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Thread: Husband / Father's point of view

  1. #1

    Default Husband / Father's point of view

    My wife has proven to be an amazing woman. We have come to find that women are dealt different cards when it comes to lactation. My lovey was dealt some weak cards. Our little boy has not been a strong sucker, and the lactation process has been... lacking.

    From the start of her pregnancy she has been dedicated to, focused on, and committed to providing our little bundle of joy the absolute best when it comes to nutrition and overall health. We both believe that the absolute best comes from breast milk with a properly nourished mama as the source.

    So why were we dealt these cards? If it has simply been God's will, then we must bow down to his sovereignty and let him guide us through with the tools available to us. The tools we have placed in use thus far have been a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), a breast pump, various herbs, and donations from mamas who were dealt cards on the other end of the spectrum. A person could make their head spin trying to decipher God's will, but at times I wonder if the types of cards dealt to different women are a means by which God gets his children to interact with one another by forcing us to ask for, and/or to provide help from our fellow brothers and sisters. Food for thought, but not the direction I'm going in today.

    If there were a biology or anatomy class focused on milk production, I think that with all the research my honey has done on the subject - she could nearly teach it. We have taken in so many different medical opinions on the subject that trying to decide on a path has been very difficult.

    We had to make a decision, so we introduced our first tool, the SNS. The goal of introducing this tool was to encourage our boy's suck, as it was rather weak. The idea was that since the lactation was lacking, there wasn't much incentive for him to suck strong. Add incentive via the SNS, and the suck should strengthen so as to increase the stimulation for the milk production. Made sense in theory, so we did it. At first we had to do the 'unthinkable' and supplement with formula. This didn't set well with either of us.

    So the research continued, and we introduced the second tool, the breast pump. This tool served a dual purpose. For one, it provided stimulation to encourage her breasts to produce more. For two, it provided a supply of the good stuff to feed the SNS. Again - made sense in theory, so we did it.

    The success of all this has been bittersweet. Our son is strong (walking prior to his 10-month 'birthday') and seems quite happy and healthy. In and of itself this is a tremendous blessing as he was not gaining weight very well prior to these interventions. The drawback is that my wife, our boy's mother, has effectively chained herself to these tools like a production dairy cow. From 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. she has a STRICT schedule where she must hook herself up to this pump for 20 minutes EVERY 2 hours. She will not stray from this schedule, and on the fear of feeling her wrath, I dare not ask her to.

    A few months ago, she began searching for donations of breast milk and hit the jackpot. We saw the reality of our situation compared to those who are struggling with producing too much milk. In addition to whatever milk a certain mama provided her child on one of the dates marked on her donated bags, she was able to donate to us eight 6oz bags. We were in shock. My wife is almost filling up one 6 oz bag per day with all of those pumping sessions she puts herself through. So now we have a deep freeze full of breast milk. In my eyes, problem solved...

    My wife has a goal of nursing our son for a year. Not only for the nourishment aspects, but for the bonding aspects as well. Did I mention that I applaud my lovey's determination? I do applaud her determination, but now I fear for her sanity. For the last month and a half or so, we have a deep freeze full of breast milk, and know of sources for additional donations should that supply prove to need replenishing. Yet the pumping schedule has continued at full strength.

    I beg and plead for her to stop with the pumping, and join the rest of us humans. When I ask her why she continues, her reply is not direct. But it always comes down to her goal of nursing one year. Not about a year - at least a year. I think she is afraid that the pump is the only thing keeping her boobs in production mode. On a positive note, she has agreed to begin weaning herself from the pump here in the next few days. A process that she has decided will be the dropping of certain sessions, one or two at a time.

    We share a common philosophy that the baby leads the weaning process. Our boy has taken well to solid foods, enjoys drinking from my cup (with help of course) and still loves to snuggle up to the boob.

    To me it seems well beyond obvious that the SNS and the pumping sessions are completely and entirely unnecessary, from the standpoint of trying to increase milk supply. I would think the pump could be put away and the only time it should come out of its storage place would be for relief if little dude isn't available to provide that relief.

    Should I stay out of it, or does my wife need intervention to stop the madness?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Denver, Co.

    Default Re: Husband / Father's point of view

    A hearty round of applause to you for supporting your wife in what sounds like steadfast dedication to provide your son with the very best.

    I don't have any direct experience like yours that would allow me to make a really insightful response. From the time my daughter was 12 weeks old until she was a year, I worked full time and pumped at work (I got laid off when she hit one, but anyway...). From the time she was about 6 weeks old until about 6 months old, I would get up about 3:30 am everyday and pump in addition to pumping at work to make sure I had enough.

    In reality my supply was just fine, but I was paranoid. That, however, is a different story for a different day. I would have freaked out if my wife suggested that I NOT get up and pump. And while I was at work, I was really super hard-core about keeping my pumping schedule. For me, it was the one thing I felt like I could and HAD to do to provide for my baby.

