(tandem) NIP with a 3yo issues - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 15 Old 07-14-2005, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Today I was at our CSA pick-up talking with some really cool people I've been wanting to get to know, and was asked if I was still nursing my 4-month-old. "Yep!" I replied brightly, and all was pleasant and comfortable. Then before they left, my 3-year-old (she'll be 4 in October) wanted to nurse.

Lately, this has been bothering me a lot. People aren't overtly negative (at least, not ones I know -- a few strangers have been), but this look of mild shock crosses their faces, and then they start studiously avoiding looking or acting like they know. Or they look, not knowing I see them, and exchange whispers with their partner. If they need to explain it to their kids, they speak in hushed tones.

Maybe it is more my own social anxiety and I'm paranoid, maybe they are trying to be considerate (rationally, that seems quite likely) by giving us space, or they're whispering, "Aw, isn't that nice," but I feel very isolated when this happens. I wonder what they're thinking, and whether they'll want to get to know me now. Worry even crosses my mind that I've done or am doing something wrong for Grace. Maybe I'm not feeding her enough or giving her enough non-nursing attention or taking the right approach regarding the transition to having a baby sister. Why does she want to nurse so often, for milk? Aren't older siblings tandem nursing supposed to taper off after a few weeks? Is Grace going to notice their reactions or my anxiety?

Eve had to be hospitalized for a couple of days 2 months ago. I went down to the McDonald's they had instead of a cafeteria to see Grace for the first time after a night apart (she wasn't allowed on the floor), and people at a couple of other tables started having a conversation, in their regular tone of voice, about how what I was doing is, in their opinion, "just wrong." I was told by Eve's first doctor that part of the reason another doctor had come in when she was about to be discharged and threatened us with an investigation in order to get us to let her stay another night and let him x-ray every bone in her body without obvious reason was that ecological nursing and nursing a 3-year-old are seen as "red flags" for abuse. Then the first doctor asked how long I would nurse Grace and said she was sure I knew the problems with nursing older children, how it can prevent them from developing their psychological independence. She also asked if Grace ate other food, too, or nursed exclusively (at age 3?!).

I have mostly tried to forget that experience, but I think it may be influencing me a little and increasing my paranoia so that I want to find excuses to put Grace off in public, especially if Eve is already nursing. I keep thinking, what will this be like if she nurses until she's 5, or longer? I seriously wonder if some people in this city (or rather, this borough) would try to take her away from me. But what am I supposed to tell her? Maybe it will all blow over naturally before then?

I need a pep talk! Or at least your rationale for whatever you decided to do about this issue, with your older nurslings.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#2 of 15 Old 07-15-2005, 12:38 AM
 
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I'm sorry.

I did not want to not reply because your story about the doctors saying that prolonged nursing is a sign of abuse just absolutely flabbergasts me nearly to the point of incoherent thought. OMG! That's so ignorant of them!

You're a good mama! You're doing the right things for your nurslings.

However, I do empathize with your discomfort. It's so far from the societal norm that I think most people don't even know how to process it. Luckily, the more people who are willing to nurse older children in public, the less odd it will seem:

: :tandem :girl: :2bfbabe: :2tandem :
Let 'em see it. Let them learn.

: Deirdre & the boys ('02 & '06 vintage)
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#3 of 15 Old 07-15-2005, 12:58 AM
 
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we just made the 5yr mark. The last time dd NIP she was almost 3. After that she was just nursing after waking and before sleeping. dd is so quick that Dh is often unsure if dd is still nursing.
I think people throw around the abuse word to coerce others. Really, how many extended nursers are there (in USA) compared to abused kids?
When my dd had issue with wearing panties, she didn't want to wear anything around her waist (skirt, shorts, pants). She wore overalls for over 1 yr. My best friend mentioned that not wearing panties was a sign of abuse and that dd needed to wear panties at school. I thought she had got to be kidding, and that the first person that mentioned that my dd didn't have panties, I would be seriously wondering how they found out.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#4 of 15 Old 07-15-2005, 02:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delphinemere
I did not want to not reply because your story about the doctors saying that prolonged nursing is a sign of abuse just absolutely flabbergasts me nearly to the point of incoherent thought. OMG! That's so ignorant of them!
I should note, though, that she was there for a mild head injury, so I'm sure they were *looking* for red flags, kwim? Thanks for the encouragement!

