DH thinks nursing is interfering with his attachment with DD - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 02-12-2011, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is there any validity to this?  DH works and is a fulltime grad student, so he isn't home all that much.  He has hinted how he wants DD, 27 months, to wean because he thinks it would make things better between the two of them.  

 

DD nurses only one to two times a day at this point, though sometimes more frequently.  I am not decided whether I will do CLW or not, as I am at times ready to be done myself, but do have a hard time with the idea of cutting DD off before she is ready.  

 

I don't think he is right about this, but I do feel bad for him.  DD definitely prefers me, and will never accept comfort from him if she gets a bump or something, if I am around.  He can't seem to put her to bed either, which I think has more to do with his inability to set boundaries when he needs to  (Like, it is time to settle down, lets lie down or snuggle after this last story etc.).

 

Anyways, I would love some advice if anyone has any facts or experience to help me convince DH that we shouldn't wean DD because of this, or if anyone knows if I am wrong and if there is some truth to what he's saying.  Thanks in advance.

 

Also, I'm not sure if this should be in breastfeeding beyond infancy or maybe the toddler forum instead?

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#2 of 17 Old 02-12-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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Your dh is wrong. He is looking for excuses that blame everyone but himself. He is trying to find something you can change rather than him. Start leaving him home alone with her or having him take her places and do things with her. He needs time alone with her. Taking away your relationship with her, or part of your relationship, is not going to improve his relationship with her.

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#3 of 17 Old 02-12-2011, 09:01 AM
 
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Well, my situation is a little different (ok a LOT different than yours), but you're right.  BF'ing isn't making it hard for your dd to bond with him.

 

How often do you leave the 2 of them alone?  Maybe you could make a standing date withyourself at the coffee shop for 2-3hours once/week?  Then daddy and baby would have some time to play together and bond.  More often would be fine too - it would just be dependent on your schedules.

 

Maybe you could also change the bedtime routine around for you and your dd so that she doesn't nurse to sleep?  My ds has already weaned (he did so on his own, although like I said my situation is completely different than yours), but he nursed for a long time after we stopped nursing to sleep (which we stopped doing b/c I HATED it - loved nursing, just not at bedtime).  That might make it easier for your dh to put her to bed.  Although, it could be more of a "routine" thing for her too, and not at all about nursing - just that she's used to you putting her to bed, and so thats what works.  Daddy will be able to do it eventually.

 

Good luck!!!

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#4 of 17 Old 02-12-2011, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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They actually are alone together for a couple hours 2-5 days a week, and she does fine with that.  We also don't nurse at bedtime or in the night, although this is a relatively new thing, but she doesn't mind it.  

 

Last night I was out until 1 in the morning, left after bedtime, and she woke up at 11:30 and was awake in bed with my husband until I got home at 1.  As soon as I got there and climbed into bed she fell fast asleep.  She just doesn't think of him as the one to go to for comfort.

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#5 of 17 Old 02-12-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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Well, all I have is experience...

 

My dd2 quit nursing at 5 months.  It wasn't weaning, more of a nursing strike that turned into a bottle preference that turned into a battle that I lost. 

 

When we were dealing with the nursing strike and bottle preference, we tried to have DH give her the bottles as much as possible, to keep her associating me with nursing.  And of course, as she nursed less, he was doing more and more of the feedings. 

 

My 2 yr old is THE BIGGEST Daddy's girl ever.  She refuses to come to me for comfort for a boo boo if Daddy is around.  She cries when Daddy leaves for work, she pushes me out the door.  She will not let me put her to sleep if Daddy is home.

 

DD3, 5months old is going strong with nursing and her ONLY bottles are when I go to work, which is max of 18 hours, a total of 3 6hr shifts a week, in the evening.  She only needs one bottle while I am gone, so she has a max of 3 bottles a week, most weeks less (like next week, I am only working one day.)  And my 5 month old is a total mamma's girl.  I had to work on Thursday and DH couldn't calm her down.  She kept looking to where we usually sit to nurse and crying, refusing the bottle, refusing to go to sleep etc.  She would marginally calm down if DH wrapped her in my sweater, but not a lot.

