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DP ready for me to stop nursing, but I'm not - Page 2

post #21 of 22
The issue is not the breastfeeding. I feel like I can say this definitively, as a breastfeeding, non-gestational mother. My youngest is 14 months old as well, and my wife gave birth to him. As I type this, he is snuggled asleep beside me in bed; my wife is out playing pool with a friend. Even though I am able to breastfeed ds (and do, though not every day), he still strongly--strongly--prefers to nurse with my wife, and refuses to nurse with me if she is home. At one point I may have felt threatened by this bond (even though I had already experienced being the primary breastfeeding mom: I nursed our twins until they were three, and am still nursing our nearly four-year-old), but I don't anymore. What shifted things for me was gaining confidence in my ability to mother my baby without using my breasts.

I'm guessing that the real issue your Dp is having, marielizabeth, is that she lacks confidence in her ability to mother your baby due to a belief that breastfeeding is the only thing that your baby REALLY wants. I think she would benefit from having more alone time with your ds. She needs to learn what tools work for her, and find her own mothering confidence.

There is no reason why your Dp can't figure out how to put your ds to sleep in the absence of nursing. I absolutely support you in your choice to continue nursing as frequently and for as long as you and your ds want to, but this can happen in the context of still giving your Dp a little more room to figure out how she can meet your son's needs. When my ds is with my wife, he nurses every 20 minutes or so--very often! But when he's alone with me, he's absolutely fine to go many, many hours without nursing (8 or longer). My wife usually nurses him to sleep on her nights to put him to bed, but I can get him to sleep easily without nursing (I wear him in a carrier, take him for a walk in the stroller, or simply cradle him in my arms).

You and your Dp will both need to take a leap of faith: you in trusting your Dp to meet your son's needs and leaving him with her, and your Dp in trusting that she CAN meet your son's needs, even without any lactating breasts. It may feel rough for all parties involved at first, but I'm certain that your Dp and your ds will find their own rhythm if given time and space.

My guess is that once your Dp feels more capable as a mother and feels able to care for your ds on her own (including getting him to sleep, etc.), she will feel much less bothered by his continued love of/dependence on nursing. And once your ds learns that your Dp is able to comfort him, he will trust her more to do so. I noticed a huge shift in my baby's willingness to be comforted by me after I started putting him to bed half the time.

Your Dp needs to know that gaining a more "equal" role in mothering your ds is going to take a lot of work on her part, just as learning to breastfeed him took a lot of work on your part. If you were to wean him, you'd have to be coming up with new ways to comfort him and meet his needs. Instead, you can keep nursing him, and she can be the one to come up with new ways to comfort him. And you need to provide her with the opportunity to do so, which will involve quite a bit of letting go on your part.

post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Such wisdom, here -- thanks, again, everyone! Wish I'd posted earlier.

We did talk about DP inducing lactation, but she decided not to. It just didn't feel right for her. And I think she really isn't jealous of the breastfeeding per se but needing to feel validated as a mom, which is hard for her to do when he is clamoring for the boob and pushing her away.

More alone time with DS is definitely a good idea. And I read The Other Mother, but DP didn't (we were trying at the time and she thought I was jumping the gun a bit), but just ordered a copy laugh of that and She Looks Like You for DP.

When he woke up from his nap today, she tried to pick him up but he reached for me, instead, and I was like, Oh, great. But pretty soon she had him chasing her around the apartment in a wild game of peekaboo, and was giving that gleefull belly laugh that she can always get out of him I don't remember what I said, but it was something to the effect of how much he obviously loved playing with her and how clear it was that she's special to him.
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