I guess in my case, the coercion worked. : And my dd refuses panties (except with dresses, at our insistance), too, so eek.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#5 of 15 Old 07-15-2005, 02:51 AM
 
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Wow, I would be soooo angry if someone suggested that I was abusing my son by nursing him as long as he needs!!! Like I ENJOY having my pregnant nipples bitten my a 35 lb. kid with 20 teeth? Oh yeah, it's all about what I want- I'm FORCING him to keep nursing! I'll be tandem nursing a 3 yr. old and a newborn come January, and Julian still nurses at least 10 times a day and doesn't care where we are, so I can't imagine the comments we'll get.
Anyways, I think you are fighting the good fight for your kids- it would be so easy to just go along with what "they" say is normal, but it would be doing a disservice to our great kids.
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#6 of 15 Old 07-15-2005, 03:56 AM
 
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I know how you feel- actually i'm surprised by how similarly spaced our nurslings are. My dd Krimzin was born 3-12-05, and my first born dd Saffire 1-13-02 nursed right on through the pregnancy, labor and first four months (and counting) of her sister's new life.
The difference with me is that i was WAY more pushy with my dd than you have been- while i would have liked to have been as patient, loving, and firm about CLW as you have been, the pain of nursing during my pregnancy really pursuaded me to limit her nursings and gradually cut sessions out- she would totally still be an all the time public nurser at 3&1/2 (looking more like 4 with her very long legs) if i had been ok with it, but at the begining of my pregnancy, she was hitting 2&1/2, therefore getting more clingy and insecure suddenly, and wanting to nurse more often, and for milk and not only was it as painful as thrush to my poor nipples, but also making me resentful of her, and making me more tired during that already sleepy first two trimesters.
i couldn't escape that feeling no matter how much i tried to focus on being compassionate towards her, so i took that as a cue that we needed to cut out some nursings (although it had been gradually happening for the last year) and decided not to nurse on demand anymore than 3x pre- determined times per day at home- am upon waking, naptime, and bedtime. During these times she knew she could have it, knew to look forward to it, and depending upon how much pain i was in, as long as she wanted depending if i could bear it.
To make a long story short, she did want to increase after that bb was born, but i wouldn't always allow it, so your question about aren't they going to stop after a few weeks after the bb is born is so subjective don't you think? Mine wouldn't stop without some sort of urging on my part. If someone gave you that impression, i would really wonder what they had based that on- in that first month, my oldest increased nursings and regressed in behaviour, and while we had read that may happen, it was still shocking to see. I cut out the upon waking nursing with Saffire during that time since i was healing and dh was around to distract her with breakfast and entertainment-usually in front of a DVD (great i thought as i layed in bed with my newborn).
In the second to third months, i slowly took out the nap time nursing- and am still working on getting it tear free. One day she said to me "Mama, let's nurse and take a nap, and it will be the last time." I took that as a sign to remove that session, but like our nursing relasionship has been without absolutes, it has taken 2 months and counting for her to fully forget about it. Today she asked for it after not having it at naptime for about a week, and i used story books, songs, cuddles as distractions.
i didn't mean for this to sound like advice on how to wean her-i feel for you, that's all, and i though hearing someone else's story might be encouraging. I belive that the work you are doing is so very important in educating others- be bold, tell people that the average age of weaning worldwide is between 4 and 7, so actually she's below the average- just a baby really ;-).

I figure it's a lot of natural selection/progression going on i what i am feeling- that although i am for CLW, and know the safety of TN, somewhere in my subconscious i feel a need to protect my infant and also some self presevation, and if i cut back on my 3yr old's nursing sessions because i am having that sort of instictual feelings, that ultimately, she's not going to suffer, we've had a great nursing career together creating a strong relationship hopefully to last a lifetime, and perhaps we both needed some incentive like, pain, a new bb, awkward social moments, to urge us both into the next phase of our relationship.

I steer clear of doctors in general, so i haven't had to put up with the ignorance you came across, and i would have totally nursed mine in the McD's - seems like the perfect spot and situation!
hope this helps -
Tanya
:2tandem :homew:
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#7 of 15 Old 07-15-2005, 04:03 AM
 
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Have you read Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower?

It really helped me to see that so many moms have such varied reactions and reasons surrounding CLW and TN, and it's something that can be often in flux- always evolving and changing.
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#8 of 15 Old 07-15-2005, 04:51 AM
 
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Just a thought, is there an ap group or a LLL group you could join. I know with my moms group (a crunchy one with many ap moms) it os nice for many to have a group of moms all bf'ing all different aged kids. It can make a big difference to be around that sometimes to where when you are on your own you feel steadier and more comfortable with your own choices. ykwim? good luck
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#9 of 15 Old 07-15-2005, 05:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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daystarmama,

It sounds like you've had a difficult time with weaning. I can sympathize somewhat. I did cut back while pg, because I was dry and the aversion was pretty bad. And there was a positive transformation there. It surprised me that I actually ended up feeling closer to dd, and that has persisted even as she's resumed nursing more. Hope you are getting to enjoy the maturing of your relationship, too. Having a daughter is amazing.

