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Thread: Help - I'm worried about my wife

  1. #1

    Default Help - I'm worried about my wife


    My wife and I just had a son 8 days ago. I am worried she is not producing enough milk.

    Some of the reasons why I think that and questions:
    1) She nurses for 45 minutes to an hour. He is hungry very soon afterwards.
    2) He was screaming (like I never heard him before) and mouthing the other night so I had to beg my wife to try formula (she is very against this). She finally conceded and it was an instant turn around my son was immediately content and stopped screaming.
    3)As a test I asked my wife to hook herself up to the breast pump. She did for 45 minutes and got less than 1/4 of an ounce on one breast and zero from another. We repeated this test the next day and got similar results. She is also hand milking while the pump is running. At no time does anything more than a drip come out. I thought we would see a steam of milk?? If she squeezes her breast a drop only will come out. Nothing more, ever.
    4)He is obviously hungry most of the day and goes to her breast so much that I am pretty much unable to get to know him. He sucks down the formula like nobody's business.
    5) My wife said today if she has to feed him 24/7 to produce milk she will. Is this bad for my son? I found her laying down asleep twice now with him on her breasts also sleeping (the potential for rolling over on him is high and this scares the **** out of me).
    6) My wife breasts did not grow during her pregnancy.

    I very much support my wife wanting to breast feed, but she was very small breasted to start with and has had augmentation surgery. Not sure how much that matters, if at all.

    I am growing very concerned that she is not and may not ever produce enough milk but she is very stubborn and will not stop trying. I am concern because many hours go by with him getting very little milk.

    He is peeing pretty regularly, but has few poops (1 -2 a day). He has more when he gets formula.

    How can we tell if she is producing enough? We took him to the doctor once and had his weight checked and he seemed to be okay. But I suspect that is because we give him formula now - just not that much.

    This has caused I tremendous strain on our relationship as I have never seen her so unwilling to listen to even the possibility that she isn't producing enough. She simply will not accept that it is possible that is not producing enough milk. And says she is only giving him formula to please me. She is willing for my poor boy to be at the boob all day and night.

    Is it normal to have your 8 day old baby breast feed for 16-18 hours a day?

    How can we really test this? Shouldn't the pump amount be a pretty good indicator of volume/output??

    For it's worth - I know she should continue trying to feed and pump and I fully support her doing that. I know that will cause more milk to come I really get and support that concept. I just need to make sure my son gets adequate nutrition today - now. He is on her breast so much that he is not eating formula every 2-3 hours - it ends up being closer to 4-5 hours.

    At what point do you say - hey this might never be enough milk for him?

    PLEASE HELP!! Sorry I know this is allot of questions, and a ramble but I haven't slept in a week.
    Last edited by @llli*kodah; July 3rd, 2017 at 01:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Help - I'm worried about my wife

    Hi kodah, I can hear that you are a very concerned dad right now. Here are some fact about newborns and breastfeeding that may help. I am bolding some stuff because there is a lot here and I know you are tired so just trying to make it easuer to skim if you need to.

    Newborn babies do indeed normally nurse almost constantly. This is normal IF baby is gaining normally.

    Normal gain pattern: Most babies lose some weight from birth weight in the first couple of days. Anywhere from 5 to 10% of birth weight can be entirely normal, it depends on a few factors. But this is why when measuring gain later, you can usually just throw away birth weight and instead go from lowest known weight for all further weight checks.

    What is normal gain? At some point, usually between day 3 and 5, baby will start to gain. What you want to see by the end of week one is baby beginning to gain in a pattern where it is likely baby will be back to birthweight by day 10 - 14, depending how much they lost to begin with. AFTER baby is back to birth weight by 10-14 days, average expected gain is about 6-8 ounces per week. But this is average, some babies gain a little more slowly and that is fine, and of course some gain more quickly.

    Nursing behavior: In the first few days after being born, babies tend to be sleepier and less "demanding." Then, anytime after about 3-14 days, most babies start waking much more frequently and complaining (sometimes very loudly) if they are not immediately put to the breast. Again, this is entirely normal.

