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Joel's Story

When we became pregnant with Molly, I think that I was like most dads; I assumed there were going to be long nights making bottles, checking to make sure that what came out was a correct temperature, boiling water, and whatever else you see. I wasn’t sure what that exactly meant I think, but we all see it in movies and TV. That is the stereotypical thing. I think also there is the assumption that it is just formula. I came to learn what pumping actually meant and learned that we could store mom’s milk in the fridge/freezer. We even went out and got bottles; we were very worried about the nipples that were on them and tried to make informed decisions. The more I read and the more I understood about our new baby on the way, I also learned the absolute best thing for her was Mom’s milk. I think the clincher for me was the day I checked the mail (like everyone else when the fam’s prego, you get signed up for everything) we got a coupon for free formula. In the coupon was some info on how great their formula was and compared it to breast milk, saying how close it was to breast milk and how it affected older kids’ test scores. It showed their formula came closest to the high test scores achieved by breast milk. So basically they were saying they were almost as good as nature but couldn’t quite make it all the way. This is crazy to me. The formula company itself was saying that it wasn’t quite good enough. The next big learning experience for me came in our hypno-birthing class. We learned more about breast feeding and its benefits. My favorite was the “why get up in the middle night, heat up water, mix formula, and get the bottle together or my wife can just roll over and feed the baby.” Hmm, seems to me the best idea is to let everyone keep sleeping and let our baby get fed at the same time.

It got to the point where I didn’t understand why anyone would want to do it any other way. I just felt there was no reason to ever give our baby anything else until she wanted it. The hardest part was for my wife to get over the public thing. I think a lot of people shy away from it, but you eat, why should you deny your child the same thing? (Personally I don’t even like the covers; who would want to eat under a sheet?) I think for the most part breastfeeding is easy for Dad, but it did require me to help more emotionally than anything. Especially when Molly decided to stop breast feeding; it was pretty much “cold turkey.” It was hard for my wife to break that bond they made while breast feeding. Our relationship is already easy as far as chores go. We both have always done our part. There is more to be gained from breastfeeding than formula filled with, well, whatever is in there.