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Thread: Husband won't support my desire to wean

  1. #1
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Husband won't support my desire to wean

    Okay, I will try not to make this too long. My (first) son is 4 months old and I have been struggling with breastfeeding since he was born. It has hurt a lot off and on, he didn't eat well at first and lost a lot of weight - he ended up in the hospital with a uti and other issues when he was 6 weeks old. I pumped and fed him both breastmilk and formula in a bottle for a while to make sure he was getting enough... I have never been able to produce enough milk due to his slow start so I am always supplementing with formula. Now it's hurting a lot again and I think it might be a yeast infection. Anyways, I have been through a lot trying to breastfeed and I am just ready to quit now. I know breastfeeding is best and I would love to breastfeed longer but right now I'm stressing over it so much I think it would be better for both of us if I just weaned him.
    The problem is, that my husband is totally against me weaning him right now. He wants the best for our son and knows breastmilk is the healthiest. I have tried talking to him about how I feel so many times it now feels like begging. I don't want to go behind his back and wean anyways because that doesn't seem respectful. I'm stressing out about this so much I don't know what to do! Any advice? Please? I would really appreciate it! Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Husband won't support my desire to wean

    The right start for your baby is also that his mom and dad's relationship is strong. Have you talked about this in someplace neutral? See if you can go out for dinner so both of you can give this issue the attention it deserves.

    A husband that supports breastfeeding is wonderful. Is he helping you with supportive words and actions? For example, cooking dinner so you can rest or doing a load of laundry? Breastfeeding takes energy and time. If he really wants you to nurse your child, see how he can help to reduce your stress.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Husband won't support my desire to wean

    Welcome! I am sorry breastfeeding has been such a stressful and challenging experience for you so far. I can totally understand wanting to quit. Before I launch into a discussion of the question that brought you here, I have to ask: would you be interested in advice on supply and supplementing and yeast, etc.? I know that I and a lot of the other LLLadies here would love to try to help you through this, but I also don't want you to leave feeling all bummed out by a bunch of advice on continuing on when that's not what you really want.

    When it comes to weaning, i think you are absolutely right not to try to go behind your DH's back. He'd inevitably find out, and then you'd be even worse off. I would just tell him- gently, respectfully, honestly- that you appreciate his encouragement and his desire to give your baby the absolute best, but that sometimes a mama must make compromises in order to be a good mama. If she is so burned out and stressed and unhappy by breastfeeding that she feels that she cannot be a good mama, then something has to give. Because being a good mother is more important than being a good breastfeeder.

    Again, we'd love to help you over this hurdle in any way we can! Just let us know.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
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    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: Husband won't support my desire to wean

    Mama, we are all breastfeeding advocates here - we think breastfeeding is best too! We would love to help you work out your issues with breastfeeding if that's possible. Also, it doesn't have to be all or nothing - you can breastfeed part-time, and give formula some of the time, and that might be a reasonable compromise.

    I don't think you should go behind your husband's back and wean. But I do think this is YOUR choice. It's YOUR body. If you are determined to wean, your husband can't stop you. If it comes to that, tell your husband you are determined to wean, that it is your body, and that it is your decision to make. Of course, he might not like it. That's life (and marriage).

    But I hope you'll let us help you figure out how to make breastfeeding work for you, instead. Because that's what we do here! So you won't hear strong support for weaning a four month old here - we know how hard breastfeeding can be, because most of us had a rough start to it, but found the payoff to be worth it in the long run. Lots of moms here struggled with low supply and just kept at it and either breastfed exclusively, or part time, despite their issues. So while I think it's your decision to wean, I also encourage you to give it one last shot.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Husband won't support my desire to wean

    Thank you for your support! I will add that my husband is a wonderful husband and father. He is working over 60 hours/week right now but still tries his best to help out with house chores and spend time with me and the baby. Our relationship is very strong and we have good communication. I am grateful that he supports breastfeeding so much, even if it is annoying right now.

    I will gladly accept any advice you have, mommal! Thank you. I may not follow the advice, but it might help me make a more educated decision about whether to wean or not. And perhaps help me make a compromise with my husband.

  6. #6
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Husband won't support my desire to wean

    Yay! That's what I was hoping you'd say! Okay, so I apologize in advance if this is all stuff you've tried, but here's what I would do:
    1. See a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Hands-on help can make an incredible difference.
    2. Check out this link on weaning from formula supplements: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/decrease-formula.html
    3. Check out this link on thrush (yeast): http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...resources.html. Thrush can be tough to beat, but a lot of mamas here have walked that road and I know you'd get amazing help from them.
    4. Remember that breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. Partial breastfeeding still gives you and your baby the health benefits of breastfeeding.
    5. Think about hanging in there for just a few more months. By six months old, you'll be starting solids and breast milk will become a less important part of your baby's diet. A lot of moms who have struggled with supply during the first few months find that as their babies transition to a majority solids diet, they (the moms) are able to phase out the supplements.

    Can you tell us more about the specific issues you've been having? The more you can tell us, the more likely it is that we'll be able to figure out how to solve the problem, if solving it is possible.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Husband won't support my desire to wean

    Thank you for the help! I will check out those websites.
    We have recently moved out of state so I am unfamiliar with the area and what resources they have around here. I will do some research though.