 

What does any of that mean?  I dunno.  I was home full time for my 2yr old's first year.  I am not home full time now.  DH is working full time, and in school full time, so he's not home much at all.  All of that could totally play a factor.  Or it could be that that's just how the kids are, I am totally aware that it's completely normal for kids to prefer one parent over the other at any one point, and to totally flip flop their preference at any time as well.  Or, EBF could have something to do with it.  Or it could be a combo of all three.  Or it could be something else entirely.

 

 

Just thought I would share.

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#6 of 17 Old 02-12-2011, 10:35 AM
 
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My baby is only 10 months but breastfeeding hasn't interfered with his attachment to DH. DH can calm him down when he bumps his head, put him to sleep and soothe him when he wakes up. But, that's because DH has made it a point to do that since day 1. Your H needs to just do it. Leave him with baby for an hour or two and let him spend some time where he has to soothe. Course, after that, he may never want you to wean!

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#7 of 17 Old 02-12-2011, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Interesting replies.  I wonder if biologically as young children we tend to favor the caregiver that feeds us.  Although I think it is more likely we just go to the parent who provides what we need at that time the most.  

 

After further questioning him about this, he admitted that he actually just doesn't want our 3, 4 or 5 year old nursing, because it goes against the norms of society.  I guess he doesn't want to be the weird one.  I guess we will have to figure this out differently now.

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#8 of 17 Old 02-14-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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DS1 was more of a momma's boy and DS2 is more of poppa's boy.  DS1 nursed 2 1/2 years and DS2 nursed 3 1/2 years.

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#9 of 17 Old 02-14-2011, 02:32 PM
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My dds have both had a great nursing relationship with me and a tight bond with their dad.  I think your dh just needs more practice.  A lot of little kids have a mom thing going on for a while.  And then it will be a dad thing.  And sometimes my kids get a "collect the set" thing happening where neither dh or I can provide satisfactory comfort, and they need comfort from both of us to resolve a crisis.  

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#10 of 17 Old 02-15-2011, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for those last two replies.  I think my DH really is a young dad.  While we are the same age, he really wasn't ready to be a parent when we got pregnant and I think it is all a lot of work for him.  Overall he really is a wonderful father and he and DD love each other very much.  I worked in early childhood the last 4 years and I think my comfort and knowledge with small children and development has resulted in me doing most of the parenting along the way.  I try to step back, but don't always know how.

 

When DD gets hurt and he gets there first and she pushes him away and calls for me should I go to her?  I always do, but I can't help wondering if that is making things worse?

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#11 of 17 Old 02-15-2011, 09:45 AM
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I don't think it makes things better to hang back when your child wants you and you are actually available.  If you think it's interfering with your dh's bond with your dd, it might help to divide "comfort duties" so you might step in for a hug and kiss, and dad might offer a bandaid for the boo-boo, or a glass of water, or whatever else is needed in the moment.  One parent stepping in does not have to mean that the other parent is being cut out.  

 

But really, I don't think this is about your dd not being bonded with your dh, or not trusting him to provide comfort.  From the brief description in your posts, it sounds like she's bonded to her daddy perfectly well.  She's just 2.  It's a developmental thing that will change with time.  

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#12 of 17 Old 02-15-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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my DD is 21 months, and her dad and I have taken turns being stay-at-home parent. DD has flip-flopped which parent she prefers several times. I think that a toddler isn't going to go to someone for comfort unless they already have a relationship when not upset. so him reading to her, giving her her table food, playing with her, giving her bath, getting her dressed or into pajamas, or any other just day-to-day stuff is going to help them build a closer bond. 


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#13 of 17 Old 02-15-2011, 07:24 PM
 
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If you worked in early childhood, you probably already know that it's normal and adaptive for a young child (any mammal ;-) to have a strong attachment to a primary caregiver.  For a breastfeeding child, that's almost always going to be Mom because she has the boobs so is doing the majority of the holding, cuddling, and all the feeding.   That strong attachment is beneficial to your child even if it's hard for Daddy.  If you'd bottle fed but done the majority of the childcare and feeding you'd get the same situation. 

 

But that means as she gets older, DH has to build his own attachment.  You can help to transfer the attachment - do things with Daddy, like all 3 of you give her a bath or read cuddled together or snuggle together to go to sleep at night.  And give DH a chance to build his own skills when you're not around, so that might mean planning more times when he's *it* and you actually leave. 

