Hello everyone! And welcome back for another week of Newborn Feeding realness.
This week I’m featuring Dad Up North, who is of course a Dad Blogger! It’s easy to see Newborn Feeding as a specifically female experience but if you think back veryyyyy carefully I’m sure you’ll remember a male figure somewhere in the vicinity during those newborn months, and if your baby was bottle-fed they might even have been the one holding the bottle.
‘Boobs Glorious Boobs’
This isn’t a smutty magazine article about boobs, it’s about the much discussed and much debated topic of breastfeeding and newborn feeding. Obviously I don’t have breasts but I do have a baby and thought a Dads perspective on the topic might be of interest.
I feel I should say from the onset that Effy has been exclusively formula fed from day 1….we’ve had a lot of arsey responses to this, but before anyone judges, stops reading or sends me a breastfeeding leaflet….read on.
Breastfeeding has never really been something I’ve thought about. I rarely notice women doing it in Cafés/restaurants and to be totally honest, I don’t really care. I don’t even know if I was breastfed, I’d phone my Mam to ask but she’ll likely want me to do a job for her and I can’t be bothered. Around about last February time (2015), we found out my OH was pregnant. From the day we started having contact with health professionals, the topic of breastfeeding was thrust into my face. I vividly remember the midwife’s waiting room; the walls were covered with posters proclaiming the unbelievable health benefits of breastfeeding. I don’t doubt a lot of research has been done on the topic and millions of pounds spent, but I felt like some of the claims were farfetched and alarmist. Anyway as the pregnancy rattled on, we talked about what our options were and what we felt most comfortable with. I purposely say ‘we’ because it really was a joint discussion. Along with which pram to buy and whether to find out the sex…..we decided………Breastfeed. Not because of the overwhelming pressure, leaflets, posters, emails, forums, newspaper articles, other parents, midwives or doctors but because we wanted to.
A horrendous 27hr labour later, an exhausted OH and some complications, we decided…….formula. Shit happens people, we had to make a quick decision. New-born daughter (Effy) wasn’t going to wait while we weighed up the pro’s and cons again. Fair play to the midwife’s they didn’t pressure us, we did what we felt was right and what we felt comfortable with. It transpired later that my OH didn’t produce any milk so we had to stick with formula and you know what….it’s worked for us.
After some time to reflect we were happy with our decision and Effy was happy that she was been fed, end of story……Nope, as I said before we’ve had a lot of negativity when people have noticed she isn’t breastfed. A GP openly criticised our decision, family members have judged us and a random women in a cafe asked why. I feel quite passionately that how we feed Effy, is no one else’s business but ours. She’s our child and we will decide what’s best for her. I’ve got quite defensive at times when asked but the approach of most people has tended to be quite judgemental. She’s 8 months old now and is developing perfectly normally. If she gets obese in later life, it won’t be because she wasn’t breastfed but because she ate too much cake.
So……a Dad’s perspective of breastfeeding and new-born feeding……Your baby will need fed, do what you feel comfortable doing and accept things don’t always go according to plan or the posters on a midwife’s wall.
Firstly, Dad Up North’s picture brings back many a memory for me. We’re both from the same city and those curtains are almost conjuring up PTSD-like flashbacks of my time in hospital when I had George – seriously, where did they buy those things. But, most importantly, I love the way he writes about his experience feeding Effy. So many people formula-feed their newborns, yet their experiences are so often left aside in favour of breastfeeding, so it’s great to hear an account that pays no attention to the unnecessary judgement bottle feeding can sometimes get.
Go and have a read of Dad Up North’s blog, it’s an honest and often hilarious look at parenting! You can also find him on Twitter @dadupnorth.
I hope you enjoyed this weeks installment, if you have an Newborn Feeding experiences you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.