That’s what my husband told me last night. It was at the end of a discussion which obviously didn’t go well. I always knew that he wasn’t very supportive of breastfeeding, but I got absolute confirmation last night. Before I gave birth, he went to the breastfeeding class with me, but they really didn’t cover the benefits of breastfeeding. Due to limited time, the instructor said she assumed everyone was aware of the benefits, and just covered the mechanics. Hubs was bored and played Sudoku during the whole class. I asked him prior to giving birth to be real supportive of breastfeeding, that I needed him to be my cheerleader in the process. He said he was sure it would be fine, and I told him I was worried about it because I knew that others had problems, and I wasn’t sure if my infertility would cause problems. He told me not to worry about it.
When I gave birth and my milk supply didn’t come in, he wouldn’t say anything encouraging, but he liked it when I started supplementing with formula. Of course, our baby was starving... He was the one to research formula and purchase the sensitive version to help with her reflux and spitting up. I kept struggling to increase my supply, and he didn’t say anything. I’ve recently realized that in the three months that Alex has been alive, he has not said one thing positive about breastfeeding. He hasn’t said anything negative really, just hasn’t said anything at all. He isn’t helpful with bottles or anything, just expects me to take care of all things feeding. Or if I’m being honest, most all things Alex… But in his passive aggressive way, he showed signs that he wasn’t supportive of breastfeeding. A few weeks ago a friend of mine came to visit and I told her in front of the hubs that he wasn’t that supportive of breastfeeding. He responded that he was very supportive of Alex eating. I should have taken the hint and dropped it.
But last night I brought it up. I asked him, saying I didn’t want to start a fight, but I wanted to know his honest opinion, what he thought of breastfeeding. He said it was fine, but he assumes that I’ll stop when she starts eating cereal next month. The man has no clue how long babies eat liquid formula or breast milk. And I know that most people don’t, especially men, but if you knew him, you would know that he does all kinds of research online – it’s one of his favorite things to do! He probably spent 3-4 hours just researching the regular vs. sensitive formula. Anyway, we tried to speak rationally with each other about it last night, but then he said that he doesn’t think Alex gets the nutrients she’s supposed to from breast milk. I told him that this was ignorant (probably not the best word choice), and that he needs to do more research. And then he told me that my breast milk is worthless.
Just to clarify, my daughter hasn't had a day without some formula since day 2 of her life. We started supplementing on day 3 because Alex wouldn't stop crying and my milk hadn't come in. It didn't come in until about day 8-9, and even then it was so very little. After tons of herbs and tons of pumping and breastfeeding, I've slowly increased my supply to 20 ounces per day - on a very good day. She always has some formula, and has been gaining weight very well. She started out her life around 30% on the weight charts, and is now about 75%... For him to claim that I've been depriving our child because I continue to try to breastfeed is completely ridiculous!
I’m actually pretty proud of myself about how I handled the conversation, all things considered. I didn’t raise my voice, or cry (in front of him). I stayed rational, and told him that I wasn’t sure why he would say what he did, but it was mean and not helpful. And that I would quit in a heartbeat, if I didn’t think I was doing the best thing I could do for Alex. He had nothing to say to that. And then he wouldn’t speak to me last night or this morning before we went to work. So then I sent him this email today: “I was serious last night. If you can provide me with some sound research by reputable sources saying that breast milk isn’t better, or “worthless” as you called it, I am very willing to quit. I’m sitting here pumping, and I hate it. It hurts, it interrupts my day and night, and every part of it sucks. And knowing that you don’t appreciate what I’m doing, that in fact you think it’s worthless, makes it so much worse. I only do it because I think it’s good for Alex. You usually do lots of research and are very knowledgeable about stuff which is why I was shocked when you said my breast milk is worthless, but if you have found some research or doctors or anyone that says this is true, I am very open to quitting. Please let me know what you have found.”
Surprise, surprise, he hasn’t responded. I hate this. He truly is one of the smartest people I know, and does all kinds of research about stuff. I really don’t believe that he thinks my breast milk is worthless, but he’s real good at saying mean things, especially when he’s feeling defensive. And when I spend 30 minutes every 3 hours all day and night long strapped to this stupid machine, just to make between 15-20 ounces each day, knowing that my husband thinks I should quit because he doesn’t see any value in it, and thinks that formula is better, well that certainly doesn’t encourage me to keep doing this!
I know I shouldn’t need his support, and that I know I’m doing the best thing for her so that should be enough. But I’m tired, and pumping adds so much additional stress to my life. I can handle it, for the sake of Alex, but to not have the hubs support is awful! I get so frustrated every night, because I watch him have downtime, playing his computer game and watching TV, while I run around the house and wash bottles, make bottles, take care of Alex, and pump. Yes, he feeds me every night, which I really appreciate. He figured out awhile ago that if he wants dinner other than cereal, he has to make it happen! Because I would be more than happy to have a bowl of cereal every night, if it means that I get to spend more time with Alex or sleeping. Those are my only priorities right now. Everything else I rush through when I’m at home – showering, making bottles, tidying up, laundry. I try to slow down when Alex is awake, so I can feed her, play with her and bathe her at a leisurely pace. But as soon as she’s asleep, I’m running around the house trying to get stuff done so I can go to bed. And he’s watching TV and playing his stupid game. I eat while doing my last pump of the night so I can at least do two things at once. Actually three – I will watch TV with the hubs during that time too. He gets frustrated because we used to watch certain TV shows together. Now I could care less – I tell him to watch them by himself if he wants. Not a priority. I rush around every night, and his life hasn’t changed one bit. So yes, I’m frustrated.
All this has been piling up, and I know everybody goes through stuff like this with a baby. It’s just so freaking hard on a relationship, isn’t it? Our division of labor at home is not fair – at all. I’ve asked him repeatedly to help me, that I need help especially now that I’m back at work. And he keeps playing that fucking computer game! I’ve been managing fine with all of this, but now that he insults my breast milk and thinks I should quit because pumping takes too much time for something that’s not worth it? I’m so pissed I can barely think straight.