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Thread: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    I have enjoyed reading the experiences here very much.

    When I hear a mother's concerns about baby's father feeling like the "odd man out", due to mother and baby's nursing relationship, I think of the latest issue of New Beginnings. There was a section with a mother's question about her stay-at-home husband feeling dejected b/c when she returned home at day's end, all the baby wanted was to be close to mother. He blamed the nursing relationship on that desire for closeness with mom that baby exhibited. There were a variety of ideas and experiences shared by many mothers in answer to the mother's question. If you've access to the latest copy, perhaps that's something you may find interesting?

    Here is a link to New Beginnings articles that relate to Fathers and Breastfeeding:

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBfathers.html

    Helpful phrases to use when responding to criticism:
    (may work with baby's father)

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/criticism.html

    For any research-a-holics out there, the LLLI Center for Breastfeeding Information has a page of references about Spousal Support for Breastfeeding! Lots of reading here...

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/cbi/bibspousal.html

    Each person's situation, marriage, child, etc. is completely unique. I find it reassuring to find such support and encouragement being shared by mothers of varying situations here.

    Regards,

    Eve

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    I'm still struggling with this one! I posted a couple of threads about it a few months ago, so I won't repeat everything; got some useful replies. But it is still tough. Our daughter is 2 now, and doing great. Personally I feel that the continuing breastfeeding is one of the things which has helped her become a strong, secure person, even though we've done a lot of moving about in the last year (lived in 3 different countries). She's very verbal, very funny, active and lively. But my husband is still having issues; basically, he's still jealous. We'd reached a sort of stale-mate, and shelved the whole topic, though he still comes in and rolls his eyes sometimes, when she's nursing for a long time, or when she's doing one of her comical role play things with my breasts (reading them a story or whatever). This morning he was upset for a whole lot of reasons, and inevitably, it came back to weaning again. "I asked you to do JUST ONE THING which I think will help our marriage and make our relationships with our daughter more equal, and you DIDN'T DO IT". So I feel stuck. Clearly, it's important to reassure him that he matters to me, and matters to our daughter. We've all been spending more time together, I've been trying to be there for him more. But I don't seem to be succeeding in making him feel better. And for some reason which I don't entirely fathom, he still seems to think that our home life will be better if our daughter is suddenly deprived of nursing. Seems to me that it's a recipe for marathon tantrums. Anyway, I'd appreciate any further advice about dealing with male jealousy ...

  3. #23
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    Quote Originally Posted by emilyw
    This morning he was upset for a whole lot of reasons, and inevitably, it came back to weaning again. "I asked you to do JUST ONE THING which I think will help our marriage and make our relationships with our daughter more equal, and you DIDN'T DO IT".
    Wow, that's one heck of a guilt-tripping ultimatum! What an awful thing he said to you! As if you breastfeed your toddler purely for your own selfish pleasure. I have BTDT with nursing a 2yo, and there is a LOT of work and self-sacrifice involved. The couple of times that my not-always-supportive DH even HINTED that I was doing it for myself, I about blew a gasket setting him straight. I'm not advocating any gasket-blowing, of course, but heavens it makes me angry to hear that.

    I may well be projecting here, but your DH's opinion on extended nursing reminds me a lot of my DH's stance on my long-unfinished dissertation. Every disagreement, no matter how unrelated, he brings up the unfinished dissertation and what a burden it has been to him, how unfair I have been by failing to finish it ... as if the only thing standing between our current life together and utopic bliss is another PhD in the family. There is some truth there, of course -- he never aspired to have a SAH wife for this long -- but there's also a lot of scapegoating going on there. I don't think any troubled marriage got that way over JUST ONE THING.

