Typically when men weigh in on women's issues like rape, abortion, childbirth, etc., it can generate big collective eye roll, since it's annoying that the personal business of women's bodies are politicized to begin with. Also, they tend to sound like idiot assholes, usually because their opinions on the matter-whether a pro-life politician or a needy husband-are rooted in their own selfish interests. So it's refreshing to see an essay written by a new father arguing against the "breast is best" gestapo because of its negative impact on a mother's mental and emotional health, and not because he was worried that her tits would be desexualized.
In a piece for The Atlantic, Chris Kornelis discusses his wife's difficulty breastfeeding, producing milk, and getting their son to latch on saying, "There wasn't much milk, but there were plenty of tears." He looked at the struggle as a "team effort," not allowing his wife to feel like she failed, but rather, that they gave up on breastfeeding together, since neither of them were getting any rest as they were struggling with the pumps in the brief periods that their son slept between feedings.
They were exhausted and eventually bought some formula, only to see printed on the label: "Experts agree that breastfeeding is best." It's like pouring salt in the wounds of guilt inflicted by the social stigma that you are settling for "second best" for your child. Kornelis says:
"I've never seen a sticker on the outside of a box of frozen chicken nuggets that says ‘experts agree, feeding your child chicken that's definitely chicken and not covered in breading is best.' Our pediatrician told us it was no big deal to switch to formula. Do you think he'd say the same for a steady diet of fast food?"
As he points out, experts on child-raising have agreed on lots of things over the years, like having babies sleep on their stomachs, which experts now agree is completely horrible and might kill your baby.
"Experts may agree that breastfeeding is best. But experts will also tell you that mistakes happen when people are exhausted. What's better: a baby who's formula-fed and driven to story time by a mom who's had six hours of sleep, or a parent who hasn't had that much in a week?"
A Father's Case Against Breast-Feeding [The Atlantic]