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Feeling sad and conflicted

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My sweet 4-year-old DS2 nurses every night at bedtime and every morning (assuming I'm home at those times).  He loves it and shows no sign of giving up either nursing session.

 

My DH is convinced that several things would magically happen if I stopped nursing our son entirely:  (1) DS would get more sleep and be less tired and cranky during the day; (2) I would have more time and energy for my job; and (3) I would have more time and energy for DH.  I don't view nursing as the culprit in any of this.  DS stopped taking afternoon naps a few months ago, and he just isn't getting enough sleep at night to make up for it.  I think we need to work on getting him to bed earlier at night, because he wakes up like clockwork at the same time every morning even if he is tired.  But still, DH blames the fact that DS nurses to sleep and says he would go to sleep faster and earlier if he weren't nursing (the logic of this escapes me).

 

Anyway, I was thinking about the fact that I asked my DS1 to stop nursing in the mornings when he was about this same age (at the time, I was nursing DS2 all the time and just couldn't handle DS1's morning sessions any more).  That was relatively painless, so I thought I would try the same thing with DS2.  Yesterday, I asked DS2 whether he would rather keep nursing at bedtime or in the morning, and predictably, he said "both."  I explained that I am having a hard time nursing him in the morning because it takes so long and I need to try to get to work earlier.  He looked very sad and didn't really say anything.

 

Later in the day, DS was holding his stuffed kitty and told me, "Kitty only gets to have milk from nursing at bedtime.  He wants it in the morning too, but I tell him he can't have it because I'm too busy."  I asked how Kitty feels about that, and DS said, "sad."  My heart just about broke.  I mean seriously, he is the sweetest, least demanding, most understanding little kid I can even imagine, and I feel like I'm being forced to take away something he loves for no good reason.

 

This morning, I left for work early before DS2 was awake, without nursing him, and I felt so bad.  He has missed nursing sessions before because I wasn't there, but this time, it felt like I was intentionally running away so I could avoid nursing him.  I feel terrible.  I have felt terrible all day, to the point that it is actually affecting my productivity at work (the opposite of the intended effect).

 

I think I have decided to just keep on nursing DS both at bedtime and in the morning, but perhaps work on setting some limits on the morning session so it doesn't take 30-45 minutes.  I do feel somewhat chained to the bed, and DH gets irritated that I'm not up and about accomplishing things even though I'm awake.  (DH seems to function fine on a lot less sleep than I need, so his perception that I just lie around in bed is a point of contention between us.)

 

If anyone has any other thoughts or constructive suggestions, I would appreciate it.  I don't need pointers on how to educate DH about the benefits of breastfeeding etc. - I've been down that road and gotten him to the point of accepting nursing well beyond "the norm."  I guess I'm just looking for a little understanding when I'm feeling down, and no one I know IRL is likely to understand at all why I am sad about this.  Thanks for listening.

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalBearMama View Post

My sweet 4-year-old DS2 nurses every night at bedtime and every morning (assuming I'm home at those times).  He loves it and shows no sign of giving up either nursing session.

 

My DH is convinced that several things would magically happen if I stopped nursing our son entirely:  (1) DS would get more sleep and be less tired and cranky during the day; (2) I would have more time and energy for my job; and (3) I would have more time and energy for DH.  I don't view nursing as the culprit in any of this.  DS stopped taking afternoon naps a few months ago, and he just isn't getting enough sleep at night to make up for it.  I think we need to work on getting him to bed earlier at night, because he wakes up like clockwork at the same time every morning even if he is tired.  But still, DH blames the fact that DS nurses to sleep and says he would go to sleep faster and earlier if he weren't nursing (the logic of this escapes me).

You nursed your son for 4 years. You did an amazing job. My advice to you is to let go of the guilt. Your ds is probably feeling that you`re torn and he`s responding to your feelings. My ds was the same when he weaned at the same age. I was going back and forth on the decision; I asked him if he wanted to stop after his 4th year birthday party and he said yes. Then I changed my mind and offered again, and at that point he said: Mom! I`m 4 y/o now, I don`t want to nurse! and I knew he was done.

 

My point is, first you need to look into your heart and decide that weaning is what you want to do. Leaving aside all the research and everyone else`s opinion, do you think weaning is the best decision for your son at this point? If the answer is yes, and you made peace with it, your son will sense it too, and will be ok with it.

 

As for what your dh thinks, I would put the onus on him o change the situation if he doesn`t like it. He feels you don`t have enough time for him? He should take over bedtime and maybe help you with house chores. You could briefly nurse your ds then let your dh do bathtime or storytime or whatever. You might be surprised to discover that your ds will enjoy it. (This is what I do with my 3.5 y/o dd; I nurse, then dh takes over bedtime, and the main reason is because she falls asleep a lot easier with dh than with me).

post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightwish View Post

You nursed your son for 4 years. You did an amazing job. My advice to you is to let go of the guilt. Your ds is probably feeling that you`re torn and he`s responding to your feelings. My ds was the same when he weaned at the same age. I was going back and forth on the decision; I asked him if he wanted to stop after his 4th year birthday party and he said yes. Then I changed my mind and offered again, and at that point he said: Mom! I`m 4 y/o now, I don`t want to nurse! and I knew he was done.

My point is, first you need to look into your heart and decide that weaning is what you want to do. Leaving aside all the research and everyone else`s opinion, do you think weaning is the best decision for your son at this point? If the answer is yes, and you made peace with it, your son will sense it too, and will be ok with it.

