LLL Meeting and my Spirited DS (xpost from spirited child thread) - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-19-2004, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It drives me nuts. I have a very introverted DS who is also very spirited (although, he is starting to come out of his shell as his self-confidence continues to build)...

Anyway, I am a Leader Applicant for LLL. My meeting has three leaders, and one of them really drives me nuts.

Each meeting the discussion always turns to nightwaking and nursing. My ds has always been a difficult sleeper. He sleeps in our bed and nurses all night long, since birth. It is very slowly getting better, but I still never get more than three hour breaks at the very most.

Anyway, I have a reputation at LLL bc of this. I am always used as an example of an extreme case.

But today, the Leader who bugs me says "you made the choice to continue breastfeeding at night instead of nightweaning, which you could have done"

THIS BURNS ME UP!!! HOW DO I MAKE HER/THEM UNDERSTAND THAT I REALLY DON'T/DIDN'T HAVE A CHOICE? OR THAT MY CHOICE IS TO EITHER NURSE OR HAVE MY DS GO BALLISTIC ALL NIGHT LONG?

And she will also say things like, "it's your first; the second one is easier"

THIS IS SO INSULTING! LIKE I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING? IT'S TEMPERMENT, NOT MY PARENTING SKILLS!!! DR. SEARS DIDN'T BECOME THE AP GUY THAT HE IS TODAY UNTIL HALEY WAS BORN, AND SHE WAS HIS FOURTH CHILD!!! DO I HAVE NO CREDIBILITY AS A MOTHER?

sigh.... thanks for letting me rant.
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Old 07-19-2004, 06:22 PM
 
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Rant away. I hope I don't hijack this thread. I'm joining in your RANT!!! My DS (my first too) is "spirited" and a co-sleeping, constant bf'der. But, even, my own dear sweet mom who is tremendously supportive will say to me when I complain about being tired, "well, you made these choices!". All of my friends seem to have children who slept through the night at 6 or 8 weeks of age. None of these friends ever co-slept, no one had a baby with reflux (my did), no-one really has breastfed beyond a year - these are all the same people who seem to think I've "done something" to make my son the way he is. Now I have a pregnant friend who keeps asking me questions like how active my DS was in my womb and what did I do with him in the early days to make him so "clingy". Grrr! I figure dealing with a frequent night time nurser and spirited toddler is a blessing - think how appreciate we'll be when our children only wake 1 or 2 times a night! Not to mention all those great memories of their sleeping faces. We''ll barely remember those sleep-deprived days.
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Old 07-19-2004, 06:48 PM
 
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This doesn't really have anything to do with your child--but moreso your LLL situation.
If I were you, I would ask the person in question if you could talk to them at the end of the meeting. Try to get them alone so you won't have to deal with their insecurities if they get defensive in front of someone else. Frankly, based on what you are saying here, it sounds like there is something like that going on already (i.e., they are insecure).
Then I would say something like: "I know that you are not purposely trying to make me feel bad, but I would feel so much better if you could avoid using my parenting choices/parenting situation/etc., as examples during meetings."
That may still be a little harsh in the wording--but the idea is to get them to stop using you as an example and keep the peace in the overall group. Unless of course, you don't mind if they get upset with you. But I find that never to be a positve thing--because these things always come back to haunt you (you meaning anyone--not you specifically).
hth
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Old 07-19-2004, 07:00 PM
 
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But how can she even say that to you during a meeting? LLL Leaders are not supposed to judge you or your choices. They support BF period. Ifit works for you, then that is all that matters.

Personally, I would talk to her privately and tell her not to judge your "choices." We all do the best we can for our kids and she needs to stop.

Doreen
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Old 07-19-2004, 07:51 PM
 
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First off, that LLL leader was rudely judgemental - as a PP said, I would speak to her privately.

Second, as the mom of a 2.5 y/o VERY spirited, non-stop day and night nursing ds, it really gets my shorts in a knot when I hear "well, YOU could just night wean him, you know". Yeah, like it's some kind of on/of switch...Sure, the 3-hour increments of sleep i get can be a drain, but i've made the commitment and night-weaning would take much more out of me, at least right now.

