Originally Posted by Leonor
Am I going to CIO now he's 4?
I don't think "AP" is about making your child happy all the time, preventing them from ever having a negative emotion or giving in to their every whim to prevent a tantrum and/or make them happy. There is a huge
difference between CIO (letting your infant/child cry alone
until they stop) and allowing your child to cry in disappointment/sadness/anger while you are comforting them, but not
giving in to them.
Originally Posted by Leonor
. . .mine doesn't break, he will cry and cry and cry.
Do you usually give him what he wants when he cries or tantrums? If so, and I don’t mean this in an accusatory way, that may be why he doesn’t stop crying easily. He may have learned that if he just keeps crying and freaking out Mom will give him what he wants. I think a four year old is pretty capable of making this connection. If that’s not it, maybe he’s just a really intense child and his emotions really overwhelm him.
How would I go about setting up a boundary? Let’s take the twiddling. I would sit my child down and explain that twiddling is uncomfortable for me and that I love to nurse him, but if he twiddles we will end the session. I would talk about this at a neutral time, not right when he sits down to nurse.
So then the next time he’s ready to nurse I would give him a gentle reminder, “Remember, no twiddling.” I would probably put my hand over the un-used breast while he is nursing to prevent temptation. If starts to twiddle I’d pull him off the breast and remind him again that it hurts Mom when he does that so you are ending the nursing session.
Obviously this is where your child is going to be very upset. Allow him to cry, scream, whatever he needs to do. Be there for him, if he wants your comfort, by hugging him or petting his head, whatever he likes. Stay calm and speak calmly to him – “I know you are angry because. . . .” You can even give him suggestions for how to express his emotions. Tell him he can stomp his feet, hit a pillow, yell, "I'm angry!" And I would also offer again, “If you are ready to nurse without twiddling I’m right here.”
This isn't making him CIO. You are not forcing him to be alone in a dark room and deal with these intense emotions by himself. You are not abandoning him so that he can “learn to comfort himself” or be more independent.
Sometimes kids are going to be upset or frustrated or angry or disappointed or. . . and they need to release these emotions by crying. It’s okay and it’s not your job to stop him from ever feeling these emotions. Your job is to calmly help him learn to express and handle them.
Maybe the first time he will cry for a long period of time, but if you don’t give in, and remain loving and gentle with him and most of all consistently follow the no twiddling rule. He will get it. Maybe it will be after a few difficult days, but it will be worth it if you can then nurse him without wanting to scream each day – kwim?