Papa Don't Preach

Scott Kara's (rough) guide to being a father.

Papa Don't Preach: 'Breast is probably best, but a bottle from daddy ain't bad either'

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Of all the boobs to make, why oh why did All Black Piri Weepu get caught feeding his baby girl with a bottle?

He would have been better off getting busted for more traditional bad boy rugby player behaviour like wreaking havoc in the Pacific Islands a la Zac Guilford, or hitting a team mate across the head with a hand bag like Tana Umaga.

If he did, then the fall out would have perhaps been less extreme than what he's copped in recent days.

But oh no, Piri goes and takes on - unwittingly, remember - the breast is best brigade. Some of this lot are a far more scary bunch than any front row forward Weepu has had to deal with I'm sure.

So I'm making light of a serious subject. But this whole situation Weepu found himself in is ludicrous and deserves having the mickey taken out of it.

The main criticism of the blink-and-you-miss-it snippet of him bottle feeding his six-month-old daughter, Taylor, in an anti-smoking ad came from La Leche League, a pro-breast feeding organisation.

I'm sure La Leche and their believers provide great services and support to breast feeding mums - because while I've obviously never done it, I've been around when my wife was teaching our girls to latch on and crikey it looks hard.

But with their singular - and in many ways extreme - advocacy approach they do the breast is best message a disservice. And to many normal members of the public, groups like these, and other aggressive breastfeeding advocates, must come across as a little frightening. Radical even. Because surely a sensitive and personal issue such as breastfeeding needs a more accepting and caring approach rather than being based on La Leche's staunch belief that "breast milk is the superior infant food".

Yes, I agree breast is best, but sometimes, as Weepu also pointed out in his retort over the issue yesterday, circumstances don't always allow for a mother to feed their baby.

In our house my eldest Mia was breastfed until she was eight-months, but Katie (who is coming up 11-months) only got six months on the boob. There were various reasons for this, including the overwhelming tiredness my wife was feeling and a lack of milk supply which left Katie wanting and needing more.

And from a dad's point of view, I felt for Weepu because I loved it when I first started being able to feed Mia and Katie with a bottle. Not only is it a blissfully peaceful time of a usually rowdy and chaotic day, but it's also a rare chance for us dads to have an intimate moment with our little ones which is a rarity since for the six months at least it's mostly all been about mummy.

So yes, breast is probably best, but a bottle from daddy ain't bad either.

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