I feel like I'm not ALLOWED to complain to people now - and that seems hugely unfair. If my DH has a crappy day at work, he gets to complain and i don't say to him "Well, just quit/ignore your boss/don't do that project".

Sorry - don't mean to hijack. I just want to say I can sympathize with the anger.
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Old 07-19-2004, 07:57 PM
 
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And now that I have a minute--my ds who is seven months old nurses all night long, too. He is too busy during the day to nurse--and would rather watch his sister goof off.
I am frankly surprised that your LLL doesn't see that (frequent night nursing in older babies) more often?? It's actually really common.
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Old 07-19-2004, 08:09 PM
 
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This leader is way out of line. You should not be used as an example of extreme cases, plus she sounds biased and judgemental, something LLL is not supposed to be. LLL SUPPORTS bfing mothers, she is not supporting you. I have a dd that sounds very similar to your ds, I am the only one at our LLL that has certain sitituations like yours. My leader will address by my name and say something like you have mentioned before that dd was a fussy baby, would you like to tell the group how it affected you and how you handled it, or something to that manner. I can share my experiences, maybe teach someone something, but I am not singled out as an example of extreme. KWIM.

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Old 07-19-2004, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So what can I say to make them understand?
How do I explain that I really do not have a choice; that it is my responsibility as his mother to meet his needs, however great or small they are. Yes, not every "request" is a "need" but in this case, if I deny his need to nurse, he is extremely hysterical, and if he does eventually calm down, it is evident that his spirit is broken and I can see repercussions for days.

What do you all say to people? How can we help them to understand the extremity of our situation? How important it is to nurse at night? How it eventually gets better?

But most important: how do we explain that we do not have a choice and it has nothing to do with our parenting??????

I'm at a loss, and I'm sick of it!
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Old 07-19-2004, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As for the Leader, I really think she means well and is not trying to be judgemental; it's the kind of thing where she'll say something but it doesn't sink in until hours later and then I'm really irked.

But today she just got to me. Like when one person was complaining about night nursing, and I said that you could try to talk to your child about it during the day (saying "when the sun sets we don't nurse again until the sun comes up," etc) but a child that person's child's age (11 months) might be too young to do this or even understand the concept, and then the Leader said "oh they'll understand; they understand a lot more than you think" (she was also pressuring me to talk to my son into night weaning when he was 18mo, and of course it didn't work) and I said "some children are just not developmentally ready to accept this notion, even if they do understand. My ds is only beginning to accept the notion that nursies go night night now and he is almost 2 1/2; at 18 mo he just couldn't handle it" - the Leader just doesn't agree with me and is always advocating for mothers who want to wean at night and encourages them. IMO It just doesn't work for every child at any given age; it has to be when that child is able to do it.
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Old 07-20-2004, 10:04 AM
 
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I just want to share my personal experience, and it may or may not strike a cord with you.
My dd (first child) had SERIOUS feeding issues. So much so that she ended up in two feeding programs, saw numerous ped GIs, took many different types of meds, etc. She had silent reflux and sensory issues. We have been working with both since she was a tiny baby.
Anyway, I would have given ANYTHING ANYTHING to have her eat/nurse/drink, etc., like a normal child. She would not. Many children in her situation end up on NG or mic key button feeding tubes. In our case, we learned that if she was asleep, we could slip a bottle into her mouth and she would naturally suck. This meant keeping our house like a tomb, no phones during feedings, no TV (which is no big deal). We would often pray that no one would knock on our door and wake her, etc.
This went on until she was 14 months old. At which time I just couldn't do it anymore--rocking her to sleep to feed her--or putting her in the car and driving for hours to stop somewhere on the side of the road and climb in the backseat and feed her. It was pure insanity.
Anyway, at 14 months, she would only drink water and didn't start drinking milk until she was 18 months old. She still won't TOUCH juice or many many types of foods. It's really tough to worry about her all the time.

The reason I tell you this story is because when my son came along and had a healthy appetite for nursing--I was THRILLED!!! So for me, he can nurse ALL night if he wants to--he is gaining weight and I TOTALLY LOVE being able to take care of his needs. When my dd woke at night, we could only walk the floor with her, because she would refuse to eat (which usually settles most babies).
That experience for me has taken away anyone else's right to tell me when or how or what I should do for my son. It's not that anyone else had that right to begin with--but I did give my power over to others when my dd wouldn't eat. I've already experienced the pain and devastation of listening to doctors tell me what to feed my dd and I was stupid (and inexperienced) and stopped nursing her at 2 1/2 months. I would have preferred to nurse her in her sleep instead of give that up. But I didn't know enough to contact an LC and we went through pediatrician after pediatricion who all shook their heads and said that they had never heard of a child who wouldn't eat.

