Author Topic: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night  (Read 5296 times)

ReadySetMillionaire

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Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« on: April 02, 2019, 08:08:21 PM »
Our little one is a little over three weeks old now. My wife is on maternity leave, while I am back working. I’m a natural night owl, so I volunteered to take part of the night shift so my wife could get some much needed sleep.

My wife is breastfeeding, and  insists on breastfeeding with no formula to supplement. She also doesn’t feel like she’s ready to pump and, when she started to try it this week, she overall seems to hate it. She also wants to be  undisturbed for about 2-3 hours at night so she can sleep — and she is often very sleep deprived, so I do my best to let this happen.

So, almost inevitably and often times during my night shift, my son is left absolutely howling. I’m talking “I’m about to die” type cries. I try everything in the baby process of elimination — diaper, change clothes for temperature, hold him, walk around with him, change chairs, hold him again, on and on. It’s all basically a couple minute delays until he’s absolutely howling again.

Because I’ve tried most everything else, I’m pretty sure he’s hungry (even though he feeds before my wife goes to bed). I figure by the end of the day, she’s not producing as much, and so my son is hungrier earlier. With no pumped breast milk or formula, however, I’m between a rock and a hard place — let him howl and cry until his head almost pops off, or wake up my sleep deprived wife? She generally seems okay when I wake her up, and she understands.

But man, I’m just frustrated because I’m really trying to step up and help, and I feel like I’m being asked to parent with an incomplete set of tools. How can I watch a newborn for 2-3 hours when there’s nothing to feed him with?

Perhaps we can try adjusting sleep schedules better during the day, although my wife is really working on that. But I feel like something has to give here, and I really want to navigate the wishes of my wife — who, let’s be clear, is the greatest girl and mom of all time — with my son’s needs at night.

Any suggestions for my night shift, what we should do, and how I may be able to approach this with my wife?

lhamo

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2019, 08:16:16 PM »
A baby that young can't usually go more than 2-4 hours without feeding.  If she can get pumping down you will all be happier and have more flexibility.  Pumping can actually help stimulate supply.  And she'll probably produce more if she can get a few hours of sleep between feedings.

I spent a lot on an expensive mechanical pump, only to find the one I loved was the cheap hand pump version.   So if the one she has isn't working well for her you might try switching.  My kids are now 14 and almost 18 so no idea what the good brands are these days.

If she's comfortable with feeding laying down another thing to try would be just to bring the baby to her and take away again when feeding is done. She'll wake up a bit but will probably sleep again more quickly than if she has to get up, get the baby, put the baby back down and return to bed.

Good luck and congratulations!

pbkmaine

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2019, 09:50:20 PM »
Also, next MD or nurse visit, ask about this. Is baby gaining enough weight?

eco mom

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2019, 10:46:53 PM »
Sounds like you've done several of the five Ss - Shushing (white noise or saying shhh), swinging / swaying, sucking (have you tried a pacifier?), swaddling, side or stomach position. Maybe worth trying the rest of the list if you haven't? In addition to swaddling, you could try babywearing to free up your hands. Sometimes wearing my son in an ergo was the only way I could get him to sleep in the early months.

Maybe encourage your wife to see a lactation consultant - as part of a visit they will weigh the baby before and after feeding and if it's a private appointment they can get her more comfortable with using a breast pump, too. I was glad to have a lactation consultant show me. She can learn about different ways to encourage milk flow by holding her breast during nursing/pumping as well.

I'd say everyone needs their 3 consecutive hours (that's what I need to feel human!) so it's great that you're doing anything you can to hold baby off if mom thinks she just fed him as best she can. There's not really such a thing as running low on milk as the day goes on that I know of. Milk production is dynamic and on demand. If he's hungry and sucking, she should produce more. If her milk supply is low, make sure she's plenty hydrated and gets what rest she can.

Good luck, hope you are all well rested soon. Hang in there, it gets better!

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2019, 11:53:45 PM »
I never had a problem with my wife in that regard, if I volunteered to take this or that job over, she grabbed the chance straight away. So I've no advice in that regard, except that over time she'll probably come around, and you're doing the right thing, mate, keep plugging away.

gooki

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2019, 01:32:24 AM »
Been there, done that. Nothing wrong with not pumping and not wanting to use formula. But your wife may have to accept she’ll have to wake up to feed the baby.

See if there’s something else you can pick up.

lollylegs

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2019, 01:49:49 AM »
its normal that he'd be hungry at that time so he'll need to be breastfed. I used to go to bed early and when the baby woke hubby would bring in for me to feed in bed, keep me company and then when finished he'd change the baby & settle him to sleep.  The reality is that for the first 6 - 8 weeks of a babies life you don't get a lot of sleep when breastfeeding, so not much choice for her really if she won't comp. Good on you for helping though, it really makes a big difference with a helpful partner.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2019, 07:38:19 AM »
Baby is gaining plenty of weight and is ahead of schedule, so we are good there.

Wife and her mom went to see a lactation consultant last week, and that went really well. Baby is overall latching wall, feeding great, gaining weight, etc.

I guess I could try the pacifier, although he usually is crying so hard that it doesn't stay in.

I think this gets to my point, short and sweet:
But your wife may have to accept she’ll have to wake up to feed the baby.

See if there’s something else you can pick up.

My wife desperately needs her sleep, but this limitation on feeding means that I can't really do my job while she's sleeping. It puts me between a rock and hard place and I just hate being stuck.

Last night was particularly frustrating (hence my post). Baby was absolutely HOWLING for two hours, and as soon as my wife woke up, he attacked her boobs like there was no tomorrow.

I just don't see the hurt in her pumping *just a bit* so I can watch him while she gets a good night's sleep. I just can't seem to convince my wife of this.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2019, 07:42:33 AM »
First, congratulations!

Second, you sound like you're being a good partner and parent.

