June 08, 2009,
S.E. asks from Dallas, TX on May 01, 2009
First Time Mom Breastfeeding with Pressure from Husband to Switch to Formula
I am a first-time mom to a 5-wk old beautiful girl.I feel very strongly about the benefits of breastfeeding & during my pregnancy decided to breastfeed for up to the first year. My little one is a natural at breastfeeding & has not been a problem. I even pump daily to make sure we have a bottle so dad can feed her during his nightly 'shift' so that he can be involved.
My problem is that my husband has a child from a previous relationship & his experience with babies is using formula. He insists that I'm starving our baby & that she is suffering because she seems hungry all the time. Last night he swore that she was too frail.(Keep in mind at her 1st dr appt at 2 wks she had grown 1/2 an inch & gained a pound from her birth weight of 7.4)
She typically nurses every 1.5 hours & when I pump I usually get 1.5-3 oz depending on when I pump, early am, she just fed, etc. There are days where she nurses more often & then there are days when she doesn't seem to nurse every 1.5 hrs.
He has pushed me to use formula or at least supplement since we were in the hospital! I've done my research on breastfeeding & it seems like once you introduce formula,the breastfeeding ends shortly thereafter.I just don't see the need to introduce formula at this point. Our baby seems contented & is typically sleeping for 3-4 hours at night, is very alert, has great color, etc. She doesn't sleep as often during the day which makes her a bit fussy around dinnertime, conveniently when my husband gets home from the office.
I have not given in & we have not given her formula. But things are deteriorating between me & my husband because of my breastfeeding. He keeps reminding me of his 'experience' with babies b/c of his other child & implies that I'm making our daughter suffer for not giving her formula. He has never researched or read anything to understand breastfeeding, nor will he.
Last night he demanded that I take our baby to the ped tomorrow because she is so 'frail' (which she isn't, she is just still newborn) & get a recommendation for a type of formula. At this point, I'm ready to throw in the towel. We fight over this every night when he gets home from work & weekends.I know breastfeeding is best & I've been proactive to do everything possible to make it a positive experience, but my husbands lack of understanding of breastfeeding is ruining our time as a family. We only argue about breastfeeding vs formula daily. How much should I stand my ground? Am I doing this wrong, is he right & she isn't getting enough to eat? I can't take the fighting anymore & am about to give up on my beliefs & just start giving her formula to make our home life return back to noraml. Please advise.
So What Happened?™
This has been my first post to this website and I'm so thankful for all the wonderful advice & support from everyone! I feel so much better with your words of encouragement! After our initial ped appt last Friday (details below) I've decided to switch to a pro-breastfeeding ped. I cannot believe his recommendation that babies are lactose intolerant of breastmilk! But to be cautious, I have eliminated dairy from my diet to see if that helps plus we have a lactation consultant coming to the house this week to evaluate & assist. Also, she recomended the new ped & we will see her on the 12th. As for my husband, he has gotten much better & is not pushing the formula. I think he is waiting to see the outcome of the lactation consultant & new ped appt.
Again, it is so helpful as a first-time mom to know you are all out there to support, I appreciate every response more than you know!!
We just got back from ped. He said she could be lactose intolerant. I didn't think this was an issue with breastmilk! He recommended pumping & adding lactaid pills to breastmilk bottles to see if that helped. If not, he of course gave me formula samples which I want to hide from my husband (who couldn't go to appt). Baby girl's weight is borderline low, she is only averaging 1/2 an oz per day weight gain. She has gained 8 oz since our last appt, but the dr wasn't concerned with her weight gain at this point.Now I really don't know what to do. My ped is Kutsi Onur, anyone have exp with him?
D.T. answers from Dallas on May 02, 2009
Tell him that you will take the baby to the doctor, but he MUST go with you. You will both talk to the doc and agree to do whatever the doc recommends. Putting it all in the doctor's hands will make him the bad guy and maybe reduce the stress between you two.
S.S. answers from Wichita Falls on May 01, 2009
My five year old is lactose intolerant and couldn't handle milk or soy based formulas (I tried - because he was hungry all the time.) I ended up omitting milk and dairy from my diet, in addition to cola, orange juice, tomato products, beans, and bread. And breastfeeding a baby that, by one year old, weighed 25 lbs. He was exclusively breastfed to 9 months because of all the food issues he had - still has, actually.
Be aware - the formula could make everything MUCH MUCH worse.
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M.G. answers from Dallas on May 02, 2009
Pro-breastfeeding Doc - Dr. Sharon Dennis at Arlington Family Practice.
By the way, if your baby is lactose intolerant, or so your dr says, then maybe you should stop consuming lactose and see if that makes a difference.
Please be strong, surround yourself with other breastfeeding moms that are supportive, and get some hard facts from a local LaLecheLeague leader, www.llli.org.
