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Breast feeding woes

(39 Posts)
stormyseas Fri 10-Jul-15 21:23:35

I'm the father.
We had a difficult birth and our baby wouldn't latch.
Over the next 48 hours we had 3 midwifes try to get baby to latch, but no one could manage it.

We went home and started bottle feeding. At this stage we both wanted to breast feed our baby but it was clear that it was becoming emotionally difficult for my wife.

The health visitor came over and recommended going to the hospital for some help at a drop in clinic. We went, but we made no progress, we could not get any kind of latch going. My wife was in floods of tears, I cried.
My wife started looking down and I became worried that she was becoming depressed so I decided to stop mentioning breastfeeding. I bought an electric pump.

She expressed for 2.5 weeks. She was looking a little better so I tried to kick start the process again by suggesting a nipple shield. We were able to get her to latch for a while and judging from what we had to give her from the bottle to fill her up afterwards she took a fair amount. We tried again the next day but my wife's nipples were too sore to continue.

I thought as a last ditch attempt we could try a lactation consultant. She came over and diagnosed a tongue tie. We went ahead with the op.

But now my wife is only going to try breastfeeding a few more times before she gives up.

I can see that it is causing her considerable emotional pain. But I also know that she can be a person who gives up when things get tough, without a little encouragement.

Everyone is telling me enough is enough, but I know if it was me I would try a little longer. I am also not satisfied that she has tried breastfeeding enough, she seems only to have tried when I have suggested it. It feels like she is pulling away from it because she feels like it is her fault. No matter how many times I tell her it isn't her fault she won't listen. And now that I can see that she is letting her pain get in the way of following the best course of action for our baby I am starting to feel a little that way.

I am very convinced that there is a significant advantage to being breastfed having read the WHO report and a few meta studies. I feel that I have to fight for my daughters future, but I also know that I risk falling out with my wife.

She is saying that she will be unable to express for much longer because she has too much to do. I have offered numerous ideas to give her more time to express, but it's not going down well.

I am aware that it is her body and she has the ultimate say over what happens.
But I think she is about to make a really bad decision because she doesnt have the strength to push through it.

If I support her and be the loving husband I should be I sacrifise a little piece of our baby's future. If I push harder I gamble for a better outcome for my wife and daughter, but risk us falling out.

I dont know what to do.

StaircaseAtTheUniversity Fri 10-Jul-15 21:28:14

I'm almost certain you're going to get flamed but, for what it's worth, I agree with you.

Bottom line is that breastfeeding is hard and the first 6-8 weeks are painful and difficult but once you get past that it is a wonderful experience and I'm so glad I carried on.

Is she making enough milk? If not I can highly recommend fenugreek supplements to help with that. I don't know what you can do in terms of giving her time to pump, other than maybe taking the baby off her hands for an hour or so in the evenings so she can pump and keep her supply going. You can always freeze any left over.

I wish more fathers were like you- my husband was a huge support and encouraged me when the going got tough.

strawberryshoes Fri 10-Jul-15 21:35:17

Oh bless you, it is wonderful that you want to do the best for your baby.

The most important thing to to talk to your wife. It is ultimately her decision if she wants to continue to try to breastfeed, but it sounds like it has been such a hard start, that if she is going to continue, it will take a lot of support and she will have to really want it.

I would urge you to talk to her (not pressure her, or place demands on her) to tell her that you really want to help her if she is willing to make a go of it. Let her tell you all about how she is feeling, all about her emotions, all about her doubts and her fears, and then you can come to a decision together.

Remember, there are lots of stats about how breastfeeding sets a baby up for the best start, but ultimately, your baby will be fine no matter how she is fed, because you will be good parents.

BeautifulBatman Fri 10-Jul-15 21:40:48

Leave her alone. She's probably feeling physically and emotionally stressed out about it as it is without you, the one that's supposed to support her most, making her feel worse and pressurusing her. No baby ever missed out on anything in life by being formula fed. Controlling and bullying, that's what you're doing.

BeautifulBatman Fri 10-Jul-15 21:43:31

Exactly what piece of your baby's furine do you think is being sacrificed by not being bfed???

BeautifulBatman Fri 10-Jul-15 21:43:41

Future

Only1scoop Fri 10-Jul-15 21:46:52

'Sacrifice a little bit of our baby's future' confused

Oh please....give your Dw a break. She's obviously doing amazingly be led by her and her wishes.

