My wife wants to breastfeed our baby, but it’s not going well. Did you have this challenge and how did you cope?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: In medical school, they stressed how important and beneficial breastfeeding is. I counseled my patients in this too, strongly encouraging them to at least try to breastfeed.

What I learned as a dad, though, is that although breastfeeding is natural, it’s not necessarily easy. In fact, the challenges of breastfeeding can cause new moms so much anxiety that it can contribute to post-partum depression.

My wife tried to breastfeed our first baby for eight weeks, but she was miserable the entire time. She talked with a lactation consultant who gave her the permission she needed to stop. My wife tried to breastfeed our second baby for two weeks, and again it was so terrible that she stopped. When my wife was pregnant with our third baby, I saw her looking at the breastfeeding items at the baby supply store, and I said, “What are you doing? None of that!” I believe that breastfeeding is beneficial, but it’s not for everyone!

Now I tell my patients that it’s ok to compromise. For example, you can supplement with formula, and certainly you should seek help from your doctor, midwife, or lactation consultant if you need it.

Jason James, MD, a father of three and an ob-gyn in private practice with FemCare Ob-Gyn in Miami, FL