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“My Husband Wants Me To Stop Breastfeeding” – An Expert Weighs In

We share anonymous member posts in our closed support group on Facebook.  A recent post about an unsupportive husband attracted a number of comments from our members, ranging from upset to concerned and even absolutely outraged.  Although all of the comments had the best of intentions, the member did not find many of comments suggesting she was being abused, or that she should leave her husband, very helpful.  While it can be triggering to hear of a fellow woman being treated by her husband in a way that we would not consider acceptable in our own relationship, if we are to help someone, we need to be able to meet them where they are.  We need to be mindful that coming on too strong could leave someone like our anonymous member feeling like everyone is giving her a hard time, that she is to blame and that she can’t go anywhere for non-judgemental advice.

Thankfully, there was one particular comment from Gina Haitidis, who has degree in sociology and criminology, as well as a masters in both social work and forensic mental health majoring in child psychoanalytic psychotherapy, that felt very balanced.  Gina offered insightful and practical advice that empowered the anonymous poster.  We are very grateful for the variety of members we have in our 30,000 strong group and appreciate experts like Gina taking time to reply to our members.  Below is an altered version of the original question, together with Gina’s response.

Question

“My husband wants me to stop breastfeeding my son.  We have daughters together, but he makes fun of my son when he cries for me, and says things like “he’s such a girl”.  My husband also thinks I should stop breastfeeding because he says it’s stopping me from losing weight.  He isn’t open to the idea of talking to a professional about this.  Has anyone got any advice on dealing with an unsupportive husband?”

Gina’s expert response
I have quite a bit of training in this kind of thing and based on what you have chosen to disclose I would say that he is possibly unsure of his role in your family dynamic and relationship.  There are a few reasons I would suggest this:

1. Your third child is a boy and he as a father possibly has had fantasies surrounding the relationship he would have with his son. It appears (most likely because your son is still very young) that you are living out your husband’s fantasises, but he is not. This could make him somewhat jealous and insecure.

2. This is further emphasised through his remarks of saying your son is being like a girl when he cries for you. Your husbands may be saying this for two reasons – One being again he is not the first point of protection or comfort and two, he would feel somewhat left out of your special relationship.

3. With respect to your weight I’m not sure of the background to the comment, but if you yourself have mentioned weight loss in the past, then this might be a way of him trying to persuade you in a positive supportive light (although it might not come across that way). Or if you have brought it up in a negative light, again his way of trying to somewhat emotionally provoke you to stop. He may think that if you stop breastfeeding, he can be with you and have possible a more confident role in both his relationship as a father and partner.

The positive is that he is communicating his needs albeit subconsciously – maybe make him conscious of his remarks and talk through them in a safe unjudgmental way.  We are all human at the end of the day, and some people hate the idea of “professional” help – it might be worthwhile considering a different therapeutic approach like going for a long walk together and cultivating your relationship with just the two of you.

I would also suggest encouraging father son time, something that just they do that you and your daughters don’t participate in, that’s enjoyable.”

Relationships Australia offer a variety of services to families, and are an excellent resource for anyone who is experiencing relationship issues.

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13 thoughts on ““My Husband Wants Me To Stop Breastfeeding” – An Expert Weighs In

  1. Please take this down and stop justifying this man’s irrational and selfish views and attitudes towards his partner and son. The apparent expert is correct – this is jealousy. But as a domestic violence practioniner, these comments are highly concerning. What this individual is jealous of is the bond between his partner and another male (his son). Get this article down and stop women from thinking they have to massage their partners ego because they have irrationale views of care giving.

    1. What Expert there is no such person in bringing up Kids

      The Dad is a dip stick

  2. Not many people understand that breastfeeding, in addition to providing food, immunity and the physical bond to mum, Is an essential part of the normal development and function of the tongue and firm establishment of nasal breathing as a lifelong habit.

    There is an unknown epidemic in westernised cultures where bottle feeding and spouted cups have resulted in lazy tongues and a mouth breathing habit -both of which lead to disease outcomes, even in the child.

    The message to this father should be your desire to continue breastfeeding to ensure the normal development of your baby.

    John the dentist

  3. As a mother of five I think your husband is jealous of your son because he sees his son, another male, competing for the breast – his breast.

  4. […] her story anonymously on the online forum Breastfeeders Australia  – which has more than 30,000 members – the woman explained that her husband hates […]

  5. […] her story anonymously on the online forum Breastfeeders Australia  – which has more than 30,000 members – the woman explained that her husband hates that […]

  6. […] her story anonymously on the online forum Breastfeeders Australia  – which has more than 30,000 members – the woman explained that her husband hates that […]

  7. […] her story anonymously on the online forum Breastfeeders Australia  – which has more than 30,000 members – the woman explained that her husband hates […]

  8. […] her story anonymously on the online forum Breastfeeders Australia  – which has more than 30,000 members – the woman explained that her husband hates that […]

  9. […] Apparently, comments expressed so much outrage that the post was taken down. Breastfeeders Australia explains on their blog: […]

  10. As a dad of 5 boys.. this dad has issues.. its natural and i would sacrifice my life to ensure mum fed my boys.. they are now adults.. human nature is to ensure your offspring is well cared for..

  11. I am a mother of 3 children, two girls and a boy. The children are now adults in there 30’s. I am concerned that your husband is very jealous of the affection you are given to the baby son. FOR HEAVENS SAKE DONT LET HIM DO THIS!!!!!!! Tell your husband you are saving a lot of money by feeding your little one and are giving protection of antibodies. In a couple of months he can have your body parts that he desires. A word of caution don’t let him call your little one a girl because he cries and( at this stage being a baby) he is hungry etc. It sounds like he is from old school of learning usually stems from his own parents of rearing children. I want you to be on the look out for any signs of jealousy even when your little boy grows up! I have no university qualifications JUST my own EXPERIENCE in bringing up my own children.

  12. […] was being abused, or that she should leave her husband, very helpful,” Threadgate wrote in a post on the Breastfeeders in Australia site. “While it can be triggering to hear of a fellow woman being treated by her husband in a way […]

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