ds is nearly 6 and wants to start nursing again - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 82 Old 06-06-2004, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds is going to be 6 is a couple months and wants to start nursing again. He weaned at 3 when I was pregnant with his brother, and over the last couple years only rarely asked to nurse again (and I let him). But now he wants to nurse every night before sleeping. At first I've let him, but now I'm feeling like "gosh, he's about to start 1st grade, isn't this a bit too long". His brother is 2 and still nursing all every couple hours. For the last 2 nights, I've offered my older son the option of snuggling close and holding my breast instead of nursing, which he does, but he criess and says it so unfair that he can't nurse, and he likes it better than pop.

What do you think mamas? Should I reconsider and let him nurse? Has anyone had an older child want to come back to nurse again?
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#2 of 82 Old 06-06-2004, 08:02 AM
 
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I have no experiance with a boy that age, so can't give you much advice over there, but my dd, now 4.5, likes to pretend that she's nursing. I think that with her it's a jealousy thing. I don't want her to start nursing again, so I let her pretend and she's happy with that. I also say things to her like, "so you want to be babby sometimes huh?" or "nursing looks like lots of fun to you, I see". Or, I'll talk to her about all the times she nursed as a baby and toddler. I'll tell her cute nursing stories, which she loves to hear.

In general I also talk to her lots of how we give everyone in the family what they *need*. For instance, she gets to go to preschool , which she loves, Maayan doesn't cause she's different and needs different things. etc. I our case, this works.

I'm sure the other mamas will have lots of advice, though!
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#3 of 82 Old 06-06-2004, 10:40 AM
 
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This is similar to my current situation. My dd weaned about 11 months ago at about age 4. I became pg shortly thereafter and am due July 3. She weaned herself and was very ready to stop at the time. Lately, she wants to cuddle, hold, and kiss my breasts a lot (which she has done occasionally since weaning but much more recently). She tells me she misses nursing but has not yet asked to nurse. I realize she is getting ready for baby and I would never refuse her but I am getting annoyed with sharing my body in so many ways. I don't want to hijack your post but here are my thoughts... I have to be available to her and not let her see my impatience but at the same time she has to respect my feelings too. We talk about when she nursed and how much she loved it. We talk about the other physically close things we do now instead of nursing (cuddling, rocking in chair, playing tent under blankets...) We talk about how babies need to nurse and why and how I've always met her needs... even though now they have changed (and will continue to do so). She seems fine with all of this. No major anxiety.
I'd love to hear how other mamas have dealt with similar situations. I know that this is not uncommon


Jen

jen mommy to dd1 (11y), dd2 (6y) and ds (3y)
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#4 of 82 Old 06-06-2004, 11:18 AM
 
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Hmmmm...it's such a personal decision. Are you comfortable with it? If so, why not let him nurse? If not, then it's not a mutual desire, so you can tell him that, although it would be really nice for him to be able to nurse, that it's time for him to be done (or something like that).

I have a 5.5 year old son who has two younger siblings who are nursing. He was triandem nursing with them until he self-weaned on his fifth birthday. He now says that he's going to "re-nurse" on his sixth birthday. We'll see what happens! (Personally, I'll let him try if he wants to. )

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#5 of 82 Old 06-06-2004, 05:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noranorth
he cries and says it so unfair that he can't nurse, and he likes it better than pop.
From how he's feeling about it I think, if you're comfortable with it, give it a go. That 'better than pop' comment is just too cute! Good luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2threenurslings
He now says that he's going to "re-nurse" on his sixth birthday.
That's adorable! Reminds me of 're-lactating.' :LOL
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#6 of 82 Old 06-06-2004, 06:05 PM
 
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For me - I wouldn't let him. It seems to me that there are other things that would meet his need that wouldn't take so much away from you, and wouldn't be so emotionally charged for the two of you. It's not like it's an easy thing to stop once you've got into the habit.

I am currently tandem nursing my 3.5 year old and my almost-2 year old. I am SO ready for the 3.5 year old to wean, so this is coloring my perspective of your situation. I am starting to suspect that the 'natural age of weaning' as per K. Dettwyler is really just the age at which even the most loving mother human, chimp, whatever says OK THAT'S IT you're ENORMOUS get OFF me... and if mothers didn't, the kids would still be nursing in high school! Seriously I do not think my dd would ever stop, would ever give up the opportunity to extract the juice of my core being... it somehow gives her so much of my attention and so much of my self, it gives her such power, I can't see her ever giving that up.

