What's a Gay Dad to Do When Told "Breast Is Best"?
The breast milk versus formula argument has raged on for decades among our straight parent counterparts. But where do gay dads, many of who don't have access to breast milk for their babies, fit in this debate?
Recently, Joshua Tiedeman-Bell, a gay dad of two, posed the following question to a group of fellow gay fathers on Facebook: how do you feel when you see straight parents posting about the importance of breast feeding?
"What I don't think some of the 'breast is best' advocates realize is that not all parents have easy access to breast milk," he said. "Why do we have to be so divisive about how to feed a baby?"
The responses he got back were wide ranging:
Some dads claimed breast milk was, in fact, best, even if they didn't have access to it...
"It is the best," one gay dad wrote. "Special nutrients. Once formula hit the market there was money to be made. Big push for no breast feeding now. So wrong. There are places you can get it."
"Breastfeeding is great for babies. It's a fact. My kids were never breastfed. I don't feel less. I don't feel It's divisive," said another.
Other dads defended formula feeding...
"All of the breast feeding moms with children closest to my daughter's age used to bully us about breast milk," said another, saying he was told that formula-fed babies aren't as smart as breast fed ones, and that the sugar in formula would rot his kids teeth. Without access to breast milk, the dad chose formula anyway. "We have a super well adjusted, intelligent daughter who is nearly 4 and has only been sick twice. Her teeth are gorgeously white." Also, he pointed out: "enfamil and breast milk have the exact same sugar content."
One dad even argued that formula was best, rather than breast milk...
"I always said to others is my formula fed babies sleep a lot better!" said one gay dad.
Still other dads pointed out that even if breast milk is best, it might not always be the best option for some gay dads...
"In an adoption situation I'd advise parents to plan carefully regarding pumped breast milk," said one gay dad. "One of our kids' birthmother wanted to pump milk for us and we were supportive of it at first. The hospital nursing staff were happy to encourage her as well, but I think it greatly complicated her emotional struggles post-birth, and after baby came home she lived 6 hours away, pumping prolifically while completely removed from the baby."
"We adopted our son when he was 2," said another, "We actually don't know if he was breast fed or not. If he was he was continually exposed to crack, cocaine, heroin, pot, alcohol and who knows what else. So, breast is not always best."
What do YOU think?
We want more gay dads to weigh in on this debate! Did you have access to breast milk and use it? Or turn it down? Did you choose formula? Does it bother you when parents proclaim "breast is best" without taking into the consideration that breast milk isn't available to everyone?
Email us your thoughts at dads@gayswithkids with "breast is best?" in the subject line.