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Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife
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Backstory first: We have a 2 week old son. This is her first. She is the type that likes everything planned out way ahead of time. She dislikes change and surprises. This is obviously a big change for her!! Dr. said our son is not gaining weight since birth. He has gained length. We arent in Failure to Thrive status yet but we are concerned about the lack of weight gain. The wife had been feeding about every 3 hours but not religiously, so we felt like he should be getting plenty of nutrition. The doc wanted to supplement with formula to start putting on weight. We are really wanting to put off formula for as long as possible so we instead decided to start feeding baby every 2 hours. Wifey has taken this lack of weight gain personally, as expected, for she is the sole nutrition provider for the baby. Ive made effort to comfort her and emphasize its not time to assume that its her or her milk production.

Im not here necessarily for the baby but more specifically for the wife. She obviously feels somewhat responsible for his lack of weight gain. She also feels constrained with her new lack of mobility. She feels sore from her new feeding role. She feels tired...no...exhausted. She doesnt feel like herself in this new role. She feels like a milkcow because its constant feeding and not much else. And thats just the simple version. Many of these I can sympathize with because I was very much the sole provider for over 2 years out of my oldest sons life. From 7 months to about 3 years I was mom and dad for him. I remember the things I did to make life better. I have ideas of how things probably need to be now.

For example, I believe our/her diet could improve. Right now her cravings are for very sweet and processed things. Walking the baby 2-3 times a day would be great stimulation for mom and baby. It would also help get her OUT of this box. Playing with and stimulating the baby with sounds, touch, movement and sights will improve development. I also think this could help mom feel less like a milk cow and more like a ?teacher,developer, parent?.

All of that sounds simple to communicate however, I know that its not that simple. I can see when i make suggestions that theres a voice in her head saying things like "let me twist your nipples for 20 minutes every 2 hours!" and "you try being a mom at his point dumbass!!" . Throw in a little post-partem and trying to navigate this path between motivation and support from becoming annoying and shutdown becomes harder than Ironman. I help as much as possible, I do all the diapers, house cleaning, getting food, I wake up with her every feeding and Ill change the diaper, burp him and put him back to sleep. I take him on walks and stimulate him as much as I can....but i also work...so I am not always going to be here. We are also starting to pump so that I can feed him bottles. I really believe that she will benefit from getting out more, eating better and working more on his development and being less passive. I dont think I have a problem with support but its the motivation thing that has me in a bind. So heres some of my questions to the experts:

1) am I expecting too much too soon?

2) will her nipples/boobs get used to the frequency of feeding so theyre not sore all the time?

3) what are some guidelines of what NOT to say and do.

4) how do you change the opinion of what 'milk cow' means without sounding like a sappy cheerleader. I need a better term than 'milk cow' that sounds more positive. Something that gives its true significance to the well-being of the child.

5) any advice that helps me not sound like the clueless male that I am.

"WHEW...I really regret that workout!"..............Noone
Last edited by: COJO: Nov 4, 15 9:10
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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1) YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES. Pregnancy/childbirth is a physically trying process. And the hormones. Oh the hormones - not in the "it's just hormones" way, in the scientific/medical they are all over the place way. It's been two weeks - she's not even physically recovered from childbirth yet.

2) Yes. Has she seen a lactation consultant? You do get used to it, but it's possible the baby doesn't have a good latch. I'd strongly suggest some professional advice in this area, especially if the baby isn't gaining weight. It might have nothing to do with milk/milk supply & strictly be a latch issue. Nipple cream after every feeding (lanolin) will help a lot.

3) Tell you her love her and that she's doing an amazing job. That you know it's hard & you know she's tired. Stop offering suggestions. See the hormone statement above - right or wrong, newborn babies cause a lot of "this is my only job" and many feelings of personal failure when things don't go storybook correct. Does she have friends who have kids? Sometimes another mom saying that it's normal & you will be fine helps a lot.

4) She's feeding a baby. Hopefully the feedings will get more efficient, but in the beginning, they eat/sleep/poop. It's the nature of newborns.

