DP ready for me to stop nursing, but I'm not - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 03:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm wondering how any of you may have dealt with this in your own families.

My partner was super-supportive of the idea of me nursing our son, but the reality of it, and how dependent he is on the boob for comfort and falling asleep, is, understandably, very hard for her. She feels like we aren't equal moms, because we really aren't, are we? Not when only one of us has boobs that make milk.

I said I wanted to nurse for at least a year, and he's coming up on 14 months, and I am not at all ready to stop. Not at all. This is surely in part because I had a long struggle to conceive and a long struggle to breastfeed (he's been supplemented from the beginning), and, dammit, I want to enjoy every moment of this that I can!

I feel like this is such a tough issue, because both of our feelings and our identities as moms are involved.

I'm also not ok with forcing him to stop, but I think DP is thinking more of a nightweaning, stop pumping, slow-it-down already, approach. Mine would be a let-him-nurse-whenever-he-likes approach, coupled with my continued pumping at work to keep it going, knowing that eventually he'll be ready to stop.

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#2 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 08:55 AM
 
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hugs mama, i'm so sorry you have to go through this!! my dp was extremely supportive of me breastfeeding. we originally planned on nursing until ds1 was a year old but he did not like cow's milk AT ALL, so he nursed until he was around 15/16 months. at that point he pretty much weaned himself and finally liked cow's milk.

with ds2 (dp is nursing him) we plan to go the same route. since dp has always had an incredible supply, ds1 is now getting some "mommy milk" too.

can you explain to her why you want to keep nursing? if ds still wants to nurse i don't see why you can't keep going until he decides to wean? at this point he's probably not nursing all that often?

g

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#3 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 09:04 AM
 
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I hope it is OK that I'm thread-crashing, but I spend a lot of time reading in the Working and Student Parents subforum, and over the years I've seen that a common compromise in this situation is to stop pumping at work, but to continue to nurse on demand.
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#4 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 11:49 AM
 
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I hope it is OK that I'm thread-crashing, but I spend a lot of time reading in the Working and Student Parents subforum, and over the years I've seen that a common compromise in this situation is to stop pumping at work, but to continue to nurse on demand.
Why compromise?

This isn't about you being done with nursing, or your son, it's about your partner's issues and it sounds like jealousy.

She's an adult, she needs to work through these feelings, maybe some conversation and possibly counselling?

Is there a them that she is not being an equal parent, and the breastfeeding is part of that? Or is it the only way she feels she's not equal?

The way I see it, there are two parties to this breastfeeding relationship, and as hard as that may be for her to deal with, she's not part of it, she doesn't get to control it or get any say over it, IMO.

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#5 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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#6 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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I think this is a difficult issue, clearly there are a lot of emotions involved.

Also think it's great that you have nursed this long and want to continue doing so. What a great start to life you have provided for your son!!

It can definitely be hard for the non-lactating mom -- my daughter will literally push my wife away when she wants me/to nurse! They will play together all day (she is a sahm 2 days/week), but once the sun sets, she won't go to her! She only wants to be near the breast! It hurts my wife's feelings, but she knows it isn't personal...its just a baby's instinct. And honestly, it isn't really me she wants, its the breast!

Anyhow, maybe your wife and son could develop some activities that are unique to their relationship? For example, in the mornings, I nurse our daughter and then my partner takes her downstairs to start her day - plays some games, reads books, sings, gives her breakfast, etc. Its a nice special part of the day they share together.

IMHO, I think you should continue nursing for as long as you/your son want. I know its hard for your partner, but it won't last forever. There will probably always be ups/downs in parenting re: who is the favorite parent at a given stage, so this is a good opportunity to start addressing those feelings.

Good luck!

~ Sarah

Great responses already. My DP has some things she likes to do "special" with DD that are just between them. A certain book. A way they sing a song. Giving her a bath when I'm at work. They are creating their own relationship uniquely and have things together that don't include me. DP gives her a bottle with my expressed milk when I'm not around and I never give her a bottle. That's DP's role and I don't want it confused with me. I honor their time together and the things that are important to DP's role as mother. And DP honors my role as breastfeeder. That nursing relationship is between me and DD. No one could come between that. No one.

Sarah - mama to the love of my life, Aurelia Josephine, b. June 11, 2010

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#7 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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Just bring up that the WHO recommends nursing until 2 and beyond as long as it's mutually beneficial.

