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Thoughts on pumping so Daddy can feed LO...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I spend the majority of my day reading through old posts about DPs urging moms to pump so they can be "part" of the feeding process.  This was initiated because DP and I had a "disagreement" on this very issue this weekend.  (I knew it would come up sooner or later, he brought home a breast pump in the 1st trimester...)

 

I'm 100% against this.  I feel it goes against what Mother Nature intended.  I feel the LO could get confused this way.  I also feel it's part of an overall need of men to "control" as this is one of the few things they are completely UNABLE to do (breastfeed.)  And not that DP is controlling, quite the opposite, but I feel personally attacked as a woman that a man wants me to do extra work so he is able to do what ONLY I can do.

 

But I'm also going to be a first time mom.  I'm willing to admit I could be wrong.  Speaking of "controlling", that word fits with me much more than with DP...  I don't want to come across as a controlling bitch in this situation, but I honestly don't feel that one parent has to feed the baby to be connected to the baby.

 

I'm trying to put myself in his shoes - I'd probably be jealous that my body didn't make nourishment for the baby, but happy to be in awe of my partner's body that did.  And I'd make sure I got to do the snuggling afterwards.  I really don't think I'd push this issue, that I'd recognize it as part of the master design of the female body.  I really do believe I wouldn't push this issue.

 

And of course there's the LIST of other activities that DP can do with LO to "bond" - if this is even about bonding.  Baths, massage, reading, cuddling, diapering, dressing - I wouldn't dream of interfering with any of that.

 

It seems so UNNATURAL to ME (I'm not assuming all women feel this way) to go through the EXTRA steps of pumping to do something I was MADE to do. To put plastic in a baby's mouth when I'm in the house...

 

It would be different if I was going back to work or had some other activity that took me away from baby and out of the house, but I'll be off work for a year minimum...

 

And who knows?  Maybe there'll be other difficulties that make pumping needed?  I'm not saying "under no circumstances am I ever going to use a pump" but not just so DP gets to feed LO.

 

Basically, am asking if I'm crazy...  Ok, truthfully, I'm not even doing that, I've read enough posts to know that I'm not alone in my thinking.  I'm looking more for support.  Does anyone else feel like this?

post #2 of 26

Scruffy, No you are not crazy!! You have a right to your feelings about this issue as it is very personal and intimate. I have come to know myself well: when my newborn arrives I don't want anyone else to hold or touch my baby for a good while. I'll share with DH for a short time, at intervals, to bond for 15-20 minutes when I am not nursing, but when it comes to bonding and nursing my newborn, it is a hands off policy for me. I feel very uncomfortable and vulnerable if people try to pass my baby around or tell me to go nap while they watch the baby. No Way!! That baby goes where ever I go for the first month. Then I ease up a little but not much. And there is no pumping going on either. My mother tried to get me to pump so she could feed the baby and re-live her mommy days. Uh-uh. Other people can come up with ways to bond with the new baby without using my milk and a bottle.

 

IMP, your newborn will want to snuggle and smell your DP and get kisses, but when it comes to nourishment it is all about mommy.

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thx WriterMama - I'm extremely lucky to have my mother's support in this.  She thinks it's one of the more crazier things she's ever heard - I guess my dad never brought it up.  He was in charge of baths.  And despite all the nourishment she provided me - I'm a total daddy's girl.

 

I just asked a woman in my office about this as she is in a unique position:  Her partner will be trying to get pregnant shortly.  So I asked her if they both would be breastfeeding (as technically, they are able.)  She said "no.  The person carrying the baby does the feeding.  It's primal and intuitive."  I almost hugged her.  So that's my new argument against for DP - if someone who is biologically able to do so isn't, someone who isn't biologically able to do so shouldn't (in my case, may not apply to all!)

 

Disclaimer: I'm really not trying to step on anyone's toes.  I have NO judgment about what works in your situation.  I'm just [trying to] simply state my feelings on MY situation. 

post #4 of 26

I totally agree with you and it bothers me when people say they use bottles, so Daddy can bond with the baby.

There are SO MANY ways that Daddy can bond with baby. Snuggling, playing, rocking to sleep, just holding and gazing, etc

 

We started pumping a few weeks after DD, but that was because I had to stock up to get ready to go back to work. If that were not an issue, I would keep a couple bags in the freezer for later times when I'm out, but that's not something I would even start doing in the 1st few months.

post #5 of 26

Well this is one of those things that's just really individual.  Pumping can be a hassle.  It *can* also save your breastfeeding relationship, get you out of a bout of mastitis, and give you an extra few hours of sleep.  And it can mess up your supply, cause nipple problems, and make you want to cry.