5) Tell her this. That you feel helpless/clueless & you don't know how to help/how to make it better. Ask her what SHE needs you to say/do.

You are a good husband. This will get better & it will get easier. Give it time - BUT keep an eye on her. PPD is serious & often not recognized by the mom since no one really knows how you are supposed to feel after having a baby.
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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Could have written exactly what you said myself...

1.) Probably but at least you are concerned.
2.) Yes, mine hurt for the first few weeks and then suddenly the pain goes away. But lanolin helps in the meantime.
3.) I would worry less about what NOT to say and just continue to support her.
4.) Mother, superhero, creator/provider/sustainer of human life.
5.) This became my bible and helped me plan a lot of things... I like planning too. So this website provided that outlet. http://kellymom.com/ It has a wealth of information, including tips for increasing milk production.

Also, before my daughter was born, I had read someone state that if you do anything every day it is "Get out of the house!" It helped me immensely. Whether it was to take a walk with the baby, go to Target, the grocery store. It helped me from going crazy. Another thing that really helped was when my husband noticed that I was exhausted, he would pack up a bottle or two and head to his parents or somewhere at least out of the house so I could get some sleep. Sleep helps. A lot.

Good luck!
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
For example, I believe our/her diet could improve. Right now her cravings are for very sweet and processed things. Walking the baby 2-3 times a day would be great stimulation for mom and baby. It would also help get her OUT of this box. Playing with and stimulating the baby with sounds, touch, movement and sights will improve development. I also think this could help mom feel less like a milk cow and more like a ?teacher,developer, parent?.

I don't have kids but feel somewhat qualified to respond because I'm female...

Let her eat what she wants. Feel free to take on the cooking of healthy stuff you can put in the fridge and she can nuke in the microwave - if she's craving sweets, then jasmine rice and fruit salad are good (that's what I try to do when I'm wanting carbs, bit also avoiding processed stuff). But just make it and let it sit there, don't expect her to find time to chop a bunch of melon etc.

YOU take the baby for a walk so she can get some sleep. Walking might feel good to her, too, but you can take the baby (baby gets stimulation), wife gets time to do something she wants (break from being milk-cow).

YOU play with the baby (see the rest of the above).

maybe she's born with it, maybe it's chlorine
If you're injured and need some sympathy, PM me and I'm very happy to write back.
disclaimer: PhD not MD
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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I have been where your wife is now... the word you're looking for in the title is not "motivate". It should be "support". "Motivate" suggests she is not doing enough. As tigerchik says, yes it's nice for your wife to get out and get some fresh air. But I promise you, what she would probably really REALLY like is an hour alone. To pee by herself or make a cup of tea without worrying about the welfare of a tiny human being that she is keeping alive. You take the baby for a walk, do some playing or whatever stimulating activity you want, and give your wife the gift of some peace and quiet with someone else being responsible for the kid. Does she pump breast milk? If she can, it gives an additional window of freedom since someone else can give the kid a bottle between breastfeeding sessions. If that's something that interests her, rent one of the electric pumps from a pharmacy... don't bother with those stupid manual ones, they're way more effort than they're worth. Or of course, you can also supplement with formula.

My oldest daughter was under 6 lbs when she was born. She ate CONSTANTLY and I exclusively breast fed her. I had a very hard time for several months, including a lengthy episode of post-partum depression. Maybe show your wife some pics from my blog... she might be able to picture herself a few years down the road. Things will get easier. All the best to you both... this is a difficult time for new parents, I think it's great that you're looking to help your wife and really work as a team.

http://must-be-half-crazy.blogspot.ca/
Supported by: Britannia Chiropractic Clinic | Legacy Team Nuun 2021|
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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your wife is literally changing state -- as if reorganising from solid to gas. It's hard as hell, especially for a woman who is used to autonomy and self control. The key to minimising stress is letting the baby dictate the rhythms, at least for the first six weeks.

