Advice? I'm the odd one out. - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-16-2011, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry if this post is a little long, but I just have a lot to say and nobody else really to talk to about this...

 

I have a 6.5 month old son. He's still nursing and I co-sleep also. It was always my goal to make it to 6 mos with nursing, but I never expected that by then I would have NO desire to stop anytime soon. I joined this forum recently and I've been reading about everyone else's success and extended breast feeding, and it seems like my perspective is changing. I used to be one of the people who thought it was odd when people nursed toddlers. Now that I know that 4 is the global average weaning age, I realized that yet again, the general society around me has no idea what it's talking about. I dont know how long I plan to nurse, but I feel that I will know when the time is right, and it's too soon for me to decide that right now.

 

I seem to be just about the only person I know (aside from online, of course) that feels that it's ok to nurse and co-sleep as long as you want to. My cousin, who is more like a sister to me has 3 boys, ages 4, 2, and 10 months; I consider them to be my nephews. My cousin and I bond over motherhood, but her boys are all formula fed (with bottles propped on blankets, left unattended, by the way) and circumcised, and she's never co-slept with any of them. So she tends to look down on me for certain things. Mainly co-sleeping; she keeps telling me that I'm gonna have to make DS sleep in his own crib overnight soon or he'll be a problem child with bedtime forever. She's forced her kids to sleep through the night at a few months of age by leaving them in their crib when they wake up throughout the night, not even checking to see if they need a new diaper. So now that she always gets a great night's sleep, she thinks she's the master of bedtime and if I dont do it the same way, I'm doing it wrong.

 

My boyfriend is also starting to push me to stop co-sleeping. He wants our bed back to ourselves and doesnt seem to understand how important it is for me and DS to nurse at night and to have our cuddle time. He's old enough now that I dont get much cuddle time during the day, he just wants to go go go. So I need my nighttime cuddles and so does he. He'll only be a baby for a short while. Everyone seems to want to rush their babies to each milestone, when I just want to slow down. I love that DS now likes to try solids and he's so close to crawling it's ridiculous. But cant I at least have my little baby boy need me as much at night as he did when he was first born? It's not like he wakes up several times a night and disrupts anyone's sleep. How do I explain to my boyfriend that I'm not going to stop co-sleeping just because he wants me to? I'm not ready, and he doesnt understand why.

 

My boyfriend is also very supportive of my choice to nurse, however, he still finds nursing beyond infancy to be odd. Since I've joined this forum and have talked to him about it, his response was "oh, you're turning into one of those." Which makes me angry because "those" are mothers who are informed about what's best for their children and do what they know is right. If I nurse past a year, do I suddenly become some freak? My cousin has the same views that my boyfriend has, along with the majority of people that I know (almost all of my friends are parents. Only one successfully nursed, and she's now an aspiring doula so I have her support at least).  

 

I know that I shouldnt let other's opinions sway me, and I wont. My son matters more than others that may feel awkward. But how to I effectively argue my case and stamyself when everyone I know is on the other side? Any time I try to explain things to people, like how normal and beneficial it actually is to nurse toddlers, people tend to regard me as though I'm just "one of those," as my boyfriend put it.

 

 

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Old 06-16-2011, 08:38 PM
 
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:( My son is 23 months old, still nursing. Nursing and cuddling bedtime routine (he doesn't totally fall asleep "on his own" like many people think he should) insure that we get in plenty of positive touch during the day, and it's my time to sing to him and pray for him. It only takes a few minutes and it's peaceful for both of us.

 

I would say don't try to argue your case with friends, just speak positively about the beautiful moments of parenting when they do come up. If you have difficulties they wouldn't understand (not sleeping through the night, nursing hurdles), then try not to complain to them and look elsewhere for help.

 

Hopefully your friends can see that you have a happy family life, and they can appreciate you for who YOU are, and not care if you are one of "those people" (who isn't one of "those people" in some way or another, if that makes sense). Even if they think your very normal behaviors are kind of quirky, they should still be able to respect you.


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Old 06-18-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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In dealing with friends and family I'd go with embracing your "oddity", "yes, I'm one of those and proud of it." Maybe mothering/API/Dr. Sears has a tote bag you can use to advertise your oddity--eventually they may consider you "lost" and leave you alone. You are particularly vulnerable as a first time mother because "you don't know what you are doing" and are ignoring their sage advise at your child's peril eyesroll.gif.