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T.E. answers from Dallas on May 02, 2009
It's important for your husband to remember that breastmilk is more digestible than formula, so baby will nurse more often. This is a good thing and is completely normal.
If your baby is gaining slowly but seems otherwise healthy, it could be that she is genetically small, or that her growth spurt is on its way. I wouldn't worry too much, as long as she is healthy. I wouldn't even concern myself with lactose intolerance, as this is very rare in breastfed babies. Your breastmilk contains the enzymes necessary to digest the lactose. Does she have any signs of a problem, like foamy or bloody poo? If so, that is more likely a hindmilk/foremilk issue that is easily resolved.
I would recommend not pumping for dad to feed. He can hold and talk, love on, and enjoy time with her without feeding her, in my opinion. Does it mean a lot to him to give her a bottle?
For a great pro-breastfeeding pediatrician who knows her stuff, I recommend Pecan Creek Pediatrics in Denton. Are you close to Denton? She is an awesome doctor! She was very supportive of my breastfeeding and encourages it.
Finally, there is a section on Kellymom about dealing with criticism from people about breastfeeding. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/criticism.html
I wish you luck! Stay strong. I weaned my son because of what others were saying to me and it turned out to be a disaster. He ended up being allergic to milk and soy and went in to Failure to Thrive because there wasn't a formula that he could tolerate. He was fine when nursing, of course. I wish I would have told them all to shove it and kept nursing him.
I'm adding on:
I nursed my daughter exclusively. She didn't eat solids until she was around a year old, and she was in the 75th percentile for weight and height, so not a small baby, once she hit four months.
When she was two, she was still nursing, and her and my husband got salmonella. My husband ended up in the hospital. My two year old, breastfed baby, was very sick, but did very well. While my husband could not hold water down, my baby was holding breastmilk down just fine. We tried giving her water and she threw it up. The only thing she could handle was breastmilk, and she nursed a LOT. Because I was nursing her, she did not have to be hospitalized, and recovered. My pediatrician said that breastmilk was so gentle, and provided everything she needed to get over this. It kept her hydrated, kept vitamins in her, and coated her stomach with soothing stuff so she was not in as much pain and agony, as my husband was. My husband had never been sick like that in his life... he's a strong man. Watching it take him down so quickly was scary, knowing that our baby had it too. For us, my milk was the medicine that very possibly saved her life.
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M.B. answers from Dallas on May 01, 2009
I know you're on the way to pedi today, but I just had to respond. PLEASE hold your ground - this is not just about feeding your baby - this has LONG term impact on the health of your daughter and YOU! Many pediatricians will gladly have you switch to formula (DESPITE the AAFP recommending one year of breastfeeding).
And, as much as I hate to say this, this issue is really just putting the spotlight on the potential for HUGE problems in your marriage and parenting choices. Also, the baby's fussiness may be due to the increase in stress level in your home once Dad gets home - stress will also impact the "flavor" of breastmilk as stress changes your hormonal balance. If you give in now, you are setting the pattern for who makes the critical decisions in your family as to your child's health. IF he's going to assert he's the expert on parenting, your family is in a load of trouble. I have learned after 16+ years that Mom knows best. You can (and should) consider hubby's input, the pediatrician's input, your MILs input, your sister's input, but when it comes to a choice like this, it is Mom's choice. Also, you may need to reconsider DAd's feeding time (if it's in the middle of the nite - I wasn't sure from your posting) as the nightime nursing is key to having a good milk supply. Maybe have Dad feed her in the early evening while you're fixing dinner or whatever. And, maybe part of his grumpiness has to do with the nighttime feeding. IN my experience, the most helpful thing dad can do at nite is to get the baby and change the diaper (before or after feeding) so mom can rest some yet still nurse at nite. He needs to be supporting you now and not directing you.
He also needs to be educated - breastfed babies do need to eat more frequently as the milk is perfect for a baby and more readily digested. As long as she is gaining, she is getting enough to eat. Also, keep in mind that the charts at the pediatrician's are based on formula fed babies and cow's milk formula optimizes the physical body, whereas breastmilk optimizes brain development. If you are willing to put in the effort, he should be supporting you.
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L.M. answers from Dallas on May 01, 2009
I totally agree that you should go to the pediatrician, but you should INSIST that your husband go with you. Your baby's fine and doing spectacularly well, it sounds like. She's hungry all the time because breastmilk doesn't fill them up as long. Formula sits in their stomachs and isn't as easily digested. This is NOT a good thing! He's used to a baby going longer between feedings, but that's actually not natural. Your pedi should have your back on this, as long as she is gaining normally, so your husband needs to hear what the doctor says so he can back off. Men! There's a reason they're not the mommies!
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C.R. answers from San Antonio on May 02, 2009
Congratualtions on your precious little girl. HOw frustrating that must be! Gee, if babies starved without formula, how did these the human race survive up until this generation???