Third, if your wife has nursed the baby right before she sleeps, and assuming that she is producing and he is taking enough, then he should be able to wait 2-3 hours until the next feeding. His howls may or may not indicate hunger. I would suggest trying all five "S" techniques for at least 90 minutes before feeding again. Happiest Baby on the Block has a summary of them, I think, though it's been a while for me.

Basicslly, as eco mom said, the five "S" techniques are: Swaddling, shushing (literally making shush noises right in his ear to mimic the sounds in the womb), sucking (my kids all used the pacifier or their own thumbs), swaying (preferably while babywearing or carrying him close to you), side or stomach position. Sometimes babies have gas that really hurts, and it is hard to determine if they cry from pain or hunger or simply wanting to be held.  Like you, my husband always thought that cries meant hunger if he had a clean diaper. Not so! My sister wisely told me once that sometimes babies just cry.

I distinctly remember when my firstborn would not stop crying at about that age, 2-3 weeks old, and I was feeding on demand, so I kept thinking he was hungry.  One afternoon, after feeding for what felt like the 4th time in 3 hours, he started crying again. So did I. What am I doing wrong?, I thought.  My mother was visiting, and she saw my tears and forced me to take a nap. She took my son into her arms and told me that he would live as she pushed me towards my room. She actually forced my husband to nap, too.  I woke 2 hours later, and the baby was sleeping on my mom's lap. She had swaddled him, laid him on her lap on his stomach (with his face free so he could breathe), stuck a pacifier in his mouth, shushed him,  and swayed her knees a little, and he cried a little before he fell asleep. That was really a turning point for me as a new mother.

You will get through this.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2019, 07:49:46 AM »
Baby is gaining plenty of weight and is ahead of schedule, so we are good there.

Wife and her mom went to see a lactation consultant last week, and that went really well. Baby is overall latching wall, feeding great, gaining weight, etc.

I guess I could try the pacifier, although he usually is crying so hard that it doesn't stay in.

I think this gets to my point, short and sweet:
But your wife may have to accept she’ll have to wake up to feed the baby.

See if there’s something else you can pick up.

My wife desperately needs her sleep, but this limitation on feeding means that I can't really do my job while she's sleeping. It puts me between a rock and hard place and I just hate being stuck.

Last night was particularly frustrating (hence my post). Baby was absolutely HOWLING for two hours, and as soon as my wife woke up, he attacked her boobs like there was no tomorrow.

I just don't see the hurt in her pumping *just a bit* so I can watch him while she gets a good night's sleep. I just can't seem to convince my wife of this.

You are doing your job.  It's not an easy job. If he's gaining weight and latching well, then it sounds like he doesn't need to eat again. Sometimes babies cry. Sometimes we had to hold the pacifier at his mouth as he cried until he could feel it enough to latch on.

You can watch him while she sleeps, and that is exactly what you are doing. No one wants to see their child cry, but feeding again is not always the answer.  Eventually babies develop their own feeding schedule, and your son will, too.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2019, 08:11:11 AM »
Been there, done that. Nothing wrong with not pumping and not wanting to use formula. But your wife may have to accept she’ll have to wake up to feed the baby.

See if there’s something else you can pick up.

+1

Pumping sucks.  (My son didn't nurse well so I triple fed for ages, trying to get him to latch and then pumping/feeding him with formula when he wouldn't eat enough.)  I was never so enraged as when my husband - a few times, many months in - characterized the pumping time as my leisure time (and thus I didn't need other time off just for me).

It's legit to not want to pump or use formula, but she needs to be prepared to deal with the repercussions of it.  It sounds like she's ok being woken up, so maybe it's just that you need to accept that it's ok to do that?

I'm actually surprised she can sleep if he's howling that bad.  If she's that exhausted that she's sleeping through it, can she nap during the day (shorter naps perhaps, but more frequent)?  Or will she not hear him crying during the day too?  Maybe try it out over the weekend so you are there to wake her if needed.  If she's busy doing dishes/laundry/cooking meals etc. during the day while you are working, can you take on some of that work so she can catch some catnaps?

Time will help too.  Your baby will start sleeping a bit longer here and there and then suddenly one night you'll get 5 hours of sleep and it'll be awesome and you'll feel alive again.

5 Ss are helpful to try too.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2019, 08:31:03 AM »
Have you thought about waking up to get baby, bring the baby to your wife, let baby feed while your wife lays down, and then returning the baby to his/her bassinet?

This worked for my sister- as she didn't want to be getting up all the time at night (she just couldn't function with twins and a toddler without sleep); but they also did not want to cosleep. So her husband stayed awake to ensure baby was safe while Mom stayed sleeping, but babies were able to eat.


I have to say though, if exclusive breastfeeding is important to your wife, you can't do the overnight feeds. But if she can't figure out how to breastfeed while sleeping, she has to wake up, and likely every 2 hours for at least a bit longer before stretching it to 3.

Until my daughter started gaining enough weight WE had to wake her up every 2 hours. It was months before I got more than 2 hours of sleep in a row, and often less than that- because baby's 2 hours of sleep included my trips to the bathroom, chance to eat, take a shower, etc.  (I was also pumping, which took even more time away. Pumping is awful until you go back to work, and then it depends on your situation if it is awful.)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2019, 09:06:49 AM by I'm a red panda »

Papa bear

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2019, 08:41:59 AM »
Sounds like your wife is all about 100% breastfeeding. But formula works too. Here’s some downsides I’ve heard from kids that were all breastfed and mom had to go back to work if you need some anecdotes to get your wife on board with you feeding kiddo either pumped or formula.

Baby struggled to take a bottle at daycare, school, or with a caregiver. Baby wouldn’t take anything but breastmilk for months and months, making travel or daddy time with kid difficult.

Obviously, this all can still work out whatever you choose, but formula isn’t “bad.”  A bottle isn’t “bad.”  Your family won’t get ridiculed on social media if your kid gets 2oz of formula in the middle of the night.

