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Breast feeding - what to expect/OH support

(20 Posts)
purplemurple1 Mon 15-Jul-13 11:11:13

I'm preg for the first time, and want to try BF but am fairly anxious as its not something I've seen done by anyone else in my family or freinds. OH is the opposite and thourght formulae was only for mums/bb's that were ill and/or couldn't BF (diff cultures). He keeps saying its natural, and therefore easy as everyone does it and you see them out and about, BF easily. He won't listen to what the MW and me tell him, regards the first weeks/months and getting BF established. He also keeps saying he can work straight after the birth as only I can feed the bb so he dosen't need to be their.

Is there any way to prepare him (or me for that matter), for the reality of a crying baby, sleepless nights, potentail BF problems, my tiredness/hormones etc or do I need to just wait it out and hope for the best? Is it going to be possible to make a successs of BF when OH has his head in the sand?

He has been great so far during my preg, but it's been really easy so I think he is living in denail!

Mogz Mon 15-Jul-13 11:50:53

All you can do is talk openly with him about what you have found out about BF and newborns, ask him to listen to the midwife and perhaps seek out some new mums in your area and ask for positive and negative stories. Show him some threads on this forum!

badguider Mon 15-Jul-13 11:56:58

well, after the birth all you do need to do is feed the baby - but if you're doing that then how are you going to eat? who will prepare your food? pass you drinks so you don't get dehydrated? buy the food in for the adults to eat? buy nappies etc for the baby?
tell him you'll feed the baby, he needs to feed you.

i also think you need to make clear to him that the women you see out and about bf easily all generally have babies quite a bit over 2 weeks old!

finally, the baby will wake every hour or so and you will need support to do the feeding (drinks for you, nappies for baby) to start so how is your dh going to do a proper day's work after that??

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 15-Jul-13 11:57:04

Bfing might be easy for you, not everyone struggles but the baby will be demanding and you will both be tired. Is he entitled to paternity leave! Could you persuade him that its beneficial to you all if he takes it? After all, you usually get a lot of visitors and someone has to make the tea smile

Has he read any articles on supporting you and Lo? Have a read of [[ this one and see if you want to get him to read it too.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 15-Jul-13 11:58:07

Sorry [ here]]blush[

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 15-Jul-13 11:59:15

here <searches for the shame and inept emoticons>

Yawner247 Mon 15-Jul-13 12:02:46

I was going to say show him the threads on here...he should realise pretty quick it's not always straight forward!!! It is the most natural thing to do for your baby but it doesn't come naturally to is a skill that both mum and baby have to learn and perfect!! I thought it would be easy I had a rocky start with my first child but fed until she was one...second child thought it would be easy as I know what I'm doing but he had a tongue tie which was a whole new experience!!! I wish you luck on educating your husband and the rest of your pregnancy! smile Learn as much as you can now!

tiktok Mon 15-Jul-13 12:18:16

purple sounds like your dh is from a culture where bf does indeed just 'happen' but the new mother prob gets a lot of help from female relatives. I am thinking of Asian and African cultures - just about anything non-western, where we have lost the tradition of caring for a new mother for several weeks. In these traditional cultures, a new mother would not be expected to do other chores - feeding the baby is the focus, and even her self-care would be supported and lovingly taken in hand. Obviously this is a broad brush picture, and there will be times and situations where it is not like this at all.....but the principle is there ie new mothers need looking after, breastfeeding is a time-consuming and emotionally-focussed period, mothers don't have time or energy to do much else.
Maybe your dh has not been aware of this?

Tiredtrout Mon 15-Jul-13 12:36:29

My dh did go to work the day after our dc3 was born, she was a good feeder, she knew exactly what to do which is half the battle, they have to learn too! My dh going to work wasn't by choice and it's only now that we are in week 8 that he's being allowed time off.

It's hard on all 3 of us, he's missed out on supporting me and getting to know her as well and vice versa. It's hard for him to tell the difference in her cries. he's disturbed in the night by her and still having to do full days with only one day off some weekends

ab00 Mon 15-Jul-13 13:54:50

Completely second what tiktok has said. My dh is from a very different cultural background to my own where bf is the norm & to be honest despite both of us having read up on & been to a bf class prior to the arrival of ds1 so were aware things may not always go to plan we both naively expected things to be more straightforward than they were. Had dh not seen with his own eyes the battle I had he would never have believed it could be so difficult to do something that is supposed to be so natural. That's not to say it is the same for everyone. Some people are very lucky & have no issues at all. A new baby, whether it be your first, second or 10th is a major adjustment for everyone, baby included regardless of how you feed your baby. The first 3 months of babies life is known as the 4th trimester with good reason. Your lo will be adjusting to life outside of you & although bf is instinctive for them they still have to learn how to do it well & effectively.
The early days with a new baby are demanding & precious, explain to your oh that you will never get this time back & if he chooses not to take some time off to help & support you & your new baby he may regret it later. They really don't stay little for very long! Explain it's an opportunity for him to get to know his baby too & he can have lots of skin to skin cuddles with your lo, sing to them, be there for first bath & on & on it goes.
Things my dh has done both times around to help & support me in terms of bf has been making sure I'm looked after (where he's from originally this would be done by numerous female relatives which we don't have here) made sure I'm fed, have a drink, got my phone, tv remotes etc. Helped when visitors have come (made the tea etc), put the washing in, run the hoover around so I'm not worrying about housework. But single handedly the biggest & best thing he has done throughout with ds1 & 2 is to be my emotional support & cheering squad. Bf is hardwork, as your oh said only you can do it. It is draining & tiring but absolutely worth it. Explain to your oh that after you have given birth you will be tired & emotional & will really need & value his support. When I've been really tired dh has sat up with me during night feeds to keep me awake & make me feel not so alone, had taken ds when he's been unsettled but not hungry so I can catch up on some sleep - even if it's just an hour! Also just having your oh there to tell you you're doing a fab job, don't give up, it will get easier etc makes a huge difference to how you may feel about bf if things are a bit tricky or just the normal (said very loosely!) demands of a new baby.