 

I initially felt exactly like you do.  And, had things gone well, I probably would have kept on that path, as my sister did - she never pumped at all, even when she went back to work at 6 months pp with both her kids.  But I had supply problems and later on mastitis, and I grew to dearly love my breast pump.  But I never pumped just so my DH could feed the baby - he got enough of that, supplementing her with formula while I felt like a terrible mom, attached to the pump to get the last few drops out.  When I went back to work I pumped so Grandma could feed her - but that was entirely different.

 

I have had clients who intended to pump so their DPs (or grandma, or whoever) could feed the baby - but they rapidly became hooked on the ease of just latching the little goober on and never got around to it.  I have had clients who had no philosophical objection to a bit of formula and let their DPs give the baby a bottle of formula so they could get one decent stretch of sleep at night.  I've had friends for whom I've done child care who tried like heck to pump out enough for one feed so I could watch the kid while they taught piano or studied or whatever, and they found it really difficult because once your supply regulates, if you pump, you don't have enough for a decent feed, and if you do a decent feed, you don't have enough to pump much, later.

 

My personal thought is that if you have no other reason to pump, doing so just for your DP to give a bottle is kind of a huge hassle.  If you have an undersupply problem he'll probably be giving bottles anyway to help you resolve it and if you have an oversupply problem you'll be pumping but also feeding as much as you can and him giving a bottle would cause you actual harm. 

 

BUT if your supply is normal and nursing isn't problematic and you decide you DO want to do it, most women find that they have tons of milk first thing in the morning, so if you pump on one side and nurse on the other, you'd have enough for a feed without compromising immediate satisfaction later on.  This requires a little bit more mental and organizational togetherness than you might be capable of first thing in the morning.  If you just do it occasionally, that'd be the way to go.  If you do it regularly, you can simply replace a feed with a pumping for the next day.  But regardless, unless YOU really want that block of nursing-free time, it's a lot for a man to ask of someone on whom the bulk of the initial baby care already falls.  For the majority of women, it's not like you can just hook up to a pump whenever you feel like it and get enough for a feed and then give the bottle whenever you like - a certain amount of planning is required to avoid either discomfort from going too long without nursing or baby crankies due to not quite enough there for immediate satisfaction. (Note: baby will not actually starve or be compromised nutritionally - it will just take a bit MORE nursing to be happy, if a pumping session happens at an inconvenient time for the baby (like you pump, and then 15 minutes later the baby decides she/he wants a snack).) 

 

So... I would try, if I were you, to gently discourage your DP from assuming that it's all sunshine and kittens, this pumping.  It could be.  You could find you let down just as easily for the pump and it's no real issue just to stick that sucker on the other side while you nurse first thing in the morning and that if your DP then gives that bottle in the evening, you are able to sleep peacefully while he does it and not wake up with rock-hard boobs leaking all over the bed.  If that scenario is feasible for you, then it's totally fine.  Nipple preference isn't likely to be an issue and one bottle a day is not going to harm your child.  But, it could easily be a hassle, especially as you're learning (I would definitely NOT encourage anyone to do this in the first 3-4 weeks, for sure).  Some women's supplies are more tightly regulated than others, and in the event of even a slight oversupply, you're not going to want to skip a nursing session, ever.

 

I hope that helps... I realize it's a little disjointed - but the take-home message for your DP is probably "I am going to be so grateful to you helping me feed this kid if there are any problems, but if nursing goes smoothly, we'll find some other special things for you to do with the baby."

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cocoanib View Post

I totally agree with you and it bothers me when people say they use bottles, so Daddy can bond with the baby.

There are SO MANY ways that Daddy can bond with baby. Snuggling, playing, rocking to sleep, just holding and gazing, etc

Totally agree!

 

Did you know that a newborn will try to mimic you? Look at baby and slowly raise your eyebrows when baby is alert. Baby will mimic try to raise them back. Or stick out his/her tongue. Our LC told us this and Pete has tried this on every baby he gets to hold. It's actually rather sweet to see him staring at a baby, raising his eyebrows and giggling when baby raises them back. 

 

Baby will need burps and cuddles and these are fantastic ways for daddy to bond that don't involve you risking your supply or nipple confusion early on when everyone, including baby, is trying to figure nursing out.