Maybe she neds to have special bonding time where nursing doesn't come up, and she should be more than allowed to have that time/space. But stopping before you are both ready is not the answer.

Non Practicing Midwife, going back to school! Mamma to my 3 loves, living each day to the fullest.
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#8 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 06:42 PM
 
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Could it be that he is hoping to get more of your time? If baby is nursing less then he might get more of your time?

I would work on focusing on martial relationships. It might make your dh nursing wants lesson.

It could be also your dh is wanting more involvement with your child. Less nursing means more attention/interaction with dad.
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#9 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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[Whispers]Hey, Marsupialmom, take note of which forum this thread is in.

However it seems like your advice can still apply.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#10 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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When our little one was very small DP was a little jealous that I had the magic boobs that could sooth, calm, feed, comfort, and induce sleep.
I remember telling her that I predicted that when DD got to be about 18 months old that she'd become the 'preferred' parent and would realize her own unique ways of building a relationship with DD.
I was right ... DD far prefers her Baba right now (except for when DD wants to nurse and then it's back to me) and they've developed the coolest relationship!
Your partner's time to shine will come.
Infancy and toddlerhood are such fleeting times ... nurse for as long as you possibly can!

dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#11 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by FtMPapa View Post
Why compromise?

This isn't about you being done with nursing, or your son, it's about your partner's issues and it sounds like jealousy.

She's an adult, she needs to work through these feelings, maybe some conversation and possibly counselling?

Is there a them that she is not being an equal parent, and the breastfeeding is part of that? Or is it the only way she feels she's not equal?

The way I see it, there are two parties to this breastfeeding relationship, and as hard as that may be for her to deal with, she's not part of it, she doesn't get to control it or get any say over it, IMO.
^ truth

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#12 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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I'll chime in as a non-bio mom. I was totally fine with my wife bfing for as long as she wanted, BUT, there certainly came a time when I wished we had more of a set schedule, particularly at night. I probably pushed tapering down the night feedings more than she liked, but I recall being worried that she wasn't getting enough sleep, particularly once she went back to work full time. Our son would never take bottles from me while she was still breastfeeding, so she was the only one who could cover the night shift.
Another factor for us was that my wife is really large-chested, and she never felt comfortable bfing in public. That was a pretty big hindrance on getting out of the house and going places. Once she stopped bfing, I felt like we had way more freedom to get out and do more things.
Another thing I can imagine is that night time probably used to be your together time. Having kids changes everything, but especially couple, snuggly time at night. Perhaps she is missing some of that, but is expressing it wrong (blaming the bfing).
Ok, another thing: you said you planned to bf for the first year, and maybe your wife had that date in the back of her mind, like, yay, on day X she will be done and we can get back to our old routine! Not that it's a good reason to get upset with you, but perhaps she didn't realize how important day X was for her.
Of course, you should do whatever feels right. I'm just trying to think of things from the non-bio mom perspective.

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#13 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone, for the support. Obviously, we're going to have to talk this out some more. Right now, she does his bath every night, but I think there's a need for a couple more things that are special activities between them. Adding to her feelings, I think, is that as a teacher, I work fewer hours and get more time with him. And I've been with him for two months straight this summer, so when he turns her away for the boob after I've been with him all day it's extra hard for her. I want to help her not feel so left out, but I'm not willing to wean before ds is ready.

no circ-ing, co-sleeping, cd-ing queer mommy to ds (07/2009)
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#14 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Gamitzer, you are so right about her having the year-mak fixed in her mind as a return to "normal" -- I will be sure to let her know that I know that must be frustrating.

no circ-ing, co-sleeping, cd-ing queer mommy to ds (07/2009)
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#15 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marielizabeth View Post
I'm wondering how any of you may have dealt with this in your own families.

My partner was super-supportive of the idea of me nursing our son, but the reality of it, and how dependent he is on the boob for comfort and falling asleep, is, understandably, very hard for her. She feels like we aren't equal moms, because we really aren't, are we? Not when only one of us has boobs that make milk.

I said I wanted to nurse for at least a year, and he's coming up on 14 months, and I am not at all ready to stop. Not at all. This is surely in part because I had a long struggle to conceive and a long struggle to breastfeed (he's been supplemented from the beginning), and, dammit, I want to enjoy every moment of this that I can!

