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human pacifier?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ususally I do a search to find out if my question has been addressed in a past discussion, but this time I think I'm looking as much for sympathy as for advice.

DD (my first ) has a great calm temperment. However, she is at breast nearly all the time. Generally this is fine with me, but there are times when I feel like a human pacifier. : Now she's gotten into a pattern of holding the nipple in her mouth while she falls asleep. It used to be that she would detatch when asleep, but now she'll continue to suck every thirty seconds or so indefinitely.

I'm starting to respond by delaying putting her to breast. Not to the point that she cries, of course, but she starts to look distressed that her mouthings are not getting the right response.

I don't discount the value of sucking for comfort, but sometimes I just want to have some space! I haven't figured out the sling real well, so I can't feed her while wearing her yet. My bum is getting tired from sitting so much of the day.

How do others deal with this?
post #2 of 15
I too felt like the human pacifier!!! He was constantly crying to be latched on and would cry more if milk didn't come quick enough. He is 9 months old and that phase pasted when he found his thumb at around 3-4 months, there is a light at the end. And I definitely remember my bum hurting, I didn't want to sit there another minute, lying down was an option and a quick nap for me was just what a new mom needs.
If I knew he was just sucking to be sucking I would break the latch by placing my finger at the edge of his mouth. If he rooted around for the boob, I let him lack back on, if he didn't he was sleeping and I got a few minutes to myself. And if my boobs were too sore, I would use my finger pad side up and short nails are a must for this technique of pacification.
Good luck to you and know it won't be forever enjoy it while it last, they grow so quickly and no longer want mom (my 4 yr old).
post #3 of 15
Hi...my ds was the same way!!! He is 8 months now and it gets better as time goes on. For awhile he could *only* sleep if my breast was in his mouth...even now though he can only go about an hour...if I am lucky....before he misses the breast.

You are doing such a wonderful job....it really is hard isn't it.....you should be VERY proud of choosing to give of yourself as you have!!!!

Have you tried laying her down on your bed while nursing her and slipping away once she is asleep and lets the breast go, kwim?

It will get better in time and your not alone...I remember when my dh would get home from work and take ds for a few minutes....my arms were like spaghetti!!!LOL
post #4 of 15
up until my ds was about 3 months old, my bum hurt a lot too. i felt like i was existing between each intance of soothing him. we'd nurse, change a diaper, sleep, change a diaper & clothes, wanna nurse some more...he'd be asleep and i would try to set him down and VOILA! awake... it did get better. it wasn't overnight, it was more gradual so that when i look back at it i think "why couldn't i feed myself?" "what was the big deal?"

i think that is why when some women with grown children talk to me, they don't "remember" how hard it was.

but i truly believe that there are so many things we don't know about nature's intentions, ( ie, people thought formula was better, people thought 'comfort sucking' was useless...) so i try my hardest to just do what ds asks of me. i still feel overwhelmed, sometimes, by what being that kind of mother means. but like i said it got better for me. it used to be that i couldn't even feed myself- Karl would come home and i would say "Take the baby, I'm going insane, Leave me alone, Cook me food!"

Now it's still hard, and i find that the house is messier at the end of the day, but i think a lot of the improvement came from me- my attitude has changed (I know that humans came first, not pacifiers) and i get this wave of "happy drugs" whenever Tristan nurses... it relaxes me enough to keep me from resisting the role that i have to play as mamma.

good luck and love to your new family, tabitha
post #5 of 15
I really don't mind being the human pacifier. They grow up so fast.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Of course it's not all bad... I'm making the choice to be there for my baby, whatever she needs. It was nice when my life included a clean house and mobility from the bed or the futon, but her sleep smiles are enough to make up for it most of the time. Also, I only get really frustrated when I think my "plans" for the day are being disrupted. When I remind myself that doing the dishes is not as important as nurturing my baby I feel better. (Although feeding and toileting myself and caring for our pets is important, too.)

It helped a lot to know there was some sympathy waiting for me on the computer!

I think she's not feeling well, today.

Time to go answer her call (DH isn't having any luck, since he has no boobs!)
post #7 of 15
I can see both sides of this.

I remember a new mom saying to me once, "I JUST want to PEE!" I knew exactly what she meant because I also had a child who wanted to nurse ALLLLLLLLLLL the time.

