breastfeeding

A FATHER’S CASE AGAINST BREASTFEEDING

All medical evidence suggests breastfeeding is the healthiest option for a baby. But what about the sanity and wellbeing of the family?

One sleep-deprived new father admits that while his wife persisted with breastfeeding, it wasn’t working, and was exhausting everyone in the family.

“Betsy really wanted to breastfeed. She tried. Really hard. It wasn’t easy… There wasn’t much milk, but there were plenty of tears,” he lamented.

Are we too quick to judge others on their choice of whether to breastfeed their babies or not? 

“Instead of focusing solely on the ‘ideal’ way to feed a baby, people should be talking about the healthiest option for the family. That’s in the best interest of the child.”

Read at The Atlantic: A Father’s Case Against Breastfeeding.

 

 

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19 Comments

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    TheHuntress

    Gosh, a similar thing happened to me. I tried and tried and tried to breastfeed. I got help, I did everything I possibly could and stuck at it for 3 months. Then a midwife told me I was starving my baby and I cried and cried and cried. I eventually changed to formula, as I had little choice, and even though I felt I’d failed I also wondered why I didn’t allow myself to switch sooner. I had it stuck in my head that I HAD to breastfeed, even when it was clearly not working. I cannot blame this Dad for asking the question.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Zohra

    “The best interests of the child” rings so true.
    I breastfed my first for two years. With the second one, I had to stop after about six months, as my son wasn’t feeding well or gaining weight. He seemed happy enough, and I wanted to keep going, bu the Childhood nurse felt it was better for bub’s health to be bottlefed. One disappointed mother. I went on to breast feed the next baby for a long time again.
    I think its hard when mothers want to do the right thing, to keep what’s best for baby and the family in perspective.
    And to not take it personally!

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Frankly Feisty

    After struggling to breastfeed my first two children, I made the decision to not even attempt it with my third. It was so awesome to be able to share the feeding and I was SO much more relaxed. He has never had any serious health issues and he started school at 4 and a half, because his kinda teacher thought it would be cruel to hold him back in a second year of kinda. He excelled all through his school years.
    I completely agree that the mental health and exhaustion of the parent/s, should be part of the equation, when tallying up what is in the child’s best interests re: breast feeding.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Jennie

    I breastfed my daughter and then twin boys, all for about a year. I am NOT a ‘do it at all costs’ person though, and I agree that for most babies the wellbeing of the whole family is paramount, and that trying too hard for too long is not necessary or worth it.

    I will add just one point to ponder, though. My twins were very premature (28 weeks) and both suffered a number of infections and nearly died several times. It was very, very clear that without the antibodies in breast milk they both would have died. Therefore, I believe that saying that bottle feeding is okay should also include the proviso that for some babies – premature and sick babies – breastmilk is absolutely critical. That’s why breast milk banks and so on are so important, where women cannot feed their own children. I just wanted to add this point.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Sam Stone

    I think this is common for a lot of families. I hear it all the time from friends. I believe people should do what is best for all involved.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Lydia

    I breastfed my daughter for a year. But after she was about 3 months old, we gave up trying to ‘get through the night’ on breastfeeding – there just wasn’t enough milk to satisfy her, no matter what the midwives said. So, she breastfed all day and had bottles at night. Some people have said that babies start to refuse to take a bottle or take the breast when you try and mix it up, but it worked for us. We were all happy with the arrangement. I don’t think it has to be an either/or thing.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    TMH

    I think people do need to look after their sanity and breast feeding does not work for everyone. If it doesnt work for you, them you shouldn’t feel guilty. That being said, this article is from the US, where I found attitudes toward breast feeding much less supportive than in Australia. Most women leave hospital within 47 hours of birth and there is nothing like our fantastic maternal child health centres for guidance and support. Women are routinely given formula in hospital and most states offer benefits to cover formula for women who can’t afford it. My sister, a nurse who works in a maternity ward in the US, says a depressingly small percentage plan to breasts feed and some prefer to pump and feed the baby from a bottle rather than actually give them the breast!! I think the mother in the article, like TheHuntress, gave breast feeding a red hot go, but what I find sad is that many people don’t even try.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Blueblood

    It’s all part of the judgey brigade who project an “If it’s best for me and I can do it, then it must be best for you and you’re just not trying hard enough” attitude.
    I wonder if this results from narrow life experience?
    I, too, had great difficulty breastfeeding and heard the same words as TheHuntress about starving my baby after spending a couple of nights at a specialist breastfeeding centre. Oh boy, I really felt like a failure after that, but at least I started to get some sleep and feel human. On the upside, she is 16 and healthy whereas the breastfed second child has asthma and eczema, go figure.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    kathryn

    I too found it impossible to breasfeed and resorted to formula after a very kind nurse suggested it, Coped all the judgements and snide comments from all and sundry (but only from women)
    Luckily I refused to beat myself up about it. Had a big happy healthy boy and now at 8 years is still a big happy healthy boy (who is hardly ever sick!) Really we all need to stop being such judgemental bitches about each other and support each other more. So much for the sisterhood!

