Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Feeding babies - a mother's job?

Do you know what I really hate? I really hate it when men say that they feel left out because they can't feed a newborn. I just want to shout 'tough titty' - no pun intended. To be honest, until recently, I had never come across a real live man who felt this way; I had only ever read about them on-line. I have to say I am becoming a bit of a hard-line lactivist and I do truly believe that every woman can breastfeed (and should attempt to) but far too many of them are given such shit advice that they end up with inadequate supply or other issues. So it really does irritate me when I come across someone who, by saying they would like to feed the baby, is maybe unknowingly scuppering their partner's chance of successfully breastfeeding. The first 6 weeks of breastfeeding is just so important - it is when a woman builds up her supply, gets the baby and her body working in tune. It's not about bonding (although of course that is a lovely side-effect for mothers) so there is no reason for a dad to feel like they can't bond because they can't feed. Dads can bond in a whole load of ways; if bonding only came through breastfeeding then we would have a whole generation of mums and daughters who are not bonded because they were bottlefed.

A friend told me in the early days after the birth that her husband was feeling useless and finding it hard. He asked me about when she could start to express and I suggested they wait until she had been feeding for more than 6 weeks. However, because of a recent medical issue, she has had to express and so now he has achieved his goal - to bottle feed the baby. Photos on facebook and big grins from him. It just makes me so annoyed though.

Why do some men do this? They can change the baby, wear the baby, bath the baby, sing to the baby, dance with the baby, kiss the baby, sleep with the baby, rock the baby, stroke the baby, talk to the baby, dress the baby... why does 'feeding the baby' become such a massive thing. Why fixate on the one thing you have always known you are not biologically able to do? Dad's can't carry or birth the baby either but you never hear them making a fuss about that.

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