    Poop: Weight gain is the most reliable indicator of intake. You only need to look at output if you are between weight checks and concerned.

    What is typically wanted after day 3 or so is to see at least 3 poops that "count" per day. A poop "counts" if you could scoop it up in a teaspoon. It does not count if it is just a dot or small streak. If it is a very large poop, fewer poops per day may be normal. Poops are somewhat helpful between weight checks but not as good an indicator of intake as gain.

    Gain has to be properly measured to be considered accurate. This means the same scale every time, digital infant scale, check done carefully and with attention to detail, and baby naked or in dry disposable diaper only.

    How to recognize and solve breastfeeding problems: If you and your wife think baby is possibly not getting enough at the breast, the best thing you can do is make an appointment and take your wife and baby to see a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) for a proper in person consult. She can look at the whole situation and figure out if anything is doing wrong with breastfeeding and if there is, what can be done about it. Here is info on that: http://www.cwgenna.com/lconsult.html please let me know if you need help finding an LC.

    I would also suggest getting the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) and reading it.

    How you can help your wife
    Support your wife. Unless you married a crazy person, she wants your baby to be healthy and to get enough to eat just as much as you do.
    It is wonderful you want to care for and hold your baby. But trust me if your baby is like most newborn babies, he is happiest right now snuggled against mom and nursing night and day! Take baby when it will help your wife for you to do so, so she can take a shower and take a nap, and otherwise, please, I beg you, do things for your wife. Feed her. Get her water, and tell her what an awesome mom she is and how beautiful she is.

    Bonding: Parenthood lasts a very long time. You will have plenty of time and ways to bond with your son. More than you want some days, trust me. My husband has wonderful relationships with our three kids although he rarely held them in the early weeks for more than a few minutes at a time.

    Get some sleep! Also, take care of yourself! You cannot go a week without sleeping. Get mom and baby set up with some water and food and then go take a long nap!

    Pump output and bottles meaning? I mean this in the nicest way, but please, Stop playing lactation consultant! No one can accurately test how much milk they make or that baby gets by doing "test pumping." No one. It is NOT an accurate measure. Pumps remove milk from the breasts completely differently than does a baby. Plus at this early stage pumps usually work very poorly for many moms. Also for all you know the pump does not work or fit right!

    Babies are programed by biology to suckle. If you put a bottle nipple in a baby's mouth, baby will suck and drink whatever is in the bottle, whether they need it or not.

    Unnecessary supplementing will hurt milk production and the breast feeding relationship.

    Necessary supplements must be given in a breastfeeding supportive way while solutions for whatever the problem is are worked on. This usually means, avoid bottles if you can. Use a small open cup or a syringe. If bottles must be used, use paced bottle feeding technique and keep all supplemental amounts a little at a time... an ounce or so. I can provide more info on all that should you like.

    At what point do you say - hey this might never be enough milk for him?
    Usually when there are milk production issues they can be improved upon but that can take time. Months in some cases. While an LC might ascertain that low milk supply is a problem at this point and suggest supplementing, they could not possibly know there would never be enough milk, no one, not even the most experienced lactation consultant or breastfeeding expert can know that at this point. So put that right out of your mind. It is not time and you are not the right person to make this call anyway.

    Breasts surgery, size, etc. Because baby is being supplemented already, I do think it is a good idea that mom and baby (and you) see an IBCLC without delay. Most moms with augmentation surgery do not have problems with milk production, but that is certainly something an IBCLC will want to know about. Size is not a good measure, moms with very small breasts can usually produce milk just fine, but many moms do have trouble with milk production for some reason or another. Also, sometimes the problem, if there is one, is that baby is not transferring milk well- this is a different problem. LC would be able to assess it there is a problem and what it is.

    I found her laying down asleep twice now with him on her breasts also sleeping (the potential for rolling over on him is high and this scares the **** out of me).
    HOW was she lying and where? If she was lying on her back with baby securely on top of her, is it really likely she would have rolled all the way over with baby on top of her? I doubt it. The science would suggest otherwise.