    I guess my only advice to you is something that it has taken me far too long to apply in my own life, and that is basically don't accept his flawed premise or let him trample over your priorities in order to keep the peace. Keep letting him know that you love him and you want to find creative solutions to improve your marriage, but don't give any ground on the nursing issue. And I say that not because you have the right to nurse your child without anyone else's permission (although you do); I say it because allowing him to constantly scapegoat your nursing relationship is just a big smokescreen for whatever the other issues are, and in the long run, you're not doing your marriage any favors by leaving those issues buried. And don't think this problem will go away once your daughter does wean, because then his line will just shift to "This is all because you let her nurse so long."

    Ugh. I'm so sorry you are still dealing with all this. I hope things will improve soon.

    --Rebecca

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    Quote Originally Posted by emilyw
    ...though he still comes in and rolls his eyes sometimes, when she's nursing for a long time...
    This reminds me of us sometimes. It's more an issue of her monopolizing all of my time than of nursing. When he sees her nursing for the third time in two hours he starts to wonder if that's all we do all day. But it's also when she wants to be held a lot or something else. And fortunately he recognizes that it's not really a breastfeeding issue but a question of our child's independence. He'd really like to see her play by herself while I get some laundry done... And ya know what? So would I. It helps to point out her progress in that area. It helps us feel like we have a common goal in our parenting. (we really have many in common, but independence is definitely higher on HIS list.) Plus I don't think he notices when she IS playing quietly while I'm getting things done. Its the unfinished jobs that stand out. So I try to point it out when it happens (more and more lately) and let him know when I've had a really productive day. I've learned to stop telling him about the days I didn't seem to get anything done.. guess thats what gilfriends are for.. and when she is clingy and nursing a lot, I tell him she's coming down with something, because she usually is.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    Quote Originally Posted by emilyw
    But my husband is still having issues; basically, he's still jealous. We'd reached a sort of stale-mate, and shelved the whole topic, though he still comes in and rolls his eyes sometimes, when she's nursing for a long time, or when she's doing one of her comical role play things with my breasts (reading them a story or whatever). This morning he was upset for a whole lot of reasons, and inevitably, it came back to weaning again. "I asked you to do JUST ONE THING which I think will help our marriage and make our relationships with our daughter more equal, and you DIDN'T DO IT". So I feel stuck. Clearly, it's important to reassure him that he matters to me, and matters to our daughter. We've all been spending more time together, I've been trying to be there for him more. But I don't seem to be succeeding in making him feel better. And for some reason which I don't entirely fathom, he still seems to think that our home life will be better if our daughter is suddenly deprived of nursing. Seems to me that it's a recipe for marathon tantrums. Anyway, I'd appreciate any further advice about dealing with male jealousy ...
    A couple of things come to mind here...1st I'm pretty sure he's asked you to do more than JUST ONE THING in your time together so please...the Dramatics!! It's good that you recognize that it's jealousy....but don't you wonder why??? Parenting is not a competion. Two years 3yrs...Blink of an eye in her lifetime. It's natural for children to be more attached to thier mothers when they're small. (And not just human children either) He's got the rest of her life for her to be "Daddy's Girl." Which she will inevitably become. I agree with Rebecca don't try to hold it all together or take resposiblity for his problem. That's what it is his problem. Dig deeper. Make him look at it, own it and address it. I think in a healthy relationship a man admires and respects a womans ability to meet the childs needs. Jealousy is always the sign of something bad. Generally insecurity. Where's it coming from? Are you not being intimate w/him? That'll do it. Are you not asking him how his day was and spending at least a half an hour a day focusing on him? Are you co-sleeping w/your daughter? All of these things could understandably cause jealousy. And should be addressed by you. But he needs to call it what it is. Instead of trying to deprive your daughter of what she needs because he isn't getting what he needs.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    Quote Originally Posted by emilyw
    "I asked you to do JUST ONE THING which I think will help our marriage and make our relationships with our daughter more equal, and you DIDN'T DO IT".
    Ouch! Emilyw, I've been trying to decide how to reply here and not venture outside the scope of a Leader. When he said that to you, it must have really stung! Your dh feels strongly that continued nursing has hindered important relationships in his life. So what might be some ways for him to build stronger connections without taking away something that is so important to the both of you (you & your daughter)? Have either of you read Playful Parenting by Larry Cohen? Maybe some ideas in there would help?

