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Difficult nursing relationship with 29 month old and sibling rivalry over my attention

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hey there, So my little guy is 29 months and still nursing about 10-15 times a day and anywhere from 2-12 times at night. He has a really small appetite and will often skip multiple meals a day and nurse instead. His nursing frequency seemed to be on the decline around 18 months. He nursed about 6 times per day and once or twice at night and that worked just fine for us. Then, around this time last year, he started to nurse far more frequently at night (sometimes all night) and more during the day. I figured it was a developmental thing and just went along with it but the frequency just seemed to increase. Now I'm chronically exhausted. I'm not sure if it's his size but I just can't get comfortable nursing him at night, so I stay awake or sleep poorly while he nurses on and off all night long. During the day he almost attacks me to nurse at random times. We have tried redirecting his attention, talking to him calmly and trying to encourage him to wait even just a minute but he gets SO upset. He is normally a pretty mellow guy but if I attempt to interfere with his nursing he screams and will even hit me. I want to be patient about this and let him self wean but I'm drowning myself in coffee to make it through the day at this point. I'm more concerned with the night nursing. I'm sure the day nursing will pass. He is my second but I didn't have this problem with my first, who was a NICU baby and never latched so one day I just stopped pumping and that was that. So, I'm at a loss here. We have been having these conversations, when he's not wanting to nurse, where he asks me if these are his "breast milks" or mine. I tell him they are my breasts and they have milk for him in them. He's thinking about it for sure and I believe he's probably having some individualism/separation anxiety about it all. It's been going on for a year though (???). To make matters worse, I'm going back to work full time for the first time in either of their lives next week. I can tell there is some serious vying for my attention going on between them. I'm afraid this will get much worse and the night nursing, too. I'm hoping that a more dedicated routine, such as the one we're about to go into, will help create more one on one time with them. My oldest is 4 and really interested in pre-school, which we may consider for a half day each week. For the past two years we have lived off a tiny income and all four of us have spent nearly every waking hour together. I've loved this time and I hope it's been valuable for them but I wonder if it has contributed to this separation anxiety? I feel like I spend way too much time trying to get them not to fight over my lap. If my oldest gives me a hug my youngest gets upset that he is taking his milk. I can keep going this way and working with them as we are doing but I just need some reassurance that it's a normal phase and that they aren't being permanently hurt by it all. They are 2 years and 17 days apart. My older one is very calm and patient and not one to engage in conflict. If there is a conflict, he will just walk away. As a result, he gets a lot more hugs from his Dad than he does from me. I try to make a point of spending quiet time with him whenever I can. My younger one is much more of a busy body, I wonder if he could be under stimulated? We let them be free most days, we offer activities but nothing too structured. Once we're settled (we're relocating for the job also) we're planning to enroll them both in some classes. We're not opposed to school but I want it to be a choice they make, not something they are forced into. Our younger one gets anxious and upset whenever he's left without us (although, I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened in his life). Anyway, any advice, words of wisdom, have you been here, too? What did you do? Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 4
Hugs! That sounds hard. Sorry no time for a long response. .. but how does the coffee consumption coincidence with the changes? If I have more than a cup or two I see it in my kids for sure.
post #3 of 4
Hugs! I just want to say that my son is similar. He is the oldest and his sister is now about 11 weeks so I think his increase is due to that...but not totally its also just his personality. He is 33 months and had a similar decrease around 18 months which is how we got pregnant. Once my colostrum came in he started voing nutso again and still basically relies solely on nursing. Some nights he will sleep through and others he wants to be latched all night. The baby sleeps better than he does most nights. I have a feeling that this is an intense personality combined with a difficult transition. I don't think that either one of us is causing the behavior. For us I notice that days I have it in me to just let hik nurse on demand his behavior is a lot better than days where I have to cut him off bfore he is ready. It alsi helps that I have tried to make set times where he can expect to nurse...if I am not consistent he gets clingy.
This has been super hard, but based on my. DD, it definitely seems like its something with his personality - she is already a lot more laid back than DS has ever been. So I hope that you don't beat yoirself up over it! I think picking out some times where you get to have consistent nursing times with him can help that way he knows he has that time to depend on. I also started designating a song (which he now loves) to indicate when nursing time is over so that he gets a chance to transition. I hope this helps!
post #4 of 4
Sorry my last post was less than helpful. I am sorry. I was rushed and didn't read very carefully. I wonder if more physical exercise could help wear them out? And if there was any way to trade off with someone so you could get some extra sleep?

I just stayed getting more sleep and I feel marvelous. I can't believe a little extra sleep had made such a difference.

Also if you look at their sleep are they getting enough?

And it could be related to stress from the pending move too.

Someone else had a great post recently. .. I will grab it and post here. Different age but the routine stuff she wrote about was magic.

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1387414/attitude-change-after-starting-school#post_17427842
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