Yay4may Fri 10-Jul-15 21:47:25

When was the TT op?

tiggy2610 Fri 10-Jul-15 21:53:27

I had an extremely tough time trying to breastfeed when DS was born. Tongue tie that went undiagnosed for weeks, mastitis and blocked milk ducts. I would cry every time he woke up for feeding but was determined to breastfeed - I was diagnosed with PND when DS was 6 weeks old. I am not saying the BFing is directly linked, but I definitely do not think it helped. Even after DS had his tongue tie op he wouldn't feed properly, I ended up exclusively expressing until he was 16 weeks old before turning to formula. He his happy, healthy and thriving.

Your wife has already gone through so much, I understand you are only being supportive and it's great to see a father who cares so much, but please don't make her feel guilty if she wishes to stop. Unless you give birth,grow breasts and attempt it yourself you have absolutely no idea what she is going through or the difficulty and pain involved. If she decides to formula feed she will need your support, if she is like me the unnecessary guilt she will feel will be overwhelming. Your daughter will lose NOTHING by being formula fed, having a Mum who is happy and content is far moe important for her than how she is fed.

To say your wife doesn't have the strength to continue BFing is, quite frankly, insulting. I hope you never let her know you think this.

BeautifulBatman Fri 10-Jul-15 21:58:03

Sorry, the OP is not being 'supportive' at all. He wants things his way, is being passive aggressive and manipulative.

mineofuselessinformation Fri 10-Jul-15 21:59:01

How about you let your wife decide what she wants to do?
It sounds like there's enough pressure around the issue of breastfeeding for her as it is.
You should support her in whatever she feels she should do especially as she is the one with the breasts. hmm

wallypops Fri 10-Jul-15 22:02:57

I cannot describe the pain of breastfeeding for me. I did it for 3 weeks & 5 weeks. When they latched on I was hitting the furniture it hurt so much. It wouldn't have hurt more if my breasts were being ripped off my body. If it's not working then back the f**k off.

I desperately wanted to do the best for my DC but honestly if she's pumped and the babies got the essential first milk she's done enough. She's carried the baby for 9 months. Her body is deformed beyond recognition. She's not getting any sleep and you want to make her feel worse. My guess is you are really helping her towards PND.

MaximoosesMum Fri 10-Jul-15 22:09:07

If your wife thinks she has tried her hardest and it isn't working out then enough is enough.
I had the same problem with ds1, TT wasn't noticed till he was a month old, had it snipped, he still wouldn't latch.
I pumped for 6 weeks. It was just too much. Pumping, cleaning and sterilising everything, trying to get him to latch, feeding him the expressed milk, then topping him up with formula.
It was awful. We were both so much happier when we went to just formula.
I have no regrets of going to formula, it was the right decision for DS and I.

lilac3033 Fri 10-Jul-15 22:19:22

I wrote a long reply but it didn't work. Anyways I agree it is her decision and you need to tread carefully and be supportive of her decision. I was in a very similar position. Not a traumatic birth or tongue tied but MASSIVE latching issues. DD didn't consistently latch until 4weeks with shields. 9 weeks now and I am slowly weaning her off top ups.
My partner has always supported my decision and encouraged me toward my breastfeeding goal even when I was less motivated. However it has always been my goal. I could have called it a day at any point and I knew I had his backing.
The thing that has really helped me keep going is baby steps. I tried getting her to latch 3-4 times a day and supplemented the rest. Slowly I worked up to every feed plus top ups. Now I am dropping the top ups.
I would have a non-pressurised chat about what she wants, if she wants to continue suggest taking it back a couple steps and work up. Go to breastfeeding clinics weekly and keep track of the feeds to provide a log of how you have improved.
It is VERY hard work so be kind about it. Best advice I had was a happy mummy is FAR more important than breastfeeding. Formula is not a bad thing at all. My partner was formula fed and very healthy and clever!

lilac3033 Fri 10-Jul-15 22:23:59

I should add our top ups are formula as I seriously hate pumping. I only do it if she misses a feed and that is only to maintain supply.

willbillycome Fri 10-Jul-15 22:34:45

before the birth did your wife express a strong desire to bf? do you think in the long term she will regret not giving it more of a chance (although sounds as though she has already tried very hard), you know your wife better than strangers on an internet forum. During labour my dh told me to man up, most ppl are shock to hear that, at time I was annoyed, but looking back he knew it was what I needed, do you think if you push her she will thank you in the long term?
If so, encourage her to go to breastfeeding support group, there will be people going through similar and also people who have come out the other side of the hard initial bit. It does get easier (ime).

If she doesn't feel as strongly about bf as you, and she's only going through the motions of trying it to please you, then I'd imagine it's unlikely to be successful and very likely to make her feel awful about herself, and maybe resent you. again, you know her best.

