Dear Bundoo: My husband wants my breast milk!
From a husband’s desire to add breast milk to his morning coffee to a grandmother who demands her granddaughter eat more—even if she is growing just fine! Dear Bundoo is where we answer your parenting and relationship questions anonymously.
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My husband and I are having a disagreement. He says that breast milk is just like regular milk and to prove it wants to start using it in his coffee. I think this is kind of weird and not very sensitive to me. Our daughter is four months old and my milk supply is fine, but I don’t want to pump extra just for him. What can I tell him to get him to understand my position?
—Milking for one
Well, your husband is right in pointing out that the ‘regular’ milk that we drink is breast milk, but it comes from a cow (most people never think of this)! However, I would tell him that nutritionally, human and cow’s milk vary and are really tailored for the species for which they are made. He might interpret that to mean that human breast milk is better for him in his coffee, but the point here is that you are producing milk for your baby, not him. You are already busy nourishing your 4 month-old daughter, and needing to pump more so he can take his coffee light is certainly extra work. If you don’t want to do it, politely refuse! I would remind him that doing this could negatively affect your supply (as extra pumping can cause oversupply, which sounds like a good thing but isn’t) and would require a lot more work when he can easily get what he needs from a supermarket.
If you do decide to help him out, you could consider charging him what the average milk bank charges for human breast milk, which is $3/ounce. That would cost him $384 per gallon. It might change his mind…
Answered by Dr. Jen Lincoln, Bundoo OB/GYN
I’m a single mom with two children. My 4-year-old boy is a very healthy boy and he’s on the upper end of the growth charts for his age. My daughter, though, is much smaller and only weighs just over 24 pounds. She’s 2 years old. I asked her doctor and the doctor said she’s on the smaller side but she’s healthy and eating well, so it’s nothing to worry about. The problem is my mother. She says I’m not feeding the baby enough and I’m going to cause my daughter to be delayed if I don’t make her eat more and grow faster. I don’t know what to do. Is there any way I really could be hurting my daughter’s development somehow? Should I try to make her eat more?
Dear Not Starving,
You can reassure grandma that as long as your daughter is following along the growth curve, she has nothing to worry about! As hard as it is for parents (and grandparents!), we simply cannot compare two siblings in anything, especially growth. Even though your children share the same genetics, this does not mean that they should grow at the same rate. As long as your daughter is eating a healthy, well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains, she is getting the nutrients she needs to grow. Certainly diets poor in iron or other nutrients can cause delays in development, but your pediatrician has reassured you that your daughter is “healthy and eating well.”
Some parents of small children make the mistake of offering their children anything, as long as they will eat it, in an effort to make them grow. Unfortunately, this often leads to unhealthy snacking throughout the day which fills the child up so they are no longer hungry for the nutritious food offered at meal times.
Furthermore, you simply cannot make a child eat more, unless you want to invite a power struggle over food (and no parent wants that!). Children ultimately have control in this arena, and although you can offer more, she is the one who ultimately decides what and how much she should eat. So as long as you model good eating choices and offer healthy foods throughout the day, you have done your part—the rest is up to your daughter!
Answered by Dr. Kristie Rivers, Bundoo Pediatrician