ab00 Mon 15-Jul-13 13:59:25

Sorry meant to add - they are all things your oh can do besides feeding.

audweb Mon 15-Jul-13 14:04:14

Yeah I echo what the others say. My OH is also from a different culture where breastfeeding is the norm, but he realised there was plenty he could do - so he spent the first few weeks cooking, cleaning, helping bath, sitting up through the nights with me when feeding was not going so well. All those helped so by the time he went back to work feeding was established. Maybe explain that unlike other cultures you'll be lacking the support from family etc because they don't necessarily understand bf, if they've never done it, and so support from him will be necessary.

stargirl1701 Mon 15-Jul-13 14:27:46

I would recommend reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

purplemurple1 Mon 15-Jul-13 17:10:11

Thanks ladies, some things to think on and talk to him about when I'm back home at the weekend, left him with a DVD from the MW to watch so hopefully he will be a little more receptive!

I like the idea of reaffirming that he needs to feed/look after me and do the 'womanly' support roles as a I don't have any family near us, and mine didn't BF so won't really be helpful/supportive anyway. We can afford for him to take time off, so I'll be more insistent and remind him of the postives, time to bond etc, if he really has the time he can always work a little from home.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Mon 15-Jul-13 17:39:15

I don't think I would have been able to establish breastfeeding if DH wasn't around to do absolutely everything else, bring me food/drink/extra pillows, etc. It's a full-time job in the beginning.

TheABC Mon 15-Jul-13 18:14:33

To echo everyone else - it's natural, but it's also a skill that takes time to learn. I am writing this as a first time mother of a two week old baby; boy it has been an emotional rollercoaster! What has helped me (so far) is:
- doing my research beforehand. Knowing it takes time to establish breastfeeding is half the battle.
-asking for as much help as possible from the midwives on latch, positioning & night feeds
-getting as much help as possible from relatives. My mother basically moved in & fed me for the first week. Is there anyone who can help you out, if your husband has to work?
- Arm yourself with phone numbers! There's breastfeeding councillors, a national support line and la leche groups. Bloody invaluable after you have spent all day on the sofa cluster feeding; your breasts are sore and s/he still won't settle down to sleep!
- Get a netflix or lovefilm subscription. I am slowly catching up on all my favourite tv programs. Instead of thinking 'oh bugger, another feed', it's 'yes - now I can finish episode 4 of firefly'.
-Mumsnet is brilliant. Every baby problem under the sun seems to have been discussed on here with a lot of common sense and sympathy.

Good luck with your preparations and the new baby. I have found it to be tough, scary but very rewarding. I wish you pain-free feeds and nice, long stretches of sleep!

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 15-Jul-13 18:29:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PurplePidjin Mon 15-Jul-13 18:53:53

Feeding you = feeding his child. He needs to bring you porridge for breakfast (oats help your supply), make you a packed lunch and make sure your water bottle is full before he goes to work. He will need to sort out dinner when he gets in, and accept that your task that day has been caring for and nourishing yourchild - that is achievement enough, if you manage a spot of washing up then you're supermum!

Go to your local bf support group, even now. Meet mums that few weeks ahead who can reassure you that each phase is short lived.

My ds is 8 months, I'm typing this while feeding. It's tough, but that's parenthood smile

itsaruddygame Tue 16-Jul-13 09:53:07

As others have said the womanly art of breastfeeding is a great book so definitely read it before the baby arrives if you can.

I found bf a struggle in the early weeks - early baby, small mouth, took hours to feed and I found it very painful. With the right help we are now finding it easy and I enjoy it so much. I could not have done it without my husband looking after me - drinks, meals and housework were all done by him for the first few weeks.

Another tip is that it will take different amounts of time to get easier for different people. Lots of people told me it would be easier after 6 weeks - in some ways it was but DS was still feeding for hours and hours at this point. It took getting over the 12 week mark before he became more efficient and feed times became more manageable.

I am so glad I stuck at it and I am pretty sure I would have given up without a supportive partner. Also try and create a network of other new mums (I found nct good for this) - this has really helped as there are always people going through similar experiences to you.

rundontwalk Tue 16-Jul-13 09:58:09

It's all been said in the posts above! But also,I've found mumsnet & Kellymom invaluable sources of info. Hope it all goes well for you smile

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