Please fully support whatever decision she makes, and be aware of pnd symptoms as it sounds like you have all had a v tough time of it.

oh and congratulations to you and your wife grin

OutOfWine Fri 10-Jul-15 22:37:56

The evidence for breastfeeding really isn't that convincing. Lots of the studies are done in poorer countries where the alternative to breast-feeding is formula feeding using bottles that haven't been sterilised properly, so it's unsurprising that the babies in question get more digestive problems. And in other countries its hard to separate out class issues and the fact that if someone has a tendency to listen to advice they are given, then that will probably both make the more likely to breastfeed, and also make them more likely to follow other advice that could lead to a better outcome for their children.

At this stage, the best thing for your baby will be a happy and un-stressed mother. If she wants to give up breast-feeding, then that is the best thing for your baby.

Hypotenuse Fri 10-Jul-15 22:47:43

I agree with you, and I really feel for your wife. I breastfed my tongue tied baby and never got it snipped, just stayed in agony for two years (it did improve over time but was always painful). You cannot understand the pain, it is horrific.

Once the tie has been snipped, you might find everything improves quickly. Keep seeking professional help, call the breastfeeding network to find a fully qualified advisor. I would gently keep encouraging your wife but make sure she knows that should she decide to switch to formula, you will not make her feel guilty for it. Her body ultimately trumps anything you want for her to do with it.

But do remember the best alternative to mother's breast milk isn't formula, it's breast milk from another human. Check out human milk for human babies to find a donor in your area.

chumbler Sat 11-Jul-15 07:27:14

im extremely pro breastfeeding and would have suggested all the methods youve both tried. but your support of her is lacking. you've said she's become depressed, yet you're carrying on. at the end of the day her health is important too. my dh was SUPPORTIVE, if I'd had a dh like you I think I'd have given up - you're making her feel guilty and pressuring her - how exactly is that supposed to help? your wife needs someone who'll love her no matter what, you need to back off I think, poor her

MsRyanGosling Sat 11-Jul-15 09:55:28

The evidence for breastfeeding really isn't that convincing
hmm

That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read

BeautifulBatman Sat 11-Jul-15 10:23:32

See, If I support her and be the loving husband I should be I sacrifise a little piece of our baby's future. is the most ridiculous thing I've read so far.

StupidBloodyKindle Sat 11-Jul-15 10:36:39

biscuit biscuit

Sorry, could not resist.

Look, I have breastfed three kids to 2+ years each.
And it is hard.
It puts all the responsibility onto the woman.
All the nights onto the woman.
Your body is not your own.

So when you say 'we' this and 'we' that, I just feel like saying: Who's this 'we' m*****f*****?

And I'm not even your wife, God knows how she feels. Actually I can probably guess: knackered, depressed and in pain with a cheerleading dh who does not have a bloody clue.

Unless you come back to tell me you have been doing every feed with the expressed milk, for at least a week, then you can take take your encouragement and stick it.

StupidBloodyKindle Sat 11-Jul-15 10:43:35

I should not type when typing gut reactions.
Okay.

1. Find a breastmilk bank and top up with that.
2. Make sure you have tons of Lansinoh for her nipples.
3. If you have a bf friend, ask her to bf your child to check the latch.
4. Breastfeeding tea (Stilltee)
5. Babymoon
6. Relieve her of all the other things on her to do list

shamrock

Elledouble Sat 11-Jul-15 10:51:25

I can understand what you're trying to do, but in the nicest possible way, back off, mate. My ten-week-old son is exclusively breastfed and I'd be lying if I said I'd never considers giving up (she says, eyeing her hard, lumpy boobs and sleeping baby). His latch was really shallow at first (once we'd finally got him latched on, which took a couple of days) and my nipples were cracked and so painful my toes were curling and I couldn't speak for the first few seconds of each feed.

My advice, if she wishes to continue, would be to persist with the nipple shields - I did this and while it was still painful, it gave my nipples time to heal and eventually it didn't hurt any more.

But if she doesn't want to, she's done enough already and your baby will be absolutely fine on formula.

MaximumVolume Sat 11-Jul-15 10:54:11

I am currently bf my son, so I am in favour, but you need to leave off your DW.

I had trouble feeding both of mine due to TT. With the first he wouldn't latch at all beside his division so I expressed until then. With my 2nd, he appeared to latch fine except it was excruciatingly painful. A few days before, I had given birth with no pain relief, but every feed I'd be crying in pain.

I was lucky because I'd had the prior experience so got the division performed after a week but not before I got mastitis and painful, damaged nipples which took 10 days to feel okay again. I had a slightly easier time because DS being 9lb2 at birth wasn't feeding quite as frequently as many newborns.

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