 

And, as has been mentioned, daddy can help feed solids in 6 months or so. 

post #7 of 26
I also feel like the breastfeeding relationship is special and sacred. Pumping so daddy or someone else can feed the baby is okay if you absolutely have to, but as a way of life is tedious and not supportive of the breastfeeding relationship. Some women work so pumping is mandatory but a lot of us stay at home with our babies so why not fully immerse yourself in breastfeeding? Dads dont NEED to feed them milk to feel bonded. In fact they dont even get the oxytocin rush when they do it to help facilitate bonding like we do. Thus it becomes just another activity which can easily be replaced with rocking, holding, bathing, making funny faces, talking, singing...yeah definitely no shortage of options. I say leave the breastfeeding to moms, its what we're made for, its best for the baby and the precious first few months are over so quickly that I feel its best to make the most of them.
post #8 of 26

We actually tried to pump so my husband could give my daughter a bottle in the evenings. (We waited for the breastfeeding relationship to be established... I think it was six weeks.) My daughter, however, had other ideas. She wouldn't take milk (boob, bottle, cup, anything) from anyone but me. She also got to a point where she wouldn't sleep unless she was being held. As soon as I put her down, she'd wake up and start crying. It was very frustrating. My husband's way of helping out, in that situation, was to don the wrap and wear her for the first couple of hours upon getting home. It was a win for all of us.

 

It is, by the way, physiologically possible for a man to lactate. It takes a lot of work and dedication, but it is possible. Just... FYI.

post #9 of 26

Scruffy, no, you are not crazy!  I feel the same way, though I want (and DH also really wants) DH to do as much bonding as possible.  In fact, I feel (right now, but hey, don't listen to me either, I'm also a FTM-to-be!) that I'd be just as happy if he did basically everything but BFing.  In fact, when he was working with me, that was actually pretty much the plan*, which he was thrilled with.  He's very supportive of BFing, etc. and doesn't understand why dads think they have to feed the baby in order to bond.  He's happy to bond by changing diapers, rocking, wearing, dressing...  And of course the "fun" times where you're just kinda holding baby and hanging out or playing/reading to him/her.  There are so many things to do other than feeding?  Sure, it can take up to half baby's waking hours at first...  but what about the other half?  I honestly don't get it.  I mean, I know as humans, we actually do all tend to show affection by feeding in general.  (And funny enough, DH is big on that.  He loves cooking for me and others, taking people out to eat, sharing his food, etc.)  But...  Yeah, I do feel it's some kind of jealousy based on the fact that bio females are (almost always) the only ones who can nurse, and well, in a patriarchal society, we just can't have that!  You're not qualified, dear!  Or something.  Not that the men (and women) who express the "need" for "Daddy" to bottlefeed are necessarily thinking that on a conscious level, but IDK...  And I'm not a gender/biological essentialist, either, BTW-- but this smiley sums it up best for me, as it so often does-- shrug.gif

 

 

*Things JUST got thrown for a good but crazy loop as he got a great outside job out of the blue ~ a week ago, when he wasn't even looking for it!

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshinelove View Post

I also feel like the breastfeeding relationship is special and sacred. Pumping so daddy or someone else can feed the baby is okay if you absolutely have to, but as a way of life is tedious and not supportive of the breastfeeding relationship. Some women work so pumping is mandatory but a lot of us stay at home with our babies so why not fully immerse yourself in breastfeeding? Dads dont NEED to feed them milk to feel bonded. In fact they dont even get the oxytocin rush when they do it to help facilitate bonding like we do. Thus it becomes just another activity which can easily be replaced with rocking, holding, bathing, making funny faces, talking, singing...yeah definitely no shortage of options. I say leave the breastfeeding to moms, its what we're made for, its best for the baby and the precious first few months are over so quickly that I feel its best to make the most of them.

yeahthat.gif Plus, Spughy shared a lot of details about how complicated nursing/ pumping can really be. And, while breastfeeding relationships can be well established by six weeks, growth spurts, babe's changing sleep schedule as she grows, and other health issues make nursing a constantly evolving relationship. I wonder if that might be the essential truth nugget he is missing. Breast feeding is a relationship between two people, not an equation that can be solved. 

post #11 of 26

I don't think you're crazy at all, but I would like to say that maybe being a little more open minded about the possibility that you *might* want an uninterrupted stretch of sleep here or there to regain your sanity. There are plenty of reasons to pump (or more realistically in this situation, hand express) a bit of milk: like so that you can take a bath or get a bit of extra sleep without having to worry that baby is hungry or giving them formula.

