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Thread: Finding a Balance

  1. #1

    Default Finding a Balance

    Hi again ladies,

    Since your input was very valuable last time, I was hoping that you could help again in this scenario. DH is really struggling with me BFing, since he feels helpless to me(that he cannot help me when I'm frustrated or need to sleep), or our son (when he gets fussy at the breast.)

    How can we find a balance to make him feel necessary and included and making BFing work? He will probably not be too keen on being the "gopher" since he wants to physically aid in the feeding process.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,965

    Default Re: Finding a Balance

    The answer is that he cannot physically help you feed the baby. Not right now, anyway. At this point, your DH's job is to support you so that you can master breastfeeding. That means being the gopher. Bringing you snacks and water and pillows. Walking the dog. Cleaning the house. Making meals. Doing the laundry. And above all, he needs to provide emotional support. Have him practice saying the following words: "You are doing an amazing job. You're such a great mommy." He should be saying them frequently, especially during those frustrating intervals.

    Let's say your DH gives a bottle right now. What's the potential harm? Well, first of all, it can mess up the baby's latch. Babies latch onto artificial nipples differently from the way they latch onto the breast, and when a baby is just learning to latch onto the breast this difference can reduce their ability and willingness to nurse. Second, any time someone gives a bottle you are going to need to pump in order to maintain your supply. So a bottle given by dad is not a break given to you- it's just an opportunity to hook yourself up to a machine and perhaps screw up your milk supply, which is only just getting established.

    So, even though I am sure you DH is eager to participate in the fun of feeding the baby, you need to wait several weeks- most sources say 4-6, or longer if breastfeeding isn't going well- before introducing a bottle into your nursing equation. This doesn't mean there is nothing that dad can do with the baby. He can change diapers. He can sing lullabies. Carry the baby in a sling. And in a few weeks, if you want to introduce a bottle, he can start giving that bottle.

    But not right now. Don't let him pressure you into it, no matter how sad his puppy-dog eyes are.
    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!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,431

    Default Re: Finding a Balance

    I never would have been able to breastfeed without the support and help of my husband. So my husband contributed mightily to my health and happiness and our children's health and happiness. He also bonded beautifully with our children from infancy. And he never once gave any of our babies a bottle in the early months (later-after 4 or 5 months or so, he would occasionally, when I had a moms night out or something.)

    When we can find the time, we find it comforting and rewarding to have my husband sit with me and baby while we nurse. There is something special about those moments and in my experience, dads can share in it, by sitting with mom, maybe with his arm around her, admiring this beautiful baby they both made. I would have to look it up but I think there is research that shows similar hormonal reactions in both mom and dad at such moments.

    I think parenting is all in how you look at it. We have been inundated with the message that bottles are fine and normal and new dads 'should' feed the baby. But of course this is incorrect. We (humans) simply were not designed that way, biologically speaking. But new mothers certainly need help and support and (imo) babies need someone else besides mom to love and care for them. because a new baby is more than a full time job. But not to do the same things mom can do. To do different things.

    My husband is better than I am at doing things around the house while wearing baby in his sling. Yes we have his and her slings! Now that she is old enough to laugh, he gets that response much more often than I do. If I am burned out from a long nursing session or one of my other kids needs me, he can rock and hum her to sleep much more patiently than I can. Bathtime with all the kids has been his specialty from the start. He is much better than I am at entertaining our older boys. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me in the mix there are my read-a-loud capabilities.

    It's not necessary but I will add that my husband is not the crunchy granola type-at all. He wears a suit to work, sometimes with a spot of spitup on it because he wore baby while making breakfast for our boys so I could take a shower.

    mommal already gave great suggestions but here are two nice lists of things that help settle baby but can be done by dad.

    what about partners? http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...t_partners.pdf

    fussy baby ideas http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...ybabyideas.pdf

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    1,710

    Default Re: Finding a Balance

    There are plenty of non-feeding things he can help with that are important: diaper changes, clothing changes, baths, etc. And dad can have a really important role in helping to soothe the baby, with his lower voice and different style. I've always found in those early days that when the baby is really inconsolable and won't nurse, I pass him/her off to daddy for a quick break and sometimes he can soothe the baby where "the BOOB" was failing. Or sometimes the baby and I needed a quick (1 minute) break from each other before trying again, even if he didn't manage to actually get the baby soothed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Finding a Balance

    There is SO MUCH MORE to taking care of baby than feeding!

