A Twitter user named Daddy Duke recently went viral for sharing a video of his infant daughter suckling on his chest as if she were breastfeeding.
In the video, the dad laughs, startling his daughter, but then she continues to go about her business and “nurse” on him. He captioned the video, “baby girl was obviously confused.” It was a sweet and endearing video showing a dad “comfort nursing” his daughter — and yet the internet had definite opinions about it.
As we all know, hungry babies will try to latch onto anyone — even a stranger — so it should be no surprise that Daddy Duke’s daughter attempted to nurse on her father.
Those Twitter users who lashed out at the dad must not be familiar with the idea of “dry nursing” or “comfort nursing.”
Twitter erupted into fits on both sides of the spectrum. There were those who thought it was cute, and others who demanded he stop.
One person tweeted, “don’t let her do that,” to which the dad responded, “she started doing it on her own.”
Sadly, the barrage of mean-spirited comments didn’t stop there. One Twitter user called the daddy-daughter bonding “weird.”
However, Daddy Duke did have supporters, including this person who mentioned that kittens do this all the time as well.
“Sometimes baby don’t find the nipple for food, sometimes they just want to latch for comfort,” wrote another Twitter user.
“Babies will latch on to anything similar for comfort. My daughter latched in to her dads earlobe in night when I was trying to stop breastfeeding. She was determined to nurse for comfort and refused pacifiers,” said a supportive Twitter user.
Regardless of how Twitter felt about this moment, it’s true that dry nursing or comfort nursing is super common.
Leah DeShay, an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), told HealthLine that “dry nursing” is a great way to bond with your child.
“Research that includes any method of skin to skin, whether it includes feeding or not, with a male parent shows huge and fast changes in neurobio feedback in the father’s brain as well,” Leah said. “So the research is clear. Not only does it not matter what the gender is, both genders of parent along with the baby experience long-lasting benefits from experiences like this.”
There’s also no need to worry about “confusing” the child, according to Leigh Anne O’Connor, another IBCLC.
“Babies like to be held and cuddled by all family members, particularly the parents. I cannot see any reason this would confuse a baby or have any negative impact,” she said.
Pediatrician Gina Posner told Yahoo! that dry or comfort nursing is a great way to soothe your child “in between feedings when they just want something to suckle.”
Another dad went viral earlier this year when he shared a photo using a prosthetic nipple to actually feed his child.
The dad wrote in a Facebook post that “due to complications” with his wife’s C-section, the nurse suggested he use a breastfeeding contraption to feed their daughter while his wife was unable to.
Now that “breastfeeding dads” are a thing, some women are on the hunt for these rarified men.
If parent and baby are happy, we say “Do you!” Breastfeeding moms and dads — the more the merrier.