We couldn’t do all breastmilk for our kids, had to use about 1/2 formula.  But we never had any problems with “nipple confusion” or getting the kids to drink different kinds of formula, breast milk, regular milk when allowed, etc.  not sure if that’s because they were introduced early, or if my kids just eat anything.

But, realistically, the first 8 weeks are a blacked out blur.  I’m convinced if anyone remembers those weeks, no one would have more than 1 kid.


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eco mom

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2019, 10:31:50 AM »
One other thing I wanted to mention is that in the first month I would definitely respect the mom's wishes on no bottles if that's what she wants. Perhaps offer to use one of the little milliliter droppers for feeding when she's asleep if you really want to see if feeding helps - that would avoid nipple confusion. Nipple confusion is real and I've heard doctors advise no bottles til around 5 weeks (every doc is different - ask yours at the 1 month appointment). Every baby is different. I waited too long with the first to get him on a bottle and so daycare struggled at nearly 6 months (after failed attempts close to that age at home). With the second, I had a brief period where he would go 8 hours during the day refusing nursing because he wanted a bottle (we were traveling and without bottle... he seemed happy enough but it wasn't really ok with me). Introducing the pacifier was hard at first, and it sorta ended up causing the bottle preference in the end, which we got through but was frustrating for a while. And I ended up only going back to work for two weeks so all the pain of getting baby 2 to take the bottle was somewhat for naught; except that I feel more comfortable doing date nights and leaving the kiddos with my au pair since he can take a bottle.

There's so much complexity to breastfeeding and just general newborn care that just know you both are doing great just by being loving parents and baby is gaining weight fine so no concerns there either!

Laura33

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2019, 11:10:13 AM »
It's legit to not want to pump or use formula, but she needs to be prepared to deal with the repercussions of it.  It sounds like she's ok being woken up, so maybe it's just that you need to accept that it's ok to do that?

This.

First, congratulations!! 

Second, from someone who's been there:  the first few weeks/months as a first-time mom are among the most intense and powerful of your life; the combination of overpowering hormones, overwhelming responsibility, and zero sleep can make for a ton of self-doubt and pigheaded insistence on stupid things.  (Ask me how I know)

So your primary job at this point is to follow her lead and show that you trust her decisions.  I truly cannot put into words how powerful some of the breastfeeding messages and beliefs are; it is extremely easy to judge yourself as a success/failure as a mom based on meeting some arbitrary version of "best." (Again, ask me how I know!).  So what Captain Fire said is exactly right:  your wife's priority is to breastfeed exclusively and not pump.  The consequence that comes along with that decision is that she gets to do all the night feedings.  You deciding that she needs to pump so you can help is suggesting that her decision is the wrong one -- that is about your need to help more than it is about her needs. 

At the same time, it would be completely unreasonable for her to demand that you hold a screaming, hungry baby for hours so she can sleep more, while not giving you the tools necessary to feed the baby.  So do what you can to soothe the baby for a while, and then when it's clear that it's hunger, bring the baby in to feed, stay awake so your DW doesn't have to, and then take the baby away after.  And if that doesn't allow her to get enough sleep, let her know that you are willing to support her in however she (reasonably) wants to fix it -- i.e., if she wants to suck it up and pump, or supplement with formula, you will take over that midnight feeding on your own and leave her in peace. 

FWIW, my DS was always hungry -- he grew like a weed, maxed out the growth charts, and still couldn't get enough food.  Turns out he just had a really, really, really strong need to suck; we could have avoided a lot of breastfeeding wake-ups if I had been willing to try a bottle of water, just so he could satisfy that craving (he liked the pacifier too but wasn't fooled -- he could tell he wasn't getting anything!).  So try those other things -- pacifier, bottle of warm water, lots of strong shushing and tight swaddling and all that stuff -- but again, if they don't work, just feed the baby.

Finally, for you:  do not worry about trying to share the baby burden equally right at this specific moment in time.  When your wife wants to breastfeed exclusively, you simply cannot.  So let her take the lead on that right now, and focus on taking the baby when you can (like bath time, or designated daddy-baby times during the day/on weekends that get longer as the baby can go longer between feedings) and supporting her in other things when you can't (groceries, cooking, cleaning, etc.).  And trust that you have a long, long time to equal out that burden.  "Fair share" is measured over years, not minutes.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2019, 11:49:14 AM »
we could have avoided a lot of breastfeeding wake-ups if I had been willing to try a bottle of water

In a no-judgement kind of way, because you have to do what works for you and I don't know your specific situation, however, I would highly recommend the OP check with his pediatrician before following this advice. 
We were told absolutely no water for young infants, and that it can be potentially very dangerous.

Quote
Finally, for you:  do not worry about trying to share the baby burden equally right at this specific moment in time.  When your wife wants to breastfeed exclusively, you simply cannot.  So let her take the lead on that right now, and focus on taking the baby when you can (like bath time, or designated daddy-baby times during the day/on weekends that get longer as the baby can go longer between feedings) and supporting her in other things when you can't (groceries, cooking, cleaning, etc.).  And trust that you have a long, long time to equal out that burden.  "Fair share" is measured over years, not minutes.
YES!!! 
A Dad can't share the baby burden during pregnancy or nursing. But there is plenty else they can do.

LadyMuMu

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2019, 12:05:59 PM »
You and your wife will get past this stage. This isn't permanent. (That's pretty much true for all infant-related issues).

Since your wife wants to exclusively breastfeed, the best thing would be for her to learn to do it in her sleep. When you're on infant duty, bring hungry infant to her, let her breastfeed, and you burp and return babe to crib/bassinet when done. My first would wake every 2-3 hours for the first few months but my second got the hang of a 4 hour stretch much sooner. Babies are different. I HATED pumping. As a fulltime SAHM, it was just not really necessary and so I didn't do it.

