Can Breast-Feeding Hurt Your Marriage?
"Why nurturing a passionate marriage is more important than breast-feeding."
by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
I don't even know what to say. Mouth open, eyes bugged. What is WRONG with this guy?
"I am surprised that when scientists discuss all the benefits of breast-feeding, they neglect its most negative consequence. If breast-feeding gets in the way of the marriage—if it means that a husband and wife never go out on dates, or that the mother is so tired from always waking up with the baby that she has no energy to ever be intimate with her husband—the child will probably end up worse off, however many colds or bouts with diarrhea he now avoids.
The crisis we have in America is not undernourished children, it is undernourished marriages. And our kids are getting screwed up, not because of their infant nutrition, but because in most households, children rarely witness a father and mother who are still passionately in love with each other. "
Okay, it's not just that scientists tout the benefits (and there are many). Breastfeeding is the biological norm! We are mammals, we have breasts. We are supposed to (if at all possible) use them to feed our young. Fact of life. And if the Mom is too tired for sex, than it's not all her fault. And breastfeeding shouldn't be the first thing attacked. Maybe she needs to go to the doctor and get her hormone levels and thyroid checked. Pregnancy and birth can take some time to recover from, maybe some thing is a little out of wack. But more importantly, Daddy needs to step up to the plate offer to help with the house work and make sure she's getting naps on the weekends and going to bed at a decent hour... HE can stay up walking a fussy baby for an hour or two in the evenings so Mom (who if she's a SAHM) can get a little space and recharge from constant contact that caring for a small baby often requires. I completely disagree that the problem is "undernourished marriages" . The problem really is that people don't know how to live as a family. In a family, Every one gives a little!
"Indeed, a Harvard University study maintains that a couples' love life decreases by 74 percent in the first year after the birth of a child. Now, given that sex is nearly dead in the American bedroom anyway, with national sex rates in marriage figuring at about once a week, a three-quarters decrease means that sex takes place once every few months—sparse pickings indeed. "
You are an idiot (or just never had kids) if you think that having a baby (starting a family) isn't going to change your sex life!!!! EVERY THING (housework, friendships, working outside the home, sex etc) is going to be low on the priority list when you're suddenly adjusting to caring for a new human being. A tiny baby who is completely helpless and relying on you. And what's wrong with that? Your only priority the first 6-12mos of your babies life should be bonding with it, and caring for it. Helping baby adjust to it's new life and place in the family (and if you have other children helping them adjust to the changes as well!). Now to add: that doesn't mean you drop all other responsabilities of life...But your main priority apart from actual responsabilities (if you are employed outside the home etc) should be bonding as much as possible.
And here is the key to getting every ones needs met: The husband and wife sharing the load together. Learning and growing and caring for the children together. Marriage isn't about sex! It's about the intimacy of a deep friendship, sharing life. Sex can take a back seat for a season. And I've got to say (and maybe this is TMI) my husband are the parents of two small people 19mos apart. We are run ragged most days chasing and caring for these two precious gifts. And we live with family (share a house with my Mom and younger brother). In other words: the logistics of a sex life aren't that easy!
But our life in that respect is better than it has ever been in our marriage. Do we get to have fun as much as we used to? HA! No. But when we do, it is better and deeper and more meaningful. We stay open and communicate and if some one feels like their needs aren't being met, we move responsibilities and priorities around. We are a family, and that's what families do: we work together. There is no "rule" as to how often people should have sex, if both parties are living and working together and are fine with a few times a month: more power to them! If some thing is lacking than things need to be addressed.
Taken from the Natural Jewish Parenting Community . A quote off of their site:
Here is a brief look at what some of our sources have to say about breastfeeding (article HERE):
• The Mishna (Ketubot 59b) instructs us that breastfeeding her baby is a woman’s obligation toward her husband—so much so that other household functions take lower priority during this time.
• According to the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 81:7) a child may nurse, if healthy, until four years old; a sickly or weak child, until five years old.
• Most sources point towards 24 months as the accepted minimum length of the breastfeeding relationship. Even the most lenient of authorities points to the age when a baby has six to eight teeth. This is estimated to be between the ages of ten and sixteen months.
• The Talmud (Yerushalmi, Brochot 68a) states that a Jew should be involved in Torah every hour of the day just as a baby nurses every hour of the day. Also, a baby should be allowed to nurse as often as he desires. “Even if he nurses all day long it will not harm him” (Tosefta, Sotah 4:1).
In closing: that was his personal bias speaking in that article. It isn't even what the Jewish Community advocates. And sadly so many in our culture agree with his bias. And it has cost the health of many a baby. And it degrades women. It is a sad and twisted view of the woman's body and her "place" in society. Because according to him we were created for nothing better than to fulfill the every whim (sexual or otherwise) of our husbands. And I feel sad for him. Breasts were intended by God for so much more than the husbands pleasure.
I feel bad for that Mama he gave such bad advice to. I hope that some one has told her that she did a VERY good thing for her baby. That he was "attached to her like another limb" is a beautiful thing. It means the relationship is as God designed it. Some day that baby "twig" will be filled up with what it needs to keep growing and detach. And start it's own little tree and someday grow up and start it's own family...But when a baby is cut off before it's ready, part of it dies and it never grows quite right. I've seen it happen with my own eyes.
So in closing Rabbi: take your foot out of your mouth and apologize, your advice stinks.