    Bathing, dressing, diapers, burping, playing, cuddling, giving vitamin D, rocking, bouncing, singing, snuggling....

    Dad's role in the early days isn't "gopher". It's being supportive. Whatever Mom needs, he needs to provide. Yes, sometimes it's just grabbing things but it's so much more. It's helping Mom through the early days, letting her know that everything else is taken care of so that she and baby can build a solid foundation breast feeding.

    I remember when DD1 was little, I was exhausted and fell asleep. DH decided to feed the baby a bottle to let me sleep. When I woke up I was livid! I had engorged boobs, I woke up in a puddle, I had blocked ducts.... Why had he done it? Did he not feel like I could take care of our baby? Was he trying to sabotage our breast feeding efforts??? Yes, they were the rants of an exhausted Mom, but the feelings were genuine. Yes I got some sleep but now I was stressed, angry and had to pump!! Nursing was MUCH EASIER on me than it was to do the extra work so someone else could give a bottle. If he had just helped do everything else, I could have been done feeding in 40 minutes and gone back to bed.

    If your husband helps you by changing baby's diaper while you're setting up to feed. It gives you a minute to get your head on straight. If he gets you a glass of water while you're nursing, you won't have to interrupt your baby's nursing session. If he talks quietly to you while you're nursing, you can relax which will help your let down and milk production. It also helps to pass the time so that you're not staring at the clock wondering how long you've been nursing now. When baby falls asleep, he can take baby and let them sleep in his arms so that you are free to go to the wash room, have a shower or get something to eat.... It really is a tag team effort. If he gets involved in everything else, he'll be very, very busy and ensuring a successful breast feeding relationship too!
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
    and

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Finding a Balance

    How old is the baby?

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Finding a Balance

    My husband being supportive has been essential to my feeding our baby! In the early days he even provided an extra hand or two when I couldn't get my son latched, as in actually helping me get the nipple in the right way. Since then he's helped in the morning and evening so I can easily sit with ds during the harder times of day for him. DH has been frustrated too a few times that he can't do more, but the reward is that he sleeps at night while I feed the baby!
    Married to wonderful husband Chris - 2004.

    Finally, after 8 years of trying, we were blessed with a beautiful Tristan - Oct 2012

    Proud of my bonus son Drake - Oct, 2000

    We're having so much fun

  8. #8

    Default Re: Finding a Balance

    Thanks ladies.

    My baby is 4 weeks old.

    Since DH's older kids were FF, he could actively participate in the feeding process. I think this makes it so much harder for him.

    I keep telling myself that this is natural daddy behavior. They must feel left out... I know I would if I were in their shoes. Also, he is not very good at supporting when he is depressed himself. Thankful for the internet to connect me with other support.

    Trying to keep my head up and know that I am doing the best I can for my son.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Finding a Balance

    I don't think it's that normal to feel left out of what is going on between mother and child...did he feel left out of the pregnancy? And if you feel up to it, now that you are at the 4 month point, you might consider pumping once a day so that he CAN participate. I did this when my son was 5 weeks old. Not only did it let them bond though feeding, but it came with the stipulation that my DH took the baby and the bottle every night after dinner for 2hours. Because 22hours a day seems like long enough to me. If that seem like too much time try handing the baby over for at least an hour. I used that time to shower or sleep or watch TV or Read. And it was nice to be able to look forward to it every day. I pumped 1st thing in the morning after I went Pee. That is when I yielded the most. A 3-4oz bottle should be more than enough.

    Way too lazy for formula

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,965

    Default Re: Finding a Balance

    But this is the mom whose DH has been sneaking in formula bottles while she's in the shower, right? And who has been struggling to get her LO off supplements?
    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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