Parenting

Is breast Best?

My over-riding belief is that breast IS best, for baby. It must be surely? It’s the most natural method of feeding. I’m sure we have all read the benefits, and I particularly like the idea that it provides antibodies to help baby fight off infection, but this post isn’t designed to debate breast versus formula. I’m open to either and I think the right option is the option that suits your family and your circumstances. So yes, I believe it is best for baby, from a nutritional perspective, but it isn’t always functional in modern society, and maybe it isn’t always best for the family.

We have been lucky enough that our circumstances have allowed Jade to breastfeed, and more importantly that Jade has wanted to do it. But here’s the catch if you do breastfeed, and it’s a big one for me, my experience of it is that, certainly at the start, it alienates the father. I feel sometimes removed from the bonding process, in that I can’t help with sustaining my own daughter. And as a result, I can’t take her out with me solo (and yes I am brave enough to do that, even at new-born!), I cant help with the night feeds (which don’t get me wrong, has its benefits!), and I feel the guilt of knowing that I’m not pulling as much weight as Jade, not by choice, but by design.

Also, my experience of watching it first hand, is that its fucking hard, excuse my language, and very draining. Jade’s perseverance amazes me, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have lasted as long as she did last time with Sienna, and it probably would have put me off a second time over. But no Jade is Jade, and whether through pure stubbornness or absolute bravery, she’s at it again with Aria, and this time battling with mastitis.

We have had tears, she’s had excessive pain, both from the mastitis and just general nipple biting, from baby you filthy minds! And its difficult to plan a day, as quite often Jade has to sit long periods out to feed, and as I don’t have boobs, its all on her.

There are some advantages from my perspective, I mean the number one has got to be that Jades boobs are massive – seriously, they look great. But the caveat to that is I can’t go near them. If I so much as look at them they hurt.

There are some convenience benefits. There is no messing around with preparing bottles, especially in the middle of the night, and of course it’s much, much cheaper. In-fact its free! But with that there’s also some inconvenience. Jade has to down tools and feed whenever or where-ever when baby gets hungry. It’s also time consuming, more so than bottles I believe. Aria seems to take a long time to feed. It doesn’t seem to sustain them as much, or probably more accurately, the amount she’s had is an unknown quantity, literally, as there’s no way to measure how much she had fed. Does she need more? With a bottle you know, and you can rule out if the crying is for hunger a lot easier.

And then there’s the night time feeds, like I mentioned, me not having to do them is a massive benefit for me. I’m terrible without sleep, like most people, so this one suits me down to the ground. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see how unfair it is. Jade has just given birth, she’s sore and tired and has all sort of hormone imbalances (I imagine), and now she’s the one that has to wake up several times throughout the night to feed!

One thing I love in life, is being a father to my girls, and aside from all the obvious benefits of breast feeding, I can’t help but feel like I’m a little bit useless not being able to provide food for my baby daughter…

What is your experience of breastfeeding? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions…

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Comments

Ruth
January 24, 2020 at 1:52 pm

Firstly congrats on your family and your back seat delivery!

I was determined to breastfeed, and fortunately it was ok for me and both my babies for as long as we wanted it to last (much longer than anticipated as it happened). Reading your post just makes we want to reassure you that dads can have a really big and positive role in breastfeeding. Ok they can’t literally produce milk, but their support, encouragement, belief etc can be invaluable. Especially in tough times. Daddy was pretty useful here with oversupply issues and he is part of the team!



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