Monday, September 9, 2013

The Daddy Role

Daddy and Son, 3 Days Old
This post is in reply to a post made recently by another blogger about why she is choosing not to breast feed her next child.  I am choosing not to link that post because I feel it was made to get attention and doesn't properly address what I am calling the "Daddy Role".  If you want to read that post, I am sure you can find it.  It was all over my FB feed a couple of days ago.

In her post, the blogger mentioned that she is choosing not to breast feed because, to sum it up, it makes me husband feels left out of the parenting process.  That she gets this intense bond and responsibility with the baby and daddy gets nothing.  To that, I say this: If that's the case, you're doing it wrong.

Being Comforted By Daddy, 1 Month Old
Dad's have a huge role in the raising of a child, even from the moment of birth.  During my delivery my husband was right there by my side, holding my hand as I pushed my son out.  As per my birth plan I requested that he be the one to announce the sex of our baby, which we didn't know until the birth.  And he did.  He looked down the moment my son was born and was the one to announce "it's a boy!".  Actually, what he said was "Oh my!  It's a boy!!!"  But his job as a father didn't begin and end with that announcement.

Even during our night in the hospital my husband was a life saver of a father.  I could feed my son, no problem, but soothing him was another story.  That his dad could do a lot better than I.  So started our equal parenting adventure.  I would feed our son, he would sooth him.

You see, when my son sees me, he thinks "foooood!".  Whether he is hungry or not.  If he doesn't get fed instantly he often gets upset.  So if we know he isn't hungry and just needs to be soothed and comforted, and don't want to risk over feeding him, it's my husband to the rescue.  It is adorable watching the two of them snuggle on the couch or my son passing out on his legs as my husband sways him back and forth.

Daddy and Baby, A Special Kind of Bond
My husband is also great at changing diapers.  He can rock a bottle feeding session when we need to do one.  He carries the car seat now that it's too heavy for me.  He makes silly faces at our son.  He rocks our son to sleep.  He picks out outfits... that actually match!  And most importantly, he loves our son.  They have a very special bond between the two of them.

So, clearly, my breastfeeding our baby is not in any way taking away from his abilities at being an awesome father and bonding with our son.  There is a lot he does and a lot he will do in the future, long after our son is weaned.  As with all children, your situation may be different.  However, no matter your situation feeding a baby is not the only way to bond with them, and feeding is not the only responsibility parents have.

Listen, if you don't want to breast feed, don't.  Plain and simple.  There's nothing wrong with formula, so no need to come up with some horrible excuse just to justify your decision.  And if you do want to breastfeed, please do!  I am very pro-breastfeeding (if you can't tell).  Do it, and don't feel like your taking anything away from your baby's father by doing so.  Dad's have many, many roles to play in the upbringing of a child.  Maybe that includes feeding, but maybe not.  Whether it does or does not it in no way takes away from their ability to be a great father who is fully active in his children's lives from the day they are born.

1 comment:

April G said...

I love this post. Very well put. I breastfed all three of my children, and my husband has stated that he never felt "left out" or like did not get to bond with our babies. I would nurse them, he would rock them (he was the master of the football hold for our colicky son!). I would nurse them, he would burp and change them. This worked especially well when dealing with our twins. ;) Our infants looked to me for food because that is the way we are biologically designed, but they looked to both their parents for care and love- no bottles required.