Thoughts of a new father

One of the most interesting thing about being a new father is the amount of advice people freely offer you.

OK, to be fair, not all my friends do that. In fact none of my friends do that, because if they did that, they would quickly not be my friends. 🙂

It is perhaps acquaintances I encounter that do that.

I find it interesting because they project their insecurities, dissatisfaction, and unhappiness onto us. Like we don’t do “A”. Their response would be “Oh no! you have to do ‘A’, otherwise your wife will be unhappy!” or whatever.

I have only one measure of importance – is PL satisfied and happy? If she is, that is all that matters.

——–

Besides doing enough, the other thing I have to watch out for is doing too much.

On Thursday, we brought Z to the clinic for follow-up on the jaundice. The nurse had to draw blood. It required a prick on Z’s feet while she used a narrow tube to draw up the blood. After the pricking Z was wailing. I have never heard her wail so piteously.

I wanted to take her but PL was holding her and it would have disrupted the process.

Never mind. I’d take her after the drawing of blood.

BUT, I stopped myself. When blood was being drawn, and it is painful, PL is carrying her. And when the pain stops, I carry her? What “conditioning” would that give her? So I didn’t offer to take Z after the blood test, and when the drawing of blood stopped, she stopped wailing. And nestled happily in her mother’s arms.

Good girl.

We had another appointment the next day, and it would be another blood test. I ask PL if she wanted to carry Z or would she want me to. She let me take her.

Z cried when the doc pricked and drew blood, but not as much as the day before. And she stopped crying rather quickly when the process was done.

Good girl.

On Monday, I went back to work and PL went to the clinic with her mom. This time Z didn’t cry at all. Instead, she pooped when she was pricked. I guess that was the only way she could communicate to the nurse her thoughts on the whole blood drawing thing.

Good girl.

———-

PL is breast-feeding because in this day and age, if you don’t breast-feed your child, you are a monster. Really. Try telling anyone that you don’t intend to breastfeed (if you are a woman of child-bearing age, that is – I tried telling people that and all I got were weird looks). See what they say to you.

Well, we did want to go with the breast-feeding – but we weren’t going to be fanatical about it. If it worked, it worked. And chances were, it would work. So no need to be fanatical about it.

Not so the breast-feeding fascists (“Breast-feeding Feminazis” was taken).

There must be something to this breast-feeding thing. I asked PL if she enjoyed being a “cow” and she said yes. I asked her if being a “cow” gave her more satisfaction than work. And she said yes.

So clearly, it is a fulfilling function.

And clearly, PL, having had this experience, would treasure this, and if asked, I believe she would encourage mothers to breastfeed. And if they asked for help or tips, she would be as helpful as she can.

But there are also women who for whatever reasons, are unable to breastfeed. Check other blogs. They are made to feel like monsters. Or less complete mothers. By breastfeeding “evangelists.” (Fascist and feminazis are sooo provocative!)

It’s not the end of the world if a woman cannot breastfeed.

And the advantage of breastfeeding isn’t that great.

A lot of the advantages were confounded class differences. Better educated mothers had more flexibility and were more able to breastfeed their child. Lower class mothers may not have the luxury of breastfeeding their child.

The problem is, breast-fed infants are typically brought up in very different families from those raised on the bottle. In the U.S., breast-feeding is on the rise—69 percent of mothers initiate the practice at the hospital, and 17 percent nurse exclusively for at least six months. But the numbers are much higher among women who are white, older, and educated; a woman who attended college, for instance, is roughly twice as likely to nurse for six months. Researchers try to factor out all these “confounding variables” that might affect the babies’ health and development.

One lady wondered if breast-feeding was the new way to keep women at home. She found,

the medical literature looks nothing like the popular literature. It shows that breast-feeding is probably, maybe, a little better; but it is far from the stampede of evidence that Sears describes.

…in a 1984 issue of Pediatrics, “and they do not support making a mother feel that she is doing psychological harm to her child if she is unable or unwilling to breastfeed.” Twenty-five years later, the picture hasn’t changed all that much. So how is it that every mother I know has become a breast-feeding fascist?

Breast-feeding exclusively… is a serious time commitment that pretty much guarantees that you will not work in any meaningful way. Let’s say a baby feeds seven times a day and then a couple more times at night. That’s nine times for about a half hour each, which adds up to more than half of a working day, every day, for at least six months. This is why, when people say that breast-feeding is “free,” I want to hit them with a two-by-four. It’s only free if a woman’s time is worth nothing.

I found her article quite refreshing. And brave.

I wish her all success in beating off the breast-feeding fascists and feminazis and evangelists.

But let me make my stand clear.

As the non-breast-feeding parent in this partnership, I have no vested interest in promoting or denouncing breastfeeding. For as long was PL wants to breastfeed… nay, enjoys breastfeeding, I will support her decision.

But if she ever decides that enough is enough, I want my life back, and Z can suck it ! (Or rather, NOT!) Then I support her decision too.

BUT, we will decide on our own, at our own time, with our own considerations and concerns.

But it is fun to listen to the insecure evangelists giving us advice that tells me more about their insecurities, than our incompetence. 🙂

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