But keep in mind, sometimes babies just cry. With time, you'll be able to tell the difference between a hungry cry and a cranky cry.

mm1970

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2019, 12:52:04 PM »
Congratulations!  Sounds like your typical newborn.

1.  Wake up your wife.  These first weeks are hell (first months?  Memory, so fuzzy.)   Newborns get hungry often, and need to be fed.
2.  Discuss the introduction of a bottle/ pumping schedule.

Now, things may have changed in the last few years.  But when my kids were babies (they are 13 and 6), here were the recommendations for developing a good breastfeeding relationship for someone who was going to go back to work:

1.  Do not introduce a pacifier or a bottle before the age of 4 to 6 weeks.  Generally 4 to 6 weeks is what it takes to develop a solid breastfeeding relationship.  (Some babies take longer.  Some babies go back and forth earlier with no issues.  This is just "in general".)  Starting earlier may result in the newborn to prefer the bottle.

2.  Do not wait much longer than 6 week to introduce a bottle, or the baby will get far too used to the breast and will resist the bottle.


I followed this, and it worked.  I started pumping around 4 weeks or so, and introduced the bottle with both kids at 5 weeks.  I have some friends who started too soon, and then had to exclusively pump.  I had many friends who waited to long, and their babies NEVER took a bottle.

But I've also got plenty of friends who effortlessly switched back and forth because of medications, etc.

Ya never know which baby  you are going to get.


If you'd like to introduce a bottle and help out at night, that's a great idea.  I never did this, but many friends did, and it meant mom got a solid 5-6 hour stretch of sleep.  BUT, I'd say it's probably a teeny bit too early to do so.  Give it a couple more weeks.

In the meantime, wake up your wife and get that baby fed.


PS.  My first kid never had formula.  I nursed/ pumped for 13.5 months (my husband does not remember this.  Let me tell ya, I do!)
I thought I'd go even longer with kid #2.  But I had as many, if not more, plugged ducts with #2.  At 8.5 months I was so tired of it, took days to get in to see the doctor.  Tried ALL THE THINGS to fix them.  I stopped pumping, added formula with nursing and it was awesome!  Six weeks later, baby weaned himself off the breast and stuck to formula from 10 to 12 months.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2019, 01:02:13 PM »

At the same time, it would be completely unreasonable for her to demand that you hold a screaming, hungry baby for hours so she can sleep more, while not giving you the tools necessary to feed the baby.  So do what you can to soothe the baby for a while, and then when it's clear that it's hunger, bring the baby in to feed, stay awake so your DW doesn't have to, and then take the baby away after.  And if that doesn't allow her to get enough sleep, let her know that you are willing to support her in however she (reasonably) wants to fix it -- i.e., if she wants to suck it up and pump, or supplement with formula, you will take over that midnight feeding on your own and leave her in peace. 

I encountered this, I followed this approach ultimately. I eventually had enough of a screaming baby and we had a heated conversation, it was tense but ultimately better for our mariage and our child. I wanted to be a good husband; eventually I settled for being a good father. Thats the choice everyone has; being a husband or father first. Luckily, by choosing father first my wife likes me even more. Apparently being a good dad is sexy (but does not lead to sexy time, not immediately at least). Being a good dad can sometimes mean doing stuff you don't want to, lifes not easy.

You're not doing anyone favours by carrying on, eventually you'll reach your stress limit too. That's when people start snapping at each other and everyone loses out. Its better to sit down and address the issues, if you're old enough to have a baby you're old enough to have a conversation with the mother of your child. Steer the conversation and always put the childs needs first; the baby isn't happy either and needs you to  look out for it; cries aren't just aggravating, they're cries for help. 

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2019, 03:30:13 PM »
Thanks all for the tips and tricks, especially the relationship advice. I will definitely try the soothing techniques. I think this resonated with me:

If you'd like to introduce a bottle and help out at night, that's a great idea.  I never did this, but many friends did, and it meant mom got a solid 5-6 hour stretch of sleep.  BUT, I'd say it's probably a teeny bit too early to do so.  Give it a couple more weeks.

I think we are *just* shy of being able to do this. Wife is not quite mentally/physically/emotionally ready to pump, baby is still feeding like a newborn...but, I would like her to get that 5-6 hour chunk. And I guess I just need to come to the realization that all of these goals are not achievable right now.

Hopefully after a couple weeks, things settle in and everything falls into place. We just seem to be at a time where it's just too soon to try and accomplish all these goals at once.

nsmustachemom

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2019, 07:13:22 PM »
Oh my heart just goes out to you; I've been that mom, and I get it.  Of course I can only speak to my own experience, but I will say that I hated pumping because it made me feel like a dairy cow.  I felt like the one concrete thing I could do for my baby was being reduced to its mechanical functions, and that I was nothing but a milk machine.  I felt like after a hard pregnancy and grueling labour, I was no longer my own person but rather a life support system for a tiny human that screamed all the time, and hooking myself up to a pump intensified these feelings immensely.  I am not saying these feelings are rational, and thankfully they were not long-lasting, but it's how I felt in my postpartum rawness. 

What helped me was when my husband recognized this and helped make pumping less awful.  When the baby was napping, we'd make a snack and I'd pump while we chatted, or watched a movie, or had a footrub. He also washed and dried the pump parts (most annoying job ever). It made me feel like more of a real person and like less of a dairy cow, and that helped.  A lot.  We also spoke with a lactation consultant about different types of bottles and nipples and making sure that bottle feeding would not lead to nipple confusion, which put my mind at ease.

Hang in there.  It gets so much better.

