How many parents hate their newborns?

Men's Health has an article today (July 31, 2008) titled, "I Hate My Newborn Baby!": A new dad confesses: They're not always bundles of joy

It is true: babies are not always perfect. Sometimes the babies are wonderful, but our expectation of what babies actually are is often unrealistic. However, in the case of this article, which is heartbreaking and all too common, the suffering of the baby and the parents was probably avoidable.

How many parents think it's 'normal' for babies to scream in agony for 19 hours a day? How many sleep deprived parents schlep to the doctor's office on weekly basis switching formula in an effort to stop their baby's pain due to "a little intestinal distress" that "is fairly common and nothing to worry about".

Eventually, the doctor decides perhaps the baby has a milk allergy and switches to a soy formula, which makes the baby so much worse the parents decide they'll have to take him to the E.R., but just before they leave, he falls asleep and all is well from that point on.

A milk allergy. That's sort of an understatement. Human babies are not designed to consume cows milk, which is what formula is made of. In fact, the advice is to not give babies under one year cows milk. But because it is common for parents to give babies artificial baby milk to infants, newborn pain and suffering is now considered 'fairly common and nothing to worry about'.

Parents need to know that it doesn't have to be that way so they don't have to feel the guilt of hating their babies.


Anonymous said...

How very sad that an article like this even was written.

Wildner said...

If you are talking about the dad who hates his baby, yes I agree it is very sad. Sadder yet is that so many parents know his pain, frustration and despair.

If you are talking about my blog entry, I'm sorry if it offended. I realized when I read your response that I should have clarified so that any first time readers who had not read previous posts that I do understand the usefulness of formula, and my opinions are not in any way judgment of women who must use it. Formula, just like each medical intervention in the childbearing year, exists for people who need it. There is a place for it, obviously.

I know that some adoptive mothers try to nurse, but not all are able and even if they are, probably won't be able to nourish an infant exclusively with their own milk, especially if they have never been pregnant. I know that there are women who have lost one or both breasts to cancer who must use formula, and I am so grateful that the option of formula exists for them.

However, some would argue the best source of nourishment for a human baby would be the human mother's own milk, then mother's milk from a trusted wet nurse or milk bank,if that was not available, then formula. And while I would tend to agree, I want to stress my opinion is my own and other people's choices are also their own.

I just get very sad that so many babies and parents suffer when so much of that suffering might be avoided if they only knew beforehand the ramifications of their choices. Do many babies do just fine on formula? Maybe. Do some babies who are breastfed end up with colic or other tummy issues? Of course. Can we minimize the number that suffer by sticking as close to Nature's plan as possible when we can? Absolutely.