Anonymous

Lack of support/critical partner

My 19wk old DS is breastfed. His 4 month check up showed he had dropped from the 40th percentile to the 11th in weight. He was 13.8lbs. I work 3 shifts a week at a restaurant and pump to leave him milk in bottles for his father to feed him. I am gone for 5-6 hours and am able to pump once at work. I leave 3- 3.5 oz bottles and sometimes his father only gives him 2. He puts him to sleep most of the time to avoid having to hold him (he doesn't believe in attachment parenting, which I follow) and thinks the CIO method is fine. Anyway, the pediatrician asked if I was giving him cereal yet. I said no and that I wasn't planning on it until he was one. She suggested rice cereal and I told her I didn't want to give him a filler of empty calories so she suggested a little bit of food. I have introduced him to banana and avocado so far. His father is angry at me and wants to feed him rice cereal to add a little weight. He will not look at or do any research because "it was good enough for him" and his mother thinks it's fine. His mother is 80. I'm tired of arguing. Help! He says I think I know everything and he is an idiot. He tells me research i've done is worthless and doesn't make any sense. He also thinks GMOs are harmless, that second hand smoke doesn't hurt anyone and that processed food is healthy because he eats it. No, he isn't healthy! I can't leave him at this time so please don't tell me to leave. Just need ideas to make him see that I'm not being ridiculous and to make him understand the importance of breastfeeding and how supplementing can decrease my milk supply. Thanks!
Posted by Anonymous in Feeding on May 23, 11:21 AM

Responses

  • kristine
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    kristine May 23, 12:42 PM
    I don't have any advice except that cereal isn't so bad. It may not have the same nutritional value as avocado, but calories = energy and it sounds like your baby needs some. Maybe that can be an area of compromise? Really I just wanted to reach out and give you a virtual hug. You are in a very tough spot. So... hugs!
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  • amywaud
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    amywaud May 23, 1:34 PM
    It broke my heart to ready your question. No one -- and particularly no new mama -- should be so utterly unsupported. A few thoughts...

    I tend to agree with Kristine that cereal is not so bad, though it does seem early -- yes, cereal is empty calories but calories nonetheless, and if your baby is still getting sufficient breast milk, he is getting enough nutrients from that. You can also mix breast milk into the cereal as well instead of water to add nutrients. So as Kristine says, maybe you can use your "giving in" on cereal to compromise on other issues... like second-hand smoke. Maybe make a deal with him: no smoking around the baby, and we can do cereal. You can even prepare the cereal before you go to work (it will be fine in the fridge for a few hours) so all he has to do is serve it up.

    On the plus side: being away from your baby a few times a week for 5-6 hour stretch is probably manageable from a milk supply standpoint. If you start experiencing supply issues, talk to your OB/midwife/lactation pro.

    As for making him "see that you are not being ridiculous"... Honey, I'm sorry to say that this doesn't sound like someone you will ever be able to reason with or convince. People generally don't change, and people who are as stubborn and critical as he seems -- particularly on issues that just should even be up for debate -- are especially unlikely to change.

    The evidence for breastfeeding is so ubiquitous... If he does NOT understand the importance of breastfeeding by now, he never will. Often, the reason someone refuses to believe the experts (like on this issue of second-hand smoking, too) is more about their need to protect a very fragile, messed-up, dysfunctional ego. The big tip-off here is him saying things like, "you know everything and you think I'm an idiot." This language is pretty typical of someone whose ego cannot handle being wrong, EVER, under any circumstances, and so will do anything it takes -- even things that fly in the face of all reason, like saying breastfeeding isn't important or exposing your baby to second-hand smoke -- to make sure that ego is not injured. Please think about this very carefully and plan accordingly. Having a toxic dad around can be far worse for you and your child's development than going it alone as a single mama.

    If, in fact, this is what is going on -- that you are dealing with someone who can never be wrong and can't be reasoned with -- there is no point in arguing. To make life bearable until you can figure out your future plans, you may have to learn to manipulate him a bit, even stroke his ego: "Honey, I heard what you had to say and looked into this some more, and I think you were right about the cereal thing. I did learn, however, that second-hand smoke is just so bad for tiny lungs, because the additives they put in cigarettes are worse than when we were growing up. Can we make a compromise?"

    NOW, the part about them being "worse than when we were growing up" might be a lie, so why say it? Because it addresses his "well I turned out fine" argument. "Yes, honey, of course YOU turned out fine, but things are different now." Blah blah blah. Manipulation for the greater good.

    This is a really long reply... sorry, I get really passionate about these types of topics. I hope you find it helpful. Feel free to send me a private message if you like.

    Hang in there!
    Founder of NaturallyBorn. Two-time graduate of U.C. Berkeley. Mom of three amazing boys. Grateful daughter of two child development experts and marriage/family therapists.
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