Hi, I'm wondering if anyone has any experiences letting a nursing toddler go with an ex-dh for a two week visit? DS will be turning 2 during this time frame. We divorced when he was only 5 months old, and since then he has only seen him maybe three times- for 5 hours at the longest. The last time he saw the kids was at Christmas. He had agreed that he wouldn't take him overnight while he was still nursing. But now he's going to be 2 and he still nurses about 4 times a day and a lot at night. I don't know if I should actively try to wean him before this visit next month or what... Has anyone ever been separated from a 2 year old this long and had them continue to nurse? What do you think? Ex-dh probably wouldn't care that much if he didn't get him for the whole visit either, but I thought it would be good for us all if they actually got to know each other. Thoughts?
I've never been separated from my nursling for more than an overnight, so I can't really speak from experience on the breastfeeding end of this. However, I'm wondering if it is really necessary to start with such a long visit. 2 weeks is a long time for such a young child to stay with someone he doesn't know. Yes, this is his father, but he's still practically a stranger. While I do really appreciate the need for them to get to know each other (it is something I'm currently struggling to figure out with my youngest and his father), two weeks this young seems like it would be hard on the little one. Does he live too far for overnight visits to be doable? My DS (3 in July) still nurses frequently when with me. When I leave him with a friend overnight (maybe once a month), he is perfectly happy, but by the time I get there in the morning, he's very much ready for the separation to be over. And that is with a woman who has been a loving, consistent part of his life since the day he was born. Has your little one had extended visits with anyone he is closer to? If so, how did those go?
pek64 - I guess he had told me a long time ago that he wanted him weaned by 2 so he could have his visits... I didn't forsee little guy nursing for so long as his sister weaned aroudn 18 months... I rarely talk to ex, so I don't think he would fight for visititation but I really don't know. It's his legal right- there are no laws to protect breastfeeding mothers' custody in Kentucky. It's a crappy state to get divorced in.
tooraloora - he's never been away from me for more than 9 hours or so on the two days a week I work. I do have to go overnight for work next week, but I don't think he will care too much. My mom and sister are his only other caretakers, and he goes to sleep for them with no problem and he is a good eater... Ex will only take them when he is visiting his family- about 150 miles away- It's about a 5 hour round trip- too far to do in a day with my work schedule in July... I'm also feeling torn between being away from the baby for so long and needing a little me time....
Thanks for your replies :)
This just sounds like a terrible idea to me! I wouldn't think a 2 year old would be able handle being with someone for two weeks that they've only seen for 15 hours total. It will be stressful for your ex, and stressful for your son. Especially since he's not the one pushing for this time, I totally recommend working up to such a long visit.
DH, me, DD '11 and a new born at home April '14!
My kids are with me 24 hours a day just about every day, so lord knows I totally get the need for me time, but I worry that two weeks may be just too much too soon. How frequently does he visit his family? Would it be possible to start with maybe 2-3 days and work up to more since overnights are impractical?
My thoughts aren't about the fact that you're still nursing, rather about the idea of sending him off for two weeks with someone he doesn't really know. Is there any way to set up a few short visits so that he can get to know him? I think that sending him for the two weeks could be pretty traumatic.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
Yeah, hearing all your thoughts I think I will try talking to ex and maybe do a 2 night visit if he'll agree... I hope he will. I think that is the best I could do with my work schedule... My little guy is quite the firecracker, so ex will be in for a shock spending that much time with him.
No one in real life gets why I wouldn't want to send my kids away for the 2 weeks.... I wish I could do more frequent and short visits- but ex is military and lives pretty far away now. He only plans on visiting the kids 2-3 times/year for the next couple years.... but that's a whole other irritation of mine....
