Introduction and advice needed on Don't Offer/Don't Refuse - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 01:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all! My name is Kristin and I have a precious little boy named Parker, born 10/15/01. We had some problems getting started nursing, but he had less than 8 ounces of formula ever (and every single ounce was heart-breaking for me). He still nurses all the time, and has recently been diagnosed with asthma. We are an AP, EBF, co-sleeping family and are lucky to have much more family support for our choices than I ever expected (since both sides were formula-feeding, CIO playpen-dwellers).

My question: I've been trying to follow the Don't Offer/Don't Refuse policy, but I'm still having to refuse just because otherwise he would NEVER not nurse. He nurses at least 8 times during the day and at least 3 times at night. I feel awful about it because he just cries his eyes out, but sometimes I gotta go pee or make lunch/dinner or drive ... so, what should I do? Have you been through this?
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#2 of 7 Old 01-31-2003, 08:15 PM
 
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DD is a pretty frequent nurser...15mo. But she will drink water from a cup, sippy or bottle now...so I sometimes try to stave her off with a snack or water. Doesn't work for long...don't refuse doesn't necessarily mean don't delay. Are you trying to wean? Otherwise, don't worry about it. I always though of it as a weaning process method...
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#3 of 7 Old 02-01-2003, 08:39 PM
 
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Sounds like you're having a tough time getting things done! I havre a daughter that is almost 20 months old and she still nurses pretty frequently during the day and at night (mostly at night) and I can understand how it feels to not be able to get things done...ever...! Best way I have found to actuallt be productive is to invite Gradnma, my 12 year old neighbor, anyone who would just love to sit and play with my daughter. I'm not able to do this too often but atleast I can get SOME stuff done!

Are you concerned with how frequently hes nursing? If you check around you are in the same boat that alot of moms are...(Have you checked out a LLL meeting in your area? Some towns have a toddler only meeting and these moms have TONS of great info to share) Also, in a few months your child will be able to understand "mommy has to do this first and THEN we will have nu-nus, nummies, etc".
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#4 of 7 Old 02-03-2003, 01:11 PM
 
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I have 3 children and all 3 of them nursed at least every hour and a half, wth maybe one 3 or 4 hour break in the night, once infancy was over. They continued this way until weaning was really underway.

Many childcare books get you to thinking newborns nurse that often (eg: 8-14x/24hrs), but *all* bfed babies space out their feedings naturally after 3 mos, and suddenly are only eating 8 or 6 or even 4 times a day! Even before intro of solids! This is just not true for many reasons. Your baby knows how much he needs to eat. His hunger follows his growth/activity pattern. If he is a slow grower, he may not eat as often. If he is a fast grower (all mine were) he will need more food, natch.

Also, women have different storage capacity in the breast (not dependent on breast size, BTW). Some store a lot between feeds. Those that don't, make milk as baby nurses, and may need to feed more frequently too.

Some babies are more sucky, more cuddly, than others. Some are more sensitive and need to check in often for reassurance.

To sum up, there are dozens of reasons some babies nurse often, and they are good reasons. As your baby becomes a toddler, his needs and wishes or habits are no longer the same. If you can drop a feed without much protest, it was probably a habit. If the child gets real upset, cries for it day after day, it is a need and should be respected.
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#5 of 7 Old 02-04-2003, 11:56 AM
 
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I just want to throw in my thoughts about don't offer don't refuse.
I think it stinks!!

I think that when you start this you lose out on this great mommy tool that nursing is because you aren't offering. You can't use it to prevent a tantrum that you feel coming on or to nurse someone while you finish typing your post. But you feel bad when ever you do refuse, because you have to pee.

I don't know that I can really help if really want to wean, but I do think that there are ways to make this an enjoyable relationship for everyone. For one think of it as any other demand he has-- reading a book, putting on his shoes-- Things that sometimes you offer and other times he asks for, but you probably don't feel so guilty about it when he is upset because you have to finish eating your sandwich or else you won't be good for anything if you don't get some nurishment yourself!

And try to teach him about your needs as gently as you do any other thing. Without feeling guilty if he is upset just helping him work it out in a way that makes you both happy. I almost always read while they nurse and if I just need to do something quick when they have asked I will ask them to go look for my book, or find a pillow. And if he is not quite there, there is this stage around a year and half to two where language is so fascinating that if you just keep talking somtimes they are distracted enough to wait for a while-- with my 21 mo old we have conversations like this while I am finishing a part of dinner-- you want to nurse "yes", that is so nice, which side do you like? "that side" Where is the best spot to nurse? "little bed" the little bed, I thought you liked the big bed "big bed" big bed, oh what about the couch "little bed" and so on and so on. I guess I am saying distraction is the best.

My boys also nurse alot, I think my three year old probably nurses 6- 8 times a day and 2-4 times at night (I am not really sure I don't count).
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#6 of 7 Old 02-04-2003, 11:56 PM
 
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I also think of "don't offer, don't refuse" as a weaning technique for an older child. With a baby that young I would want the ability to offer often (to cool down, difuse situations, when I want a calm minute...) as well as lots of learning about other peoples limits. I used don't offer don't refuse when DD was down to nursing around 10 x/weekly. If she wanted to nurse (under our guidelines---not a preschool/church or when DS is nursing to sleep) she could, but I wouldn't bring it up.

DS is 17 months now and nurses much more often than you are talking about (a "nip" at least once an hour) and I consider him a laid back nurser after DD who had a real "feed" that often. LOL

Good luck,
you are definately not alone!

Kay

PS I think a lot of kids do slow down as they approach two, but 15-20 months is a pretty big nursing age.

 

 

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#7 of 7 Old 02-07-2003, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the great thoughts and suggestions and support. I think I go through stages where I just get overwhelmed by the frequency, especially since none of the nursing moms who live near me have such avid nursers. I am completely fine with him nursing and have no plans to wean. I was just hoping that we could go to maybe 6 times a day. It just so happened that when I posted that, I had no clue AF was on her way, so of course my hormones were wacky AND my supply had taken a little dive so he wanted to nurse even more than normal.

I just hate having him cry at all, and feel guilty when DH comes home and the house is a wreck. Luckily, DH is supportive, but I don't want him to have to come home and straighten up an make dinner because Parker is still nursing, you know. Thanks again for the warm welcome !!
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