Laura Ingalls

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2019, 07:52:08 PM »
Learning to nurse laying down was key to my sanity.  DS1 and I figured it out at about three months.  DS2 nursed while I was laying on my side from birth basically.  I nursed exclusively and rarely got out of bed.  DH would get DS2 from his crib.  I would nurse DS2 while DH changed his wet diaper.  We would either cosleep or DH would put the little guy back to bed.  Anyway experiment with the side position ( you can help by positioning pillows or spooning her). Hopefully it is the game changer it was for us. 

charis

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2019, 08:12:24 PM »
Pumping sucks, no two ways about it.  But it does help, for supply and sleep. Both of my children had a pacifier or bottle within their first two weeks and continued to nurse fine, so I think the "danger" of nipple confusion is quite overrated.  I know of many babies that rejected the bottle, rather than the other way around.

A three week old wants to nurse a lot, whether it's for food or comfort. My husband would sometimes buy time by taking the (healthy, gaining) baby for a drive in the car.  Otherwise, bring the baby to her, wait during the feeding, and take baby back after, so she doesn't have to fully wake/get up.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2019, 10:21:42 PM »
Learning to nurse laying down was key to my sanity.  DS1 and I figured it out at about three months.  DS2 nursed while I was laying on my side from birth basically.  I nursed exclusively and rarely got out of bed.  DH would get DS2 from his crib.  I would nurse DS2 while DH changed his wet diaper.  We would either cosleep or DH would put the little guy back to bed.  Anyway experiment with the side position ( you can help by positioning pillows or spooning her). Hopefully it is the game changer it was for us.

This!

I am forever thankful to the older nurse who refused to let me leave the hospital until baby and I learned how to feed while laying down. 

In the early weeks with both of our kids, DH was 100% on diaper duty.  He would get up, change the diaper, then bring baby to me to feed.  It worked really well for both of us - he and our child got that as their bit of special time together, and I got a small break from mommy duty.  When they are a bit older, there is more opportunity for dad to get involved, but if you choose breastfeeding exclusive, those first couple of months are VERY mommy-centric.

Congrats on the baby - welcome to the parent club. :)

kimmarg

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2019, 11:17:27 PM »
Wife is not quite mentally/physically/emotionally ready to pump, baby is still feeding like a newborn...but, I would like her to get that 5-6 hour chunk. And I guess I just need to come to the realization that all of these goals are not achievable right now.


It sounds totally normal as others have said but I just wanted to add that post-partum emotions are amazing and intense. In addition to depression anxiety is also common. I can't tell from your comments but be sure your wife is doing ok emotionally. Post partum depression peaks around this same time frame.  Check out post partum progress for help near you or talk to the babies doctor.  While feeding the baby every 2-3 hours is necessary, struggling emotionally is NOT necessary.

Gail2000

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2019, 12:35:13 AM »
First congratulations. Second thank you for trying to carry the load. The support your wife must feel is definitely helping.

I hope some of the previously mentioned tricks helped. We had an old rocker in the room that helped us. I would recommend a carrier just in the event you fall asleep but it di help a great deal. The wonder of the carrier was discovered a few months into it.and it freed my hand up for cooking and we went for some nice hikes with it too.

Sharing the burden was hard for me. The pressure to be the super mom was paplpable. It’s good to have good talk about that too.


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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2019, 01:39:20 AM »
I am absolutely amazed that your wife can sleep through a crying baby! I wake up at the slightest cry even if the baby is in a different room, with two insulted walls and two solid-core doors between us.

I totally understand wanting to be 100% breastfeeding. That is great. The only catch is you have to wake and you have to nurse the baby when the baby is hungry. I like the idea that others have said about you bringing the crying baby into the room where your wife is sleeping and waking her up so she can nurse the baby. Then take the baby back and put him/her back to bed so you can wife can go directly back to sleep.

Quote
2.  Do not wait much longer than 6 week to introduce a bottle, or the baby will get far too used to the breast and will resist the bottle
In my personal experience with my two babies this was totally false. Mine were preemies and exclusively bottle fed initially (after feeding tube was removed) because they weren't old or strong enough to nurse. We were advised to keep up two bottle feeds a day of formula to supplement even once they got the nursing thing down. Well, even though both started out exclusively bottle feeding (for 6-8 weeks!) and were continuing to get a bottle ever day, they both decided they preferred the boob and would rather starve than take the bottle. When push came to shove and it was time for me to return to work, they eventually relented.

I just want to mention this because I don't want others to end up feeling unnecessarily guilty about screwing things up somehow if they don't introduce the bottle at a certain time or do or have trouble later. Babies can be very opinionated little creatures. :)

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2019, 12:07:59 PM »
Thanks for the additional tips. My wife definitely seems open to the laying down position, and trying to come in for a quick feeding and letting her go back to sleep.

And to be clear: I take the kiddo down to the basement, and the living room down there is in the opposite corner of the house. It would be hard to hear a bandsaw from down there from where she is -- which is the point.

I also really appreciate the advice to be checking in on her wellbeing. I'm your average dumb male that takes normal hormones for granted. I will be sure to be checking in on her.

ender

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2019, 12:18:49 PM »
Welcome to the joys of a newborn. Many of them wake up often. They need eat very frequently (every 2-3 hours is normal). That 2-3 hours becomes really unfortunate when you realize that each feeding can be 30-45 minutes, too.

What we did when our 6month old was born was I did nearly everything else to keep the family going. Mom's responsibility was sleeping and feeding the baby. Everything else was me. Cooking, cleaning, etc.

There are things you can do to minimize the "crying" but if it's hunger based, well... that's the newborn literally crying for help. Does the baby eat well when you do end up getting mom? IE can she sooth the kiddo with feeding?


mm1970

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2019, 01:38:49 PM »
I am absolutely amazed that your wife can sleep through a crying baby! I wake up at the slightest cry even if the baby is in a different room, with two insulted walls and two solid-core doors between us.