Constant nursing is normal...but in long-past generations (and some cultures still today) I think Grandma or an aunt would nurse the baby when mom got exhausted. Not something I ever wanted to do personally (sharing nursing a child with other women) but sometimes the baby's need to suck and the mom's exhaustion do clash!!!!!

However, I think the phrase "human pacifier" is a loaded term, for some of us. It has been abused by so many medical professinals. It implies the pacifier is the norm and the breast is the subsitute. As I commented in the thread about Creative Pacifier Alternatives by Twins Papa, the phrase brings to mind so many nursing moms who were told (by hospital nurses especially) not to nurse so often, not to "let" the baby use them as a pacifier...and then so many of those same moms ended up with supply problems.

Well anyway I hope she feels better soon. Nursing is comforting and fights the illness with antibodies, and she is also the age when a growth spurt (and constant nursing) is common. Now what can we do about pampering YOU!?!!?!?!?
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks Momtwice! That puts things into perspective for me. I had ignored it at the time, but a nurse in the NICU _did_ tell me that I shouldn't let her nurse more than every two hours because "she's going to empty you out and you need time to refill your supply." I guess I tucked that into my brain, and I _had_ been feeling "used" as a pacifier.

Funny thing is, this morning she woke at 5, nursed, and then was AWAKE. She wanted to start the day, and I kept trying to plug her in to nurse so I could keep resting!

She was nursing as I wrote this email, but she's done now. DH is taking over and I'm going to go shower and SHAVE MY LEGS! How's that for pampering?

Thanks everybody!
post #9 of 15
Here are some links about feeling like a "human pacifier" from a lactation consultant, from La Leche League, and from Dr. Sears, a pediatrician with 8 breastfed children who knows about breastfeeding (and his wife and coauthor is an LC I think? Not sure.)



post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
The best quote from the Sears' site:
"...realize that there's nothing wrong with being a human pacifier. You want your baby to learn to seek comfort from people, not plastic."

Guess that says it all!
post #11 of 15

@ audiomama

"...realize that there's nothing wrong with being a human pacifier. You want your baby to learn to seek comfort from people, not plastic."

Thanks for posting that quote....I had never heard it before!!!
post #12 of 15
Your baby is not using you as a pacifier, he is using you as a mama. If he pacifies on a piece of plastic, he is using a piece of plastic as a mama. Ick.

For a baby who wants to be in arms and nursing almost all the time--first of all, is latch on good? Is he really getting milk? check diapers and weight gain.

If he is fine, and it is comfort sucking/growth spurt, look to our nearest animal cousins, the apes. They never put their newborns down! The babies nurse almost continuosly, and ours are meant to, as well. African mothers nurse their babies 4 times an hour. I am seriously rethinking the idea that baibes only need to nurse 8-12x/24 hrs. Human milk is very dilute and digests almost instantaneously.

Of course, apes have very strong arms, and so do their babies, we don't. That is why a sling is so important. Go to a LLL mtg with your baby and sling, to lean how to nurse in one. It is a life saver. you can then get up, go potty, even vacuum or shop, all while nursing, or letting your baby sleep well.

Good luck!
post #13 of 15
First of all, I wanted to say hello, audiomama, from a fellow Vermonter. My sister lives in St. Johnsbury, I am in Pittsford. How much snow do you have there? It is FREEZING here.

I am in the same boat with the nursing. I am always afraid that dd will need to be supplemented, because my ds had to be...but I can tell when I am being used for comfort, because she freaks out and spits and coughs when I start to produce milk at extended feedings. But it is soooo hard to get anything done. ... GOOD LUCK
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank goodness it's warming up here... we don't have too much snow, but it's the great sparkly kind that happens when it's so cold.

Well, I finally decided to take charge and rigged up a sling of my own out of a piece of cloth I've had forever. I love it and dd loves it. I can carry her upright or cradle hold for nursing.

DD has a good latch, but if I move around too much she loses it. So for right now nursing and vacuuming doesn't seem to be an option. But since I haven't been putting her down at all she doesn't seem to care if she's nursing or not. She just really wanted mommy contact.
post #15 of 15
I have some aches and pains problems, so I would have a really hard time with a sling, and the snugglies are scary to me. I am always afraid of dropping her....I am such a clutz. I hardly ever resort to the swing, either. I just want to enjoy her being so tiny. She is probably going to be our last baby...

We still have a TON of snow here!! We did have 2ft at one time...it still looks like lots out there.
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