Breastfeeding Bestfeeding, A Man’s Point Of View

The Man Down My Local.png

Hands up at the beginning of this post. Yes I am a man. However as the primary caregiver of my little girl I do have many many opinions on the subject of breastfeeding.

Firstly I’m going to dispel the usual thing that pops up when it comes to men talking about breastfeeding. I really don’t give a rats backside about breastfeeding in public, anymore than I care about someone having an apple or a cup of coffee in a public place.

Now, on to the main issue of this piece, I’m sick to death of this whole idea that you are a terrible parent if you give your child anything but breast milk. This whole idea that because its natural it must be better. In the UK this view is so prevalent that its actually illegal to advertise stage one baby formula and has been illegal since 1995 as part of the Infant Formula and Follow-On Formula Regulations 1995.  There is even a watchdog dedicated to making sure that baby formula is not promoted above breast milk, the group Baby Milk Action is actually dedicated to the protection of breastfeeding over formula.

I find this to be a terrible situation. This law persecutes so many people. It persecutes against women that can’t breastfeed, because some kids won’t take to the breast, some women are unable to express milk, and sometimes circumstances conspire so that babies and their mothers are unable to be together in the early stages. When Marianna was born, it was a nightmare, I almost lost both her and her mother that morning, luckily when Marianna was safely delivered and washed (a story for another time). The various nurses, doctors and midwives, after much convincing that I had previously discussed this with her mother, finally, and with a great deal of reluctance consented to bottle feed Marianna with formula, while her mother was still undergoing surgery.

Due to the circumstances of her birth and a seizure soon after, Marianna spent three weeks in the neonatal unit at our local hospital, breastfeeding would have been an impossibility. So Marianna stayed on formula.

The second reason she stayed on formula is because her mother returned to work after three months of maternity leave. So staying home with the baby, it was a lot less challenging knowing I could knock up a bottle, as an when they were needed (I found that feeding every four hours is a mugs game, and leads to a hellish life of broken sleep and a sort of living death, zombie like existence). But I found that there is still a stigma about buying baby formula. I’ve actually had people say to me in the supermarket that “[you] shouldn’t be giving your child that stuff “. To which I replied that what I give my child is between me and my child and as long as she isn’t hungry, what’s the problem?

Lastly I feel that this sort of legislation is rather discriminatory to adoptive parents, and that they would be made to feel as though they are already starting at a disadvantage as parents, because they don’t have the natural equipment (especially gay couples) .

This is why I would like to see a change in the law, regarding the advertisement of stage one baby formula. I know that scientific studies show that breast milk may be more beneficial to a child’s development and the development of their immune system, and I’m not denying this, I’m a firm believer in the power of science, but that doesn’t change the fact that many people for whatever reason, are unable to breastfeed. These people should not be discriminated against, especially when it comes to the health and well being of their children.

Toddlers Fashion (Dads Can Do It Too)

As a dad who is the primary care giver for a little girl I face many challenges. Withering looks from mothers, condescending remarks from health visitors and stunned disbelief from many members of the older generation, who find that yes a man, not a woman, spends the majority of his time caring for a child, and doing a pretty damn good job of it too I may add. But the biggest thing I’ve found is that people don’t seem to believe that I, a man, could pick out a fashionable and functional outfit for a young lady, in spite of being something of a dandy myself. I can stand there with a tailored suit, silk tie, matching pocket square, polished shoes, the full outfit looking on point, and yet I still make eyes roll when I say that I picked my daughters outfit.

So here are just a small selection of the chic outfits that I have managed to sling together for my little monster.

marianna-1

This outfit was something I put together for Marianna to visit her Grandmother for Sunday lunch, it was simply a small cardigan over a pleated floral dress, going with a pair of frilly socks and her everyday boots (knock off Dr Martens). Whilst not overly warm it did serve as she could move about easily, and didn’t get too hot while she was chasing after her Nan’s dog.

marianna-2

This dress was picked out for another trip to Nanny’s and is a lot warmer, being both lined and made from velvet, the little lace collar gives it a nice touch and I think it worked well for use with the Japanese schoolgirl style bow tie.

marianna-3

This outfit was one of my favourites. Its a simple white dress with some light blue starry tights, made warmer with a close knit red cardigan. Add in the patent leather shoes and its like something out of a Cyndi Lauper video.

marianna-6

When Marianna’s mother (the Deputy Mayor of Torfaen) had to launch the Royal Legion’s poppy appeal (an outdoor event at the end of October) Marianna had to look the part of the politicians daughter ,this coat over a plain dress and some simple white tights did the trick, especially when combined with patent leather shoes and her starry umbrella and hair tied back in a loose pony tail.
marianna-4

One of Marianna’s outfits over the weekend, it wasn’t for anything special just a brief walk followed by some lazing about the house. its a simple white blouse with some leggings with her knock off Doc Martens, and yes those leggings do have rabbits wearing glasses on them. Perfect for running about, sitting on her backside or getting in to all kinds of trouble.

marianna-5

Marianna’s outfit for yesterday, just another day of sitting about the house doing sweet FA, it was a pair of plain white socks, stripey leggings and a beige t-shirt made warmer by a matching poncho, and instead of doing anything fancy with her hair, I just put it in pigtails, hair is something I’m not good at.

So there you have it. Definitive proof that a heterosexual man can pick perfectly fashion forward outfits for a little girl.