I would tell my husband that since I have done the research and he hasn't, that I wouldn't do anything without the doctor's approval. Tell him if he feels so strongly, he can go to the pediatrician with you himself. If the pediatrician agrees with his assessment of your daughters "frailty" or need to supplement, you will. That way, you don't have to argue with "Mr. Smarty Pants" anymore. He'll run up against a real expert that he won't be able to bully!
Controlling types are usually very intimidating in private, but put them with someone of real authority and they back down quickly. Stand your ground, or you'll be setting a pattern in your young marriage that your husband can intimidate you. Don't set that precedent.
I would also recommend some marriage counseling if this type of behavior continues in any other area. You need to be strong: you're modeling for your daughter how women should be treated. She'll learn by watching you.
Hopefully, he just wants the best for her and is simply ignorant of all the research showing the tremendous benefits of breastfeeding. By the way, I'm not one of those breastfeeding "nazis"--I did have to supplement my daughter because she was losig weight after a month. I wasn't thrilled, but it was best for her. Tell your husband it makes their poop a lot stinkier!!
Good luck to you!
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K.T. answers from Dallas on May 02, 2009
Stand your ground girlie! The benefits of breastmilk are so profound!
Youmight point out these facts to him: The WHO made a seperate growth chart for BF babies because they tend to be smaller in the begining. Why? Because when breastfeeding, the baby decides when she is finished noit the parent who is looking at a bottle which they feel MUST be finished.
A babys tummy is about the size of a large marble at 5 weeks, so an ounce is alot of liquid to put in that tummy, hence the need to feed more often. If you were to force a 2-3 oz bottle of formula, then sure, she wouldnt want to eat again for several hours, but she will also be overly full, spit up more and most likely cry from being over full.
Breastfeeding protects against ear infections and generally any kind of infection YOU have been exposed to and are now making your own anti-bodies for because youpass them onto her.
As long as your baby is making wet and poopy diapers and is growing at a steady pace, you are prodducing enough milk. At 4 weeks there is usually a growth spurt which starts off a marathon nursing for a few days as baby increases her supply which usually takes 48 hours to catch up to her demand...so more fussiness and more nursing.
Breastfed babies get more contact time with their parents who cant pop in a bottle and walk off!
If breastmilk were not wnough tosustain our babies, generations of people would have starved to death! ALL mamals produce the perfectly balanced food that is required for their young.
The APA recommends EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding for babies to 6 MONTHS before offering solids. ***You might try to get this info from your doctor. If they are any kind of good pedi he will tell your husbnand the breastfeeding is the best decision.
Your baby will be sick less often sutting oedi costs and youproduce the milk cutting formula costs. Remind your husband that formula was created by a doctor in the early 1900's when a babies mother was UNABLE to breastfeed to save the life of an infant that would have otherwise died...not to be a replacement for breastmilk as it is today. No amount of engeneering can compete with natures perfect food!
This is one of those fights worth fighting! Breastfeeding is perfect food, perfect nutrition and perfect protection for your perfect babe...whynot give her the very very best!
** I see your update, if youthink there might be a lactose problem, try an elimination diet cutting our dairy YOU eat. this can solve lost of things. **
On another note, my 6 months old weighs 13lbs from 8lb at birth thats only 1/4lb a WEEK and she is perfectly healthy .BF babies are smaller!
Breastfeeding mom of 5!
Lamaze Childbirth Educator
DONA Certified Birth DOula
Studet Midwife ATM-MTP
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A.J. answers from Dallas on May 02, 2009
Girl, You stand your ground and tell your husband to get a grip. Take him with you to the next dr's appointment and have the dr talk with him. As long as your baby is growing then she is fine.
but remember that babies do go through growth spurts and sometimes need more than you have fed them. Not all babies eat the same amount and if she seems fussy and you have tried burping, gas drops, changing diaper then she might want to feed again. It is probably NOT lactose intollerance that is extremely RARE with Breast milk. its probably Reflux. find a woman ped.
But as far as your husband tell him when he is able to carry a baby for 9 months and give birth then he can decide what to feed it.
C.H. answers from Dallas on May 01, 2009
I would say that you need to change your tactic. Don't let this be something that drives a wedge between you; parenting an infant is hard enough.
When he brings the formula thing up again, don't push it away. Tell him that you appreciate that he's so concerned and so involved as a father (after all, not all men are). Tell him that you'll agree to defer to the pediatrician. Peds allow you to come in for weigh-ins without it being an office visit. So, go in and have her weighed. If she's lost weight, then you'll make an appointment with a lactation specialist to talk about ways to get her weight up. You can always supplement with formula, and it won't mean it'll be a full-time thing unless you let it be.
BUT...if she hasn't lost weight, and especially if she's gained weight, he needs to agree that your baby is doing just fine on breastmilk so HE needs to drop the subject. Set this expectation before you go in to get your daughter weighed.