Wow that turned into a rant, sorry. Might be better to ignore my point of view on this one since I'm a bit biased right now!

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#7 of 82 Old 06-06-2004, 06:22 PM
 
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When my baby was born 6 weeks ago my 5.5 y/o son wanted to nurse. I talked to him about each persons needs and about the days when he needed to nurse etc... I wasn't comfortable with him actually nursing even though I wanted to let him. I weaned him at 14months before I knew the benefits of ebf..so I have some guilt (or just wish I knew more at the time..)

I offered to pump some milk and let him drink it that way. He was very pleased with this and hasn't asked to nurse since,

He was really nice about it when he asked. He said "Please mom, I promise I won't use my teeth or anything"

I say, if you are comfortable with it, let him! If not, you might offer to pump a little for him.
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#8 of 82 Old 06-06-2004, 06:25 PM
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I also would not be at all comfortable with it, and as other posters have mentioned, i would talk with him about how you could meet his needs for closeness in other ways. Even wonderful things must have their end .
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#9 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 01:08 AM
 
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I know I am not you, but I would have to say. I would let him nurse if you are okay with it. I am nursing Bit who is 4 and if he was to wean and then wanted to try and nurse again at 6 I would let him try again. I wish you the very best. Follow your heart. Do what it tells you to do not what others might tell you to do.
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#10 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 01:05 PM
 
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I agree with the folks who say do what feels comfortable. My son appears to be finally weaned at 7!!! I never thought we would go this long, but it always seemed too traumatic for him when I tried to stop. I read in a Mothering article a while back that other primates wean when they lose their baby/milk teeth -- well that makes some sense! I suggested stopping when he lost his first tooth, but then he began to dread that wonderful milestone, so I told him that I thought about it and we didn't have to stop. We did gradually slow down to just nursing at home (when I felt uncomfortable in public), then just at night unless there was a big boo-boo during the day, and finally, at his 7th birthday, to only at night and then only if there was a nightmare or other scare. He nursed once after turning 7, after a nightmare, and that was maybe 6 months ago -- we have finally weaned in a gentle manner! I am very glad we stayed with it, but it has been a journey.

Best wishes to you all!
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#11 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 01:16 PM
 
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Me personally, I'd talk to him. I wouldn't be comfortable nursing a child of that age.
I'd worry (a lot) about what other people think if he told them but if you tell him not to tell then that is worrisome too.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#12 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 03:46 PM
 
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: Okay - this might sound different but it's my answer to everything...

*Carrot Juice*

Maybe your son could fall in love with a new flavor -
and it would be something you two could do together!

My son gets a serious kick out of helping me juice...

-the scrubbing, the noise of the juicer, the "rrrrrrr" of
the carrots turning to juice-

And then as soon as the juice is made and before I even think about
cleaning the juicer - we sit on the floor - each with our "juice-juice"
say *cheers ~ salute* -- click glasses
and have our daily carrot juice bonding session

It would be a healthy replacement for your son (and you) and
maybe he can let go of the ninny addiction
when he knows he has a new thing to do with you
that's special.

? maybe worth trying ?

Sadie
AKA - the Carrot Addict!
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#13 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 04:04 PM
 
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Many years ago, my younger sister asked to nurse after she'd been weaned for a couple years. Our brother had just been born. My mom said "Sure, if you want to." My sister took one sip, giggled, declared that it tasted funny, and hopped off my mom's lap and ran off to play. She showed no further interest. Everyone was happy.
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#14 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 05:29 PM
 
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#15 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 05:51 PM
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There's really nothing wrong with telling a previously-nursing child "no" once she/he has weaned. Then give a few extra hugs!!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#16 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 06:09 PM
 