I feel like this is such a tough issue, because both of our feelings and our identities as moms are involved.

I'm also not ok with forcing him to stop, but I think DP is thinking more of a nightweaning, stop pumping, slow-it-down already, approach. Mine would be a let-him-nurse-whenever-he-likes approach, coupled with my continued pumping at work to keep it going, knowing that eventually he'll be ready to stop.
Your partner could have induced lactation so she could have breastfed your son. Other partners have done so. They may not get the amounts you did in carrying, but enough to have that experience. I think its totally unfair to say you should stop something that gives a lot of joy and comfort to you and your child just because she is jealous. It doesn't speak well of her. I would NOT give in. I have nursed five children for over 9 years now. I quit when the child is ready and I decide, period! She is doing a Rosie O'Donnell who made her former partner quit because of her jealousy. They aren't together any more...
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#16 of 22 Old 09-02-2010, 08:41 PM
 
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She is doing a Rosie O'Donnell who made her former partner quit because of her jealousy. They aren't together any more...
Wow, I think we need to cut Marielizabeth's partner some slack! It does not sound like there is any force involved, simply a question of when marielizabeth plans to stop bfing.

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#17 of 22 Old 09-03-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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It's not so easy to just induce lactation - lots of people can't, it's a huge time commitment, and it's not the right decision for every family.

(Speaking as someone who is trying to support one of my wannabe milk donors in hir quest to lactate to help me feed my donor-milk-fed baby.)

I think it's a great idea to try to find other ways for them to cultivate a relationship, to have their special thing.

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#18 of 22 Old 09-03-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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[Whispers]Hey, Marsupialmom, take note of which forum this thread is in.

However it seems like your advice can still apply.
I am sorry....In my defense I have an ear infection and I am in a lot of pain.

TO OP...your partner. :embarrassed
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#19 of 22 Old 09-03-2010, 01:36 AM
 
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Marielizabeth, I'm pretty much in the same boat, but a bit further down the river than you! Our story is a bit different- My partner carried and bf our first daughter. She made lots of milk, but experienced DMER, which is a horrible condition where upon let down you have a strong negative emotional/physical reaction. My wife described it as an intense depressed/suicidal feeling in the pit of her stomach. Mostly she pumped and we bottle fed. After 6 months our daughter was more interested in bottle feeding than breast feeding, and her preference combined with the DMER and pumping lead to my wife's milk drying up and our daughter weaning. Fast forward to our second daughter- who I carried and am still breast feeding. We had an extremely hard time establishing my supply; I took Domperidone for two years, and when she was a newbie we supplemented her. I worked extremely hard to breast feed her, and I told my wife all along that I intended to breast feed until she was at least 2! Now that she's 2, my wife is not so patiently "waiting" for her to wean. I understand why- we don't sleep in the same bed because her night nursing interrupts my wife's sleep. However, as I point out to her, it doesn't bother me and it certainly doesn't bother our daughter. On one hand I am definitely looking forward to weaning, but not enough to try and encourage her.

Having been the non-bio mom, I would, as others have suggested, encourage your partner to develop "mom-and-me" type activities that are special between her and your son. Are you still supplementing him? If so, make that your partner's job as much as possible. I would also remind her how important breast feeding is to him, to his health, and that *it won't last forever*

Also- I would actually like to challenge the idea that non-bio moms should at least try and induce lactation. When my wife was pregnant with our first daughter we talked about me trying to induce. It wasn't a comfortable idea for us because we weren't sure what impact that would have on my wife and daughter's breast feeding relationship. We decided to wait and see. When I saw them breast feed and witnessed them establish that magical relationship, I was really glad that I hadn't induced. I'm sure some people can "have it both ways," but for us, having one nursing mom was the best choice.

Used to be stay at home parent to our two lovely girls, survived nursing school with family intact, about to graduate and looking for a job! I low-supply nursed my bio daughter for 3 years. 

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#20 of 22 Old 09-03-2010, 09:02 AM
 
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Another non-bio mom here.....

I wanted to chime in to say that I understand the gut feelings of jealousy or disconnect that your partner might have due to your bf relationship with DS. From an "outsider's" perspective, it can seem like there's nothing as special and important (and sometimes there isn't!).

