I was reading an article online about breastfeeding, and the effect it has in regards to bonding with your baby. And it sparked me to write this post. I’ll keep it short and sweet, otherwise I’ll feel like I’m rambling on, and I just wanted to express my thought(s) on this topic.
I was (or am) fortunate enough to first of all have children, and secondly to produce sufficient milk for them to thrive on. With my first son, I exclusively breastfed and didn’t pump on the strong recommendation of my doctor at the time. When it came time for him to transition into solids, I wasn’t able to pump enough milk to mix with his rice cereals, and the purées that we made for him. With our second son, because of unforeseen circumstances, I am now exclusively pumping (and he is not latched or breastfed, although he is on 100% breastmilk pumped from me). After he was born, he lost a lot of weight, which led to my doctor’s recommendation to breastfeed, followed by pumping to make sure I had enough milk for him. (It turned out that I was making lots of milk, he just wasn’t absorbing it properly and efficiently enough to gain weight). So I’m a mom who both exclusively breastfed my first, and exclusively bottle fed my second, so I feel like I can have an opinion on this topic since I’ve experienced both. And here’s my conclusion:
What causes a bond between a parent and child, isn’t breastfeeding, or your ability (or inability for that matter) to provide breastmilk to your child, its about unconditional love, and believing in them. Adoptive parents, dads, foster parents, in-laws, etc., can create bonds much stronger than moms who merely breastfeed but don’t provide in other facets of life, such as giving your children your time and attention. Being a parent and creating a bond with your child goes far beyond the first year of your child’s life when they’re on breastmilk or formula. People spend so much time talking about “breast is best”, but one of the doctors I encountered when my second son was ill, said it best: “breast is best, but fed is better”. No one has spoken more truer words. Who cares what or how you feed your kid. I’ve seen my husband interact with my son, and no one can convince me that you need to breastfeed to create a bond with your child. My husband has a bond with our older son (who was exclusively breastfed) equal to, if not stronger, than the bond I have with him and I can tell you from experience, it takes a lot more time, love and dedication to create and maintain a bond with your child than the act of breastfeeding.
And on another note, breastfeeding hurt like a mofo, so I didn’t bond with my son over breastfeeding, we bonded over other stuff.
With that, I’ll leave you with some humour by David Sopp on the do’s and don’t’s of bonding with your baby. Enjoy!