 

With my first (and my second) I was doing the nighttime parenting (SAHM, dh worked) so my argument then was "I take care of the baby at night, so I will do what is easiest for me to get sleep and to keep him from disturbing your sleep."

 

I'd also pick-up some Dr. Sears books (I'd check halfpricebooks and used books on amazon) and leave them in a magazine rack in your bathroom winky.gif. If you can subscribe to mothering magazine I'd leave it around for "bite size" information. It may be "one of those" magazines, but he may read it just to see how you are being "brainwashed"winky.gif.

 

By the time our second child was born dh was used to my crunchy ways and their wasn't as much conflict.

 

 
 

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Old 06-18-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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I secound the PP.

 

With my first child I felt like I was constantly defending my position, and then I stoppped defending myself and kinda turned it into a joke.  I lovingly refer to this website as my hippie website.  and Totally embraced my "crazy" ways.  Now everyone is so used to the the fact taht I just do things differently than them that nothing shocks or surprises them anymore.  I come from a HUGE fmaily who is very close, there is 8 kids under 5 at all family gatherings not to mention all the older kids. So i sort of turned it into a joke and that took off the defensiveness I felt and also let others know I wasn't going to change just bc of what they thought.   Also with my husband I said I would take care of all night time duties so I pick how they are done.


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Old 06-20-2011, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the advice! I realize that I cant change the way that people think. I also realized that for the most part, the people judging my decisions are only doing so because they are misinformed. They've been told wrong information and think that you have to get a baby to sleep through the night in a crib as early as possible. It's one of those myths that's soo ingrained that people dont want to believe you when you tell them the truth. Like how people believe that sugar makes kids hyper, and it does NOT. Yet everyone I've told this to doesnt believe me, because we've all heard it for our whole lives. "No you cant have that cookie, you'll be bouncing off the walls." It's in the same category of parenting myths that get passed down.

 

Now it's gotten to the point where normal, natural behaviours are seen as weird or wrong. I know that my choice to co-sleep and keep nursing as long as I want is perfectly fine. My son will not turn into a dependant, whiny, immature wimp just because he shares the bed with his parents.

 

I was talking to my dad yesterday and really had to work hard to not get defensive with him. He was being nice and offering to babysit overnight, and when I said that overnight wont work, he definitely criticized me. He thinks 6.5 months is plenty old enough for him to "have some independance." During the day, sure he can be babysat, but good luck trying to get him to sleep overnight in a foreign place (my dad doesnt like company much, so he usually comes to see us instead of us going to his house) without mom or dad, and with a fake nipple. He's not a big fan of bottles. My dad would be signing himself up for a stressfull night I'm sure. But he thinks I'm being silly because I still co-sleep. I didnt get mad or defensive (I tried, anyway) I just told him that the way he and my mom parented is not the only way to do it.

 

And as for my cousin, she's actually the one who's criticism hits hardest, because we're very close. But as I said before, she didnt breast feed so there's a lot she doesnt understand. I wont just leave my son in a crib to cry all night until he finally goes back to sleep like she does. When asked if her youngest, Owen was sleeping through the night yet (a few months ago, when Owen was only about 5 months, he's 10 months now) her response was "Not yet, but that's only because his crib is in our room so I can still hear him when he wakes up." So her idea of a baby sleeping through the night is HER being able to ignore the baby effectively when he wakes up so SHE can sleep through the night. She also propped bottles for her kids, which is BADDDDD. I dont want to make her angry or make her feel bad, but I will no longer be patronized by someone who has made plenty of mistakes herself. Dont get me wrong, overall she's a great mom, her kids are wonderfully behaved, her oldest is almost 4 and he has better manners than 10 year olds I know. But she believes that her way is the only way that will work.

 

Sorry for rambling, but as I said before, I dont have many people I can really talk to about this. Thanks again for the advice, I'm definitely going to take it and not worry too much about what others think because when my son grows up to be perfectly fine, they will see. I just know it's definitely going to be an uphill battle.

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Old 06-21-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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Every child is different, and every family is different. What works for one family, and one child, will not work for every family, and every child.

 

My oldest kid LOVED to sit in his carseat and bouncy seat. He would kick both his legs as hard as he could, and bounce/rock himself, and have a grand old time. None of my other kids were like this. I've NEVER met another kid like this, ever. I seriously did not know how "easy" he was as a baby.