That being said, in spite of having those feeling sometimes, I tried hard to really recognize the importance of nursing for DS and DW. It's a once in a lifetime thing...and it comes to an end, really, so early in the grand scheme of things. I personally believe that the benefits far outweigh any perceived inequities in parent/child relationships. Heck, I think such inequities or imbalances can emerge no matter what! At any time!

I definitely agree with the idea of creating other special times for DP and DS. Of late, I've also really gotten into the (newish) literature on non-bio lesbian moms. It's helped me to hear from others who share my perspective. Or to know that I'm not alone.....I'd definitely recommend Confessions of the Other Mother and She Looks Just Like You.

Good luck!

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#21 of 22 Old 09-04-2010, 01:09 AM
 
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The issue is not the breastfeeding. I feel like I can say this definitively, as a breastfeeding, non-gestational mother. My youngest is 14 months old as well, and my wife gave birth to him. As I type this, he is snuggled asleep beside me in bed; my wife is out playing pool with a friend. Even though I am able to breastfeed ds (and do, though not every day), he still strongly--strongly--prefers to nurse with my wife, and refuses to nurse with me if she is home. At one point I may have felt threatened by this bond (even though I had already experienced being the primary breastfeeding mom: I nursed our twins until they were three, and am still nursing our nearly four-year-old), but I don't anymore. What shifted things for me was gaining confidence in my ability to mother my baby without using my breasts.

I'm guessing that the real issue your Dp is having, marielizabeth, is that she lacks confidence in her ability to mother your baby due to a belief that breastfeeding is the only thing that your baby REALLY wants. I think she would benefit from having more alone time with your ds. She needs to learn what tools work for her, and find her own mothering confidence.

There is no reason why your Dp can't figure out how to put your ds to sleep in the absence of nursing. I absolutely support you in your choice to continue nursing as frequently and for as long as you and your ds want to, but this can happen in the context of still giving your Dp a little more room to figure out how she can meet your son's needs. When my ds is with my wife, he nurses every 20 minutes or so--very often! But when he's alone with me, he's absolutely fine to go many, many hours without nursing (8 or longer). My wife usually nurses him to sleep on her nights to put him to bed, but I can get him to sleep easily without nursing (I wear him in a carrier, take him for a walk in the stroller, or simply cradle him in my arms).

You and your Dp will both need to take a leap of faith: you in trusting your Dp to meet your son's needs and leaving him with her, and your Dp in trusting that she CAN meet your son's needs, even without any lactating breasts. It may feel rough for all parties involved at first, but I'm certain that your Dp and your ds will find their own rhythm if given time and space.

My guess is that once your Dp feels more capable as a mother and feels able to care for your ds on her own (including getting him to sleep, etc.), she will feel much less bothered by his continued love of/dependence on nursing. And once your ds learns that your Dp is able to comfort him, he will trust her more to do so. I noticed a huge shift in my baby's willingness to be comforted by me after I started putting him to bed half the time.

Your Dp needs to know that gaining a more "equal" role in mothering your ds is going to take a lot of work on her part, just as learning to breastfeed him took a lot of work on your part. If you were to wean him, you'd have to be coming up with new ways to comfort him and meet his needs. Instead, you can keep nursing him, and she can be the one to come up with new ways to comfort him. And you need to provide her with the opportunity to do so, which will involve quite a bit of letting go on your part.



Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#22 of 22 Old 09-05-2010, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Such wisdom, here -- thanks, again, everyone! Wish I'd posted earlier.

We did talk about DP inducing lactation, but she decided not to. It just didn't feel right for her. And I think she really isn't jealous of the breastfeeding per se but needing to feel validated as a mom, which is hard for her to do when he is clamoring for the boob and pushing her away.

More alone time with DS is definitely a good idea. And I read The Other Mother, but DP didn't (we were trying at the time and she thought I was jumping the gun a bit), but just ordered a copy laugh of that and She Looks Like You for DP.

When he woke up from his nap today, she tried to pick him up but he reached for me, instead, and I was like, Oh, great. But pretty soon she had him chasing her around the apartment in a wild game of peekaboo, and was giving that gleefull belly laugh that she can always get out of him I don't remember what I said, but it was something to the effect of how much he obviously loved playing with her and how clear it was that she's special to him.

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