I think I'm being a jerk... — The Bump
Dads & Dads-to-be

I think I'm being a jerk...

Let me start off with I love my wife and my son, they are super awesome and my favorite people on the planet...BUT when it comes to BF, I'm a jerk.

My wife is working to EBF and it is really taxing on her. She is using nipple guards because he is having a hard time latching on, she is uncomfortable because he is full of gas and grouchy. Her breast hurt when he doesn't drain them and she has to pump and clean up and is so miserable at times. Also, her diet has become a major factor in his diet and since he is irritable and full of gas she has to watch everything that she eats and it's also making her life a lot harder than it has to be.

I'm dairy free and I don't eat red meat, plus I love vegan food (we live in Southern California so the lifestyle is everywhere) but my wife is nothing like me. She loves her steak and potatoes. She is Italian so pastas and cheese is like air to her, she needs to have them. BUT the ped said that she needs to give up diary and wheat for now....crap! We try to be foodies and my wife is eating chicken....and chicken and nothing else. AND (sorry this list is long) since LO is irritable it was suggested that we introduce bottles to see if that cuts down on gas. This is a crazy roller coaster and all because of breast feeding....this is why I'm a jerk....

I think we should just nix it. Let's pump and give him bottled breast milk so it will cut down on gas and her nipples being torn apart. OR let's just formula feed him and eliminate everything above AND she can have her diet back and he may not be affected in his own little tummy. To me, all of these options are simply and can be simply executed. BUT...my wife and probably many, many women want that bond, feel this is their duty, etc. I get it (hence why I'm the jerk) but I just want my wife and son to be happy and healthy and it seems so much easier and doable my way...

Ugh...I just needed to vent, thanks fellas.

I know someone will probably get offended and need to mouth off....oh well, these are my thoughts and I just wanted to get it out of my system. Maybe someone feels the same and just needs to know they are not alone, and for that, this rant was worth it. 

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Re: I think I'm being a jerk...

  • While obviously I've never breastfed, I can tell you from my wife's experience that it can be challenging at first.  A great deal of moms give up by the end of the 1st month because it can be a challenge.  My son had trouble latching on and my wife had the same issue as yours in terms of nipples at first (most mom's apparently do, and they apparently toughen up with time).  We had to switch to pumping for a while because he just wasn't latching on and getting what he needed.  Throw on the added pressure that a mom is supposed to be able to just pick it up naturally (both baby and mom have to learn and adjust to what works), the pressure she likely got from the lactation consultant at the hospital and everything... it can be stressful, and the baby picks up on that too.

    What we had to do is step away for a short bit, go with the pumping, and revisit the breastfeeding later... which worked out great for us.  It also allowed us to know how much he was eating which is good at first because he lost almost a pound in the hospital (not so big of a deal since he was 10 lb a birth) because he just couldn't latch and get enough to make him full.  Once we switched to the pump/bottle it fixed itself almost instantly and he started gaining his weight back and is now nearly a 30 lb kid at 22 months.

    Instead of saying just nix it completely, why not float the idea of stepping away for a week or two, go to the pump and the bottle (this way you can help with feedings too, at least with the bottle part) and revisit the breastfeeding in a week to see if it improves any.  I wouldn't necessarily go with the formula right away, unless your wife's milk continues to be an issue, because he does get the antibodies, and the more of those he can get, the better off he'll be early on.

  • My wife had a very similar experience when she started BF. Hard time latching, he went through a gassy phase. It gets better, man. Right now your LO is so small and uncoordinated that even with the sucking instinct, they just aren't very good at it yet. As your LO grows, it will get much easier. There's a lot of guessing when it comes to the gas thing, and a lot of it is more "let's try X and see if it helps". She'll probably be able to reintroduce a lot of foods. For us bottles actually were worse for gas; he tended to eat much much faster and suck in a lot of air in the process. These days she's still EBF and everything is more or less hunky-dory.

    She's going to get frustrated. She's going to cry. As a man, you're going to want to try to fix it for her. It's what we do as men. But really your job is just to support her decisions and tell her that she is doing a great job. I don't think you're being a jerk for trying to put other options on the table, but this is probably the hardest BF is ever going to be for her. As your child grows it will get easier, and she'll figure out what works for her.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BhqjipgCIAAOz7H.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
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  • As a mom, I personally don't think you're being a jerk. I think you're entitled to your thoughts and opinions. I know that my first month EBFing with my daughter was pretty much the same as you're describing. She's only two months old now, but it is still a lot easier than that first month. If she wants to keep going, I would let her. It does get easier.

    Good luck!

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    Lilypie - (sIp8)
    Lilypie - (GTBb)
  • Sorry to butt in on the Dads' board, but I wanted to throw in my $0.02.

    You're not being a jerk. But, that said...the best thing you can do is be supportive of whatever choice your wife makes. If she's committed to EBF and wants to stick with it (and the challenges she's facing), be supportive. Ask what you can make her for dinner. Bring her a glass of water.