    What I do suggest is that if mom is going to fall asleep this way, make sure she is on a safe sleep surface (more on this in link) and reclined, not flat on her back, so baby's head is also slightly elevated as baby sleeps happily and securely on top of mom. My point is, mom can most likely sleep safely with baby beside or on top of her, but both of you need to learn how. I will attach info read that, but I also suggest the book Sweet Sleep for much more on the science of sleep and sleep safety. http://www.llli.org/sweetsleepbook/tearsheets

    if that is not working, Mom still needs to sleep- can you can offer to take baby, send her off to sleep, and promise to bring baby to her so she can nurse in 3-4 hours? If you are supplementing anyway that would be the time, but if you hold baby and comfort baby it might not be needed. I am not saying do this alot, I am saying, like, do this one time, or maybe once a day until things calm down a little.

    Where are your families? You both need more help, if you have anyone, ask for help. Two adults and one newborn is one adult too little.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; July 3rd, 2017 at 06:47 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2016

    Default Re: Help - I'm worried about my wife

    Hi kodah,

    I am responding as a mom with a somewhat similar expeience. I am not qualified to give advice so please take that into account, but I would like to say... please have faith in your wife and biology.

    About 10 days after my daughter was born I went to the gynecologist for a checkup and mentioned that one of my breasts felt empty (I never got engorged or had a moment where it was obvious my milk came in). He sent me to the lactation nurse who weighed my daughter. She was below her birth weight so she told me to feed every 2 hours 15 minutes each side and come back in a few days. I went back and she had gained enough that she didnt suggest supplementing but wanted to see me a few more times. Often I would feed for longer and/or more often, just in case. One time, I fed two hours straight.

    In between those visits I had my first pediatrician visit and he insisted that I supplement. I freaked out and left the office crying. My husband didnt know what to do as this doctor said her lack of weight gain could impact brain development. Apart from that, she basically cried nonstop for 2 months and my husband was convinced it was because she was starving.

    He tried to be patient and understanding but was really worried that his daughter was hungry and would suffer developmentally. I, on the otherhand, felt really confident that everything would be ok. Her weight continued going up slowly but surely. In the end we saw various pediatricians who all insisted that I supplement. We finally found a pediatrician that was prolactation (recommended by one of the lactation nurses) and my husband calmed down as she assured him that all was well.

    Wrt pumping... I tried pumping during this time and only drops would come out as with your wife.

    Wrt sucking down formula... my daughter could take down a 32 oz big gulp if I let her. Whatever you give her, she will eat. I dont think that is necesarily a representation of actual hunger.

    Luckily I never had to supplement. Nowdays my daughter is 8mths old and nice and chunky. Recently I started supplementing one feeding a day, but that is to make my work days less stressful, not for lack of milk and even once a day is hard for me to accept.

    Obviously evry situation is different and you have to do what is right for you, but I hope this helps you feel that you are not alone. That things can and do work out without intervention.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2016

    Default Re: Help - I'm worried about my wife

    I forgot to mention... it didnt take long before I was able to reduce the amount of time for each feeding. Nowdays my daughter feeds every 3 hours for just a few minutes each side.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    COUGARTOWN Baby! From here on in!