 

Some kids love to be held and rocked to sleep. Some just want to be put down. Seriously, my little sister would leeeeaaan over towards her crib, and fuss while my mom held her. As soon as she was put down, she would hush and go right to sleep. Not because my mom had done CIO or anything, but because that was her personality. Now, my mom is a smart cookie, and my sis is her third child. She doesn't go around telling people all they should ever do is plop their kid in a crib because that is how all babies want to do bedtime.

 

I have become more and more "odd" in my parenting practices as time goes by. Not because I set it as a goal to be as odd as possible, but because the more I learned about different options, and the more different things I tried, I found things that worked for me. So, my youngest kid was rearfacing in her car seat until she was nearly five (when she reached the weight limit for rearfacing). I do not know ANYBODY else among my friends or family who had their kids stay rear facing that long.

 

I co-sleep, and I have breastfed past age 3. I didn't set out saying "I am gonna breastfeed this kid until age 3" I just... kept nursing until we both felt like it was time. No, I wasn't just nursing "for me" because it is impossible to force a child to breastfeed if they don't want to. No, it wasn't weird, it was just as warm and snuggly and nutritious as it was when the child was one year old, or 6 months old, or 6 hours old.

 

I wear my babies in slings. I sing the praises of how useful and comfy slings are to anyone who will listen. I make up slings on my sewing machine and give them to my friends, and nothing makes my day (or heck, my whole WEEK) like seeing or hearing from one of them that their baby LOVES the sling, and they just can't believe how it works like magic, etc. I recently heard from someone who I sent a sling to over 6 years ago. She STILL remembers how great it was to have, and how useful it was for her. I don't care if people think seeing my baby shoved into "that contraption" again is weird. I love it. My baby loves it. Why should their opinion matter?

 

My husband used to fuss a bit about having the baby sleeping in our bed. Well, part of that was because we had a Queen size bed and quite frankly he's more of a King-sized kind of guy. We have a King bed now, and plenty of room, so that will be less of an issue. Seeing as how hubby was never the one up at midnight with a baby nom nom noming away on his chest, and he didn't have to do night time baby duty PLUS ride herd on a bunch of kids the next day, I figured we had to do what worked. Co-sleeping worked. Even IF I wanted to do some form of sleep training (and i most emphatically DO NOT) there is nowhere to put a crib where the baby wouldn't disturb at least two other people at night. That's the last thing I need, to be tired and cranky myself, and have 2 or more tired and cranky sleep-deprived children to deal with in addition to a baby. No, thank you!

 

One of the most useful parenting skills to develop is a thick skin. Make a decision, examine different aspects of the decision, and then stick to it. This will help when your child is three and wants a piece of candy and won't stop asking. No means no. This will help when your child is a teen/pre-teen and wants to join friends in an activity that you have decided is inappropriate or will not work with the family budget/schedule. No means no. And yes, you can claim that I never let you do anything fun (except that movie we saw last week... oh and that time we made homemade pizzas and put the toppings on like a silly face, and that time we decorated your birthday cake together and you put the frosting on all by yourself), and you can carry on about how I am ruining your life and I must hate you, but my dear child no means no, and I promise you won't die. And one day should you be given the honor of becoming a parent, you can look back when YOUR child is accusing you of hating them, and remember...

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Old 06-21-2011, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I totally wish I had a sling. I dont have funds to get one otherwise I definitely would. I've heard lots of good things about them.

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Old 06-21-2011, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KittyKat View Post

Every child is different, and every family is different. What works for one family, and one child, will not work for every family, and every child.

 

My oldest kid LOVED to sit in his carseat and bouncy seat. He would kick both his legs as hard as he could, and bounce/rock himself, and have a grand old time. None of my other kids were like this. I've NEVER met another kid like this, ever. I seriously did not know how "easy" he was as a baby.

 

Some kids love to be held and rocked to sleep. Some just want to be put down. Seriously, my little sister would leeeeaaan over towards her crib, and fuss while my mom held her. As soon as she was put down, she would hush and go right to sleep. Not because my mom had done CIO or anything, but because that was her personality. Now, my mom is a smart cookie, and my sis is her third child. She doesn't go around telling people all they should ever do is plop their kid in a crib because that is how all babies want to do bedtime.



My cousin's youngest, Owen is like your oldest. Super super easy kid. Even moreso than his brothers, but they've all been fairly easy kids their whole lives. Owen is a bit too big for his bouncer now but he'd kick to make it bounce too, loving it. 

 

And I have some close friends with a daughter who is almost 8 months and she also fusses until put in her crib, then she's fine. Sometimes she just doesnt want to be held or do anything but hang out in her crib. My son is totally not that way. He gets lonely. And he only gets put in his crib for daytime naps so I can shower and try to be a bit productive.