As for what your dh thinks, I would put the onus on him o change the situation if he doesn`t like it. He feels you don`t have enough time for him? He should take over bedtime and maybe help you with house chores. You could briefly nurse your ds then let your dh do bathtime or storytime or whatever. You might be surprised to discover that your ds will enjoy it. (This is what I do with my 3.5 y/o dd; I nurse, then dh takes over bedtime, and the main reason is because she falls asleep a lot easier with dh than with me).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalBearMama View Post

  I guess I'm just looking for a little understanding when I'm feeling down, and no one I know IRL is likely to understand at all why I am sad about this.  Thanks for listening.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalBearMama View Post

My sweet 4-year-old DS2 nurses every night at bedtime and every morning (assuming I'm home at those times).  He loves it and shows no sign of giving up either nursing session.

My DH is convinced that several things would magically happen if I stopped nursing our son entirely:  (1) DS would get more sleep and be less tired and cranky during the day; (2) I would have more time and energy for my job; and (3) I would have more time and energy for DH.  I don't view nursing as the culprit in any of this.  DS stopped taking afternoon naps a few months ago, and he just isn't getting enough sleep at night to make up for it.  I think we need to work on getting him to bed earlier at night, because he wakes up like clockwork at the same time every morning even if he is tired.  But still, DH blames the fact that DS nurses to sleep and says he would go to sleep faster and earlier if he weren't nursing (the logic of this escapes me).

Anyway, I was thinking about the fact that I asked my DS1 to stop nursing in the mornings when he was about this same age (at the time, I was nursing DS2 all the time and just couldn't handle DS1's morning sessions any more).  That was relatively painless, so I thought I would try the same thing with DS2.  Yesterday, I asked DS2 whether he would rather keep nursing at bedtime or in the morning, and predictably, he said "both."  I explained that I am having a hard time nursing him in the morning because it takes so long and I need to try to get to work earlier.  He looked very sad and didn't really say anything.

Later in the day, DS was holding his stuffed kitty and told me, "Kitty only gets to have milk from nursing at bedtime.  He wants it in the morning too, but I tell him he can't have it because I'm too busy."  I asked how Kitty feels about that, and DS said, "sad."  My heart just about broke.  I mean seriously, he is the sweetest, least demanding, most understanding little kid I can even imagine, and I feel like I'm being forced to take away something he loves for no good reason.

This morning, I left for work early before DS2 was awake, without nursing him, and I felt so bad.  He has missed nursing sessions before because I wasn't there, but this time, it felt like I was intentionally running away so I could avoid nursing him.  I feel terrible.  I have felt terrible all day, to the point that it is actually affecting my productivity at work (the opposite of the intended effect).

I think I have decided to just keep on nursing DS both at bedtime and in the morning, but perhaps work on setting some limits on the morning session so it doesn't take 30-45 minutes.  I do feel somewhat chained to the bed, and DH gets irritated that I'm not up and about accomplishing things even though I'm awake.  (DH seems to function fine on a lot less sleep than I need, so his perception that I just lie around in bed is a point of contention between us.)

If anyone has any other thoughts or constructive suggestions, I would appreciate it.  I don't need pointers on how to educate DH about the benefits of breastfeeding etc. - I've been down that road and gotten him to the point of accepting nursing well beyond "the norm."  I guess I'm just looking for a little understanding when I'm feeling down, and no one I know IRL is likely to understand at all why I am sad about this.  Thanks for listening.
post #4 of 8
I am having a hard time with the quote function and my touch screen . I will try to post again!

OP, I give you a lot of credit for fulfilling your child's needs. It seems your first child took weaning from the morning session more easily. Your second son doesn't seem ready. Could you try to shorten the morning session instead (as pp stated)? My 3.5 yr old is an avid nurser, and definitely, the morning session is very important to him. I no longer work since I gave birth to him though but if I did it would be a challenge as the sessions are long. I know the pressure to get out the door on time.
If you are willing and able to nurse that long in the morning then by all means stick with it, as it certainly seems to be fulfilling a great need in your child. If on the other hand you just can't do it, even for a short period, than you are not able to......and you stil can nurse at night
Edited by Asiago - 4/19/13 at 6:44am
post #5 of 8

Have you tried offering your son a substitute to try?  We recently dropped my DD's last night-time bottle, and began having a snuggle time after lights out where she's allowed to just talk about whatever she wants.  Every night it's like she can't believe her good fortune.  Is there anything else that would be really special to your son that might ease the pain of weaning?

post #6 of 8

I don't think that you should feel pressured to drop a nursing session for imagined benefits.  I'm sorry you're feeling pressured!  It sounds like it's not bothering you, just your husband.  I like the idea of shortening the morning session -- even cutting it down to 15 minutes would still give your son that special mommy time while maybe easing some of your dh's frustrations.  I also totally agree with Nightwish that there are lots of other ways to address your dh's concerns without asking your son to give up his morning nurse!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightwish View Post
As for what your dh thinks, I would put the onus on him o change the situation if he doesn`t like it. He feels you don`t have enough time for him? He should take over bedtime and maybe help you with house chores. You could briefly nurse your ds then let your dh do bathtime or storytime or whatever. You might be surprised to discover that your ds will enjoy it. (This is what I do with my 3.5 y/o dd; I nurse, then dh takes over bedtime, and the main reason is because she falls asleep a lot easier with dh than with me).
post #7 of 8
Hugs from another IRL mama! :-)
post #8 of 8

I know this isn't the point of your post, but I just wanted to say I can totally see how what he said would break your heart, but I think it is so great that he can talk through his feelings with his little cat like that!  He sounds like a wonderful adn perceptive kid and you should feel proud, not guilty, whatever you decide.

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