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breastfeeding to ensure exclusivity of mother baby bond

(53 Posts)
stitch Tue 26-Aug-08 21:10:24

this is something i have come accross recently. particularly in big families where there are very controlling grandmothers, and mother baby either live with them, or are very dependant for childcare/ support etc.obviously the main reason is the 'breast is best idea' but ensuring that they are not sidelined was also an important reason for these women.
initially i thought this rather a control freakish idea. however following on from reading some of the threads on mn, with lone parents having to hand over babies to xp's and ow to look after, i'm beginning to wonder if it is actually a not bad idea.....

policywonk Tue 26-Aug-08 21:16:55

I tend to think that a little parental possessiveness is a good thing, so long as it doesn't become unhinged. And let's face it, breastfed children tend to want as much bf as they can get (IME).

OTOH, I wouldn't have a problem with another woman BFing my child (so long as it was a woman I knew/liked).

stitch Tue 26-Aug-08 21:20:04

hadnt thought about that shock
i would not want any other woman breastfeeding my child..... shock
i was simply referring to the ease with which anyone else can bottlefeed. so if they breastfeed, no one else can take the baby away for the weekend without the mummy.

Peachy Tue 26-Aug-08 21:20:21

I can understand it I think, although I suspect the negative side is what happens (experience alert LOL) a few months later when baby won't take a bottle for love nor money, and screeches at all other hman beings trying to make cntact (as ds4 did fr a while)- however DH interacting by giving a meal seems to be balancing that bit, even if bottles are a no-goa rea still.

Not sure this was a conscious reason for me to BF, but I am aware how much easier I found it to develop that close thing with ds3 because he BF well and (for me more importantly) I didn't have a return to work at 9 weeks hanging over my head.

stitch Tue 26-Aug-08 21:26:18

but peachy, i think many of these women are quite content with the negative side. ie, that the baby cannot be taken from them.

Peachy Tue 26-Aug-08 21:41:13

Oh yes I know- but it gets tiring, I mean, when nobody can babysit or give you any kind of break. I don't think yu can factor at 1 month how much that can still affect you at 5 months. Or is that just me? grin

HaventSleptForAYear Tue 26-Aug-08 21:48:00

Hmmm. Some random person mentioned this "advantage" to bf to me with DS1 "oh it's great isn't it? they're all yours" [hmm

I did bf him for a year but would have been quite happy to hand him over to someone else and of course did when I went back to work at 3mths.

Having said that, it was nice to come home from work and do something the childminder couldn't iyswim.

With DS2 I "got" this idea more and actually am secretly pleased that he prefers mama even though it's irritating at times.

cafebistro Tue 26-Aug-08 21:50:23

Im exclusively bf dd at 6 months. She refuses bottles of ebm and will have a cup but only with water in it! It does get tiring and is very restricting as I literally cant go anywhere in case she needs a feed. However, I do have amuch closer bond with her than I did with ds at that age ( i only fed him for 6 weeks) and I think that its down to bf.
As for letting another woman bf my way! Im sorry but if it came to it I would formula feed first. smile

berolina Tue 26-Aug-08 21:51:17

Agree, pw.

The flip side (oh, dad/MIL/aunt's cousin's SIL etc. etc. so wants to give a bottle to get involved) is often part of the catalogue of things that can and often do undermine a new mother's breastfeeding.

Tbh I don't think anyone, in the main, would choose to breastfeed in order to maintain exclusivity, but rather that the exclusivity is a component of the bf and comes to feel 'right' - up to a certain age anyhow, it has perfectly good physiological and psychological reasons - and can indeed be a useful support in drawing boundaries.

halogen Tue 26-Aug-08 22:05:17

My in-laws were constantly on at me to give a bottle. I think their main reason was that they wanted my daughter to go and stay the night with them. They live an hour's drive away (on a good day and you have to go round the M25 so it's not guaranteed). She's 23 months now and no longer breastfed but I know that she wouldn't be happy to be away from me and her dad for a whole night in an unfamiliar place so they're still waiting. TBH, it was handy in those early days to have the 'excuse' of breastfeeding. But even if I had bottle fed her, I still wouldn't have been happy to leave a very clingy baby in a strange place overnight when I wouldn't be nearby in case of problems. I don't need the excuse of breastfeeding now. I just say 'I don't think she'd be happy with that' so they are still waiting.