    Default Re: Help - I'm worried about my wife

    Here to Echo Maddie's post. I understand that your concerns are real. And you think you have logically done a test and that your wife isn't behaving reasonably. But you are mistaken. And I want to tell you, I have seen husbands that behave like you RUIN breastfeeding relationships between newborns and mother's because formula added in during the 1st weeks is almost ALWAYS detrimental to production. Your wife is doing what nature intended for her to do. And so is your child. WHat you are doing is the OPPOSITE of support. This is not something for you to fix. And your wife has enough going on without dealing with pressure from her partner and support person. Breastfeeding is in the beginning, almost ALWAYS overwhelming and isolating. Again-that is the way it's designed biologically. The 1st few weeks, the child's chance of survival go up exponentially the more time the child spends connected to the mother. It's THEIR time to bond. It's when they find their rhythm as a dyad, it's when the baby gets the mother's supply to meet their needs, and traditionally, when living in a cave? You wouldn't be hovering around worried about her milk production or your ability to bond with your 8 day old. You'd be out hunting. Making sure there was fire to keep them warm and dry. So do the modern day versions of those things for your family. Keep your wife fed and hydrated. Do the dishes. Don't pressure her to do laundry. Or clean. The most important job she had right now? IS to FEED THE BABY. Most of us who make this work? Spend the 1st 6-12 weeks in our PJs on the couch. That's real talk. Newborns eat around the clock.
    And what YOU are doing by INSISTING that she supplement? Is interrupting the Supply and Demand ques. Every formula supplement interrupts breastfeeding TWICE. 1st-your wife and child miss that que to get your wife to make milk. And Brestmilk is almost entirely absorbed into a newborns tissues and it happens very quickly. But formula is hard to digest, the process takes the baby longer and it creates more waste. (explaining why he poops more when he eats it) So now, instead of cuing your wife again in 1-2 hours like the newborn normally would, She probably isn't going to get a cue for 3-4 hours. So that TWO QUES that your wife misses to make milk every time YOU insist that she formula feed. Congratulation to her for keeping the damage you are INSISTING ON down to a minimum.
    Formula has it's place. IF there is no mother? It can be lifesaving. If the mother feels like she needs it? As the above poster suggested-her one supplement a day allows her to work and CONTINUE breastfeeding? Then it can be a useful tool. But if the mother is THERE and AVAILABLE and WILLING? As your wife seems to be? Your job is to support her and TRUST HER. Not try to insight doubt. Not insist on damaging the relationship so you can bond with your child. Feed your wife. Change diapers. Hold the baby so she can take a shower. Allow her to get this thing established. She's the mother. She gets to decide how she feeds the baby.

    Way too lazy for formula

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: Help - I'm worried about my wife

    Hi, I just wanted to say it's obvious that you are worried and clearly you care about your wife otherwise you wouldn't have written. But you seem to have decided what is happening and everything you see backs up what you already decided. The baby may be crying because he's tired, freaked out by the new world, or any one of a million things that we can never know. Of course sometimes he's hungry too! We can offer suggestions and ideas here, but please please help and support your wife by helping her to do what she wants- which is to breastfeed her baby.

    It is possible that you're right, and there isn't enough milk, but not all the signs are pointing that way. If there's no milk, where's all that pee coming from? How come there is weight gain? If the baby feeds as frequently as you say, there may not be much left to come out in the pump, but that doesn't mean there isn't enough for the baby! I wasn't able to pump to start with, even while hand expressing, I always had enough for baby.

    Can you arrange the IBCLC ASAP for your wife? Research to find the best one? Not because there's definately a problem, but just to rule it out- and also because every woman would benefit from a visit so soon after birth. Want to say it strongly again tho- not because you're afraid it's going wrong- but to help, if help is needed. During the visit the LC will weigh the baby before and after a feed, I always found it very reassuring.

    Also, I have to tell you I think your wife sounds amazing for giving this such a good go, I wouldn't use the word stubborn, but certainly so determined. What she's trying to do is what's best for your son, even though it's hard at first. She sounds like a trooper.

    Please update us with how things go.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Default Re: Help - I'm worried about my wife

    Just want to jump in and totally with the previous posters. Make arrangements to see a good IBCLC asap, get some weighed feeds done and get a professional opinion. I also agree with the comments to try to support your wife as much as possible. It's hard to explain the need to succeed at breastfeeding...it can be all consuming, and I get that it's difficult to understand. I think that once you get some professional reassurance, you will be able to more easily see her determination for what it is and hopefully be able to support her in what she needs to do.

    In terms of newborns wanting to nurse. all. the. time...both my girls were like that, I felt like they were always on the boob! But that's what was needed to establish a good milk supply and to help us both get the swing of things. I used to say that my first was like a wild animal in her need to get on the breast, she would shake her little head rooting and I swear she would almost growl!

    Good luck to you, and please keep us posted. It's always good for those who may be in a similar situation to see this kind of post and to see how things turned out!

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