My MIL watches my 20m old during the day, and says that it is a problem that she sometimes flips out and gets very upset if anything reminds her of me during the day (seeing the sling that I usually carry her in, hearing grandma talk to someone on the phone in English because she and I often talk on the phone to coordinate pickup of the LO, hearing herself say "Mama" when she is playing and then seemingly realizing that I am not there). Apparently occasionally she really gets herself worked up and will really scream a bit, in the way that she does sometimes when she throws a temper tantrum (like when she is tired and I take her away from the dogfood because she won't quit playing with it after I tell her "no.")
MIL is convinced that this behavior is pathological, and since it only occurs with respect to me (and not to my husband), that the only way to "solve" this behavior is for me to stop nursing on demand. She in particular seems to think that the fact that DD nurses for reasons other than hunger is a problem, which I find frustrating. Right now I mostly nurse DD whenever she asks, which when we are together can sometimes be quite frequently. Sometimes she gets very insistent, and sometimes it is annoying and problematic in the way that she asks, but I think when she is well-rested and not hungry or hurt, she will nurse sweetly for a bit and then run off happily to do other things. I do sometimes tell her that she cannot nurse right when she asks, and she understands that, but will keep asking repeatedly for it, or if she is in a bad mood, will throw a bit of a toddler temper-tantrum. Her tantrums are pretty short lived (I think) for a toddler, typically only lasting a couple of minutes. In short, she is sometimes impolite and irritatingly insistent about wanting to nurse, but she's also like this with crackers and toys, and I think this is totally normal for a 20m old!
I feel that DD's behavior is pretty age-appropriate. And while I would sometimes like to set a bit more limits with BFing (i.e. be able to say no and have her accept it without protest occasionally), I haven't been too strict about this because I feel that it is too complicated for her to understand why she can sometimes nurse and sometimes not, just because I say so. I don't want to go to only letting her nurse at home, or only upon waking and at bedtime, for example, just for the sake of consistency. But I don't know how to make the argument to MIL that DD's behavior is normal and that BFing is not a problem that causes separation anxiety flip-outs.
In particular, does anyone have any good evidence that I could use to convince MIL that:
1) DD's current nursing behavior is not a problem (insofar as any toddler behavior which is sometimes "good" and sometimes "bad" is a problem);
2) DD's separation anxiety tantrums are developmentally normal; and
3) changing the nursing relationship is not going to improve the separation anxiety tantrums.
I am happy to talk with my MIL about other steps we could take to reduce DD's periodic tantrums about my not being there, as I don't want DD freaking out about my absence either for DDs sake or my MILs, but I don't have any ideas about what to do there, so if any of you have ideas on this point as well, that would be helpful...
Anyway, thanks for reading my long! post and thanks in advance for any advice!