I didn't choose to breastfeed because of the exclusivity thing. I chose to do it because I wanted to give her the best start in life I could. I want my daughter to have close and loving relationships with all her family. But I did find it handy when they were pressuring me to leave her with them in the early days. She was and still is a very clingy little girl and I don't think that would have been any different if I'd fed her with bottles. It's just her personality.

theSuburbanDryad Tue 26-Aug-08 22:15:53

I found the fact that ds was pretty much tied to me until he started eating solids properly (8 or 9 months) very limiting. But as Bero says, i found it very useful in establishing boundaries with dh's family who were desperate to give ds a bottle. The thing is, when i did let dh's aunt give him a bottle of EBM, she forced it on him and it meant that he refused to take a bottle after that. angry

I'm very lucky now, in that ds is a very confident and happy little chap - i don't know how much of that is down to the breastfeeding/babywearing/co-sleeping and how much is down to personality and the fact that he went to nursery when he was 13 months. But MIL is still very upset that he hasn't stayed overnight with them (he's 20 months) and I do use the fact that he's still breastfeeding/co-sleeping for part of the night as the reason why. I'm happy for him to spend the day there though.

She's very hmm about the whole thing - especially as dc2 is due in Feb and she thinks that ds should get used to spending time away from me in preparation! Yeah - cause that would set up good associations for him about his new baby brother/sister wouldn't it? grin

stitch Tue 26-Aug-08 22:19:38

i was quite surprised when i first heard about htis, but i am obviously naive. it is far more common than i thought. as you all say, it is a useful by product of breastfeeding.

theSuburbanDryad Tue 26-Aug-08 22:52:40

The thing is though, I see it as yet more examples of how messed up our way of thinking is, when it comes to infant feeding. The fact that my IL's felt they had to give ds a bottle to feel "involved" (and spoon feed him - but that was a separate issue) is - to me - a classic symptom of the prevalence of bottle feeding culture in our society. They couldn't understand why I wouldn't want them to give ds a bottle, or why it was so important to me that he was exclusively breastfed for 6 months.

I think MIL also resents - to a limited extent - the fact that all her friends are having their grandchildren over to stay, and she can't. I'm fairly sure she thinks I'm forcing ds to continue bf-ing so I can have a "hold" on him! hmm

halogen Tue 26-Aug-08 23:13:45

I am with you on that, Dryad. I also have the 'my friends have their grandchildren to stay' thing. My daughter no longer breastfeeds but I will not let her stay with them until I am sure it would actually be pleasant for her (and I wouldn't get a midnight call, or worse - that the midnight call would be needed and they wouldn't make it). Also, in a more sensible culture, people would be delighted that you were keeping your baby close where they want to be instead of trying to grab a bit of it for themselves. Sometimes I feel like saying 'Look, you've had two kids. This is my child. Back off. Please.'

theressomethingaboutmarie Wed 27-Aug-08 08:06:05

I loved breast feeding my DD. We had issues at about 12 weeks which meant that I had to stop. I was absolutely distraught at stopping as I felt at the time (hormonal thinking) that she didn't need me anymore; that anyone could feed her.

For me, breast feeding was the best thing for my baby but it was also a great opportunity to bond.

IAteDavinaForDinner Wed 27-Aug-08 10:43:10

It's a massive, massive bonding thing. And it's a PITA sometimes, but it's normal and right and good. Totally agree (with sadness) about the bottle-feeding culture, and everyone thinking a baby being closely bonded to its mother in the early months is somehow bad/wrong. Makes me a bit angry, too.