    I wonder if in some part of the back of your wife's mind if she feels like this is the only way she can provide and that the donor milk isn't "as good." And what I mean by that is that it's not hers, which may be super important to her. I fully support donor milk (I ended up donating the supply I had created from my 3:30 am wakeup calls and whatnot), but I wonder if there's an emotional sort of response your wife is having and needing to keep pumping vs. a real "need" to ensure there's enough milk.

    Rather than pleading/begging or a full-on intervention, what if you wrote your wife a letter? Or maybe tried talking with her and just see if you can get her to open up about the why behind her need to keep pumping.

    I agree that it sounds like she's come a really long road and maybe it's good to ditch the pumping schedule. It sounds like your son latches well enough and you have ample donor milk. He's really not that far from a year, so he soon can have whole cow's milk. Of course, he can keep having whatever breastmilk he nurses from your wife - which I think is fabulous.

    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Re: Husband / Father's point of view

    Is your LO latching good and nursing or just taking breastmilk from a cup? Although your LO is getting BM maybe your wife wants your son to have HER BM more often than donated. Breastmilk is still beneficial past a year and is recommended at least two years. If he is latching and nursing good I could see cutting back on pumping. Even with a normal supply I still pumped until my daughter was 14 months. Cutting back on pumping might not be a bad idea, but I would suggest waiting until at least a year to stop pumping or cut back a lot. I would also wait til a year to see how he takes to cow's milk, as it is not a good idea to offer it until then. It took my LO until 16 months to drink cow's milk.
    Ayna ~ born 10/22/09
    Still and despite the controversy of society!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Husband / Father's point of view

    continue to support her. She has agreed to begin pump weaning one or two sessions at a time. That is how it needs to be done to prevent any physical discomfort for her. Listen to her feelings and acknowledge them without trying to fix anything. She may need someone to just listen to her feelings surrounding the pumping/sns/donor milk and may be able to better deal with everything once she has had a chance to talk it out and process her feelings.
    Proud mom of 2 boys, both weaned gradually and with love.

    Find a local LLL leader

    For each and every one of us, the person from whom we can learn the most is our own baby: listen to him. - Mary White, LLL co-founder

    The best-kept secret in child psychology is that children who were never spanked are among the best behaved."
    Murray Straus, Ph.D.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Husband / Father's point of view

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mom2a View Post
    Listen to her feelings and acknowledge them without trying to fix anything.
    x1000. Support her, listen to her, acknowledge her. If she feels the need to chain herself to the pump for a full year, tell her to go for it. Her work in that area is valuable: frequent pumping is what maintains supply when the baby isn't nursing well, and the longer a woman produces milk, the greater the health benefits are for her (reduced risk of diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease, etc.).

    I know it must be frustrating for you as a dad and as a husband to see your wife "enslaved" to a machine, but it's not necessarily a horrible chore for a woman to pump when it means furthering her goal of giving her baby the absolute best start in life.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Re: Husband / Father's point of view

    As someone who is doing the same thing as your wife, I have to say that it's important for you to help her meet her goal, whatever that may be. If you get in the way of her doing what she feels she needs to for your son, then she may hold that against you. The best thing to do would be to help her with whatever she needs to do so that she has that time to pump and she is not stressed when she is doing it. I have a hospital grade pump at home and another pump in the car with an adaptor to make life easier when going out. I just pump wherever I go. I feel like every ounce of milk I get is an ounce of formula that I don't have to give them!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Re: Husband / Father's point of view

    Congratulations to the both of you for playing a big part in your LO's head start. I can understand your frustration because the pump can take away time from someone's regular routine/day. However, keep in mind that it's all for the benefits your LO is going to reap. Breast feeding not only provides unique and optimal nutrition but also self confidence and a bond between mother and child. Like mommal stated, it provides long term benefits to your wife as well. Remember, everyone eventually weans. Your wife needs your emotional and physical support 24/7, or at least when she's pumping. It's not that your feelings are irrelevant, it's something that SOME women feel they were designed to do, so it becomes a motherly duty to provide for our children. This is only going to happen once in your child's life, so why not making it last as long as it can?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default Re: Husband / Father's point of view

    How does she feel about the strict pumping schedule (outside of her desire to make it to a year)? I too had to pump exclusively - my daughter has had some major health issues and is now fed through a tube in her tummy - but eventually I saw that I was not serving my family well by pumping so much. It was hard on me (less sleep from pumping at night, unable to get out for very much time unless I could go somewhere I could set up my pump at, lots of plugged ducts, sore and worn nipples from the pump, etc) and it meant that I couldn't do as much with my daughter or around my home to care for my family. So I've cut back to 3 or 4 sessions a day. And my supply has dropped. I still struggle with feeling like it might not have been the right choice. I would love for her to have BM and dream of weaning her from her tube back to Breast feeding, but I know the reality is that our family situation and my mental health require I not pump so much.

    On a side note. Through my journey I have found that hand express before and even during pumping sessions has meant that my sessions didn't take as long. THere is a good video on the Stanford website on how to hand express. Perhaps that will help.

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