    If she talks about wanting to give it up, don't try to convince her either way. If you do and she's not ready, she'll resent you. Let her come to her own decision. My husband came around to this, and it helped me be OK with moving to bottles and formula. It's tough for a while, but if the baby's being fed, that's really what matters in the long run. Best of luck to all of you!

  • I certainly can relate to what the three of you are going through.  I will never forget those first few weeks that my wife was BF. It was painful and a struggle all day and everyday. She was tired, frustrated, and all over the place emotionally.

    But then it got better one day.  LO started to latch better. My wife's nipples started to heal and she as soon able to nurse without any pain or discomfort.

    A month ago the doctor suggested that we do half BM and half formula. We have been doing that ever since, and his growth has exploded as a result.

    My wife still pumps every 3 hours or so each day. LO won't really latch onto the nipple anymore as he prefers to be bottlefed now. But he is still getting the BM and all of the advantages of that. My wife missed BF a little, but not a lot. For us, pumping has been working just great, and I get to feed him more now, which I just love!

    Stick with it, friend. The benefits to the LO are numerous, and it will certainly make your wife feel like she is doing the best for the baby. Pumping has been awesome for us, and since she has started taking fenugreek every single day, and maintained a pumping schedule, her production has been thorugh the roof. And Like I said, I love feeding my boy! I race home after work to try to get that feeding, and it has been really good for all of us.

    We are now up to 5oz every feeding, and half is BM and the other half is formula. I would give that a try.  I think you guys will be really happy. Also, go to Walgreens and get some saline and gauze. squirt some saline in a pill vile or something like it, and put a bunch of thin gauze squares in there.  After every feeding she should put those on her nipples, just squezze the excess out and they stick right on them. It really does work. My wife also used Medela lanolin after every feeding too. She only needed to do that for about a month. Now that she is pumping, her boobs are in great shape, and I am really looking forward to the all clear to reunite with themCool

    Ask away with all the questions you may have about our experience. You know I will bring it straight, playa! 

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  • imagespeer06:

    "I am really looking forward to the all clear to reunite with themCool"

    -It's all fun and games until someone gets shot in the eye... 

    I will have to remain alert for that as I get back on the horse, so to speak!!

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  • It got so much better around 6 weeks. I'd never have made it this far without DH's support. When I got thrush and latching was extremely painful he let me squeeze the crap out of his arm while DD nursed so that I could keep going. That's the kind of thing you need to do. Don't second guess her decisions, because it will get better.

    I would suggest your wife find a LLL meeting or other BFing support meeting as well. Having other moms around who have BTDT is also invaluable.  Good luck!

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  • You don't sound like a jerk at all- you want everyone to be happy and healthy- but your wife will have to make this decision on her terms, so try to be patient. If she does decide to change paths, expect her to be emotional about it. I cried for 3 days after I stopped BF. So yeah, just be there for her whatever she decides to do.

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    Lilypie - (R7Ux)


  • imageCurlingRocks:

    I'm bored, so I popped over here to see what the men-folk were talking about.  Sorry for crashing.

    DS did not successfully nurse for 3.5 months.  I had numerous consultations with LCs and tried time and time again, getting increasingly frustrated and feeling totally defeated.  Nothing DH said was the right thing to say.  (Seriously.  Now that I'm not in the moment, I've 100% forgiven him for the things he said, but even being supportive hurt my feelings.  You aren't wrong for having your opinion, but since it is totally out of your control, I think you need to keep it completely to yourself.  Sorry!)  I'll never forget sitting in the NICU with my preemie who couldn't figure out how to suck (totally normal for a baby born at his gestational age, BTW) with a nurse telling me I needed to do X, Y, and Z, which is what I was doing, and DH telling me it was ok to just gavage feed.  (Babies need to be able to eat without a feeding tube to come home, FYI)  I felt totally rejected and totally unsupported, even though what he said was true and actually pretty supportive, and also even though the lack of sucking reflex was normal.  It's a tough time for the mom, not much you can do about it, sorry again.

    And pumping is not easy.  It is exhausting, more so than BFing, speaking from experience.  She still needs to feed baby every time he needs to eat, and then she needs to sit at the pump afterward.  It is a good solution if EBF isn't an option, but no one who doesn't have to do the work should be voicing their opinion, trust me.

    My wife has been pumping since week 3. She has said since then that feeding from the nipple is much more exhausting, and painful, than pumping. As far as the feeding, when I am home after work I do all the feedings until I go to bed. She pumps while I feed, so we are able to take a lot of pressure off of everyone that way. On the weekend we split the feedings 50/50. Pumping has allowed us to do that, and it still leaves open the opportunity to feed from the nipple as well, which she still does once or twice a day. Pumping has opened up a whole new bonding experience for me and my son that I would not have if my wife was exculsively feeding from the nipple. She does not look at pumping in the same way you do. I think all experiences are very unique and different when it comes to this.