    Specific issues... well, it hurt a lot to breastfeed from the very beginning but then found out my son was tongue tied, so we got him clipped and that solved that issue. Like I said above, he ended up losing a lot of weight (he went almost a pound below his birth weight) and was in the hospital at 6 weeks with a uti and other issues because of dehydration and malnutrition. He hadn't been eating well since he was tongue tied and sick, so this got me off on a bad start with milk supply. I pumped and gave him breast milk and formula in a bottle for a few weeks to make sure he was getting enough to gain back his weight. I gradually went back to breastfeeding and supplementing with formula. With all the stresses of having a new, sick baby and life (including a husband working and in school and moving out of state) I had a difficult time pumping extra to increase my milk supply. It was easier and less stressful just to continue to supplement. With that said, it still is a lot of work supplementing. My left side has always had significantly more milk than the right side. I have tried increasing supply on the right, but it hasn't worked so far. My son continues to prefer the left side and won't feed for more than a couple minutes on the right side, thus making the right side's supply decrease even more. This last week or so, it has started to hurt a lot to breastfeed all over again. I have talked to my son's former pediatrician (he doesn't have one here yet) over the phone and she's the one who thinks it may be a yeast infection but wants me to see a doctor here just in case it's something else (like a breast infection). It hurts so much I can't stand to breast feed him anymore. I've been pumping (which still hurts but not quite as much) and giving him breast milk and formula in the bottle again. This is just such a hassle. I feel like all I do is pump and feed my baby. I don't have a clue how any mother can work and continue to breastfeed.

    I guess it's just bothered me that I haven't enjoyed breastfeeding at all yet. I feel like I have missed out on bonding time with my son. It was actually relieving to give him formula - it was less stressful not being needed so much. I have tried so hard to enjoy it for 4 months and now I'm beginning to lose hope that I ever will.

    Now that I've written up all of that... it seems a lot less stressful now that I look back than it did at the time. I know many other women go through problems, some much worse than I have, but like I said before, I am still so stressed out and I feel like it would be better just to wean him. I don't know what else to do.

    Sorry this is so long... Thank you so much for your help! I would really like to continue breastfeeding, but it just seems harder than it is worth right now.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Default Re: Husband won't support my desire to wean

    I just wanted to chime in with some support. My baby also lost a lot of weight to begin with and had a UTI at 4 weeks old so I know how stressful that can be. I regularly tell people I wanted to quit nursing every single day up until about 6 months old. My daughter is now 7 1/2 months and I love breastfeeding and I am so glad I stuck with it. I really think 6 months is a turning point for a lot of people, and you are so close!

    We had to supplement in the beginning and breaking that cycle can be hard. My daughter lost 1.5lbs in the hospital (in 36 hours) and was not allowed to go home until her weight stabilized. We finally supplemented after each nursing session and had to do it for a while. What I started to realize was that in our case the formula was a security blanket for me. It made me feel better to know she was getting it. First, we dropped all formula during the day until bedtime. She did nurse more often, but I quickly was making enough to keep her happy. After a few days we dropped all formula and we have not looked back. My baby was younger than yours, but I think you can do it, if you want to The other most important thing that happened for me was my friend (who breastfed both of her children) telling me that the most important thing was a happy momma and a full baby. I really just needed someone to give me permission to stop stressing and beating myself up about it.

    Amazingly, we now have a baby who refuses to drink even breastmilk out of a bottle. So things obviously turned around for us. I hope your nursing relationship works out, but most of all I hope you are able to make mealtime a happy time for you and baby.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Husband won't support my desire to wean

    Aw, mama, I'm sorry you've had such a rough start! That would totally stress me out too. I just want to respond to your point about not enjoying breastfeeding. At four months, I really didn't enjoy breastfeeding much either. It was stressful. I had latch problems, and then mega-thrush, and other boring problems I won't bother you with ... ugh ... it just hurt. It was not a bonding experience. But by six months, it was much, much better! As Mommal says, sometimes you give birth, look your baby in the eye, and fall in love. Other times, you give birth, and it's like you're fighting a war together, with all of the problems that come your way! But in the end, you are still bonded fast. That's how I feel about my first four months of breastfeeding (and I think of that analogy a lot). It wasn't blissful at all, but WE DID IT. That is what I hold onto. And after we got past those hurdles, it WAS blissful. For real. I would not lie to you.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  10. #10
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Husband won't support my desire to wean

    What a rough start. I know a lot of mamas who have had babies who lost a ton of weight or had some problem in the beginning are left... Well, traumatized is really the best word I can think of. You're always tensed up, waiting for the next disaster, and you feel like you missed out on those rosy bonding experiences that a lot of breastfeeding advocates will tell you are *the* best thing about breastfeeding. Well, I sort of wish people wouldn't sell breastfeeding that way because for a lot of us, breastfeeding is pain and struggle. And a mama who isn't having that ideal, lovey-dovey experience can end up feeling like she's failing, and missing out on the magic.

    I feel like one of the hardest wake-up calls about motherhood was that the magical moments I had envisioned just didn't happen the way I thought they would. Breastfeeding sucked (literally), I was so emotionally and physically tired that I felt like I was barely enjoying my baby, and everything I thought I had known about babies was turning out to be dead wrong. But emerging on the other side... It made me a stronger, better mama.

    Blah. Listen to me yapping on and on!

    Okay, your specific issues sound very challenging, but not insurmountable. First of all, your baby will nurse, so you're starting out in a better place than a lot of moms. Your issues with one breast producing more milk than the other should be solvable- check out this link on managing lopsidedness: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/lopsided.html. To me, it sounds like your biggest hurdle right now is pain. Getting rid of the thrush- if this is thrush- should help you get back on track. Some questions for you:
    - how would you describe the pain? Burning, itching, stabbing?
    - is the pain on both sides, or just one?
    - have you had a recent course of antibiotics, and/or a yeast infection in the "usual" place?
    - do you see any peeling, flaking, or cracked skin in the nipple/areola area?
    - any redness, pinkness, or white patches?
    - any hard lumps in the breast?
    - do you see any redness or red streaks on the exterior skin of the breast?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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