War, famine and disease. Politics, fashion and weather. So many talking points, so many subjects. So why is it that one of the biggest debates; certainly in this country, is that of breastfeeding v bottle-feeding?
I realise of course I’m in extreme danger of disturbing the hornet’s nest on this particular subject, especially as a man, where surely I have no business in getting involved. But your wrong, I’ am as readers will know a father myself, I was breastfed as an infant, my children bottle-fed. First understand I’ am a neutral in this mother tug of war, I don’t mean to offend anyone and you should certainly not use my words as advice when choosing to breastfeed or bottle-feed your unborn child.
Where to begin? Where better than the obvious pros and cons of both sides:
Breast is best. If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that said I would certainly have treated myself to the odd take-away more often. Breast is best, it really is, and it’s drilled into every parent from the moment that urine hits the stick. It’s mother nature at it’s finest, when a mother breastfeeds their child, it’s what God intended, it’s what we’ve been doing since the dawn of man. So, pro number one brings me to the obvious goodness your child receives feeding from your breast, science even tells us your baby will be less likely to develop intestinal infections, less likely to suffer from ear and respiratory infections, diabetes and all kinds of allergies. But, as I said, less likely, do not be the person who thinks breast milk will make your baby invincible, breast milk is only as healthy as the diet of the mother. Pro number two, breast milk is 100% free, even the tax man can’t get his dirty hands on that. It’s hygienic and will provide your newest addition with just the right amount of antibodies until their immune system builds up. Pro number three, you the woman, research has shown that breastfeeding mummies are more likely to lose weight gained during their pregnancy, and not forgetting causing your uterus to contract and return to its original position a lot sooner than non-breastfeeding mums.
Now for the cons, any breastfeeding mum who says there are none are liars. You are on call 24/7, of course there is ways to express milk, but as I’ve heard it’s not the easiest thing to master and can be quite painful, so unless you can then you are the only person on earth that your baby solely depends on, that is a massive responsibility not to mention physically and emotionally exhausting. Sometimes mothers have physical problems like mastitis, plugged milk ducts and engorgement if the baby is not feeding frequently or properly. Breastfeeding can at times be frustrating, especially to begin with.
Now for the Bottle-fed pros and cons, I can almost hear the boos and hiss’ by breastfeeding mummies from here, but why? It’s because as I said earlier, throughout pregnancy the NHS will drill and drill the ‘Breast is best’ slogan into your heads. Now I can only begin to imagine the stress that must cause for women who, because of the drilling, are desperate to breast feed their child but simply can’t. Speaking to a NHS breast-feeding support worker, she admitted that not all babies will latch on to their mother’s breast. I see time and time again breastfeeding mums, especially on social media, border line taunt the mums who don’t breastfeed. To those, and you know who you are I will say this, formula milk is an alternative to breast milk, it is not a mother feeding her new-born a happy meal, it is an alternative. I know formula milk hasn’t been around for centuries but wake up and smell the coffee, we live in the 21st century… Mobile phones weren’t around hundreds of years ago yet you still use one of them. Women are not living in caveman times any more, they don’t sit around feeding all day long while the man goes out for food, there are women who have jobs to go to and quite possibly don’t wish to express milk all day long while carrying out their work. The most important thing a woman can do is look after herself and her growing baby in pregnancy. When your little angel(s) arrive I would advocate breastfeeding absolutely, but no woman should feel guilty for not. That new arrival is the most important thing in the world to a mother and only the mother alone knows what’s best for her child. To round off the bottle feeding pros and cons, from a fathers point of view, I get to bond with my little angels too and I’m so grateful for that, but it will cost you an arm and a leg to do so.
In my personal opinion (whether you care or not), there is no added bond between a mother and child through breastfeeding, because nobody, and I mean nobody can argue someone else’s mother/child relationship. Yes there is more skin on skin through breastfeeding but that will make no difference in how a mum loves her child.
So why is there a divide between breastfeed and bottle-feed mums?
I would blame the general public. It is the fault of the cretin individuals who think mothers who breastfeed in public are sick and disgusting, I’ve seen it first hand, I’ve heard it from the mouths of people I even know, It is ridiculous that they seem to forget that they were once babies themselves and were probably fed in the same manner. The ‘breast is best’ Mafia are getting louder but it’s the bottle feeding mums that are feeling the wrath. All mothers should unite on this issue that babies should be fed, whether it’s from formula in public or from a breast in public, it shouldn’t matter to anyone.
– Thank you for reading. It’s a little off my usual subjects but all writing is good writing. Please feel free to debate, I am by no means dictating and especially as a man I am no expert. I do not mean to cause offence to anyone directly.
– Image courtesy of runawayink.com