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Dad's Breastfeeding Story

The Rarely Heard Dad's Tale of Breast vs. Bottle

Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post about breastfeeding — from a dad's perspective.

My wife had a fairly ideal pregnancy — no sickness, no medical complications, she gained just the right amount of weight (per the doctors).

When my son was born, he was 8 pounds, and he experienced the typical drop before leaving the hospital. Allison (my wife) decided early into her pregnancy that she would be breastfeeding, which I was super supportive of. After the first doctor's checkup, there was a gentle statement that we have to watch his weight, he wasn't gaining enough.

Those gentle nudges became less gentle as the weeks went on.

Related: JWoww Gets Frank: "My Birth Was God-Awful"

Eventually we brought in a lactation consultant (which was not the first recommended course of action by the doctors, who were very much pushing my wife to switch to formula). Allison was not a big fan of formula, which we will get to in a bit. The lactation consultant was great — she figured out several problems within 10 minutes (literally 10 minutes).

The consultant also recommended supplementing formula while breastfeeding via a little container and a feeding tube that my wife taped to her nipple. It worked. And she was okay with it because the bonding elements were still in place, my son was making weight and all was well in the world.

Then my wife went back to work.

My son's daycare is close to both of our offices. My wife worked out a deal with her manager that she could go over to feed Ben (instead of being given a room and time to pump). Soon enough, the doctors were on us about weight again.

To make this long story shorter, the doctors figured out Ben needed an extra four ounces of food a day. I asked my wife if the daycare could give him one formula bottle a day; she refused because she didn't want Ben developing a preference to formula. At this point, it was more of an emotional decision because our son was consuming formula in small increments and he was getting a few meals in bottle form.

I asked the daycare if they could slip my son an extra formula bottle, but because my wife didn't consent (they totally knew what I was doing), they refused. I had to feed him myself. That meant I had to pick a time when my wife wasn't over there feeding him or he wasn't napping and not close to those feeding times where he would still be hungry when my wife showed up. It got really complicated (especially considering I had my own work schedule).

To add an extra crinkle, I have to travel sometimes for my job. On those days, I actually got my cousin to run over there and sneak Ben a bottle. Yes, the situation was becoming ridiculous and was giving most of the daycare staff a good chuckle.

Before anyone gets in a huff, once Ben was out of the danger zone, I told my wife the whole story. So I am clear, this was never about deception. When it comes to your children, bonding, and breastfeeding — there are high emotional factors at play. Dealing with the doctors saying "You aren't getting the job done, time to tap out" is deflating. I wasn't going to add to the pressure of the situation.

We had a good laugh about it, especially because I got my cousin Vinny involved (yes that really is his name). Bottom line — I was really glad when solids came into the picture.

More great reads from BabyCenter:
Why Starting School in August Is the Worst
My Toddler, the Sexist
The Dread of Postpartum Depression
What It's Like to Be Childless by Choice

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