By Tracy G. Cassels

It seems like I always end up with examples of celebrity moms to celebrate and we rarely get news about a dad going out of his way or doing something extra special.  But that’s finally changed with the other half of the couple that helped coin the phrase “too posh to push”.  Weird, eh?  But it seems that times they will change and with that, the couple who c-sectioned and bottle-fed their first three boys finally got on board the boobie train when it comes to their daughter (though she still c-sectioned it but she suffered a slipped disc in her back so it’s hard to fault her on this one).  But unfortunately in our society, no good deed goes unpunished…

It seems that the slipped disc that affected her pregnancy has made it very difficult to breastfeed her daughter and while she’s been pumping to provide bottled milk for Harper, that just isn’t good enough.  But what do you do?  While Mrs. Beckham can’t hold her daughter to feed her, she does have a very fit and strapping husband who, it turns out, is ready to hop on board and help out in any way he can.  In this case, it’s holding his daughter up to the breast so she can breastfeed!  (That’s what I call service.)  This means that Harper gets the very real and positive benefits of breastmilk from the breast even though mom can’t physically hold her to do this.

While many parents would probably rely solely on expressed breastmilk, the WHO points out that while better than other forms of feeding (like formula), expressed breastmilk still isn’t as good as breastmilk from the breast.  Why?  Primarily because sucking on the nipple sends information to mom about what babe needs in terms of antibodies and nutrients and mom’s milk changes accordingly.  This information doesn’t get passed on when breastmilk is expressed, though certain antibodies will still end up in the breastmilk, it’s just not quite as tailored if you will.

In addition to the wonderful health benefits though, I believe this solution of Mr. Beckham holding his daughter is also a much better way of dad bonding with baby over feeding time than the usual method of having dad bond by giving babe a bottle.  Yes, it’s not something that can happen for every feeding, but nor is it common for moms to express and have only dad feed.  So on those occasions where dad wants to take part in feeding, why not have dad hold the little one up to the breast?  Dad gets the touch aspect of feeding (which is one of the largest parts of bonding), babe gets the best nutrition, and I would think it would bond the entire triad – mom and dad can’t help but become closer during such an act.  To David Beckham, thank you for showing dads there’s another way to contribute to feeding babe without resorting to the bottle!

Unfortunately in our society, bottle feeding has become one of the only methods promoted for dads to bond with baby, but the reality is that there are myriad ways in which dads can form that loving attachment with their infants.  This isn’t to say there won’t be moms who want that break (though I have to say, as a personal opinion, I don’t understand how being hooked up to a pumping machine is less work than actually breastfeeding), but we need to move beyond the idea that bottle feeding is the best or only way for dads to bond.  You can look here for some ideas from Evolutionary Parents on things dads can do that will help them bond with baby!