How do you teach a child NOT to nurse in church? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 02-21-2013, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is about 31 months old. I guess I've strongly encouraged him to nurse in church as he's at least quiet then, and listening. I do wish he would stop nursing in church now though. He doesn't nurse EVERY time but I wish he wouldn't ever anymore. I tried giving him suckers but I hated it. He's not really into smarties. He almost never eats the "big" snacks like crackers in church anymore (I encouraged him to stop) and I really don't want him to go back to that in order not to nurse. And almost more embarrassing than nursing is his insistent voice saying, "milk, mommy milk! milk! milk!" He hasn't quite learned to be quiet yet either.

 

Since he is not doing anything wrong I don't want to punish this behavior nor reward the desired behavior. BUT I very much would like for him to learn not to nurse in church anymore. Does this make sense? Any ideas on how to do this? Any books or websites that would be helpful in guiding a nursing two year old toward social niceties? Thanks!

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#2 of 14 Old 02-21-2013, 09:02 AM
 
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I know some people have had success with rules like "we only nurse in X place (home, car, whatever)". Maybe there is a place at church, like a nursery, that you could set such a rule for. We don't nurse in the sanctuary, only the nursery?


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#3 of 14 Old 02-21-2013, 09:09 AM
 
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Do you do bible study or family worship at home? I might start there so that he can practice in a place where it isn't going to matter too much if he gets demanding. 

 

Also do you offer him water?

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#4 of 14 Old 02-21-2013, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I could take him out, but then generally he gets distracted and doesn't want to nurse after all. And, I really do want him to learn to be attentive in church without nursing for short periods of time, not distracting me constantly to ask to go out. Sometimes this happens and sometimes not.Though I AM fine with taking him to the play room during the sermon. It's not so much that he WANTS to nurse, but that I've taught him to nurse rather than distracting me and others with his actions and vocalizations.

I have stopped taking water with us into the sanctuary. Maybe I'll start that again for a while.

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#5 of 14 Old 02-21-2013, 10:29 AM
 
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I had in mind more directing him as to time as well as place... From now on we won't nurse during church anymore. This is not a place to nurse. We can nurse in the playroom. We'll go to the playroom after the service is over.

 

Maybe bringing a little bag of toys and books might help distract him.

 

I don't have a lot of personal experience--we have babysitters during church and sp I let her play in the nursery with them, lol.  


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#6 of 14 Old 02-21-2013, 10:44 AM
 
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I wrote up a long reply and accidentally erased it.

We have quiet time at home where we practice how to sit in church. You could start that and explain that he's a big boy now and big boys don't nurse in church. Then remind him on the way to church and if he asks in church you could take him out and explain it again.

Our children sit in the service with us too.

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#7 of 14 Old 02-22-2013, 03:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies! I will keep working with him at home, but it's not the same as church and doesn't translate to church as well as I like.

I have already kept him in the playroom for practically the whole time worship was in service, but though I can hear, I miss seeing, esp the music, etc. and so I strongly encourage him to be in the sanctuary for that at least, for my sake. And yes, I do explain in the car what behavior is expected of him as sometimes that definitely helps! Anyway, I'm glad he goes to church willingly and that he's slowly learning.

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#8 of 14 Old 02-22-2013, 05:35 AM
 
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It sounds like you are explaining what you expect of him but then not really following through with it, and you end up letting him nurse just to keep him quiet?

With DS when he reached about that age I would kneel down in front of him right outside the doors to our church, and remind him, "OK, we're going into church now. You cannot nurse in church but you can once we get home. While we're in church, you will sit quietly, listen to the music, and watch what's going on." Something like that. We don't do distractions (snacks/toys/books) but if you are comfortable with that you can give him a little backpack with his church toys and remind him that he will play quietly with these toys while Mommy participates in the service.

But no matter what you say beforehand, the key is following through. If DS asked to nurse, I could usually just remind him, "Not at church, you can nurse when we get home," and that was enough even for my avid nurser... Mostly I'd point out what was going on in the service to draw his attention back to it. Once in a while he'd get all wound up and I'd have to take him outside or to a quiet area to calm him down, but we did not nurse, and we returned to the service as quickly as possible. He just turned 4 and has been sitting very nicely in church for the last year or two, but he has an unusually long attention span.

I don't think there's anything wrong with nursing at church, especially so you can get more out of the service! But if you're done, just tell him you're done, and refuse to nurse. Even if you end up missing a lot of the services in the beginning, I'm sure he'll quickly learn that you aren't going to nurse him. Just remember to direct him to whatever it is you want him to do instead.
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#9 of 14 Old 02-22-2013, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think there's there's anything wrong with nursing in church either, but at my son's age it's getting awkward to get him into position right there in the pew. Plus, if he seemed reasonably full/not interested in eating or nursing when we left, I think he should be able to wait awhile at his age but obviously I'll have to help him. Crunchy mommy, it's great that your four year old is sitting so nicely. You've obviously done something right at least for him.

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#10 of 14 Old 02-22-2013, 12:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstovar View Post

I don't think there's there's anything wrong with nursing in church either, but at my son's age it's getting awkward to get him into position right there in the pew. Plus, if he seemed reasonably full/not interested in eating or nursing when we left, I think he should be able to wait awhile at his age but obviously I'll have to help him. Crunchy mommy, it's great that your four year old is sitting so nicely. You've obviously done something right at least for him.

Or he is just naturally inclined to sit nicely lol... I can't take all the credit. But I do think clear expectations and consistency helped, and it definitely helped ME to be clear within myself... because for a while I was on the fence and once I decided I was done nursing in certain situations (church etc.) then I was able to stick to it but when I was hesitant it was hard on both me & DS and I think I was sending him mixed messages!

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#11 of 14 Old 02-22-2013, 08:52 PM
 
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hes old enough to understand just tell him we dont nurse at church we can nurse before we go in and when we get nack to the car

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#12 of 14 Old 02-22-2013, 11:38 PM
 
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I just started wearing dresses I couldn't get my breast out of.  I had a nice collection of those from before ds1 was born, it was so nice to be able to wear them again after they had been put away for a couple years, even though I had to take them off as soon as we got home for nap time.


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#13 of 14 Old 02-24-2013, 08:09 PM
 
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I think consistency is key here. When he asks, you say "We'll nurse when we get home." Repeat as necessary. 

 

Where do you sit in church? I have two opposing thoughts on where to sit with kids. If you sit up front in church, he might be more likely to pay attention, since he's closer to what's going on. Then again, if you sit in the back, him making noise is less noticeable. 


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#14 of 14 Old 07-17-2013, 09:24 AM
 
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Sorry for responding to this old thread. I just had an idea that worked for me. I made a book that had all of the parts of the service in order. My son can then follow along with the words and pictures telling him what's coming next. I got the idea from the training kit my mom bought for my sister, who has cerebral palsy. I found it super helpful.

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