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It seems that there has been some emphasis on five being too old and feeling uncomfortable about the age of the child. This wouldn't be an issue if children were routinely breastfed past the two year mark. Contrary to how it may seem in the moment, children do stop breastfeeding, long before high school. They simply do not need it and mature to an age where they want to be independent and rely less and less on others for help. My four year old breastfeeds every night and every morning and very rarely during the day. I don't know how else we could have such a peaceful nighttime routine. It never fails, he always falls asleep. IMO, it's so comfortable and relaxing for me when he nurses at night. I read him some stories and then I get time to read stories myself while he drifts off. Your child will not start breastfeeding like a toddler all over again but probably just wants a little extra love and attention. The closeness that bf brings cannot be replaced. I can understand not wanting to bf in public with an older child, especially one that is half your height and stands to drink! Not everyone wants to draw that kind of attention to themselves. On the other hand, we need brave and courageous mama's to do it, to be seen, so it doesn't seem and look so strange.
I have heard about mamals weaning when they get there permanent molars in, or when they're milky teeth are gone. Humans develop a lot slower and we must respect our children's need to be nurtured as long as possible. If it physically hurts to bf your older child and it is physically uncomfortable, then don't do it. But, a little extra of mama's gold is always better than pop!
In the end, the most important thing is, trust your intuition!
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#17 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 06:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizziejean
I am starting to suspect that the 'natural age of weaning' as per K. Dettwyler is really just the age at which even the most loving mother human, chimp, whatever says OK THAT'S IT you're ENORMOUS get OFF me...
OK - this had me : : :

I can relate, Lizziejean. I am currently nursing my 4.75 year old, my 3 year old and my 9 month old. And I have to grit my teeth to get through every nursing with my older two. I am VERY ready for them to stop (especially the oldest).

My situation was somewhat similar to that of the OP, in that my dd1 stopped nursing at her 4th birthday. Then nursed twice in the next six months or so. And now has been nursing every night for the past 2-3 months.

I always let her nurse, thinking that it would be a one-off and that would be it. And it was the first two times, but now she's back to nursing every night.

I'm again encouraging weaning (she can choose nursing or reading an extra bedtime story at bedtime - she chooses the story maybe 1-2 times a week now).

She says she'll wean at 5 - we'll see! I do think that the next time she stops nursing for 2-3 months or so, I think I will call it quits and explain that she is finished nursing if she asks after that.

All of this novel just to say what most other posters have said - do whatever feels right to you. There is nothing wrong with letting him nurse, if you are comfortable with that. And also nothing wrong with not letting him nurse, if that is what you prefer.

If you do let him nurse, it wouldn't surprise me if it was a one-off and that was that. But don't be surprised if it isn't a one-off. And unless you are really willing to let him start nursing again on a regular basis, I would think carefully about letting him nurse one (or perhaps explain that you are going to let him try nursing one more time, but that that is a 'farewell' nursing session, or something like that).
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#18 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 07:10 PM
 
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I also agree with many of the others - go with what you feel is right. My daughter nursed till the eve of her 5th birthday. We had set a couple of cut off deadlines and discussed it lots but the time just wasnt right and then she seemed OK about it ending the night before her 5th birthday, we made a bit of a special night of it and said goodbye. We have however replaced it with a special night time routine which includes lots of hugs and kisses and I am always the last person to say goodnight to her. Occasionaly since giving up she has said "its not fair that Zak (22 months) gets boobie" but she is fine about it when I explain to her that she had loads more than Zak and had it till she was five. Maybe if you dont want to offer him the breast you could change your bedtime routine to something that really interests him, my daughter likes what she calls a massage which is more of a calm tickling session.

Whatever you decide to do follow your heart and do what feels right for both of you.
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#19 of 82 Old 06-07-2004, 10:54 PM
 
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Nora......Years ago (my son is 18) when I was pregnant with twins, and my son was still nursing just at night or nap time, I had an occasion to watch a PBS special about tandum nursing and the animal kingdom. I wish I would have taped it, as many women have the same questions. The apes start gently pushing their older offspring away during the 3rd trimester. Somehow, this made sense to me, and that is what I did. I made special time for the 2 of us, and gently re-routed his attention to something he enjoyed, like reading, or if he insisted, something more physical. I also let him know how big he was, and how we had to save the milk for the new babies. That his turn was over. It eventually sunk in, and he would say things like: "I love my Mommy, but the milk is for the new babies now. I'm done." It was kind of cute to hear him say those things to other people, like the other mothers in the neighborhood who would come over and were nursing their babies. They would give him positive reinforcement for his understanding.

I think letting him hold your other breast just confuses him and fosters jealousy.

I hope this helps.