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Old 06-22-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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It only costs a few bucks to get a long fabric wrap from a fabric store. You can get knitted or woven material, depending on your preference. For the average fabric width, you would need to split the fabric down the length of it, but this is good because you then end up with two wraps instead of just one!

 

I've found suitable wrap carrier material on the $1 table before. You don't even HAVE to sew a hem on it, if you don't want to.

 

I've also scored a used Maya Wrap ring sling at a consignment shop for ten bucks, Keep an eye out, it's possible to babywear on the cheap!

 

If you have even the most basic sewing skills, you can make slings. There are directions for making ring slings, pouch slings, and Asian Style baby carriers.

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Old 06-28-2011, 08:34 AM
 
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I only have one friend who gets the way I parent.  Most of my close friends IRL think I'm nuts.  I just don't discuss all my parenting decisions with most of them.  We have other things in common besides parenting.  These and similar forums are the only place where I feel like my decisions are truly accepted.  You will become more confident with your decisions as time goes on.  With DD#1, I felt the need to justify things more.  With DD#2, I am totally confident in my style of parenting and don't let other people's comments affect me so much.  You'll get there.  Just know that you are doing the best thing for your DS.  Now as for your boyfriend not being totally on board with co-sleeping, that one is harder.  My DH was not as on board with DD#1 because she and I slept in the guest room.  With DD#2, the three of us sleep together and he is amazed at how much more sleep we get.  Your boyfriend will come around.  Until then, know that it is a battle worth fighting.  Good luck!


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Old 06-28-2011, 08:59 AM
 
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I'm lucky that my close family agrees with the way I parent.  My mom nursed all 4 of her kids as toddlers, and nursed my brother until he was 3.  My brother is now 23 and my mom STILL gets flack from her family for nursing him so long.  I love nursing my baby, so much so that I'm having a hard time making solids a normal part of his schedule.  But he is only 8 mths so I think I've got time for that.  I've recently come to grips with not getting sleep so he can nurse all night long, as that seems to be what he likes to do.  I co-sleep part of the night but don't see him getting out of our room for some time.

 

You need to do whats best for you and your baby.  And like PP have said, all babies are different.  My older son co-slept with us until 5 mths old, at which point he decided he wanted his own bed and space.  So by 6 mths he was in his crib, in his room, sleeping through the night.  I would have gladly co-slept longer if thats what he wanted though.

 

A lot of the time I don't even bring up my parenting style around people because I don't want to have to defend nursing/co-sleeping/night weaning, etc.  And I try to have other mommy friends that have the same parenting style so there's a group somewhere I can go to and feel comfortable.  And one thing you need to learn is to let others' comments roll off your back.  They can talk till the cows come home, but you don't need to follow their advice.  Just change the subject and don't look back.


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Old 07-01-2011, 04:35 AM
 
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From a Dad's perspective regarding your boyfriends discomforts...

 

First, I'm glad to hear you're going to do whats best for you and your baby regardless.

 

My wife still nurses and co sleeps with my son who is about 16 months.  I've actually grown kind of fond of waking up with him snuggled up with us however I know many men don't feel that way and I didn't always feel that way either.  One of the things that really helped me is my wife making sure she spent some time exclusively with me.  I know as a Mom that's difficult but knowing that I got some one-on-one time with my wife regularly made me much more comfortable with the demands of her taking care of my son.

 

Another thing that really helped me through my transformation was open communication with my wife.  When your Boyfriend says you're turning into "one of those..." I'd say that's a time for a frank discussion with him about why you continue to breastfeed.  I'd especially focus on addressing what I think his biggest concern would be in how this is affecting his time with you. Maybe you're already doing this but personally I'd also try to focus more on how much breastfeeding/co-sleeping is important to your baby and less on why you need to do it.  From a man's perspective the former will make much more logical sense then getting into the more emotional side of it.  Men need logical reasons, especially in the face of being "razzed" by their buddies if they ever find out (yes that's one of the first things that goes through a guys head on issues like this). 

 

Men are visual and something that helped me become very comfortable with breastfeeding (to the point of now I'm a lactivist making a film about it all) is seeing a lot of breastfeeding.  Bringing him into a part of it may help him change his opinions of it all.  It at least did for me.