Thank you for your thoughts :)
Everyone has a different comfort level. My ex and his girlfriend requested this past fall that I send 2 year old DS from Florida to Kentucky for the entire summer, despite the facts that DS is two, still nursing, and they haven't met yet (I politely declined). Ex's daughters have spent extended time with their grandmother, moms, and dad from infancy. It's their normal. But it isn't DS' normal. I know him, what he is used to, and have a pretty good idea of what he is and isn't ready for. I'm with him constantly, so I guess I should. lol Not to mention, yes, his daughters have always had extended visits, but his daughters had the chance to know all of these people from the beginning. They weren't strangers. As it is now, we're still struggling to find a solution, so for now, we're sticking to phone calls, and are trying to set up a schedule for Skype video calls until I can find a way to bring DS up for a visit.
Actually, what about Skype? Is that a possibility between visits? Skype calls with a 2 year old are typically brief at best, but it is a good way to get some face time and touch base, develop a little familiarity, help maintain a relationship, et cetera. It is definitely no substitute for a real life visit, but it can be a helpful supplement.
I sat next to a woman on a plane a few years ago that had the same hard decision you are faced with. She chose to send her young son with his dad for a week or so as a "get to know you" trip since the dad hadn't been around. She felt that it was in the best interest of her son to spend time with his dad.
The whole flight she was a nervous wreck because she was going to meet the ex mother in law at the airport to pick up her son...apparently the role of "dad" was too much for this guy after a couple of days and he dropped his son at his (previously unknown) grandmother's house.
Long story longer- our flight got delayed and then diverted due to weather and this poor woman was inconsolable! All she wanted was to be reunited with her son and to put the whole "trial daddy experiment" behind them.
All of this and the young boy was five years old not a little baby bunny who is still breastfeeding!! I wish you much peace with this difficult decision!!
I agree w/ the PP'ers who have said if you can arrange something else, that would be better for ds.
Years ago I had a friend who's dh left her to return to his home country when their 2nd child was 8 months old; their oldest was 2.5 at the time. Both children were nursing when he left. The oldest started going on visits - I think it was a 12 hour or so one way trip? Can't recall. Anyway, when the youngest was about 2, she sent him w/ ex-dh for a while - maybe it was 2 weeks. The baby was still nursing at the time. Well, he was a clingy mess by the time he got home. She weaned him then because all he wanted to do was nurse. Poor kid. I was quite distraught for him!
Anyway, I think it's quite easy for a parent who is not w/ a child often or even enough for the child to recognize them, to have no clue what their needs are. And, as often happens in the case of divorce, the non-custodial parent wants to child becuase it's "fair," or some other reason that has nothing to do w/ what's best for the child/ren in question. If you can do it, then there's no way I'd suggest you let him go. I don't think I ever could, but I've never been in that situation either so I can't say for sure.
Best wishes to you & your son!
Well... UGH. I have been trying nicely to communicate to ex that I didn't think this would be in best interest of my son. I volunteered to start with a one night visit, two different times during this period saying that I thought it would be really difficult on the little guy as he is still nursing 4-7 times a day and cosleeps part of every night. Instead of responding he filed a motion with the court for Monday for the judge to order this visit because he is worried that I won't let him see the kids at all. It is SUCH bs and there is nothing I can do because of Kentucky law.... They are big on dad's rights and all. OMG I'm really worried about my little guy and I don't think there is anything I can do without risking an even worse custody situation than now. I'm thankful for all your responses. I don't even know what I should do about weaning... Keep nursing like normal until he leaves? Pump while he's gone in hopes he won't wean? I just don't know. Sharing your children with a someone who doesn't love you is a pretty terrible thing. :(
Well I had to leave the kids with their dad yesterday morning :( Even with some quality retail therapy it is as bad as I imagined! But I am wondering- I pumped last night & this morning... I can only get about 1 oz total at each pumping. Do you all think that is normal? This is with my hand pump.... I could dig out my double electric if anyone thought it would be better, but the hand pump was always easier for me. I tried googling this, but can't find a thing on pumping for a 2 year old. And thank you all for your knowledge and support!
Maybe you can use some of the time they are away on a nice surprise for the kids?
That's great news - for both of you! Sooooooo glad for you!!! Keep in mind, he may want to nurse more than he used to & may be clingy. Hard to know what he was thinking while he was away & what he'll need to work through it all!
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
|Toddler , Toddlers , Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy|