You would have to be living in a parental cave not to be aware of the debates between bottle and breast feeding babies and which option is considered ‘best’. Personally, I am the boob equivalent of Switzerland. We all deserved an informed choice. After formula feeding my son it is the plan that I will breastfeed my second (impending) mini human. (I use the world plan loosely as we all know how plans can be scuppered when it comes to new-borns).
So why, if I am so seemingly so nonchalant, choose breastfeeding this time?
It is not because of persistent feelings of failure or guilt, my son did NOT miss out because he was bottle fed and is an incredibly healthily, incredibly loud, cape wearing six year old. His birth was traumatic, I became a single parent, and was awash in the sleep derived, confusing and frankly terrifying new parent realm. Illness, pressure, lack of support and pain was the unexpected currency of my days. Seasoned to the challenge of parenting, this time in a different situation, without expectation I would like to try and breastfeed. For me.
But, I wonder if I am being selfish.
When excitedly, expectantly discussing parental leave my partner gently and indirectly made a comment that made me think, and realise something important and I feel, overlooked. A dads role in feeding. Talking with father friends many had expressed to him that in the first few weeks they felt there was little they could do in regards to the exclusive relationship between mother, baby and breastfeeding. Before baby has even arrived I can see an unspoken flash of worry, the want to be there, present, useful, to have that connection and intimacy.
If it came to it, would my partner prefer me not to breastfeed? Perhaps.
So, steady down Breastapo it is not because of him having a sexualised view and opposition to having a baby clamped to my nipple (baby getting more boob that he will), or jealousy or ownership over me. It is an anatomical fact that men haven’t got the equipment to lactate to the required level needed to feed a baby. If this was the case I am under no illusion my partner would jump in, chest first.
If fatherhood doesn’t mean feeding, what does it mean?
Dads are a crucial element to successful establishment and continuation of breastfeeding. The quality of the feeding relationship between baby and I will be impacted by how he views it. I need to cast aside some of the fierce independence developed as a single mum and accept and nurture that parenting is about teamwork. I need him, we both will. Dads can burp, change, bathe, cuddle baby. Attend breastfeeding antenatal classes together. As much as he supports me I need to support him.
How Lansinoh can help support breastfeeding dads.
It is possible to bottle feed your baby with breast milk. Mums express for many reasons; premature birth, difficulty latching, mums returning to work, mastitis etc. Why not encourage dad (or siblings) to take over a feed a day once breastfeeding is established (around 3 weeks). Previously, I have tried both hand-operated and electronic breast pumps. Different pumps suit different women, manuals are cheaper but may not be as quick. My experience with electric pumps is that the suction can be too fierce and they can be noisy. Why not rent one to see which works for you?
Best buys for breastfeeding parents.
Lansinoh’s BPA free manual breast pump is lightweight, discreet and portable, with no need for batteries or an electrical source. Simply pop it in your change bag. It is simple to dismantle for cleaning and all parts are dishwasher safe. An affordable purchase, I like that it has a stand to keep upright and ergonomic handle for comfort. Make sure equipment is clean and sterilised before use. You may find it easier to express in the morning.
Included in the Pump-Store-Feed range are also breastmilk storage bottles which I prefer over bags as they are easier to fill and anti-leak. Breastmilk can be stored for up to five days or for up to six months in the freezer. The Ultra slim disposable nursing pads don’t show through clothing and are individually packaged for hygiene and ease of carrying round. They are soft, absorbent and the adhesive lasts so they don’t slip in your bra.
How did you feed your baby? If you are a dad what are your feelings on breastfeeding? Do you have any favourite produces or brands?
Note: We were given the products for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.