For now all her energy is focused on getting the baby fed, so of course she feels like a milk cow. Once the difficulty eases up, and it will, she'll be able to do what she wants while the baby is nursing -- and maybe even just enjoy that very brief span of time where an animal function is the most important thing she's got to do.

Nipple shields may help with the soreness. It will go away, but it can be brutal and disheartening in the meantime.

Mixing formula and breastfeeding is not defeat. It's possible to do both.

good luck!
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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This is my N=1... (I re-read this before posting and it may sound harsh - but that's not how it's intended... I'm just trying to say all this as quickly as I can with 3 kids using me as a springboard while trying to type...)

Your baby is 2 weeks old - your wife is 2 weeks post either pushing a baby out her vagina or recovering from a C-section. Motivating her to get out to walk the baby is the last thing you need to do. If the baby isn't gaining weight - throw any feeding schedule out the window and feed on demand. Sometimes that means beginning a new feeding 90 minutes after you started the last one with only a 30 minute break in between - sometimes longer but never more than 3 hours - and that means even waking a sleeping baby (the only time you should do that is when they are tiny and not gaining weight very well). I have distinct recollections of my babies rooting seemingly right after taking them off the breast. Lanolin and warm showers were a godsend! If her nipples are taking that bad of a beating - definitely call a lactation consultant - they can give great tips and check the babies latch. Kellymom and La Leche League websites may be helpful. I also remember at my oldest sons first check up the nurse coming back with a bottle of formula and feeding him right in front of me - talk about a freak out. By me! Talk about feeling like a total failure! At least they didn't do that to her.

Breastfeeding takes more extra calories than growing that little baby took - so if she's craving crap - go buy her crap. And lots of it! Obviously have healthy fruits and veggies and proteins, etc available, but please don't say anything to her about eating what she's craving. Just buy more of it after she's devoured it all!

One big mistake I made very early on with my first was pumping. I was getting milk out when pumping but he wasn't getting enough when he was actually nursing - my body wasn't playing catchup. I know you want to help with feeding - but maybe this early on when your wife is trying to establish her supply pumping is taking too much from her. Wait 2-4 more weeks so she can really establish her supply before throwing pumping sessions in. With my second and third boys I didn't even bust out the pump until after 6-8 weeks and nursing went way better with both of them. This means maybe having some formula on hand for if she is desperate for some sleep or a break or that for the next 2-4 weeks she is it - the milking cow. Sometimes, you just gotta moo! Movies, Netflix, Hulu, CandyCrush, Solitaire, an IPad, something to do while nursing, without having to get up and move. Get a Boppy, extra pillows, a comfy place (with access to the above entertainment options) to help at least keep her entertained. It is a brutal adjustment, and having a couple of bottles of formula just in case is huge - and let her decide if she wants you to feed it to the baby to give her a break.

She's a new mom. Unfortunately, she's the milk dispenser, the milk machine, the milking cow - just make sure she knows she's beautiful and amazing and that she is feeding that baby the best food in the world. If she doesn't like those terms (and lets face it, when your all bloated and have jelly belly, it's pretty easy to see yourself as a cow - and it's not pretty) remind her she's a mom and she's doing awesome and she's amazing. With all your help with everything else right now - her only job right now is feeding that baby. It does even out in a bit - but it takes a few weeks. Don't give up!! You're awesome for coming on here and asking. Keep us posted in a few weeks how everything is going. And let her know that if she does need to supplement - it ok! Any breastmilk is better than none, and she's already committed to breast! Hang in there!

**********************
Harry: "I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this."
Loyd: "I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver's full of shit, man."
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [edbikebabe] [ In reply to ]
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So much good stuff here.

You are in the very early stages - i breastfed my little one exclusively and my nipples were very sore for the first two weeks - i practiced getting a better latch and then it was totally fine. I tell people about how i never expected to love breastfeeding so much but I really did. But if you had asked in those first couple of weeks i probably wouldn't say the same thing. It's so hard to know!

