Today’s dads are very hands-on. They share the load, change nappies, pace the boards at 3 a.m., burp baby and put up with getting puked over! They want to be fully engaged with their newborn. But, when it comes to feeding, the most pleasurable activity and integral to bonding with a new baby, dads often get a raw deal. Feeding remains firmly in the mother’s domain.
Breastfeeding is undoubtedly best for baby and in the UK all new mums are encouraged to give it a go. When mum is breastfeeding, dad will find himself side lined.
Expectant couples typically plan to breastfeed and many want their partners to help out and share the experience. In principle, a mother can express her milk and put it into a bottle. However, this can be problematic. Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding are two very different activities. Many breastfed babies simply refuse to take a bottle. Those that accept a conventional vented bottle, find it so much easier to feed from that they quickly become lazy and reject the breast. This is frustrating for women who have worked so hard to establish breastfeeding in the first place!
How to successfully combine breast with bottle-feeding is an age-old problem. For breastfeeding to be maintained and for babies to transition seamlessly back and forth between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, requires the same suckling action and, importantly, the same level of activity as breastfeeding, to be used.
The suckling action is a bit like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. A baby uses about 40 different muscles and feeds slowly, becoming full as they become tired. Bottle-fed babies by comparison, just lay back and swallow. They have no control over the flow. Typically they guzzle to keep up, or they get swamped and you can often see milk running down their chins. We are told to eat slowly to avoid over-eating. The same applies to babies. Guzzling from a bottle, with minimal oral activity, isn’t good for the baby’s development and causes them to over-feed. It inevitably compromises their natural instinct to stop when full.
In fact, there is now mounting evidence that babies also have a ‘developmental window’ in which to set their appetite. If during this period a baby’s natural ability to self-regulate food intake is overridden, the infant is likely to put on weight rapidly, setting into motion biological and behavioural changes that will predispose them to a lifelong fight against flab.
Which is where my latest invention the Suckle Feeder comes in as the best all round alternative.
It's good news for babies as unlike other baby bottles, the Suckle Feeder is designed specifically to complement breastfeeding because it uses the same suckling action and the same level of oral activity as breastfeeding. Babies aren't taught a different way to feed so won't reject the breast and, as they are controlling their food intake, they won't be overfeeding. In addition, it uniquely filters micro-bubbles held within the milk, so babies suffer from less gas and colic.
It's good news for dads as this perfect breastfeeding buddy also enables them to get in on the feeding and bonding action.
It's good news for mums because while dad is on hand delivering the breast experience, they can snatch a precious few hours of time for themselves between feeds and nappy changing. A less exhausted, more relaxed mum is more likely to breastfeed for longer!