as simple as getting rid of an inadequate bra), maybe I can help you with that too. Dasha

  7. The whole father comforter scenario could potentially work as long as it is introduced from an early age.
    I have tried this recently with my 15 week old son and it doesn’t seem to work. This is probably due to the significant differences between me and my wife. Not only does my wife have breast and pertruding nipples, she also lactates as we are 15 weeks into breastfeeding.
    I think that if the father was to sooth the baby from an early age and maybe introduce the smell of the mother via milk or a breast pad then it could work very well.

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