    As far as the last bolded sentence, my wife and I are very open in asking, and giving advice and opinions when it comes to raising our child, and our family overall.  My wife has asked my opinion on BF, formula, and how we use them to ensure our son remains on track and healthy. I encourage ALL COUPLES to talk about the BF experience and share their opinions on it. My wife valus my opinions, and I value hers.

    I agree with a lot about what you said here, but the idea that a husband should just keep his mouth shut and not offer any insights when it comes to this topic is not something that I can accept. I love my wife, as most husbands do, and this whole process is something that I share with my wife gladly. My wife values my opinion, and that is why we talk about everything openly, even breastfeeding vs. pumping. 

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  • In addition to what pp have said I wanted to remind you that many very gassy or reflux babies cannot tolerate regual baby formula (wch is chock full of allergens like soy and dairy). Sometimes they can use soy based instead of dairy (giving babies large amount of soy comes with it's own issues, soy is an estogenic substance- google soy and estrogen as well as a host of other issues and being an allergen to many). Anyhow if you choose not use soy based formula you are looking ST special elemental formula which is incdibly expensive. Google it, seriously. I was shocked. Smetimes insurance will cover some, usually not. Regardless babies a designed to drink breast milk therefore that is most likely to be the thing he can digest easily.

    Formula was designed to offer an alternative in cases of extreme need when mother's or donor's milk simply could not be provided. It is the fourth choice in infant feeding, please try to provide your child with one of the first three options and only when you have exhausted those should you use formula. Btw I have nothing against formula (I supplemented with it when my first had major issue latching due to tongue tie) nor do I think people who choose to use it are bad in any way. I do think that marketing has failed to make it's intended use clear (because feeding to everyone is much more lucrative.). Drinking Jenny Craig shakes every day would keep me alive and just fine(and your baby would be just fine in formula too) but I would way rather have whole foods, fruits, vegetables, grains etc. And there are things in bm that simply can't be quantified, they are every day making new discoveries about what is missing in formula and what amazing things bm can do (they feed it to cancer patients!). Forumla stays the same fro the first day to the last day you feed it while bm is constantly changing to be the perfect food for your child. They are studying how your child's saliva on your wife's nipple is actually a communication system telling mom's body exactly what baby needs at that time in it's life. Pretty cool stuff.


    Just be supportive of her. No matter what she decides. Do the housework, make dinner, and tell her that you think she is the most amazing mother in the world. If she decides that bf is stealing her time or happiness with baby then that needs to be taken into account too. I think that at some point if bf is too hard, despite its obvious health benefits, it becomes the less desirable option for that family at that time. You can only do what you can do. But do t fool yourself- formula is not anywhere near "just as good". Plus in the two times I have had babies there have been major formula recalls- how will that make you feel?

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  • imagepolooo26:

    You're not alone. We had problems too and we're faced with some tough decisions. Our son ultimately ended up on formula. He's now 20 months and very healthy and very happy. I believe the love and care you give him are more important than milk or formula and that's something you do have control over (that's my attempt at making you feel better).

    You're not being a jerk for giving your wife options. Just make sure she knows she gets the final decision and you'll support her no matter what it is. Good luck.

    Another mom here. You are not a jerk. C did not latch and after a week of trying and being miserable and pumping in between so he could get something, we wound up EPing for the next month and were much happier. C also had digestive issues, found he couldn't process BM and switched to alimentum formula.

    You do what you have to do. If she is okay with BFing despite the hurdles, good for her and good for you for supporting her in it. But if she wants to stop and switch to pumping or FF, thats fine too. On plus side, that also gives you the opportunity to feed your LO and bond at that time too.

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  • Do you mean you're being a jerk in your head with your thoughts? Or do you mean you're actually being a jerk to your wife? If it's the latter, cut it out. If it's the former, there's nothing wrong with having your own thoughts on how you think the situation should be dealt with.

    With DD1 I had a really hard time with sore nipples, and crying at 3am over the pain. With DD2 I had a tough time with gassiness and fussiness. But we worked through it with both or them, and I love BF. I love the snuggles and closeness, and gazing at my child.

    If BF is important to your wife, and she senses that all you care about is your food, and she quits, she will resent you, and she will always wonder if she could have stuck it out. If she comes to her own decision that she'd rather FF then that's a different matter.

    Try and support her because it will get better. It's tough when they're tiny but they get bigger and it all falls into place. kellymom.com is a good BF resource as are LCs.

    FWIW I vividly remember BF DD1 at 3am. I was sobbing with the pain while she fed, and DH heard me crying and got up and sat beside me with his arm around me. He didn't say anything but he just held me while I cried and our baby fed, and I have never felt more supported or cared  for. 

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  • We had trouble with both our boys. Being a man, my wife just wouldn't listen to my thoughts on this one. My sister was here to help us with the second son. She was awesome, able to talk to my wife and give her some tips to try and to help comfort her about not-breastfeeding if it didn't work. I hated seeing my wife so frustrated and sad over something that seemed so "unimportant" to me. I just wanted a healthy baby and a family that was happy with our new addition.
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