Must say, though, hospital McDonald's did *not* seem like the perfect spot or situation to me. (Home would have been much better. :LOL)

bleurae,

We're getting together with some CC families this weekend! It does help.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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#10 of 15 Old 07-15-2005, 04:05 PM
 
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My nursling is 5.5+. We really slowed down NIP shortly after his 3rd b'day, partly because he was less interested, partly because I was worried about comments from others that he might understand. The doctor should be reported for incompetence!

As for people looking and talking amongst themselves. I'm always so excited to see someone NIP, but I never know what/if to say anything to them. So I usually smile really big and tell ds that the little one is getting nursies (like he doesn't know already! :LOL ). Ditto for dh.
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#11 of 15 Old 07-18-2005, 01:21 AM
 
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to you, Mama. The doctors' ignorance about the psychological impact of breastfeeding is frustrating, to say the least! I'd have asked him if he could refer me to the studies he was referring to so I could read for myself! (Most likely he's just assuming and wouldn't be able to refer me anywhere at all! Doctors aren't educated much if at all about the normal function of breasts - human lactation - during medical school, and many don't supplement their education reading up on breastfeeding, nevermind the psychological impact of sustained nursing!)

I continue to tandem nurse my 3 year old and my 5 year old in public - around my 7 month pregnant belly! I dont worry too much about what other people may have to say ... behind my back, off in a corner, or to my face. Older nurslings are not a common sight around here - and not many people are as educated about breastfeeding, sustained breastfeeding, etc. as I am - so I try to be understanding and remind myself that they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. I answer questions that people have about sustained / tandem / triandem nursing openly and honestly. I've educated nurses, doctors, and strangers in the ER and other parts of the hospital about sustained nursing, etc. on several occasions. Because I'm so confident that what I'm doing is normal and natural, because I'm so open and honest in speaking with them about it ... and most likely because I can refer them to websites, doctors, health and other professionals, studies, etc. .... they've never given me a problem.

Oh, and eminer...my dd refuses to wear panties too - and I have to watch her like a hawk when she's wearing a dress because she'll slip them off whenever she gets a chance! Fun, huh?

Mama to A (12), Z (11), H (9), C (5), A (3) and 4 angels. 

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#12 of 15 Old 07-19-2005, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eminer
We're getting together with some CC families this weekend! It does help.
Eminer:

Is that me you're talking about? In NYC? Families from the TCC list? If so--cool to see you here!

I'm also tandeming my 3 y/o and 10 m/o and have had a lot of the same issues you describe (well, I've never been accused of abuse--but I am afraid of that, since I've heard other similar stories). In fact, I've put limits on Max's nursing so that he mostly does it at home. But there are times (and they were very frequent until Maya was around 6 mths old!) that he really needs it in public, and so we do it. I'm very self-conscious about it, though, and I fear that I've communicated some kind of guilt about it to him. Anyway, if you are one of the TCC mamas meeting in NYC this weekend, then let's about it then!

ETA: Once I nursed Max at the ped's office and her immediate, natural reaction was one of complete shock. Then she quickly composed herself and said, "Oh! You're still nursing him? Do you have enough milk for both of them?" I told her of course I do and she just said, "Oh!" I love that I can meet this need for Max, and it sure has smoothed Maya's entry into the family! I just hate being so worried about NIP...

DS1: 2/02 ROTFLMAO.gif DD: 9/04 blahblah.gif DS2: 9/07jog.gif and EDD: 11/13 belly.gif

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#13 of 15 Old 07-19-2005, 06:59 PM
 
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Then the first doctor asked how long I would nurse Grace and said she was sure I knew the problems with nursing older children, how it can prevent them from developing their psychological independence.
I am just disgusted that doctors can spread such misinformation....

I dont have any sources to quote, but I'm sure we all know that isn't true, and it's unfair for them to try to scare you or shame you.

I think the AAP when they came out with the latest guidelines also mentioned that nursing past infancy has no negative effects? Someone else may know more.

`Lorissa
Mama to ds 5, and a brand new Christmas Day baby 2009!
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#14 of 15 Old 07-19-2005, 10:01 PM
 
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The AAP did come out with that there is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.

Dettwyler is a good source and was referenced for the AAP statement above.
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#15 of 15 Old 07-20-2005, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraN
Eminers that me you're talking about? In NYC? Families from the TCC list? If so--cool to see you here!
Yes!!! We should definitely chat about this next weekend.

Oye Yemaya oloto
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