'Breastfeeding' dad video goes viral and we're here for it 👏

A father is going viral for doing something mamas do every day: Comforting his daughter by letting her nurse.

Twitter user Christopher Brown (known as "Daddy Duke" on Twitter) recently posted a video showing his sleepy baby daughter latching on to his nipple to nurse. Brown captioned the short clip "baby girl was OBVIOUSLY confused" and the video ends with dad having a laugh while his daughter nurses on his nipple.

"At first it was a joke, my daughter was asleep and I was on my phone about to record her sleeping and boom; she woke up and began nursing," Brown tells Motherly via Twitter DM. "It was the sweetest thing. I don't want people to think I posted the video for any kind of clout, just sharing a bonding moment between my daughter and I," he explains.

The video quickly went viral, attracting more than 160,000 likes and opinions from more than 64,000 Twitter users. While a lot of commenters have remarked on how adorable Brown and his daughter are, there are also plenty of comments suggesting that a dad letting his baby suck on his nipple is wrong.

It's really not though

Gina Posner, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center, tells Yahoo Lifestyle "it's fine" if a baby's mouth finds dad's nipple once in a while, because sometimes baby isn't looking for milk, they're just looking for comfort.

"Comfort nursing is basically just nursing for soothing versus hunger," says Posner.

Professor Amy Brown, author of The Positive Breastfeeding Book, agrees that there's nothing abnormal or wrong about what happened in Brown's viral clip. "Babies suck for comfort," she tells the BBC. "Some won't mind whether that's a male or a female nipple."

Professor Brown told the BBC that you don't have to have been pregnant in order to breastfeed. Women who haven't had a baby, and yes, even men, can do it.

"It's basically down to your hormone levels; if you've got a working pituitary gland and if you stimulate your nipples enough, then you will probably make some milk whether you're a man or a woman," she explained, adding that a man would have to use a breast pump "about eight times a day for 20 - 30 minutes each time" for several weeks before he would produce any milk.

In this case, the father wasn't trying to lactate, he just happened to be enjoying some skin-to-skin time with his baby when she decided to go for the nearest nipple. "It's really not much different from a pacifier," Dr. Posner told Yahoo Lifestyle.

Nature's pacifier

Anthropologist Barry S. Hewlett, author of Intimate Fathers: The Nature and Context of Aka Pygmy Paternal Infant Care has suggested that the Aka Pygmy people of the Congo may be the most involved fathers in the world, and dads there will offer a nipple for comfort when mama is not available.

It's not for every father though. Dr. Jack Newman, pediatrician and author of Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, once told ABC News he's tried it himself when his own children were infants, but didn't like it.

Another viral breastfeeding dad

One father who tried nursing a different way did like it, and, like Brown, went viral back in June.

When Maxamillian Kendall Neubauer's wife April had an emergency C-section and wasn't available to breastfeed the couple's daughter right after birth, Neubauer stepped up and nursed his baby (thanks to a suction cup and a tube full of milk) at the suggestion of nurse Cybil Martin-Dennehy.

She told Motherly she's "suggested this to dads before when I've had an unstable mom, but they usually respond with a big 'hard pass' on it."

Martin-Dennehy told Motherly she hoped that Neubauer's viral moment might help other dads realize that acting as a substitute nipple is not weird at all, and can even help dads bond with their babies.

Brown's viral video may do the same, and he has some advice for fellow dads who might be surprised by a baby in search of something to nurse on: "It's absolutely normal for your child to comfort nurse whenever they see a nipple. Don't be alarmed, maybe snap a pic and show them whenever they get older," he tells Motherly.

These two dads are showing fellow fathers that whether a nurse asks you to nurse your baby, or if your baby just randomly starts to nurse on you, it's totally cool. Sometimes it takes a strong dad to nurse a baby.

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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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