 

I find it also helped a LOT to foster friendships with other families who parent in a similar way so DH had "dad" friends.  Watching other dads is a good way to learn but dads are unlikely to seek out that sort of suppor like moms do. 

 

We're on child #3 and DH is fully on board with CLW, attachment parenting, etc.  We joke in our house that he pays our toddler $1 every time she says "No, Mommy.  Not Daddy!" and charges her $5 when she asks for Daddy.  He knows at this point that it's a stage and is age-appropriate, and will pass sooner than you think. 


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#14 of 17 Old 02-16-2011, 02:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goinggreengirl View Post

My baby is only 10 months but breastfeeding hasn't interfered with his attachment to DH. DH can calm him down when he bumps his head, put him to sleep and soothe him when he wakes up. But, that's because DH has made it a point to do that since day 1. Your H needs to just do it. Leave him with baby for an hour or two and let him spend some time where he has to soothe. Course, after that, he may never want you to wean!


Yes to this, except our baby is only 9 months old. Sometimes J wants me, sometimes she wants DH but DH has been a consistent, active presence in her life since she was born. 

 

And, she has had 2 years of bonding with you while feeding. I seriously doubt that cutting out 2 feeds/day is going to change that.  I think if your DH continues to be actively involved and maybe they have some special things that only he does? DH baths J every night (unless he's working a late shift), they have breakfast together every morning while I sleep in, they go for a walk together just the two of them most mornings. Things like that will all help IME.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post

I don't think it makes things better to hang back when your child wants you and you are actually available.  If you think it's interfering with your dh's bond with your dd, it might help to divide "comfort duties" so you might step in for a hug and kiss, and dad might offer a bandaid for the boo-boo, or a glass of water, or whatever else is needed in the moment.  One parent stepping in does not have to mean that the other parent is being cut out.  

 

But really, I don't think this is about your dd not being bonded with your dh, or not trusting him to provide comfort.  From the brief description in your posts, it sounds like she's bonded to her daddy perfectly well.  She's just 2.  It's a developmental thing that will change with time.  


Yes to all this too. When J hurts herself or is overtired one of us will hold her (and she does sometime want me) and the other will rub her back or foot or do a group hug. DH will often lie down with us when I feed her to sleep as well, especially if she is a bit upset.

 

Tell him to hang in there. Most little girls go through a daddy worship phase so it's probably his turn soon thumb.gif


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#15 of 17 Old 02-20-2011, 05:59 AM
 
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Your dh should make more effort to spend time with your dd.

I have two different experiences: ds nursed until he was 4. He would only go to sleep with me, and sometimes even rejected dh.

Dd, who is 17 months old now, spends more time with dh. We both work, but dh is with her during the day and works evenings. She is used with dh putting her to bed, in fact it takes him about 5 minutes, while I can spend up to an hour until she's asleep. When she's with me she would just play, nurse, play again.

Dd calls her dad "daddy" and she calls me "food".


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#16 of 17 Old 03-03-2011, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies.  Here is an update to where we are now.  I decided to gently progress towards weaning, dropping to only at wake up and bedtime, and then dropping the wake up nursing, and DD adjusted just fine to only snuggles (not CLW, I hope it is ok to discuss in this forum).  She has however become way more clingy to me and only wants momma for everything.   Not just with DH, but with other moms and people we know.  I don't know if this is a stage, or a response to me putting restrictions on her nursing.  

 

I agree this is just a stage, and perfectly normal, I just wish DH saw it that way.  I think more than anything he just has a problem with older toddlers/children nursing.  We don't have any friends with children older than DD who are still nursing, and he thinks it is strange and not something she actually needs.  I do think we are starting to find a balance though.  I am feeling much happier with just nursing at bedtime, and DD seems to accept this set up pretty well also. I think we will probably stick with the 1-2 times a day for a while until she or I or both of us feel we are ready to be done.  

 

 

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#17 of 17 Old 03-08-2011, 10:21 PM
 
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Men can be like babies too, and maybe he's tired of "sharing". :)

 

Also though I think a lot of men are more insecure than they want to let on.  With so much focus being on moms and babies, dads sometimes get left out of the picture. It's still pretty new that dads being so active with their children has even become accepted.

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