    LLL talks about fathering like this, "Breastfeeding is enhanced and the nursing couple sustained by the loving support, help, and companionship of the baby's father. A father's unique relationship with his baby is an important element in the child's development from early infancy."

    Each role is important and each role is unique. Each parent, no matter what the situation, brings unique gifts and has unique challenges to face. However long you and she decide to keep nursing and even after weaning, it’s likely your relationships will continue to be unique. Nursing and father bonding don’t have to be mutually exclusive. And practices such as extended nursing or co-sleeping don’t necessarily get in the way of marital connection or father-child bonding.

    The way to outgrow a need is to fulfill that need. They all do wean eventually, and if they are given the chance to fulfill that need then they usually move on quite happily to the next stage in their life.

    HTH,
    Mary

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    Quote Originally Posted by epbrown
    Still waiting for your thoughts Linda!!!
    Sorry, Erin...it has been quite a week at this end.... I've just scanned thru alot of the PPosts and am really overwhelmed by the range of everyone's experiences. (I've got exactly 12 minutes before having to sit in on a students practice candidacy exam, so this may not be eloquent.... )

    I think i'm very lucky in that DH has been incredibly supportive of my BF our son. I'm sure it helped some that Tom we went to several classes (not the BF class, though; I did that only with my bulging baby boy belly) and also that his mom BF'd all four of the kids in his family. He was ripe and ready to know it was a good thing. I also have tried to do what I could to 'involve' Tom in the process and the experience. That sounds odd, I know, but it started in the hospital with asking Tom to help "un-invert" an inverted nipple (yeah, you can picture it.. ) so j could latch more easily. Then I asked for help massaging out engorgement and plugged ducts. [[yeah, ok, so I got him to like going clothes shopping with me when we were dating by letting him come into the dressing room with me, too....sorry; digression..]] For all the months that J was very calm about being nursed and rocked to sleep, i.e., before he was totally distracted by everything, especially having his daddy in the room, Tom would be near us, often laying on the floor by the rocking chair in J's room, while I nursed and rocked. Then we'd put J down in the crib together and have a few seconds of just staring at him together. It was a nice bit of family time every night. And yes, it did always register to me how great it would have been if DH could have spent that 30 minutes or so cleaning up the kitchen, scooping the cat box, doing any of the many things I knew I'd still need to go do.... BUT,this really mattered. It involved him, made him know how very important he was in the BF relationship. BF was very much MY decision and my 'turf', so to speak, but more than that, if it was going to be successful, it was something that we had to really commit to as a family. I know it bummed Tom out when J became too curious and focused on him being in the room but not being able to play, etc., and Tom had to switch to kissing J good night and leaving him in my arms to nurse. It didn't register with me how much it made him sad, though, until recently when he commented on how that pre-J-sleep family time was so wonderful. Now, I make sure that DH has a monitor on where he is so he can listen to any giggles and chatter and when I come up, I make sure to tell him all about it, if he is seeming in the mood to hear (and he always is) so he still feels included.

