Before I get started on bottle feeding, I just want to point out that I do believe in the saying “breast is best”. If your partner can breast feed then by all means go for that option. It’s the best stuff you can give your baby, it’s natural and it helps your partner bond with your child.
However, from a purely selfish point of view, being a dad I am very happy with bottle feeding. It means I can be involved in feeding our baby, which is a great feeling. I get to hold our baby and give him a bottle, watch him drink his milk knowing I am giving him what he needs.
My wife and I were all for breast feeding. But our son had other ideas. I didn’t really think about this before, but the baby has to learn how to breast feed. Some of it is instinct, but a lot of it is up to you to hold the baby in a particular way, sit in a particular way and keep trying for as long as the baby will let you until it “latches on”. This is a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. Or it was for us anyway.
He did latch on a couple of times, but never really got the hang of it and would get frustrated and start crying. We tried for the first few days with the midwives, but he simply wasn’t getting enough milk so we fed him with milk formula from a cup. If you are trying to breast feed you shouldn’t use a bottle as well because it is different sucking relexes used and can mean the baby can’t breast feed.
We still couldn’t get him to latch on properly by the time we left the hospital but by that time we knew how to do it, so we were happy to continue trying it at our home.
However, after about a week of trying to breast feed at home, supplimenting his food with formula given to him from a little cup we decided just to move onto bottled milk.He was needing more and more milk and he really wasn’t getting enough from my wife or from the little cup.
We continued to alternate between bottle formula and expressed milk for about 2 months until the expressed milk stopped and he moved solely onto bottle milk.
Although we were disappointed not to breast feed at the time, looking back it wasn’t exactly a disaster. We get to share the feeding duties, which means my wife can get on with other things while I look after the baby. She can go out and leave me to look after him for aslong as she needs. Also, breast feeding patterns are usually more frequent, meaning the baby is up more often through the night. There are a few couples we know who had babies around the same time and the mums look exhausted. Meanwhile, we are coping relatively well, sharing responsibilities and enjoying being parents.
It obviously costs money to buy the milk formula, bottles, steriliser, etc. as opposed to breast milk which is free, but the cost is pretty negligiable in the grand scheme of things.
If/when we have another baby we would still prefer to breast feed, at least to begin with. However, if the second baby ends up being bottle fed as well, we know it’s not the end of the world, and can actually be a good thing.
I know the debate between breast v bottle milk can be quite heated. We have seen people we know openly critisize others on Facebook for bottle feeding, saying it is not best for the child, etc, etc. I don’t want to spark any arguements here, I am purely speaking from my own personal experience. Our son is growing fast, he can crawl, nearly say his first words, he is happy and laughing the whole time. All that from bottle milk, so it can’t be that bad!
I sometimes wonder what we would have done without formula milk, it’s been great for us.