After struggling with her mental health while trying to breastfeed her first baby, a mom shared that she's being pressured by her husband not to use formula with her second.

Advertisement

As a new parent, you're bombarded by rules, regulations, and recommendations, but there's no "perfect" way to do anything—from diapering to feeding and everything in between. That doesn't mean people in your life won't assert that there is though, as one Redditor knows all too well. In a recent post shared on the Parenting subreddit, the original poster (OP), writing under the handle r/reigns_mom, said that her husband "won't let" her formula feed her second child.

She explained that she has a 16-month-old son whom she exclusively breastfed until he was five months old. "I struggled so much to produce enough milk no matter how much I tried to take foods that I was told helped with milk production," shared the OP. "Despite that, I continued breastfeeding, but by four months he really wasn't getting much and was bigger, so I started introducing purees."

An image of a mom grabbing a bottle for her baby.
Credit: Getty Images.

Breastfeeding was "really tough" for her, and she said she never enjoyed it. "I was mostly worried my child wasn't getting enough, which is true anyway because he wasn't really gaining weight so well," wrote the OP.

Now, she's pregnant again and wants to feed her second baby both breast milk and formula. "I really can't have another child fully depend on me again," she noted. "I got sick from all the stress last time and even got admitted to the hospital."

Yet, her preference has become "a source of constant argument," because her husband "insists formula has chemicals, and he wants his child to get breast milk." "I have explained the baby will still get breast milk—just not exclusively," wrote the OP. "He's now guilt-tripping me and making me feel like a bad mom for not wanting to go through that all over again. I feel that since I'm the one who went through all the struggle I should be entitled to making the decision that will see both me and my child healthy and most especially keep me sane."

She then turned it over to her fellow Redditors, asking if they have ever been through this and what they think. In turn, the commenters came out to support the soon-to-be mom of two.

r/jnissa wrote, "Your husband doesn't get to tell you what to do with your body." While another Redditor, writing under the handle r/hanahnothannah observed, "Read the first part of the post 'husband won't let me' and thought, 'oh no, that's abuse.' He's not your parent, OP. He holds no authority over you and your body. He can disagree, sure, but he doesn't have authority to demand you do anything with your body. He can try breastfeeding himself if it's so important to him."

And r/Paper_Sack noted, "Your mental health is more important and more beneficial to the baby than breast milk. Your husband is totally out of line. You're 100 percent right to want to take care of yourself, and you are the one who should be making this decision. It seems like your husband doesn't understand the seriousness of peripartum mood disorders and how stressful and burdensome breastfeeding can be. Maybe talk to your doctor about it and see if they can talk some sense into him."

A Redditor who identified herself as a pediatrician, writing under the handle r/MintyFreshHippo, had some words of wisdom for the OP as well: "My husband told me after our first, where breastfeeding literally made me want to throw the baby across the room, that breastfeeding/giving pumped milk was so easy. I was like, 'WTF, dude, it was easy for you.' I was a medical student on clinical rotations, pumping in random places every day, trying to plan a schedule to pump and feed the baby when my schedule changed every day, and I had no control over it, plus breastfeeding was the worst thing I've ever done emotionally. After that talk, my husband voluntarily bought formula just in case while I was pregnant with my second child."

She continued, "As a pediatrician, I think the people pushing exclusive breastfeeding aren't valuing Mom's time, sleep, and feelings. If it works for you, then, by all means we should support it, but if it's not working for any reason (including that you don't want to or it makes you miserable), we should also support that."

r/MintyFreshHippo went on to conclude that healthy, sane parents are best for babies, and the relative benefits of chestfeeding are minor. "Essentially one less ear infection or diarrheal illness in the first year of life," she noted. "The remaining benefits are largely attributable to the mother's socioeconomic status and education level."

The OP thanked everyone for weighing in and ultimately concluded, "I really do need to stand my ground but also keep my marriage. I'm only willing to take drastic measures if he absolutely won't budge because my mental state is more important than being married."

The bottom line: When it comes to the ideal way to ensure your baby is getting proper nutrition, fed is best. Here's hoping this couple—and others who might be butting heads on this topic—are able to embrace this fact and ultimately get on the same page.