 

I'm also very protective of my babies and prefer people to not even hold them for more then a few minutes *BUT* I've not been blessed with good sleepers either so every once in a while, I find it very refreshing to be able to give baby to dad and to go into a different room,shut the door and sleep for a bit. This might not apply to you!! But, give yourself permission that's it's ok if it does and you can change your mind/opinion on pumping when ever you want to!

post #12 of 26

Oh, I just want to add for clarity that I don't think it's a bad idea to pump and have someone else feed, ever, I just don't think it's "necessary" or even important for bonding under normal circumstances.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by spughy View Post

 

I hope that helps... I realize it's a little disjointed - but the take-home message for your DP is probably "I am going to be so grateful to you helping me feed this kid if there are any problems, but if nursing goes smoothly, we'll find some other special things for you to do with the baby."

yes, this is a great take-home message!  

 

With my first, I had a c/s and my milk was delayed coming in until 4 days PP... so my hungry 9lb6oz baby boy nursed every hour those first few days... so when my milk came in, it CAME IN!!!  He also then had a lot of reflux (he would throw up literally after every feed, it was so annoying!) so he would nurse, throw up, and then nurse again.  I had SO MUCH MILK!!!  I could pump 10 oz in less than 10 minutes.  Not kidding!!!  (with my DD, I could only pump about 6 ounces after 15-20 min or so... I think that is a lot more "normal" haha).   

 

Anyway... I was so full all the time and then had to go back to work at 8 weeks, so I did pump with him and had a huge freezer stash.  I was dealing with PPD and a painful and slow recovery and sometimes it was really helpful for DH to take the 3am feeding every now and then.  It was a sanity saver!  (I never had to do this with my DD, though... I was feeling much better after her birth and never felt the need to have anyone feed her but me!  So I understand both sides... depending on life circumstances!).

 

I do have to say that if you regularly replace feeds with a bottle, you'll probably return to full fertility a lot sooner and get your period earlier than you would otherwise.  Just throwing that out there!  

 

Also... for a lot of women, it is MUCH HARDER to let down to a pump than it is to let down to a baby.  It can be discouraging if you don't get much out and women can think they aren't making enough milk (which is not true, because the baby is usually a lot more efficient at milk transfer than a pump is).  The pump can be a useful tool when needed, but IMO as an IBCLC, it is almost always better to directly nurse the baby than to pump and give, if possible.  I find that for some women, their supply starts to dwindle when they pump more than they directly nurse (for instance, a woman with a sick baby in the NICU that isn't able to nurse but just pumps... unfortunately, it is hard to maintain a great milk supply in that situation).  And that can be the "beginning of the end" in a lot of cases.   So... why risk it if you don't have to?   Not to scare a working mom who has to pump-- as long as you are able to directly nurse most other feeds, you'll be fine.  Also, if you massage your breast a little as you pump, that will increase prolactin levels and may help you with your supply as well as make sure all your ducts drain appropriately.  (Ever notice how a baby will hug his mama's breast as he nurses with his little hands?  He is massaging the breast-- so cute! and a good natural way to get more milk out!  Smart babies).  

 

Also along those lines... if you find that your milk supply needs a boost, instead of herbs and pumping or anything else, the best thing is to just lay in bed with your baby skin to skin for a whole day (let DH or your mom fetch you all your meals and take care of the house) and just nurse as often as the baby wants!  This is WAY more effective and enjoyable!  :)   You'll get a huge oxytocin and prolactin boost from being near your baby for so long and the frequent nursing will also help to make more milk.  

 

When in doubt--  Early (right after birth) and often (very frequent) breastfeeding and lots of skin to skin time will go a long way to solve milk supply issues.  :)  

 

Ok.. got a little off topic there, but hope that was helpful to someone!  haha.  

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses.  A lot of you summed up my thoughts on this that I was too scattered to write.

 

Spughy & FireSpiritMelody- I would definitely consider it if I find I need to actually sleep during one of the night feedings.  I am a little nervous about the upcoming lack of sleep situation (mind you, I haven't had a good nights sleep in so long, maybe I'll be ok!)  But I worry that if I were to skip one, I'd have rock hard boobs in the AM.  I figure [hopefully] my supply and baby's demand will meet in the middle and I worry that skipping a feeding might screw things up.

 

Sunshinelove - interesting post about men not getting the same oxytocin rush as we do.  Makes it easier to buy into the theory that they can just as easily do other things with babe.

 

Buko - I don't think DP is necessarily thinking that since we live in a patriarchal society, that's why he wants to feed, but I think it's more of an unconscious thing.  Most guys just can't imagine a world where they can't do whatever a women does (and for some guys, do it better).  Again, I don't think DP would say that's why, I think he more just doesn't want to be "left out."

 

ClumsySugarPlum - LOVE the analogy of breastfeeding being a relationship, not a equation or problem.