    A few months ago, after reading some things here, I sat down with Tom and asked him if he had any problems or concerns about my still nursing J and if he was OK with it. J was probably about 14 or 15 months at that point. Thankfully, DH was cool and fine with it, so we didn't have any issues to discuss... More recently, I made a comment about hoping that J would be interested in (self-)weaning by around Xmas time, which would be 21 months. Tom's response surprised me: "I thought you were hoping to be done at 18 months" -- which is ten days from now, btw. I calmly reminded him that I had wanted to be done PUMPING by 18 months (and I did that at 16.5). He was OK with this. Now...keep in mind...we're down to just before bedtime and once during the night (more if J is sick or unconsolable or if Tom is getting a "night off" to sleep; he usually takes J at his second waking of the overnight and they co-sleep on the futon in the nursery until morning. J can deal with DH's snoring better than I can, so this lets ME sleep, too!) and also before naps on the weekends when I'm home. So we're in different territory; there is no way DH or anyone could feel that J is monopolizing my body anymore. OH, and even though it does mean less sleep for DH, getting him involved with the necessary during-the-night stuff (which for us translates into them co-sleeping for at least part of most nights) has been WONDERFUL for their bonding and relationship. J is so much closer to his daddy now. Tom loves it. J runs to him and kind of loses it (daddy doesn't like that part!) sometimes when Tom leaves for work. This didn't used to happen. It was ALL about mommy. But now it's much more 'shared', so there is no visible hint of jealousy (and yeah, there was just a bit earlier on....)

    I didn't entirely realize how lucky I am on this front. Maybe it also has something to do with our ages (40 and 42) and how long we've been together (nearing 18 years) and all the things we've been through together - including near-death experiences for each of us -- and some serious marriage difficulties many years back, that we worked hard to get through because we knew, no matter what, that we were each other's best friends and if we were going to work out our stuff in order to be able to be a good partner to anyone, we wanted it to be with each other... Maybe that's the real key here. We worked so hard THEN - and the focus was basically on how to communicate what we felt, what we needed, what we wanted, what was and wasn't working. So much of what I'm reading in this thread sounds like there is alot of latent underlying frustration and even anger and misunderstanding between the hopes, goals, expectations and desires of the partners. That is SOOOO easy to have happen in a marriage, and even easier to have happen when people are tired, stressed and focused on the care and tending of a new - or not so new - child. Not to overgeneralize, but.... in general.... men are less practiced at expressing their feelings and their needs. Heck, one thing I learned in our journey was that my own DH (back then) had troubles with the step before that -- i.e., INDENTIFYING for himself WHAT really was troubling him! He could be really bothered and not really have a grip on the facts that he was upset, let alone what he was upset about, truly! Goodness, how does one start a productive dialogue without those bits??

    Like so many things....my feeling here is that it comes back to honest communication and being able to really get to the heart of what is bothering, stressing, worrying whoever is upset. It's nearly impossible to get beyond blame, scape-goating and frustration without this part. And yeah, it's hard. Really hard.

    OK; that was long and I don't have time to proof-read now (sorry) 'cause I'm 3 minutes late for that exam... Erin, i didn't get to one thing I wanted to bring up -- the PPD concerns your DH has and the link he is drawing to BF. I'l come back to that....remind me if I don't!

    Everyone....I wish you all peace...patience....communication....and the STRENGTH to know you are awesome.

    -linda

    ps: and after all that, I didn't hit "SUBMIT" until just now when back from that exam! ugh!
    Last edited by jsmom; September 15th, 2006 at 03:25 PM. Reason: to finally proof-read and fix those typos!

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    Have you tried "it's the way nature intented" approach? After all what you think people did before blenders, formula, and baby food? I can imagine that they must have continued to bf until the baby could eat eough food on it's own to thrive. The intinct for baby to suckle and the attachment that happens through bf is clearly a human survival instinct. It seems like the only instincts that we humans have left.
    Good luck, hope dh comes around.

    Sara

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    Wow! I'm still digesting so forgive me if my experiences are written less than elequently...

    DH was formula fed- cereal and whole milk in a bottle at three weeks and sleeping through the night! - and quite unfamiliar with the benefits of bf outside of nutrition. He also was a latch key kid with a working mom. And he turned out fine, right? When we got pg I knew I would bf AT LEAST a year but told dh that at that point I would use the "don't offer, don't refuse tactic." We also agreed to co-sleep "just for the first 3 months" and I would be heading back to work- from home- after my maternity leave was over.