I totally understand wanting to be 100% breastfeeding. That is great. The only catch is you have to wake and you have to nurse the baby when the baby is hungry. I like the idea that others have said about you bringing the crying baby into the room where your wife is sleeping and waking her up so she can nurse the baby. Then take the baby back and put him/her back to bed so you can wife can go directly back to sleep.

Quote
2.  Do not wait much longer than 6 week to introduce a bottle, or the baby will get far too used to the breast and will resist the bottle
In my personal experience with my two babies this was totally false. Mine were preemies and exclusively bottle fed initially (after feeding tube was removed) because they weren't old or strong enough to nurse. We were advised to keep up two bottle feeds a day of formula to supplement even once they got the nursing thing down. Well, even though both started out exclusively bottle feeding (for 6-8 weeks!) and were continuing to get a bottle ever day, they both decided they preferred the boob and would rather starve than take the bottle. When push came to shove and it was time for me to return to work, they eventually relented.

I just want to mention this because I don't want others to end up feeling unnecessarily guilty about screwing things up somehow if they don't introduce the bottle at a certain time or do or have trouble later. Babies can be very opinionated little creatures. :)

Like I mentioned, it's totally random - you never know. I  have a couple of friends who had to exclusively bottle feed because their babies never went back onto the breast.  I have friends who switched back and forth effortlesslessly.  I have one friend whose baby REFUSED the bottle forever and ever.  She managed to go to daycare once/ day to nurse on her lunch break, and otherwise...the daycare provider had to feed the baby milk with a spoon.  I wish I was kidding.

All those recommendations for when to start are just based on statistics, and babies don't care about that!

I'm a red panda

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2019, 02:05:35 PM »
My daughter had to triple feed early on, so for the first 6-8 weeks she breastfed, and then had either pumped milk or formula by syringe, bottle, or SNS.
By the time she went to daycare at 16 weeks, she had zero interest in a bottle. She reverse cycled and just refused to eat at daycare by any method, and just ate at night instead.

Thankfully that didn't last TOO long before she started eating at daycare; but through 1-year, she never had more than 10-12 ounces of breastmilk in the 9-10 hours she was at daycare.

business325

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2019, 12:00:30 AM »
She probably has her own logic for doing this, just be understanding. She'll eventually realise that what you are trying to do is good for all of you.

babydoc

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2019, 02:28:18 PM »
It is awesome you want to take more night responsibilities. Exclusively breastfed babies will need to eat frequently in these first weeks- even up to every hour at times. Supply is based on demand, and demand will naturally go up if baby is needing more milk (such as during a growth spurt or if moms supply is dropping off). It is massively helpful if you bring baby to mom, she nurses with her eyes closed laying down (you MUST stay awake and supervise for safety!) and when baby is done you take baby out of the room. Many moms can learn to basically sleep through this and I know significant others who learned to get baby in the right position and help with latch. You take care of any burping, diapers, and calming otherwise.

It is really important for moms who want to maintain supply to continue to nurse on demand without supplementing. If she wants, she could pump before she lays down to provide you with a bottle for the first wake up. To maintain supply, she needs to pump any time you would give a bottle. Some moms despise pumping more than they miss the extra sleep (I was one of them). 4-6 weeks is a reasonable age to introduce a bottle. It should be small (2-3 ounces) and you should google paced feeding videos to learn how to provide bottle feeds in a way that protects the breastfeeding relationship. Using a slow flow nipple (like a dr browns premie nipple) can help prevent baby from preferring a bottle over nursing.


KBecks

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2019, 02:37:46 PM »
I just want to give you encouragement that you are in the pits of newborn life right now and it gets easier over time.  Hang in there!

Irregular Joe

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #34 on: April 06, 2019, 02:51:33 PM »
We also have a 3 week old baby. Congratulations!

As others have said, babies wake up to feed every 2-3 hours.  It's the way it works.  And the unfortunate reality is that mom is the only one that can breastfeed him.  There's no reason for you to be up with an unconsolable hungry baby. If he's crying, wake your wife up and she'll feed him.  Don't feel guilty. It sounds like she's ok with it.

It really doesn't sound like you need to supplement.  Your wife will produce more breast milk naturally as time passes and in 2-4 months the baby will start sleeping in 5 hour blocks. Before you know it, she'll be 6 months old and eating solid foods!
« Last Edit: April 06, 2019, 02:53:15 PM by Irregular Joe »

sparkytheop

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #35 on: April 06, 2019, 04:49:19 PM »
Yeah, when you exclusively breast feed, you don't get hours of sleep at once.

Bring the baby to her when he wakes, let him eat, and then take him away for the rest of the time once his stomach is satisfied.  Then you can spend that time with a (hopefully) happier baby and not try fight hunger with everything else but food.

Since my son spent his first couple weeks in NICU, he had a combo of all types of feeding from the beginning.  But, even when I did the deal myself in the middle of the night, it made a big difference when then-husband would get up to do the rest and all I had to do was lay there between bouts of sleep to provide the kid meals-in-bed.  (Then husband was laid off, and I had to go back to work the day we got home from the hospital a couple hours away, so it made sense for him to sacrifice a little sleep to try to maximize mine).

I'm a red panda

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #36 on: April 06, 2019, 05:44:34 PM »

 as time passes and in 2-4 months the baby will start sleeping in 5 hour blocks. Before you know it, she'll be 6 months old and eating solid foods!

Well, maybe... 5 hour blocks are still often a pipe dream for our 2 year old! While nursing (until 14ish months, I don't remember now) we never got past 3-4.

We also did "food before 1 is just for fun", so solids at 6 months were pretty limited. Maybe that contributed to the sleep. She needed the breastmilk at night because she would either reverse cycle or limit herself at daycare.

lolo199

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #37 on: April 07, 2019, 06:17:37 AM »
I had to have a minor medical procedure when my second was 3 weeks old.  I needed to find a way to feed him a few times.  The pressure to not formula feed (even a few times) was intense from various people.  I found pumping that early on to be nearly impossible.  They are already nursing nonstop it feels like, so to find an extra 30 minutes at a good time to pump was exhausting!  It was so much better a few weeks later for me.  You’re almost there!


