I enter into writing this post with every expectation that it will be criticized by some as this is a very emotive subject! However please let me make clear from the beginning: I am not saying ‘Bottle is best’, I am however saying that any way parents choose to parent is entirely up to them as long as it does not lead to physical harm to children. This includes if you choose to bottle feed.
I was inspired to write this post after I read an article from http://www.diydaddyblog.com entitled ‘Breast or Bottle A Dads Perspective’ This is a debate I was aware of long before we became parents. Our journey within the debate started on the lead up to my first Son (#TheBoy) At the time my wife was faced with a lot of ‘breast is best’ propaganda from health visitors. We were led to believe by others this was contradictory advice given only a few years earlier. Apparently a few years earlier Health visitors advised to do which ever method women felt more at ease with. Expecting the latter approach left me feeling confused as to why they were now pushing the ‘breast is best’ campaign. I think you would be hard pushed to find someone who does not think ‘Breast is Best’ However ALOT of scientific research has gone into making formulas as nutritious as possible, as a result personaly I think they are a viable alternative.
My wife did try and breast feed our first born, however he was tongue tied so found it difficult (we later took him along to get this sorted; A hour drive for a 1 minute operation! Worth it though if your little ones need it done) but within the first 24 hours and a little frustration that he did not appear to be taking to breast feeding, My Wife made the decision to begin bottle feeding. To be honest when she told me this I felt a little deflated as my head had been filled with ‘propaganda’ believing that Breast was the only option. This said I did not say anything because I am not stupid enough to argue with a hormonal woman after child birth. When we presented the bottle to #TheBoy he took to it straight away and my negative feelings were replaced with a feeling of relief.
When I look back I am glad that my wife took this decision. It was always completely her decision. When we married I took vows to support her. In this case it turned out to be the right decision (maybe not for everyone but for us it was) The reasons for this from my point of view are:
Selfishly speaking feeding our baby’s is not exclusive to my wife. I am able to share and bond with them as well. They will learn very early on that we both can provide for them. Someone once told me that they learn this anyway from you being there, changing nappies etc. However it is a time honored tradition for father and son to bond over a drink rather than on the toilet!
Gives the Wife a Break
I am able to share the responsibility and give my wife a break. I have been told by many women that childbirth is no ‘walk in the park!’ By assisting with the regular feeds it gave her chance to recover and on returning home it meant that she could get some well earned sleep during the night.
No Clingy Babies
Again let me make it clear before I receive a torrent of abuse. Not all babies who are breast fed are clingy (there are a lot of bottle fed babies that are!) but by sharing the feeds both of my babies have grown up realizing that each of us has a 50/50 role. This was particularly important early on when the breast milk was there. They could smell it and was frustrated they could not get to it…luckily I had no milk in my breasts, so me feeding them was the ideal option!
Exercise of Choice
Lastly is probably the most important. Like I mentioned above it is no ones business how a child is parented other than the parents, so long as the child does not come to any harm. I have seen previous posts from passionate ‘Breast is Best’ Supporters stating that bottle feeding is a form of abuse as you are not giving your child the best start possible. My answer to that is simply both my wife and I were bottle fed and now in our late 20s are extremely healthy, strong and able to produce strong healthy babies.
Bottom line is either is acceptable and mums should do what makes them feel comfortable.