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Husband Hides Baby Formula, Says Wife Isn’t Trying Hard Enough To Breastfeed Biting Baby

Breastfeeding can be a beautiful bonding experience with your child. It can also be a painful nightmare. And unfortunately, for new moms, this supposedly easy thing is actually incredibly hard. When I gave birth, I think I spent more time stressing out over breastfeeding than thinking about my new baby. Nurses are running in and out squeezing your boobs, lactation consultants literally give you notes to read on techniques, and all the while, your baby is getting hungry.

You’re bruised and sore, and then you get the hang of it and it’s lovely—until you start producing too much or too little or the pump stops working. You feel shame about failing at this thing you’re just supposed to do. Plus the politicizing—people screaming “breast is best” and batting the formula away from you and strangers policing you nursing in public.

Fed is best, period. Do what you can, moms! 

On Reddit, one such mother struggling with a breast-feeding baby who bites wrote in asking for help—not about her baby but about her husband, who has been HIDING THE FORMULA SO SHE CAN’T USE IT. I can’t even pretend to be neutral here because this is so vile. 

“My daughter, 10 months old has recently started biting during breastfeeding. When she starts to bite, I simply tell her ‘no’ and put her down immediately. I only started doing this recently because my breasts kind of look like a war zone-I’m bleeding and sore because of the biting and simply cannot take it anymore.” 

“Instead I’ve been pumping, but even that is extremely painful until I let my breasts heal. Instead I’ve been doing a mix of pumping and formula. My husband does not like this. He was okay with me pumping and feeding our daughter until I started supplementing with formula. He believes that breastmilk is best and formula is the devil because it’s not ‘natural’ or something. At this age, I’m giving her milk around 4-5 times a day, and still attempt to breastfeed once or twice a day.” 

First of all, while breast milk does provide nutrients and antibodies that formula does not, formula is not “the devil” and is completely fine to use. Some women cannot breastfeed because of health issues or other reasons, and formula has kept their babies fed and healthy. Also, some dads love to be able to feed their child, and if you aren’t pumping and saving breast milk in the fridge, dads can bond with their kid through feeding them formula. 

ANYWAY. This woman’s husband proceeded to HIDE THE FORMULA, taking away his wife’s choice over her body and forcing her to do something causing pain and stress. 

“It reached the tipping point yesterday when he hid the formula so I’d have ‘no choice’ but to breastfeed our daughter. I ask him why he’s doing this, and he simply says he doesn’t think I’m not trying hard enough because I stopped simply because she’s biting me, and that a good mother wouldn’t stop doing what’s best for her child simply because she’s in pain.” 

I hate him, and so does Reddit because he is controlling, gas-lighting monster. Lots of Redditors chimed in to share their breastfeeding stories as well as let the OP know that in no uncertain terms they are on her side. 

“This is just plain awful, there’s no mincing words, no other way to put it. How fucking dare he. I am filled with righteous indignation on your behalf. A good husband wouldn’t gaslight his wife into thinking that she is somehow doing her child wrong by making certain her child gets the nutrients she needs while make certain that her own body isn’t relegated to the status of a chew toy. I don’t even know you and I’m FUMING. NTA and I’m sorry but if my husband did this to me (hid formula to try to force me to breast feed; doubled down by accusing me of being a bad mother if I didn’t follow his command) I would tell him I’d see the formula back immediately, or I’d see him in court,” said Dszquphsbnt

“This made me so angry too. Yes, breastfeeding can be beneficial. However, when I was in childcare there was a saying we had when we gave advice to parents…’Fed is best.’ Do whatever you need to make sure your baby is fed regardless of method(breast, pumping, formula). A fed baby is a healthy baby. That is what OP is doing. Breast feeding hurts her, but she’s still making sure her child gets what she needs. That is what a good parent does, OP is a good mother and how dare her husband imply otherwise.

Not only is her husband controlling her and her body. He’s forcing her to endure pain unnecessarily while guilting her that trying to prevent it makes her a bad mother. Like helping herself heal is somehow wrong even though baby is still getting food. Wtf. An uncomfortable and stressed mother isn’t good for the baby either. In fact it’s probably worse than just giving them formula. Formula is literally designed for babies and has like the strictest safety standards and regulations because we give it to vulnerable babies. How would he like having to endure open wounds, soreness, and bleeding on his chest? He should experience that before even criticizing his wife. Even then, it’s her body and she needs to take care of herself too,” said Virtual-Rasberry

“That man is now starving your baby to reach you a lesson. WTF NTA. Btw the kid I formula fed exclusively is the smartest of my 3 kids (shh don’t tell the others I said that) but they’re all perfectly healthy and decent human beings. Just feed them because Fed is Best,” noted LadyMjolnir

“I’m seeing red!! How dare he gaslight you in this manner? Try harder? Bite his damn nipples drawing blood and see how he likes it!! Definitely NTA your husband is a major AH. My rant is over have a serious talk with him about the him crossing boundaries. It is your body and does not have a right controlling your choices in this manner. Please bite him please,” said vee1021

“I am a new Dad to a 9 week old and we are only able to 50/50 breast-feed/formula as that is all my partner can produce. Some people aren’t even that lucky and are 100% formula from the start. Yes, breast milk has antibodies etc in it that will help your baby, but that doesn’t mean you have to give them only breast milk. Also at 10 months old, a lot of people would have given up breastfeeding by that point for similar reasons that you’re currently experiencing! Any breast milk you give your baby is fantastic and better than nothing, keep doing what you’re doing and you’re husband is an asshole,” kiwilegend said. 

“Have her bite HIS nipple and see how much his pain isn’t a big deal. Also, you don’t need a justification to discontinue breastfeeding, regardless. Even if you just didn’t feel like it anymore. FWIW, my husband thinks hiding the formula was a scummy thing to do,” said KrimsonTan

“He is gaslighting you. He is not the one having his nipples bitten off daily, he needs to close his mouth on this one and support you. There is nothing wrong with formula, and your baby is almost at the point where they can eat real food anyways. Does your husband have a history of disregarding your feelings and needs for your body? Does he help equally with the baby? PS you are not a bad mother for using formula. Smh. He is actively trying to hurt you,” said cat42000

“Congratulations on making it to 10 months! That is a major accomplishment! Your husband is a huge huge AH because he has no idea how difficult it is to breastfeed and should have zero say in when you decide to call it quits or how you choose to proceed from here. He should be praising you for making it to 10 months because most can’t get past the pain from the first couple weeks! I too nursed but never quite made it to 10 months for various reasons. If my husband had tried to force me to continue I would have packed up and went to live with my mom. He needs to think about what a marriage is and how you are supposed to be loving, supportive, equal partners rather than judgy, bossy, controlling and manipulative,” TheCookie_Momster shared. 

What would you do in this situation? 

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Patricia Grisafi

Patricia Grisafi, PhD, is a freelance writer and educator. Her work has appeared in Salon, Vice, Bitch, Bustle, Broadly, The Establishment, and elsewhere. She is passionate about pit bull rescue, cursed objects, and designer sunglasses.