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Julie R

    We too, at times, felt like The Atlantic. I was determined to feed our first, and did for a while. But 1000 miles away from Mum, and no other support I managed for 3mths or so. Next baby was better but worse as my milk started to go after only 2 weeks of being home. This time, however l was surrounded by a large army of older women from whom l gleaned a lot of knowledge. Some worked and others didn’t. Drinking Stout worked as well as a herb which worked even better. That child was on solids from about 3-4mths because he was hungry. (he has been hungry ever since!) Still can’t fill him up unless he is sick, and he is 24yrs and 6’1. I fed another two for different periods of time. Rare is the baby who will sleep through the night from the get go. Be prepared for disruption. Parenting is not easy, so get used to it. I think the key here is do what feels right for you and your baby. Each person is different. Each pregnancy is different. And each child born to you WILL be different. Go with the flow.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Mary

    It’s also nice for the father and siblings to be able to help with feeding. I wasn’t able to breast feed but expressed the colustrum for the first few days to feed my son, as it is good for helping build the immune system, so if you can do this at least, it’s a good start.
    If someone is making you feel bad about your decision, tell them to shutup and mind their own business and go concentrate on their own family

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Rhoda

    Here we go again – a father’s case against breast feeding. The case for male rights. All those late nights – tut tut. I’m glad my husband went with the flow – saved me so much angst. He survived by the way.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Wendy Green

    I think it’s such a shame that we don’t help our young Mums more by allowing them to stay in hospital until their breast milk comes in properly. My Japanese daughter-in-law has had her first child in Japan and they insist that the mothers stay in hospital for a full week. It’s a great idea I wish we supported here. My two Australian midwife friends are in agreement with me that Aussie Mums often don’t persist with breast feeding because they leave hospital too soon and don’t have the support to maintain the breast feeding regime.

  • Reply November 1, 2012

    Tracy

    “Betsy and I got to go away for a long weekend-to be together, to work on our marriage”

    Poor man – because you know, it’s all about the men. Not getting enough sex on account of birthing AND breastfeeding and that associated tiredness?. He probably contributed to the problems experienced by the mother when what she needed was support and room to try. What a self indulgent man.

  • Reply November 2, 2012

    Shirley

    It’s about the baby. Full stop.
    This is a small amount of time in which a mother who is physically able to can give her child breast milk.
    The rest of the family can suck it up.
    This man … gees, we are talking about a few months and he’s over it! Easy to read between the lines here, mate, and it’s not pretty.

  • Reply November 5, 2012

    Nat

    I could sit here and pick out all the breastfeeding myths in the article or I could point out that 9 out of 10 Australian women start out breastfeeding. To breastfeed in a culture that has lost the skills, the understanding of normal newborn behaviour requires skills and support.
    More support and more training for professionals is required. Tongue tie can take a mother 6 or more visits to different health professionals to be sorted out. Doctors encourage formula for babies that arent meeting a weight line, without considering other factors like parents build and non linear growth. The ABA, which provides a free 24 hr, 7 day a week helpline with trained counsellors, recently had its funding cut in SA with no notice, reinstated after people complained.

    He talks about judgement. Try Breastfeeding: they are too old when they walk, get teeth, turn 1, start eating solids etc. That Breastfeeding in public is not acceptable- you should express and feed out of a bottle, or if you must feed in public, you must be discrete?
    How about a mum Breastfeeding a toddler being called a sexual deviant or worst?

    I would love to see the hoopla do an article on the ABA – the women who volunteer- those who fed adoptive children, the struggles some of these women overcame. This article has been said 100 times.

  • […] A Father’s Case Against Breastfeeding […]

  • Reply January 22, 2013

    Janette

    So much has changed for women since 1982 and yet so little. In 1982 I was breastfeeding my two month old baby girl on the beach at Surfers Paradise surrounded by topless bathers when I was the one chastised. I was so offended by the attitudes then but image my horror hearing

  • Reply January 23, 2013

    mary

    I once read a paper about breast milk being a super food for the aged and demented…. absolutely true. it is real food intended to assist healthy growth!

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