 

Yes American society at large may think what you are doing is weird but I've recently spoken to many, many people in America who think otherwise (women and men too).  I also know you will find a lot of those people here in the forum.  I believe people have been brainwashed when it comes to how they view bodies (especially women's) and in proper ways to raise children and I think the problems you and everyone else here are facing are a direct result of that.  I guess I've come to a point in my life where I don't care if people call me "one of those..."  I think I'd say well if one of those people is someone who does what's natural and best for my baby then yes I am.  Others Letting people see my decisions unashamed I believe will do more to eventually change everyone's perspectives on this and yes I do think we can change people.  It just takes time and people standing up for what they believe in.


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Old 07-01-2011, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreastsTheMovie View Post

From a Dad's perspective regarding your boyfriends discomforts...

 

First, I'm glad to hear you're going to do whats best for you and your baby regardless.

 

My wife still nurses and co sleeps with my son who is about 16 months.  I've actually grown kind of fond of waking up with him snuggled up with us however I know many men don't feel that way and I didn't always feel that way either.  One of the things that really helped me is my wife making sure she spent some time exclusively with me.  I know as a Mom that's difficult but knowing that I got some one-on-one time with my wife regularly made me much more comfortable with the demands of her taking care of my son.

 

Another thing that really helped me through my transformation was open communication with my wife.  When your Boyfriend says you're turning into "one of those..." I'd say that's a time for a frank discussion with him about why you continue to breastfeed.  I'd especially focus on addressing what I think his biggest concern would be in how this is affecting his time with you. Maybe you're already doing this but personally I'd also try to focus more on how much breastfeeding/co-sleeping is important to your baby and less on why you need to do it.  From a man's perspective the former will make much more logical sense then getting into the more emotional side of it.  Men need logical reasons, especially in the face of being "razzed" by their buddies if they ever find out (yes that's one of the first things that goes through a guys head on issues like this). 

 

Men are visual and something that helped me become very comfortable with breastfeeding (to the point of now I'm a lactivist making a film about it all) is seeing a lot of breastfeeding.  Bringing him into a part of it may help him change his opinions of it all.  It at least did for me.

 

Yes American society at large may think what you are doing is weird but I've recently spoken to many, many people in America who think otherwise (women and men too).  I also know you will find a lot of those people here in the forum.  I believe people have been brainwashed when it comes to how they view bodies (especially women's) and in proper ways to raise children and I think the problems you and everyone else here are facing are a direct result of that.  I guess I've come to a point in my life where I don't care if people call me "one of those..."  I think I'd say well if one of those people is someone who does what's natural and best for my baby then yes I am.  Others Letting people see my decisions unashamed I believe will do more to eventually change everyone's perspectives on this and yes I do think we can change people.  It just takes time and people standing up for what they believe in.



 

Thanks for all the advice! It really does help talking to like-minded people for validation that I'm not weird. I've been focusing on knowing that every baby is different as is every parent. What works for one baby may not work for another, there are lots of ways to parent. I do what feels natural and right and I dont need to feel ostracized because of it.

 

As for my boyfriend, it's not so much the co-sleeping that he has an issue with. It was actually his idea to begin with. When Fynn was a newborn, he just would NOT sleep in his bassinet for more than an hour or two and I was exhausted, of course. When we brought him to sleep in bed with us, it worked right away. He slept way better, and when he did wake up, it was just to nurse a bit back to sleep. I get so much more sleep this way. The issue is that it does take away from some intimacy, of course. We could also use a bigger bed for sure, ours is only a full size. I'm confident that if we can just make sure to find more time for ourselves (either when baby's napping or by getting gram&gramps to babysit) that it wont be an issue anymore. Just a bit of time to actually be a couple instead of just co-parents. We went out a few nights ago for just a couple hours and I found that it really is nice to have conversation that's not baby-centered for once.

 

Dont get me wrong, I feel no need for a "break" from being a parent and I missed Fynn the whole time. But I think everyone can understand how easy it is to make your baby the center of everything, and it's refreshing to talk about other things sometimes. Especially since all of my friends have babies and toddlers, so kids make up about 85% of the conversations I have with anyone these days. Which is part of why I had an issue to begin with. It's hard to avoid talking about parenting styles when all you ever talk about is kids. I'm working on it though.

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Old 07-01-2011, 06:20 PM
 
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Hey Mama just wanted to say listen to yourself and trust your mama instincts...different things are right for different babies and mamas at different times and you know best...I have been blessed with three at this point and my parenting style has evolved but one thing that's become clearer and clearer over the years is you really can't go wrong trusting those instincts and you don't owe anyone an explanation...hang in there!

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