 

Chapsie - Your "why risk it if you don't have to?" comment probably sums up how I feel most clearly.  Aside from the gender issues and jealousy, my bottom line is I don't want to mess with a system that's been darn near perfected (assuming I don't have issues, obviously, if it's not perfect, then I will explore pumping to fix some issues.)

 

Thank you again.

post #15 of 26

Chapsie, that was very helpful!

 

 

Quote:
Buko - I don't think DP is necessarily thinking that since we live in a patriarchal society, that's why he wants to feed, but I think it's more of an unconscious thing.  Most guys just can't imagine a world where they can't do whatever a women does (and for some guys, do it better).  Again, I don't think DP would say that's why, I think he more just doesn't want to be "left out."

 

Oh, yeah, absolutely!  That's what I meant, if I didn't express it well.  Not conscious at all for almost anyone, but I think it's telling that there's a sort of "you have to share (maybe even equally)" vibe around infant feeding, society-wide, but not as much around other baby care duties and experiences that are actually much more "naturally" sex-neutral, like... almost everything BUT feeding.

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by buko View Post

 

Not conscious at all for almost anyone, but I think it's telling that there's a sort of "you have to share (maybe even equally)" vibe around infant feeding, society-wide, but not as much around other baby care duties and experiences that are actually much more "naturally" sex-neutral, like... almost everything BUT feeding.

I agree!!  I'm sure I'll be doing most of the other stuff (changing, bathing, etc...) just because I'll be home - and I doubt he'll want to share those as much as he wants to share feeding.  Ironic that the one thing he's not made for, he wants to do...  I guess it's true, you always want what you can't have [do].

post #17 of 26

Great thread, and I don't think I have anything new to add, but wanted to echo the pumping is great as a necessity or a luxury, but is not something I would do to make someone else's life better.  I pumped a bit with DS but only to have a small supply in the freezer in case of emergency or a night out, and then when I returned to work for the first few months.  After he turned one I started sending cow's milk to day care and nursing when we were together.

 

I did find that DP's jealousy around nursing manifested in another way, where by the time DS was about 14 months DP started talked about how he thought DS was getting too old to nurse, and that I was using it as a crutch etc.  Either way I BF until DS was 2, and plan to do the same with this beb.  I'm lucky to have a supportive family with a history of quasi-extended breastfeeding.  

post #18 of 26

I knew I was returning to work, so DH would be feeding bottles to baby eventually, so it was about necessity, not bonding for us.  There are tons of ways for daddy and baby to bond. TONS. babywearing. bath time. story time, playtime . . . etc.

 

FWIW: if you want to skip a nursing session and pump for sleep's sake, I'd let your partner feed baby while you nap, or maybe during dinner/evening. your hormones that drive supply and demand are highest at night (IIRC around 2 a.m.) and night time nursing/pumping can be very important to maintaining supply. And waking up engorged and soaked isn't very fun either. Just my experience on that last bit.

 

The first 6 weeks, we did probaby at least half of feedings as pumped milk. DH had issues latching, popping on and off, etc, and we were so frustrated that I started pumping and bottlefeeding a large amount of his feeds. Somewhere around 6 weeks, a switch flipped, and he GOT it, and I started pumping then only while at work, or for outings (he was a lazy, take forever sort of nursling).

 

With DD, she nursed like a champ from the get go, and I only needed to pump at work, ever, or occasionally to help with engorgement.

post #19 of 26

Here's my two cents: I loved breastfeeding. DS didn't wean until he was 26 months and it was a very sad day when I realized that it was over. But in the beginning it was HARD. I don't know if it is like that for everyone, but just a heads up to first time moms- keep an open mind. You may feel like you need to pump once in a while so that you can pass the feeding off to your partner just for your own sanity. Or to get a little stretch of sleep. 

 

There are plenty of ways for dads to bond with babies, but in the beginning when all they do is eat and sleep, I can definitely see where partners can get jealous or want to take over that roll. 
Pumping can help your supply if you pump in between feedings. And you never know if a situation might arise where you have to leave baby and need some milk (just food for thought!)

That being said, I don't think anyone should feel like they have to pump just so their partner can feed the baby. If it isn't going to benefit you, don't do it.

post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by akind1 View Post

FWIW: if you want to skip a nursing session and pump for sleep's sake, I'd let your partner feed baby while you nap, or maybe during dinner/evening. your hormones that drive supply and demand are highest at night (IIRC around 2 a.m.) and night time nursing/pumping can be very important to maintaining supply. And waking up engorged and soaked isn't very fun either. Just my experience on that last bit.

 

Thank you for sharing your experience.  I don't want to jeopardize the supply and demand relationship.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by withlittlelungs View Post

 If it isn't going to benefit you, don't do it.

What wise words.

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