Now I find that that is a common experience.
I guess what I am saying is this: don't give your power over to this woman. There is something obviously wrong with her (insecure, etc.) and she is using that to wield power over a group where she feels like she is in control.
You don't need to explain to her WHY you want to do what you want to do with your child or HOW or that you feel like you MUST. It is not for her to decide or for her to make a judgment.
If it helps, take a break from the group for a while and then when you return play dumb (if you don't feel like you can actually confront her or talk to her) and say: Guess what? My ds no longer nurses at night! All fixed!

Otherwise, pull her aside and be as gentle as possible and ask that she not use your name during discussions as it makes you feel uncomfortable (kind of like I said above).

Good luck. The problem here is the LLL leader, not your parenting choices.
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Old 07-20-2004, 11:53 AM
 
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not too much to add from what everyone else has said--I just wanted to say that it has NOTHING to do with what number baby it is!

Ds1 nightweaned shortly after he was a year old. He is a mellow kid and was always 'low-needs'

ds2 is a spirited 16 months now and nurses what feels like non-stop at night.
I may get 2-3 hours relatively undisturbed (relatively because he started 'talking' in sleep :LOL ) but the other night it was every hour.

so..umm...no it isn't always easier with your second.


Lauren

mom to three boys:  reading.gif(18 bigeyes.giffencing.gif(10&7)
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Old 07-20-2004, 11:59 AM
 
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Just a short note of support - when I was complaining once to my dh about something (maybe why I felt so tired from night nursing, co-sleeping, something along those lines) he reminded me that yes, we had made the choice to do things the "harder" way, that they required more time and commitment and energy *but* that easier did not mean better. So yes, we have *chosen* the harder way because we feel that it is the best thing for our children, who as infants and toddlers depend on us to make choices about their welfare for them.
So yes, people can tell me all they want that I made these choices, I just have to remind myself that I made my choices for the well being of Ella, not myself, and that "this too shall pass" when it gets tough for me. She is only a baby once, and what I do will have an outcome on her entire life. That being said, it doesn't invalidate the way we feel as tired, exhausted people and we should be able to seek support and commiseration without people judging our choices.
So, s to everyone, and thank goodness we have MDC to vent in a supportive place!
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Old 07-20-2004, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone! I feel a bit more validated now

But, what concerns me the most is not whether what I am doing the right thing, but that my LLL group might encourage other moms to night-wean early or say things that might make other moms feel the way I have been feeling.

If I could only help them to understand! The best I can think of is saying things like "Dr. Sear's spirited daughter Haley was his fourth child" or "I could leave my son with my dh at night but he would be hysterical and possibly throw up or worse from the trauma" (this was more an issue when he was less than a year old), or "I am fulfilling my obligations as his mother to meet his needs"

But then people say "a baby's wants and needs are one and the same until they turn a year old, and after that you have to set limits" blah blah blah

so isn't this arbitrary line of one year sort of like saying "your breastmilk is no good after one year"???

I don't believe that every child is developmentally ready to be given limits etc. at exactly one year!!!!

I wish I could just get the leaders to see my side of it, so they will be able to help more mothers of spirited children.
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Old 07-22-2004, 07:17 PM
 
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I am really surprised that your LLL would even discuss night weaning in a proactive way like that.

I mean, the whole philosophy of weaning of LLL being "the child should nurse until he outgrows the need". Clearly if your child is nursing that much, there is a need there. I know in my group, night weaning would never be brought up unless someone asked about it. And then, we would more likely have a discussion about tips to spread out the nursings a bit, or talk about what could be causing it, etc.

I agree with a pp that it sounds like there are some insecurities on her part. Did she perhaps not nurse as long as you, or night wean her own child earlier? I know the requirement for being a leader is only to nurse for one year, so there may be some leaders out there who do not even have as much nursing experience as their group moms.
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