    WELL... dh was born and my life was changed. After my dance career came screeching to a hault three years earlier I had lost my passion. When I stopped dancing, it was as if I was punched in the stomach and never recovered. Then, after 2 years TTC, 1 miscarriage, a bunch of clomid, 6 months of morning sickness, 10 hours of a pitocin induced, pain reliever free labor, I was handed this tiny little soul. As I cradled this precious little being in my arms and he amazingly latched on perfectly, I took a breath for the first time in three years. The passion I had felt while dancing was shallow compared to the encompassing love I felt for my son. All at once I felt womanly, organic, and complete. Tears trickled down my face as our bodies rejoiced in harmony and he sucked hungrily from me. I was amazed at how perfectly nature designed this symbiotic relationship.

    As we fell in to attachment parenting and bf with relative ease, ds was generally supportive- after all there were clear time limits on all my crazy notions of parenting! The 3 month mark passed and there was no way I was going to give up co-sleeping. Brett resigned himself to this eventually and has even come to enjoy it (aside from getting kicked every now and then).

    When ds was 7 months old I got laid off. DH wanted me to find another job- I refused to leave ds. After a power struggle I won out by promising to find ways to bring in the $800 more a month that he felt we needed to be slightly more comfortable than simply living paycheck to paycheck and to make ends meet when he had a slow month at work.

    At the 1 year mark of bf, it was clear that we were clearly not ready for "don't offer, don't refuse" which brett saw as the first stride towards ds being weaned. Up until this point, dh was very supportive publiclly and privately. Now he became less supportive privately and began acting quite angry towards me. I left out publications regarding the benefits of bf past a year on the toilet- the only time I knew I had an audience open to reading anything on the subject simply because it was the only thing in front of him.

    After many many many discussions it has finally come out that he feels like I lied to him. All the things that I said would happen didn't and he feels like he has no control over how our child is raised. It's not the bf, co-sleeping, or me staying at home that bothered him, but the fact that I changed the rules, whether I meant to or not. I've tried to explain to him how this little man completely changed me, gave me new breath, and that was something that I couldn't have anticipated and he understands. But it does not negate the fact that he feels a bit betrayed in a sense.

    So... now that we've gotten to the root of the problem, I'm not sure how to fix it. We both have respectable points of view, but they are different. We've been working towards greater intimacy (something that was somehow lost in the last 16 months- but hey, it's hard to go back to meeting his physical needs daily, or even weekly, when you have a newborn/ toddler- bf or not!) and he is trying to work through his anger and come out the other side. The intimacy thing is helping, but so is me paying more attention to him (how was your day?) and including him more in parenting decisions.

    I"m not sure if all of this babbling helps with anyone else's situation. The turning point for us was when I used 'active listening' to combat his anger and named what I heard he was feeling. He said it was the first time he felt like I heard him. I guess what I'm trying to say is that often times the husbands see bf as the problem when it is only a symptom of something deeper. There may not be an easy fix, but if he at least feels that you hear him and respect his point of view, that goes a long way!

    HTH!
    Last edited by LLL_Kristie; September 16th, 2006 at 08:43 PM.
    Kristie L.
    LLL Leader
    (the poster formerly known as fezzik812)
    Wife to Brett, Mommy to Seamus (5.1.05), and Emelie (1.18.08)
    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."- Ghandi

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Did any of you have to convince your dh...

    Kristi, you're so poetic. What a beautiful description of the passion that motherhood awakens.

    Linda! Involving the father with relieving engorgement is brilliant. Looking back, I woudn't have prefered that, but it sure would have been a good thing for the marriage and an easy way to let him further enjoy one of the many benefits of breastfeeding - the ever changing body.

    What a great thread. I'd like to send it to new dads as a heads up for what's to come! Maybe when their babies become toddlers and start to test the partnership, they will be comforted to know that it's all normal. My husband, at least, doesn't spend much time on parenting message boards or comparing notes with his other dad friends.

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