I love all the recommendations you’ve gotten so far.  It gets better!  :)


MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2019, 04:58:29 AM »
The anti-formula thing from people who were raised in formula, is weird. I’ll be formula feeding from birth cause I won’t have a choice. I can’t imagine the distress the baby is feeling while crying for 2 hours. How horrible. That wouldn’t be worth not using formula if the baby isn’t feeding every 2-3 hours.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2019, 07:16:01 AM »
The anti-formula thing from people who were raised in formula, is weird. I’ll be formula feeding from birth cause I won’t have a choice. I can’t imagine the distress the baby is feeling while crying for 2 hours. How horrible. That wouldn’t be worth not using formula if the baby isn’t feeding every 2-3 hours.

The anti-formula crowd is strong.  I felt like a HORRIBLE mother for needing to supplement.  In retrospect, I'd much rather the baby not be hungry. I was lucky to be at a hospital that recognized a hungry baby, and both got her formula and me lactation support for my desire to breastfeed. Then they helped the baby with "speech" therapy to help her learn to suck efficiently, we got the tie clipped, more speech therapy, and she breastfed for a long time after that. We stopped using formula around 3-4 months.  (It was still heartbreaking when I got my gallbladder out around 9 months and the first doctor gave tried to give me antibiotics that would have needed me to not breastfeed for 4 weeks. Thankfully when I requested a new doctor, she changed the prescription so I wouldn't be able to breastfeed for only 4 days after my surgery.)

My friend had a newborn scream for 10 hours after birth, nurses deny her formula at the hospital when specifically asked (because they are "baby friendly"), until her husband finally left and bought some. The baby immediately went to sleep after eating. She NEVER had milk come in. They were willing to starve the baby.


That said- there is nothing that seems to be preventing this particular woman from breastfeeding, if that's her desire. But she has to wake up, or learn to do it while sleeping.  Exclusive breastfeeding is a giant sacrifice.

FireHiker

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2019, 02:48:22 PM »
Learning to nurse laying down was key to my sanity.  DS1 and I figured it out at about three months.  DS2 nursed while I was laying on my side from birth basically.  I nursed exclusively and rarely got out of bed.  DH would get DS2 from his crib.  I would nurse DS2 while DH changed his wet diaper.  We would either cosleep or DH would put the little guy back to bed.  Anyway experiment with the side position ( you can help by positioning pillows or spooning her). Hopefully it is the game changer it was for us.

A thousand times this!

With my first two I pumped going back to work, but with my third I never pumped or used a pacifier (work was super slow and I brought her in or worked from home until she was 18 months. I was SO lucky). With all three, I coslept at least until 6 months and nursed lying down. I honestly don't know how I would have managed otherwise. I am an exceedingly light sleeper and I rarely move at all in my sleep so I wasn't concerned about any risk with co-sleeping.

It is true though, exclusively breastfeeding is a huge commitment. And any shaming one way or the other is wrong. I think in an ideal world every woman who wanted to exclusively breastfeed should have the support she needs to be able to do so, and women who choose to use formula (or who have to use formula and have no choice, for various reasons) should be supported and not shamed.

Hang in there; those early days (years...) are rough. I'm pretty sure in hindsight that I had postpartum depression with kids 2 and 3, not severe, but bad enough looking back. My second child didn't sleep more than an hour and a half at a time until he was 18 months old, at which point his molars came in and he slept through the night suddenly. My first slept through the night by 12 weeks. Every kid is different. The only thing that's the same is when you look back in a few years it will be a blur!

KBecks

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2019, 06:33:12 AM »
It's not just anti-formula, it's also anti-bottle, and that's what's keeping dad out of the picture here.  So either, pumping (and getting over an anti-bottle message) or restful breastfeeding are the solutions.

Again, hang in there and good luck!!!

Slow&Steady

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2019, 07:04:03 AM »
As a working, breastfeeding mama to 2, with a husband that is both extremely helpful and willing to do more, here are my 2 cents (for what they are worth).

If she doesn't want to pump yet, go buy a haaka type of milk catcher and have her suction it to the opposite breast while she is feeding during the day.  This will generally help her build a little bit of a stash (breast milk, not money) without pumping.

Pumping sucks (not in a good way) don't pressure her to start earlier than she needs to.  Pumping too much can encourage her body to create an oversupply which can be a health issue for both her and baby.

Many breastfeeding mamas are very nervous about starting baby with a bottle too soon and it having an impact on baby's ability/willingness to latch at the breast.  Make sure you understand all of her reasons as to why she is hesitant to pump/bottle feed.

The absolute most helpful arrangement that my husband and I have/had with both of our babies was that at night he is responsible for everything baby related, except feeding.  Baby cries, husband go and gets baby, husband checks/changes diaper, husband tries to calm baby, husband brings baby to me to nurse (I do this without really waking up at this point), husband takes baby when done nursing, husband burps baby and rocks back to sleep.  If all I have to do is roll to my side and unsnap my shirt, that doesn't really disrupt my sleep enough to make this a problem but it does take some practice to get in and be comfortable knowing that you can nurse baby while laying down without squashing baby.  I practiced this during the day with my first, when I was fully awake.

You could also take on different tasks around the house so that she doesn't feel like she needs to be doing those while baby naps during the day.  Throw something in the slow cooker before you leave for work in the morning, she will know all day long that dinner is taken care of and she can get an extra nap in while baby does.  If you are a night owl anyways, start a load of laundry or dishes before you go to bed and unload them (switch to the dryer) before you leave in the morning so she doesn't see a mountain of dishes/laundry that she might feel she needs to take care of during a nap.  The best support any new mama can get is the support that anticipates her needs/guilty feelings and addresses them before she exerts any mental or physical energy towards those things.