Kathy


Quote:
Originally Posted by noranorth
My ds is going to be 6 is a couple months and wants to start nursing again. He weaned at 3 when I was pregnant with his brother, and over the last couple years only rarely asked to nurse again (and I let him). But now he wants to nurse every night before sleeping. At first I've let him, but now I'm feeling like "gosh, he's about to start 1st grade, isn't this a bit too long". His brother is 2 and still nursing all every couple hours. For the last 2 nights, I've offered my older son the option of snuggling close and holding my breast instead of nursing, which he does, but he criess and says it so unfair that he can't nurse, and he likes it better than pop.

What do you think mamas? Should I reconsider and let him nurse? Has anyone had an older child want to come back to nurse again?
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#20 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 12:31 AM
 
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Noranorth, IMHO I think you should do what works for you and your family. If it feels right then go for it. I think that's awesome that your ds remembers how to nurse after such a long break! From what I've heard thus far they eventually forget how to latch on, but you proved that theory wrong. I am nursing my dd who is 7 and I don't see any reason to make her wean just because society *currently* doesn't accept it as "normal". She asks, so it's normal. She brought herself down to nursing only once or twice a month now and is weaning when she's ready (and I'm behind her 100%).

Good luck whatever you choose!
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#21 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 12:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizziejean
I am starting to suspect that the 'natural age of weaning' as per K. Dettwyler is really just the age at which even the most loving mother human, chimp, whatever says OK THAT'S IT you're ENORMOUS get OFF me... and if mothers didn't, the kids would still be nursing in high school! Seriously I do not think my dd would ever stop, would ever give up the opportunity to extract the juice of my core being... it somehow gives her so much of my attention and so much of my self, it gives her such power, I can't see her ever giving that up.

Wow that turned into a rant, sorry. Might be better to ignore my point of view on this one since I'm a bit biased right now!

Your dd sounds like my dd when she was that age. It does get easier with even the most power-hungry child!

Also, Keep in mind that even the most observant and dedicated anthropologist hasn't observed every nursing session of a child, especially that of a mother and child at bedtime. If someone were observing my dd's nursing patterns they would have thought that she weaned at around 5 or 6 because for the past year or two she has only nursed at bedtime. K.Dettwyler has been wonderful for giving us perspective on nursing beyond 2+ years but I think her cut-off age is still a bit low. JMHO.
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#22 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 01:18 AM
 
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It sounds like ds is feeling a little left out and possibly jealous/envious of his sibling. I would consider talking to him about it and explain that this is a time for younger children and he experienced it and has grown past it - after all, he has been weaned. It is really OK to say no sometimes.
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#23 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 01:41 AM
 
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My daughter weened and potty trained herself at two. If she, at 6 years old, asked me to start wearing diapers again, I would not let her. It seems as though a child who wishes to return to nursing after having been weened for so long is needing something emotionally, something that he once found in breastfeeding.
Why not develop a new ritual? Something special, just for you and him! A new comfort ritual would meet his needs, reinforce the milestone of weening, and create a bond he will appreciate and cherish when his new sibling arrives.

A friend of mine began taking her 6 year old on "dates" when her second child was born. This was a special time for her and her son, and she used the opportunity to instil in him traditional values of "how to treat a lady." At 11, he is the sweetest, most polite and respectable young man I have ever known.
Good luck~
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#24 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 01:41 AM
 
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If it were me, I would go ahead and breastfeed my 6 year old.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#25 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 02:14 AM
 
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I am far from having to deal with such a situation, my DS is only 6 months. I agree with both sides on this one. If you and your son want to nurse, go for it. If either of you doesn't want to, then don't do it. I remember seeing a Judging Amy where the mother wanted to Bf her 8 yo son and was being taken to court by her sons father because he thought it wasn't right. Well it turned out the boy didn't really want to nurse anymore but felt pressured by the mom. I don't see this as being your case since he is the one asking, but I feel it should be mutual and you two should discuss it on a regular basis to make sure you both want to contiune. Before I had my son I thought "OMG I can't belive that child is still breastfeeding, gross!" well, my perspective has changed.

If you feel you don't want to nurse him then I agree with having another activity to take the place of the nursing. It seems like he may just be wanting some extra attention, so try and give it to him in one way or another. I hope you keep us posted, I am curious as to what you are going to do.
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#26 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 03:45 PM
 
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If you are comfortable with doing so, I would 100% encourage you to nurse DS until he no longer wants to.