Wisknit Wed 27-Aug-08 13:09:42

With ds1 I loved Bf but I was doing an evening course so he had EBM once a week til 2.5 months because I knew before that he would have this it wasn't a problem but ds2 ever had any ebm (apart from 1 attempt at 7 months from a cup which he turned his nose up at grin) and I usedd to get all weepy at the idea of someone else feeding him.
That said I'm not bothered by the idea of breastfeeding someone elses baby but the idea of doing a bottle of formula worries me somewhat - what if I did it up wrong, or the wrong temp, not enough/too much? How complicated is FF!

Ispy Wed 27-Aug-08 15:16:06

Absolutely - I am a case study! I have 3 children, but when first baby was born I was living overseas near my husband's family. MIL is a Greek Matriarch and she couldn't stand it that I bf as it meant that she couldn't feed her. I didn't realise it at them time as much as afterwards, that the bfeeding actually gave me the exclusivity with dd. MIL was/is set against bfeeding and didn't believe that dd was getting enough etc. and used to make all kinds of negative comments. She wanted to take dd to 'spend the night' at her house which used to send shivers down my spine. Of course she never managed to 'take' her as I fed her till she was 15 months. I'm now bfing my ds2 and it bothers her! It's like she can't stand the closeness or something skewed like that! Whenever I see her now she urges me to stop feeding now and get him on the bottle (he's 6 months) and that I won't lose the weight (I'm a size 12..) until I stop feeding him.
I actually find it amusing now. Didn't when I had my first baby but now it just make me sad for her, but not for me. I am utterly bonded to my darling son and will feed him till he weans himself.

wasabipeanut Wed 27-Aug-08 15:43:41

I agree with everything thats been said about how the closeness of the bond between a bf'ing mother and baby is somehow seen as a drawback rather than a positive.

I loved bf'ing and I do feel that we had a sepcial bond. I loved the fact that it was just me and him when he woke in the night - it was really cosy and lovely even through the fug of sleep deprivation although we co slept which made things easier sleep wise. I got the remarks from both my mother and my MIL "are you STILL bf'ing" and I just said "yes" and refused to justify it.I am totally from the never apologise and never explain school wink

Having said that my ds would happily take a bottle of expressed milk from whomever proffered it - he never really seemed to mind where his food was coming from as long as it kept coming.

SJisontheway Wed 27-Aug-08 16:39:42

Hmm - I dunno. I exclusively breast fed for a long time - not entirely by choice. DD refused bottle, cup, spoon anything but breast for ages and I found it very draining. I never saw the upside in it to be honest. Although the boding was lovely, I always find it interesting when people want to give a bottle as a bonding experience. DD and DH are and always were extremely close, despite him being unable to feed her for so long. There are so many other ways to bond with a baby and to this day she is a real Daddy's girl...

moondog Wed 27-Aug-08 16:43:34

The flip side is that breastfeeding makes alot of people feel angry and jealous and excludedin a way that they cannot articulate.

They therefore want to destroy that relationship between mother and child by muscling in with a bottle. sad

Ispy Wed 27-Aug-08 20:58:54

You're on to something there MD. Would these people you describe as angry/jealous/excluded have breastfed their own kids or not though? In my MIL's case she once said she would have loved to have bf her own children. The remainder of the time she has been staunchly anti bfing with comments like: 'oh is he hungry again', or 'has he eaten, he seems hungry' and 'you should give him a bottle now and have some freedom' and blah de blah. I think there is something so beautiful about the image of mother and child engaged in the act of breastfeeding that it may actually bring out hurts and insecurities in others?

theSuburbanDryad Wed 27-Aug-08 21:09:59

SJ - ds is all about his daddy, when dh is home he never seems particularly interested in me, and gets quite cross if i try to muscle in on bed or bathtime (except for milkies time!!) so why people felt he had to feed him to bond with him I have no idea!!

IAteDavinaForDinner Wed 27-Aug-08 22:18:49

I agree tSD. It's a bit insulting to suggest that a father cannot bond with his child unless he gets the chance to stuff food into it, isn't it? DP and DS are a bloody double act, I'm just boring old mummy unless it's teething time hmm

stitch Thu 28-Aug-08 11:06:09

i think that sometimes some women do want to muscle in, and sideling the actual mom. so at least if she is breastfeeding, then that isnt physically possible.

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