A husband who allegedly said he feels he “missed out” on bonding with his son because the child is ” exclusively breastfed ” has received a wave of criticism from users on Mumsnet, the U.K.-based online forum.
In a post shared by his wife (username JimRoyle) on Mumsnet’s Am I Being Unreasonable (AIBU) subforum , the mom said that she’s been “exclusively breastfeeding ” their 10-month-old baby and that the couple have had “various challenges” on their “weaning journey.”
According to the user, her husband said “he feels he has missed out hugely because our baby has been breastfed and he hasn’t fed him much over his whole life. He wasn’t blaming me but I can’t help feeling upset at his mindset here.”
A July 2021 study in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One said that fathers have an “important but often neglected role” in promoting healthy breastfeeding practices and that breastfeeding is “a key area to improve child survival and promote healthy growth and development.”
The study also said a father’s knowledge of breastfeeding is important for its success, and “evidence shows that mothers who have a supportive and encouraging partner are more likely to plan to breastfeed for a longer duration.”
The study concluded that policymakers should focus on improving husbands’ knowledge about breastfeeding “because the knowledge determines the overall condition of the family including the psychological development of the children that affect their life.”
The mother in the Mumsnet post said that her baby refused to be bottle-fed when he was younger and that it took nearly six months for her husband “to manage taking him out without me,” adding that the baby now “takes a bottle fine.”
The wife said her husband “has only put him down once” and when he tried again last night, the baby refused the bottle and screamed for his mom.
The mother said: “My husband was understandably upset,” adding, “As was I, I can’t wait to have some freedom back [in the] evening.”
However, she said, “I just feel a bit sad at the idea that maybe for our baby’s whole life he’s had these resentful feelings.”
She said she “felt like he’s resented me feeding before but thought we were past this now that he’s bonded with our baby in so many other ways.” She noted that “he’s very involved and often takes our baby for walks, does nappy changes and helps with meals etc during his working day,” as he works from home.
But the mother added: “He can take [our] baby whenever but he doesn’t often choose to do so. It’s always me driving the idea of him taking [our] baby out, doing bedtimes etc…”
Several users on Mumsnet shared messages of support for the original poster, saying that the husband should “get over himself” and that she has “done nothing wrong.”
GCAcademic said: “He’s being ridiculous. Feeding is about the baby, it’s for the baby, and as you were able to breastfeed that was the best option for the baby. He is making it all about him.”
SpacePotato wrote: “He needs to get over himself. There are plenty of ways for him to have bonded with the baby without giving him a bottle. He IS trying to put blame on you for it. You have done nothing wrong.”
AnneLovesGilbert said: “The only thing he hasn’t been able to do is BF [breastfeeding]. If he hasn’t done everything else that’s on him for a staggering lack of initiative and effort…It’s a lazy selfish argument. Tell him to step up if he wants to be a decent and involved dad.”
ClocksGoingBackwards was more diplomatic, saying: “Yanbu [you are not being unreasonable] to feel a bit upset because it’s a sad thing to hear.” The user added that the husband’s feelings “are valid” and that “it doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault, it just is what it is.
“Maybe now’s the time to stop breastfeeding if you’re starting to want some evening time back and your DH [dear husband] is wanting to do more,” ClocksGoingBackwards said.
Newsweek was not able to verify the details of this case.
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