Daddy is coming home... what should I do?

Rachel - posted on 02/09/2011 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My husband is currently deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months. I'm happy that he is coming home soon, but I'm afraid my world is going to be a tumbled mess then. So I should start at the beginning...
My mom is a midwife. She is amazing! I have been apprenticing with her and love the opportunity to share such a beautiful thing with these new moms. My mom breastfed my sisters and I. My husbands mom breastfed all of her kids. Including my husband...
So while I was pregnant, my husband and I had a few fights about breastfeeding. He has a daughter from a previous relationship and feels like he missed out on so many things with her. I get that. He says that the mother gets the baby the first 9 months (in the womb), so the father should get the baby the next 9 months (from 0 to 9 months). I disagree. I believe a baby needs its' mother for those months, and way beyond. So back to the breastfeeding issues. We fought a few times before our baby was born, about bonding, feeding, loving our baby. I believe that God made our bodies to make milk so we could feed and nurture our babies. I believe that every woman who is able to should breastfeed.
After our babe was born, she had trouble latching on. She came out a bit crooked, so nursing hurt her. We took her to get adjusted at the chiropractor and that helped IMMENSELY. After that, she still had trouble latching on. My milk supply dropped. She was sleepy. My husband was not very supportive. She started losing weight. I started getting depressed. I just zoned out. I sat most days with a barely nursing baby, staring out the window while my husband worked on his computer. He who wanted so badly to bond with this beautiful baby just ignored us. Thinking back on it now still makes me cry. I needed him. I needed him to say "Yes, you can do this." I found out recently that he was giving bottles while I was still sleeping. I felt like I was a failure. I could make enough milk. And he asked why I blamed him for everything going wrong.
So we struggled through supplementing, which made my supply dip lower, pumping, etc. We moved a few months after our babe was born, which added more stress on the situation. We fought, we gave each other the silent treatment, but we kept on trying to nurse. Bottles of the supplement, as well as my pumped milk only made things worse.
After a while... it got better. I pumped, she nursed, my supply started coming back up. She gained weight again. We stopped supplementing.
So last August, we got the news that my husband, who is with the Air National Guard, was going to be going to Afghanistan for 6 months. And I was relieved. Slightly happy, even. My baby would be mine. I could nurse her all I wanted and know that everyone around me actually supported what I was doing.
He left, after training, the first part of November. He will be home in May.
Even though we have talked about everything, I don't know what will happen when he gets home. Will he be ok with us nursing? How should I respond if he's not? How do I explain how important this is to me? I love my baby. I love breastfeeding. I am happy not to share her, or be the one shared.
I love my husband and will be glad to have him home. And I know he loves us and wants us to be happy. I don't know what to do. I don't want to keep talking about this, but it feels unresolved still. And I don't know how things will be when my husband gets home. I WILL keep nursing my baby. Until SHE is ready to stop.
Any thoughts?

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Briana - posted on 02/10/2011

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From one military wife to another, sounds like your issues go WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY beyond the baby. You two need some marital counseling, especially if you were slightly relieved for him to deploy. Me and my husband have been to hell and back, almost separated, but I NEVER once was even close to being relieved when he was ready to deploy both times.

Wanting to not share your daughter with her father, another huge red flag. You should WANT to share your daughter with her father.

Ya'll can stone me all you want. But, my husband being Active Duty Army, I see this A LOT. Your issues extend FAR beyond the breastfeeding issue. So breastfeeding is going to continue to be an issue until you two get the counseling you guys need.

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Heather - posted on 02/10/2011

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It sounds like there's a lot of side issues involved here that I can't comment on (that's your business). But in terms of sharing the baby, I see that things do get easier as the baby gets older and interacts more. My husband started putting the baby to bed around 7 mos. and that really helped their bonding. I breastfed him first, then passed him off to papa. For me, it's a little space at the end of the day to breathe deep and just chill a bit, and for him, it's a special time for just papa & baby. They've got their own songs and little rituals and it's lovely. There's absolutely no reason to give up breastfeeding. It is not the only way to bond.

Amy - posted on 02/10/2011

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I'm glad you were able to overcome your issues and continue to breastfeed. Moving on to the next step, try to find ways to compromise. It's a lot of work taking care of a baby, try allowing him to help more so you can take care of yourself and also let him bond with his baby. Try pumping as well as nursing to save up a stash then set a feeding schedule with him, you nurse at night, then give him 1 or 2 bottle feedings during the day with pumped milk. If you show him that you'r willing to make things work that way then it might help you both find some common ground. Your baby is so blessed to have tow amazing parents who want to love and care for them. The dad has just as much rights as the mom and not very many dad's want to be that involved, you are blessed to have a man in your life willing to do be such a great dad.

Tracy - posted on 02/10/2011

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WOW that is crazy. Breast milk is the best for babies and it is healthy for women to do. Are you able to get extra milk from your feedings/ If so I would try to store as much as possible and this fway allow him to feed her a bottle or two a day of expressed breast milk this way he can feed her bottles, in that time you can pump and have a little you time. I have a pump I can wear (whisper wear) so I can actually pump outside or even when I go for a walk (unfortunately they don't make them any more).

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I'm not sure why men feel that feeding is the only way to bond. My husband LOVED having my daughter nap on his chest. It was his favorite thing in the world. Being skin to skin defititely promotes bonding. If he's comfortable he could take baths with her. Do you nurse while laying down? Another thing my husband loves is cuddling up against my daughter while she's nursing in the bed. She's in a mommy-daddy sandwich and everyone is happy :). Just try to talk and offer other great ways to bond.

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U cud have an arrangement... He feeds her solids and u feed her liquids aka breast milk. That way he feels he can satisfy his urge of feeding her.



Also u can take turns in terms of looking after her one to one. U have a girls day/ night out and he can have the baby. C how that goes . He may not b too successful or patient and might want you to do it all or it might work fine. That way at least he is satisfied and hopefully balance is restored in the family.



And u need to get one thing straight he needs to b honest with no betraying Ur trust and feeding formula behind Ur back!



I was also wondering if he likes being "recognized" for what he does... If that is the case u might have to make him feel important and recognize his contribution so he feels fulfilled as a "dad" ... A liitle bit of ......psychotherapy

Rachel - posted on 02/09/2011

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Yes, you're right. We need to both share. It's hard to share when I feel like she's being taken away from me.
As for her being able to play... yes. She will be more fun to him now, I think.

Alyssa - posted on 02/09/2011

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It seems parenting is becoming an ownership battle between the two of you.

Parenting is about SHARING something together and nothing could be more precious than sharing a life.

Sounds to me like you need to give more to each other rather than trying to claim responsibilty..no one owns your baby more than the other.

It's not right that your husband supplemented without your knowledge but maybe if it is such an issue you could express so he can feed too if your feeding is going well. My bet is, now your child is a bit older he will be able to bond in other ways because your child will "play" now. He might not be so hell bent on sharing the feeding.

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