Is it possible to go from being a “boob man” to being a breastfeeding fan? In honor of Father’s Day, the awesome David Alan Basche shows us how it’s done. David starred as Debra Messing’s ex-husband Kenny on the hit TV show The Starter Wife, and played the recurring character of Mike Harness on Lipstick Jungle. He starred as Todd Beamer in United 93 and stole Tom Cruise’s wife in The War of the Worlds. He has a daughter, Liv, with his wife, actress and Best for Babes Champion Alysia Reiner.
1. What did you think about breastfeeding pre-baby? Did that change post-baby, and if so, how?
I hate to admit this, but before we had a baby I was kind of weirded out by breastfeeding. It looked strange and I was always like “look away! Ignore it, ignore the boobs in the room, move along, nothin to see here!…” But you know what? The first moment I saw my wife breastfeed our daughter minutes after birth, I was hit with a thunderbolt of understanding and awe for the miracle of it all, and I still feel that way.
2. Did you take a breastfeeding class with Alysia?
I never went to the actual breastfeeding classes with Alysia. But I remember sneaking a look at that section of all the books she brought home while educating herself about it. And I did participate (as much as I physically could!) in the breastfeeding parts of the general “birthing and holy crap we’re having a kid” classes that we took together.
3. What’s the coolest thing you’ve learned along the way about breastfeeding or human milk?
First of all, who knew that an actual baby can survive on it’s mother’s milk alone. Not this dimwitted male, I have to tell you. I mean that’s freakin’ amazing! No other kind of milk, no formula needed, no energy bars or burritos or mac n’ cheese. Just Momma’s Milk. Absolutely astounding. Oh, that and the fact that breast milk changes it’s makeup to adapt to a baby’s changing nutritional needs as the baby grows. One day more fat, less carbs, then whammo! a month goes by and it’s more carbs, less fat, still completely nutritionally PERFECT. Incredible, right?
4. How did you feel about Alysia donating her milk to a friend’s baby?
I loved the idea, for a lot of reasons. It seemed to me, first and foremost, very loving and generous. And it felt very personal; a very intimate gift between women, and a very important one, of course. Also, I knew how healthy Alysia was eating, no drugs, no smoking, regular exercise, and our baby was certainly thriving, so I knew that her milk would be REALLY good for this other baby. And lastly, we donate blood and bone marrow without being squeamish about it, so I figured “what’s the big deal? Share the boob juice!”
5. Alysia told us that she never would have breastfed as long as she did (over 2 years!) without your support. What support did you give her that helped the most?
I just tried to be there and be supportive and keep things light. Also, she had a bit of trouble at first, I remember our daughter’s latch-on needed some “adjusting.” If it really hurt Alysia or didn’t feel right to her, I’d say “okie dokie, pop her off and let’s start again, I’m staying awake here with you, we gotta get that latch, you can do it sweetheart, you’re doing great.” PS – I gotta admit I was jealous there for a while, I mean when would it be ME playing with those boobs again? Hang in there, partners, you’ll be fumbling with a bra and feeling like a teenager in the back seat of a car again soon enough.
One specific thing I did was go out of my way to bring the baby to her Momma to breastfeed, no matter where Momma was, anything just to keep that bond going. Instead of giving a bottle, I brought the baby to Alysia while she was filming a prime time TV show in Brooklyn one day, then to Soho while she met a director at Balthazar the next day (all French pastries are better with milk).
6. What would you say to encourage a friend who doesn’t want his wife or partner to breastfeed?
Well you have to respect everyone’s feelings, so I wouldn’t want to come off sounding preachy about it, but I probably will anyway, so screw it: I believe that if a woman can breastfeed her baby it’s the absolute best thing for that kid and will make them smarter, stronger, and healthier. To a spouse or partner I’d say learn about it, read about it, see a couple boobalicious videos (not THOSE kind!) to really get a sense of the awesomeness. Then just support your girl and bask in the divine miracle of it all. And hey, after some major effort if it turns out that for whatever reason they CAN’T breastfeed, then you have to support that too, you have to just be there, no judgement, just acceptance.
Babes, don’t you just love this guy? How did your Boob Man become a Breastfeeding Fan?