Breaking News: Married Guy Whines About Extended Breastfeeding

Illustration for article titled Breaking News: Married Guy Whines About Extended Breastfeeding

The latest entry in the Great American Breastfeeding Debate comes by way of the New York Times blog Motherlode, which this Sunday features a charming article by a man who thinks wives should consult their husbands, dammit, before nursing children far into toddlerhood, or else run the risk of shooting their mortified and neglected husbands' boners in the face.


James Braly makes a semi-sincere case for married women to consider the effect prolonged breastfeeding may have not on their own bodies, not on their children, but on their men-in-residence, who, frustrated at watching their increasingly articulate progeny monopolize all the boobs, could, possibly, maybe, he's-just-saying find some new boobs. Braly cites a study — which he describes as "highly dubious" — of Brooklyn families that linked helicopter mothering to increased philandering, and summarizes the findings with a monarchical flourish fit for, well, you'll see:

The argument: a mother who hovers over her little prince or princess too long leaves the former king of the castle feeling increasingly powerless, and likelier to seek a queen on the side.


Ah, but that's not what Braly does because, like, he loves his kids way too much to cheat. Instead, he likes to let his sexual dissatisfaction smolder while he watches his wife publicly breastfeed their five-and-a-half-year-old son. Why should we bother with Braly's trollish argument, which is sure to draw its share of booing and hissing from Sunday readers while, fingers crossed, helping to promote his forthcoming memoir? Because, amid the flurry of self-involvement, misogyny, and presumption, Braly paints a particularly hilarious picture of his nursing son. After warning that the castle's neglected king could start looking around for someone new to have sex with, Braly explains how he's a different sort of dissatisfied husband:

Other men - me, for example - might be driven to engage in something even worse: sexless fidelity. Mine crystallized in Central Park one evening, while watching my wife sit under a tree with my older son, a five-and-a-half-year-old young man with a full set of teeth and chores, stretched out to roughly the size of a foal, suckling.

That's funny! How many times to you to read the word "foal" anymore in contemporary journalism, unless of course you're one of the Romneys and you're reading the nonexistent magazine Northeastern American Dressage Enthusiast? Braly yammers a while longer about how sex isn't a private matter and about how a wife can't just make command decisions about her own body without seeing what her husband thinks because, after all, vague and ominous acts of infidelity will occur if a husband's sexual appetites aren't sated, as if his wife were just some orgasm device that slows down like an overburdened computer with each child she births.

Breastfeeding and Sex: Is Latching On a Turn-Off? [NY Times]

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"leaves the former king of the castle feeling increasingly powerless"

And here we get to the crux of this dude's problem. He's been displaced, in his eyes, in his wife's affections. Sex between coupled partners with a nursing 5-year old should not any more of a problem than sex with a weaned 5-year-old. The kid doesn't need midnight feedings, and he is sleeping in his own bed (I assume). If homeboy isn't the getting the access to his wife's body that he believes he is entitled to either 1) well, kids happen. He'll move out someday. or 2) something else is going on (like maybe his wife's increasing unhappiness with his entitled view towards her body). I think he needs a therapist, not a NYT article.