The weight gain thing too- i am surprised that at two weeks it's a big concern because it's expected that for the first week the baby will lose a bit of weight and then start to gain but every kid is different.

You can't do a lot to help with the feeding of the baby but make sure to 'feed and water' your wife. She needs support - it's a crazy roller-coaster and her body is going through a lot! It helped a lot that my husband bought quite a bit of grazing food - cut fruit, crackers, cheese, etc so it was easy to make sure I got something in.
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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I tried to breast feed my daughter for six weeks. My milk never came in, but I was determined! Six weeks, feeding every two hours, around the clock. She didn't gain weight and cried all the time. I was a mess and felt like a failure as a woman. Finally, I started supplementing with formula. My daughter gained weight and stopped crying so much and I got some sleep. She is almost 18 now, is well adjusted, a straight A student and overall good kid.

The reason I offer this story is because I'm a high achieving, Type A person and fell into the trap of trying to do everything "perfectly" when my daughter was born. Sometimes, it's just not possible. If breast feeding is causing misery for mom, baby or both, go to Plan B and supplement. There will be many, many moments when "good enough" in raising kids really is good enough and this is one of them.
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [edbikebabe] [ In reply to ]
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WOW! Lots of great advice and support folks! Thank you so much. Ive been very busy obviously and havent been able to respond as soon as I like.

To answer some questions; We do have a Feeding Consultant and have asked a few questions to her. She is great help to my wife however, wifey doesnt like to ask for advice too often. Wifey had a c-section.

I have read and am practicing much of the advice Ive read on this thread, just havent had chance to reply. The common theme is support support support. I give that my all. One interesting thing: A surprising theme from your responses has been give her the snacks. From this forum of many athletes I expected more stories of how important proper nutrition was to her and the baby. Well, I guess from recovering from a c-section, pregnancy and feeding a baby...getting the comfort food is more imprtant than focusing solely on nutrition. I know the nutrition is still improtant but, in a funny way, it seems many of the posts stressed keeping her fed no matter what. I liken it to some bonk rides that I have had...it just doesnt matter what the hell you eat....you just want to eat!!

I have tempered my expectations and instead of making suggestions or motivating....I just listen and ask what she needs:)

"WHEW...I really regret that workout!"..............Noone
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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Your a good man COJO. Another thing that only one person mentioned was keeping her watered as well. It seemed like I would drink a liter of water or juice or milk every time I nursed. I know I didn't drink quite that much but I was always drinking while nursing. So along with all those high carb high calorie snacks, make sure she's got a nice big drink too!

I think 2 weeks out from my c-section I was happy to be able to walk around my building without pain. It was very different from my previous vaginal deliveries. Baby steps on the exercise front for her! But little walks do help with getting her stomach/midsection working right and healing again!!

**********************
Harry: "I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this."
Loyd: "I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver's full of shit, man."
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [RockyMtnChic] [ In reply to ]
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I also found that chugging a Boost right after the nighttime feeding helped a lot - I was getting really run down and calorie deficient while breastfeeding.

Back to the OP, you have lots of good advice here (which I'm not going to repeat), just keep on supporting her with whatever she needs or wants. She will find her own way to redefine herself as something other than "milk bag" when she's ready (for me, it was going back to work and doing my first full IM - LOL).

AP

------------------------
"How bad could it be?" - SimpleS
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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oh my goodness great advice here. i had 4 kids and breasted all of them. everyone is spot on with their advice.

wrt nutrition it is only 2 weeks since birth. this will not last forever. that is actually a very good mantra to have now for every phase of your kids life. believe it or not, you will look back on this time as the "easy" time. newborns are so easy (and i had one i nursed every 20 minutes around the clock for 2 years so yeah, i had one "hard" one but still easy in retrospect as he is a strapping 19 yo in a different country now (sob)). water, feed, change them. do the same with wifey. let her be TOTALLY ridiculous for now. give it time. things will even out. listen to your LC.

take baby away (if mom wants (that would have been horror for me with #1 and #2) and leave her totally alone. she might be touched out and needing space and time Alone. AGAIN only if she wants.

