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Thread: Need help to support my wife in breastfeeding

  1. #1

    Unhappy Need help to support my wife in breastfeeding

    Hello everyone,

    I am a happy father of a 3 weeks old girl and a husband of a great woman. Our baby was born ontime and was able to nurse almost from the first minutes of heer life. In the first week she was able to get to her birth weight. Shortly after that breast ducts got plugged and baby didn't gain any wait. She even lost some! She was so hungry and crying, and my wife was crying with her. This was hard.

    Here, in Germany, midwife comes every 2-3 days at home and also advises about breastfeeding. In our case the advice was: give baby the bottle with formula. I know, first feed the baby, just the lack of support was frustrating.

    We sought for the second opinion, read the LLLi.org, talked on phone with local leader, my wife went for a meeting with breastfeeding mothers. And it started looking better, I saw hope in the eyes of my wife. But today while i was at work baby refused to latch absolutely and was crying until given a bottle. I found my wife devastated. Later in the evening we tried to latch a baby together, it didn't work at first, neither on fifth time. She said, that she would like to give a baby 2 liters of formula, just to help it not cry.

    Baby latched later on another breast. I just feel, like i am torturing both of them. what should I do, keep encouraging her to breastfeed, or take a pity on her and the baby and start giving a bottle to baby? Could you please give me an advice on this situation?

    Thanks, if you read it. Sorry for clumsy wording, my mother tongue is Russian.

    Regards,
    father of a kid

    TL;dr. Baby doesn't latch on, wife considers giving up BF, I want healthy daughter and wife.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Need help to support my wife in breastfeeding

    Are there IBCLCs there? I think this is an issue that may be beyond what the typical LLL Leader is going to be able to help with. Plugs so bad baby literally lost weight sounds very odd. Breast engorgement also causes poor transfer and difficulty nursing. Is that happening?

    If baby will not nurse, the milk has to be taken from the breasts regularly with a pump or hand expression. And then that milk can be given to baby. Is this being done? If it is not, the least that will happen is your wife will lose her milk production. The worst is she will become ill with mastitis.

    Every person has a different experience. Most people will tell you not to pressure your wife, to leave it up to her, and support her whatever she decides. And they are probably right, most of the time.

    But in my first month with my oldest, it was a living hell with multiple breastfeeding issues and I will never forget one night I threatened to leave and go stay in a hotel overnight because I just could not take it, I was going stir crazy - and told my husband to feed the baby formula. He refused, he actually stood in front of the door, because he knew how important breastfeeding was to me and I was just exhausted. I kind of hated him that night, but have always been grateful that he did this since. Now I will add that my baby was gaining fine and did not NEED formula. Formula is of course needed and important if baby will not nurse or is not getting enough to eat at the breast, and there is not expressed milk or not enough expressed milk.

    My point is, you know your wife best. Treat her gently but how exactly to support her depends on what she truly wants.

    If your baby needs supplements, even formula, those can be given as needed and breastfeeding is still possible as long as mom is pumping often enough to keep up milk production. But formula will not solve the breastfeeding issues. Again for that you may need a professional, but also have her call LLL again, or even call for her.

    IBCLC lookup. No need for the IBCLC to have other medical training, that does not make someone a better IBCLC. http://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    24,794

    Default Re: Need help to support my wife in breastfeeding

    with MaddieB. I only want to add that when a mom is struggling with breastfeeding, emotional support can be as important as practical support. So tell your wife that she is beautiful. Tell her that she is a wonderful mom. Tell her that she has your complete support, no matter what she chooses- exclusive breastfeeding, exclusive formula feeding, or some combination of the two. Bring your wife some flowers. Bring her takeout. Do household chores like scrubbing toilets, making beds, or washing bottles without her having to ask. I know those may all seem like silly or useless things when compared to the difficult task of getting a reluctant baby to nurse. But the more emotional strength you can give your wife, the more strength she will have to carry on with breastfeeding. When I was struggling to nurse my first baby, my husband could not really help me with that. But his kind words, his patience, his willingness to listen to me when I was crying and desperate- those things were what helped me continue on!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need help to support my wife in breastfeeding

    Thanks a lot MaddieB and Mommal for sharing your experience and fro encouraging us.
    Right now there is now plugged ducts in breasts, they are soft and not swollen. Baby is able to nurse on the right breast. She is adamant though not to take the left one. Pumping from the left one doesn't produce more than 10 ml also. We will continue with pumping and start with some natural medicine to improve lactation.

    There is on IBCLC in our area. She doesn't make home visits though.

    Do I understand correctly that the reason for the healthy baby be lazy on the breast is a lack of milk?
    thanks again for kind words.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    24,794

    Default Re: Need help to support my wife in breastfeeding

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*papa.debebe View Post
    Do I understand correctly that the reason for the healthy baby be lazy on the breast is a lack of milk?
    There are many reasons why a baby may be "lazy" at the breast, including:
    - Baby has been getting bottles and has discovered how much easier it is to get food out of a bottle. When this happens, baby may save his eager suckling for the times when he is given a bottle, and suck lazily at the breast. This is often called "nipple confusion" or "bottle preference". Since your baby has been receiving a lot of supplements via bottle, this is the most likely explanation for lazy feeding.
    - Baby is sleepy. Some very sleepy babies are unable to stay awake enough to finish a meal. If this is the case, there are things you can do to wake a baby up.
    - There isn't much milk in the breast. some babies respond to a lack of milk by suckling lazily. But more often, they suckle eagerly and frequently! When a baby is hungry, his instinct is to suck until his needs are met. If the breast isn't delivering enough milk, frequent and eager suckling is what will get it to produce more.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Need help to support my wife in breastfeeding

    Thanks mommal,
    We tried to quit suplement and bingefeed, it didn't go too well. Baby is crying and hard to wake up. the IBCLC in our area doesn't really see any problem in our case, again we go the phone consultation. Coming to visit us was not the option.
    The latest results showed that girl is still not gaining enough. So my wife decided to give up breastfeeding, and continue just with bottle. I support her in this decision.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Need help to support my wife in breastfeeding

    I am sorry you were not able to get more local help. But I am very happy that you and your wife have found peace and agreement with how to feed your baby. You obviously care deeply about your wife and child so I think you have one lucky wife and baby! Enjoy being a wonderful papa - it is quite a ride.

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