DD weaned at 50 months and I was so happy about it. She is now 5 and I really wish she would go back to nursing. Not because I want her to, but because it seems like she misses it so much. She stopped being able to get milk and I said that probably meant she was done nursing and she agreed. She wasn't upset or anything--- she was happy and proud. I have no problem w.her nursing and not getting anything, but she *does* (which I find odd since she nursed through my pg w/no milk for months). It just seems to be so upsetting to her that she "can't" (I let her try on occasion, but when she gets nothing she gives up). On the other hand, in some ways I feel like she really is *done* but just is having a hard time somedays (the other day, DS had just nursed and I actually squeezed my breast while she was trying, when she pulled off saying there was no milk, milk was actually dripping, so in some ways I think she actually doesn't want to nurse, but wants there to be an outside force telling her not to instead of taking the responsibility for quitting herself).

Long novel.

Good luck and to you and DS

 

 

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#27 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 05:16 PM
 
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Whenever there is a great trauma in a child's life they want to revert to a previous, safe stage. In this case your 7 year old is reverting to an oral stage.

Please take a look at what might be causing this! It could be abuse of some sort (7 is the "right" age for pedophiles - for both girls and boys), bullies at school being extra mean to him or a death in the family. He could also be equating your love to nursing. He may fear that by nursing only the little baby, you don't love him anymore. Reasure him that you still have room for him in your heart, on your lap and even at the breast if that's what it takes.

I am not telling you to not nurse him. That is a decision you need to make for your particular situation. But understand that his asking to do it, is a sign of stress or trauma in his young life. Talk, talk, talk! Don't just take that sullen silence to mean everything's OK!

Know that no child who has been weaned for 3 years reverts back for no reason. Please talk to your son and find out what is goin on in his life and address those issues. Putting him back on the breast is not a bad thing but maybe some sessions with a e-b-f friendly child psychologist may also be the answer.

Your post made me worry about your son, please do not ignore is obvious plea for help and your attention.
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#28 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 05:28 PM
 
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Just for clarification her ds is 5, not 7. I think if it were related to abuse or bullying there would be signs other than wanting to nurse (which the OP indicated that he has asked a few times since being weaned). He could be reverting a little, but it would probably be due more to sibling rivalry/jealously issues, KWIM? It sounds like he wants to nurse and is a little saddened by his little brother nursing all the time and he himself, never nursing. So I agree, definately talk with him, but I think a lot of posters here are putting their own feelings about nursing an older child first and foremost when responding (Oliviagodess, I'm not referring to you here, just to make that clear. ). I think we need to focus on this particular mom and child and what they are comfortable with.
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#29 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 05:35 PM
 
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OK THAT'S IT you're ENORMOUS get OFF me... and if mothers didn't, the kids would still be nursing in high school! Seriously I do not think my dd would ever stop, would ever give up the opportunity to extract the juice of my core being... it somehow gives her so much of my attention and so much of my self, it gives her such power, I can't see her ever giving that up.



That's freakin hysterical. I am currently nak my almost 3yo who is a serious boo-aholic. I don't know if she will EVER quit. I will hang in there though. Somehow it tames the savage beast in her...I'm not quite sure I could live with her if not for the peace that the "mmmm-mmms" bring.


As for the original post, I think you should do what feels right. I agree with both sides, and I think that there are several options for dealing with this. I sure hope that you recognize your ds request as a cry for more attention at a time when he is probably feeling vunerable. You can help him in anyway that will give him some more attention and reassurance that he has not been replaced....weather you nurse him or not. What he is going through is very normal though, and it will pass.
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#30 of 82 Old 06-08-2004, 06:21 PM
 
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Mine are a bit younger, but I do know that children loose the ability to suck after a while. So, he may have forgotten how already. I think if you are comfortable with him nursing, then go for it. If not, don't start up again and gently explain his time has passed, but big boys can do "...." instead with their mommies.
My second weaned at 14 1/2 months old, I found out 3-4 weeks later that I was pregnant. It was harder on me than him. He wants my attention now with the new baby in the house and I have offered him mommy's milk, but he says "no". He is content to sit with us and watch her "drink milk". And I so envisioned myself tandum nursing.
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