do not judge ANYTHING she does right now - all crazy is normal. :)

enjoy! you have a new BABY!!! :)

http://harvestmoon6.blogspot.com
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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I have read and am practicing much of the advice Ive read on this thread, just havent had chance to reply. The common theme is support support support. I give that my all. One interesting thing: A surprising theme from your responses has been give her the snacks. From this forum of many athletes I expected more stories of how important proper nutrition was to her and the baby. Well, I guess from recovering from a c-section, pregnancy and feeding a baby...getting the comfort food is more imprtant than focusing solely on nutrition. I know the nutrition is still improtant but, in a funny way, it seems many of the posts stressed keeping her fed no matter what. I liken it to some bonk rides that I have had...it just doesnt matter what the hell you eat....you just want to eat!!

I have tempered my expectations and instead of making suggestions or motivating....I just listen and ask what she needs:)


Good for you for listening to us smart womens ;-) seriously, you are good to ask for help and adjust your behavior.

"proper nutrition" is circumstantial! My mom tells me she went through a lot of Oatmeal Creme Pies when I was a newborn. I turned out ok.

maybe she's born with it, maybe it's chlorine
If you're injured and need some sympathy, PM me and I'm very happy to write back.
disclaimer: PhD not MD
Last edited by: tigerchik: Nov 11, 15 15:59
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, I think it would nice to just let her do things on her own pace. She just delivered a baby and she may still be physically fatigued, as labor and delivery really wear a woman out. She is also probably adjusting to her new situation, as it is really overwhelming for us, so just try and understand her now.

Yes, her breasts will eventually get used to the feedings and may be less sore in the long run. After feedings, she may express a little amount of milk and spread it in the nipple area and air dry it. This can help prevent sore nipples.

When you have time, prepare or buy healthy meals for her (fruits and green leafy vegetables, veggie soup). That way, you get to convince her secretly to shift into a healthier diet for her milk supply and for your son.

Just be a supportive husband and I know that you and your family are going to be just fine. I hope this helps! Congrats on your new baby! :)
Last edited by: camharthy: Dec 19, 15 7:46
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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Just finished my OB Nursing class in December - the textbook says that a woman needs approximately 500 calories more/day to support breastfeeding. You've got to understand that although nutrition is wonderful, right now it's really all about calories. Good luck with everything and congratulations!
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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [COJO] [ In reply to ]
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I am sorry, even the subject line of this post is disturbing. I first read this weeks ago and have not been able to shake my feeling of discomfort. You clearly love your wife and your son - but to ask for help in motivating HER in a women's forum just upsets me. Your statement " We have a 2 week old son. This is her first" leaps from the page.


Isn't this your first too?


I dearly hope so - then you can be forgiven everything. It's a dizzying time.


Love each other. Hold on tight - it all will be gone in a heartbeat. If she (or you) want to be home with your child on the couch all day - then love every minute of that time. We all think (me included) that some random pursuit of fitness or a time goal is the most worthy pursuit. That some external measure defines us.


We are wrong.


The most important moments of your life have nothing to do with fitness or races or motivation. But clearly you know that.


Enjoy these moments. You will have the rest of your lives for everything else. If you are lucky, your son will be there at the finish line.




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Re: Ladies: help me motivate my breastfeeding wife [Kate S] [ In reply to ]
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This times a million!!!!!! I cherished the time I just spent laying around with my baby. It goes so fast and you never know if you will be able to do it again.


Kate S wrote:


Love each other. Hold on tight - it all will be gone in a heartbeat. If she (or you) want to be home with your child on the couch all day - then love every minute of that time. We all think (me included) that some random pursuit of fitness or a time goal is the most worthy pursuit. That some external measure defines us.


We are wrong.


The most important moments of your life have nothing to do with fitness or races or motivation. But clearly you know that.


Enjoy these moments. You will have the rest of your lives for everything else. If you are lucky, your son will be there at the finish line.



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