Congrats and good luck.  Babies can be both amazing and the hardest thing you have ever done, all in the same breath.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2019, 07:06:48 AM »

If she doesn't want to pump yet, go buy a haaka type of milk catcher and have her suction it to the opposite breast while she is feeding during the day.  This will generally help her build a little bit of a stash (breast milk, not money) without pumping.


The haaka is a great suggestion. Cheap and easy to try.
A friend of mine never had to pump she did so well with the haaka. I never got more than 1-2 mL. I was so sad.

ilsy

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #44 on: April 11, 2019, 04:05:59 PM »
My two cents,
-babies are usually very dramatic, if he is gaining weight, don't worry, he gets enough. If he is a boy, he wants her warmth more than just food (boys are like that), you don't cut it, because you don't smell like food, which is "warmth."
-Boobs are very smart, they adjust the supply according to the demand. Prolactin, positive feedback and all that jazz, don't worry about her not producing enough.
-If she wants 3 hours of sleep, give it to her, she needs it (if for nothing else, she needs it "for milk production"), not saying she doesn't have enough, but proteins are made during sleep.
-I personally was co-sleeping with both of my kids during breastfeeding because I wanted to sleep and my x thought it was my problem to breastfeed since he had no boobs. All doctors and nurses were advising me against co-sleeping, but they were not the ones who had to go and pretend they work at work after the night of breastfeeding. So, I slept during the breastfeeding at night.
-My second one (son) had a problem with formula milk, so he was exclusively breastfed till 6m, looked like a sumo wrestler with two skinny parents (but that's a different story).
-It's true that breast-milk is digested faster than formula. But you can't force her to breastfeed when she wants to rest. If anything, her supply is going to be negatively affected by the lack of sleep.

ysette9

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #45 on: April 11, 2019, 04:21:06 PM »
How are things going on your end, OP? My heart aches to think your baby might be going hungry and I also am very aware of the real pain of sleep deprivation of having a baby. I am hoping for the best for all of you.

ilsy

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #46 on: April 11, 2019, 07:58:22 PM »
Another 2 cents, it might buy you a few minutes, maybe even more, try putting on your chest, close to your son's face his mom's used breastfeeding pads. They smell like her, so he might think she is close. I used to put those in my son's crib when I needed some quiet time to get my hw done.
In any case your wife is an adult who is going to notice how you treat her, your son on the other hand won't remember any of these (how he cried like he is going to die if nothing happens right now), and he is going to be a healthy baby with or without "additional" feedings.
First baby is stressful.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #47 on: April 11, 2019, 08:20:33 PM »
Thanks all for the tips and tricks, especially the relationship advice. I will definitely try the soothing techniques. I think this resonated with me:

If you'd like to introduce a bottle and help out at night, that's a great idea.  I never did this, but many friends did, and it meant mom got a solid 5-6 hour stretch of sleep.  BUT, I'd say it's probably a teeny bit too early to do so.  Give it a couple more weeks.

I think we are *just* shy of being able to do this. Wife is not quite mentally/physically/emotionally ready to pump, baby is still feeding like a newborn...but, I would like her to get that 5-6 hour chunk. And I guess I just need to come to the realization that all of these goals are not achievable right now.

Hopefully after a couple weeks, things settle in and everything falls into place. We just seem to be at a time where it's just too soon to try and accomplish all these goals at once.

Yeah.  Give yourself and especially your wife grace the first month or two.  It's rough. 

Build out time to be away from work - take a day off just to sleep as needed - if at all possible.  I had to do that several times, and thank God, it helped.  I'm glad I had an employer who understood, but, it turns out, virtually all parents understand: they either had it bad or had many, many friends who did.  So folks are unusually understanding.  It's a rough season and it gets better. 

I was thinking life was tough right now a moment ago, but reading this gave me much-needed perspective...I do not miss those days. 

englishteacheralex

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #48 on: April 12, 2019, 12:16:45 AM »
I've had two babies and did exclusive breastfeeding for both for their first six months. The first post partum experience was miserable. Second wasn't bad at all because my husband and I knew what we were doing and had a system.

Here's the system:

I sleep in baby's room and nurse on demand. Husband gets a normal night's sleep. Husband does 100% of all things that need to be done, including childcare for toddler.  I just accept that I'm in survival mode with sleep and nurse/sleep/nurse/sleep.

Wanna know what would probably surprise you? If we had a third (probably not gonna happen, but...) I'd almost definitely do formula. I'd do some breastfeeding as I could, but I wouldn't sweat it if my supply dwindled and that was it. Listen, my sleep is wrecked, even though my youngest is now two and has been sleeping through the night for a year. I can't do it again. Uncle. Both kids wound up on formula when I went back to work, anyway, because I couldn't keep up with pumping. Formula is not that big a deal, and it opens up the whole world to you as a mom of a newborn. Husband can help out. Friends can help out. You can go out for God's sake, and be away for the baby for a little while. Yeah. I don't think I'd do exclusive breastfeeding ever again.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Wife Doesn’t Let Me Feed Newborn at Night
« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2019, 07:31:10 AM »
Just to provide an update on this, my wife and I basically realized that trying to indiscriminately block off three hours for her was completely impractical. So we've done the same routine -- I watch baby out in the living room and try to comfort him for as long as possible; but as soon as he's hungry, I get mom.

This has actually resulted in more sleep -- that very last feed around 11:00 or 12:00 is resulting in baby getting full, and he is starting to sleep for 3-4 hours at a time on his own.

My wife is also very sensitive to light, so maybe baby is the same.  So we have been keeping all the windows open all day, and then shutting them around 7:30 or so. Baby is starting to get his days and nights somewhat together -- very active during the day and mostly just eats, poops, and sleeps at night.

Things are going well. Thanks all for all the tips and tricks.