worried: nursing / food as means of comfort - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 5 Old 04-18-2006, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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cross-posted with childhood years. i am posting it here, though it is not exactly related to weaning, as i noticed that nursing beyond infancy is devoted more to younger toddlers.

ever since dd was a baby, she wanted to be conforted by nursing. before i had my ds, i sometimes wondered if it was me, offering too much. now i know -- ds does not like to be comforted by nursing, and is very clear about it. and i never just silenced her with my boob, but it was clear to me that this was what she wanted, and it was always offered in the sight of hurt or upset, together with other comforts, such as hugging, cuddling etc.

dd is not a cuddly child, has never been.

she will be 4 in 1.5 months.

several months ago she was nursing more than her 15 m old baby brother. and she was losing her latch, thus making nursing quite uncomfortable. i started to hint to her that maybe she could go without nursing, and we had several weaning parties, after which she would pretty much tell me that she was not done, and i allowed her to change her mind, as i saw she really needed it. after the weaning parties she started nursing only once or twice a day.

for several weeks she would even skip days.

in the last weeks she asks to nurse several times a day. we do not have any rules re how many times she nurses. she nurses when she wakes up, most days.

then during the day, when either really hurt or upset or frustrated, or obviosly faking being hurt (like falling on her knees in front of me and crying) she asks to nurse: "I am hurt, therefore i need to nurse".

i tell her that i will comfort her in other ways, and offer hugs, and cuddles. most of the time she refuses. she says that only nursing calms her down. i have to admit this attitude does irritate me to some extent, and i am also worried that she is not accepting other ways of comfort.

if i ask her to brainstorm, she refuses, and only speaks of nursing.

i usually try to talk to her and comfort her through my words and actions, and tell her that she can nurse when she is calm. but i feel conflicted about this too. i usually try to avoid being conditional.

sometimes she would request cow's milk instead of nursing, and she feels that the milk with honey is enough to comfort her.

i am becoming concerned about this.

her other approach, like for example right now, is to come to me and to insist that she is a real baby (not just feeling like a baby, as i suggest) and to request nursing. she is usually good at stopping when i ask her to.

but my basic worry is her intense desire to nurse or to drink milk when she needs comfort. i don't want her to be dependent on food.

is she too yougn to generalise from this?

any ideas on how to deal with it?

i don't want to wean her, as she is obviously not ready, but i am not too thrilled with her nursing, and especially when her requests to nurse are related to faking upset. she is so desperate to be nursing. i think she will nurse till she is 18

anna
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#2 of 5 Old 04-18-2006, 10:22 PM
 
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My first thought is: don't offer milk as a substitute for nursing.

My DD makes it very clear when she wants to nurse, vs. when she wants to eat or drink. I can no longer appease her being thirsty or hungry w/ nursing instead, and likewise I don't think she has the same associations of food with comfort as she does nursing with comfort.

Perhaps more cuddling, all the feel of nursing just w/o actually doing it?

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#3 of 5 Old 04-18-2006, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravin
My first thought is: don't offer milk as a substitute for nursing.

My DD makes it very clear when she wants to nurse, vs. when she wants to eat or drink. I can no longer appease her being thirsty or hungry w/ nursing instead, and likewise I don't think she has the same associations of food with comfort as she does nursing with comfort.

Perhaps more cuddling, all the feel of nursing just w/o actually doing it?
yeah, i don't know how this got started, i don't remember who thought of that, her or me, but often if i cannot nurse her right away, she would ask for milk with maple syrup. so you think it is better to tell her to wait for nursing? i think she would wait, but initially the idea looked innocent and somewhat appealing , i guess.

dd is not very clear on what she wants. she will often say 'i am hungry, i want to nurse', and then 'i am hungry, i want milk / juice / water'. or 'i am upset, i want to nurse / milk'.

dd is actually very resistant to cuddling, when not nursing. she would pull away. i think since nursing became less frequent, she is a bit more cuddly, but not by much. i am working on it -- offering cuddles, focusing her attention that cuddling is good by itself. it is not like i never cuddled her before, but before she nursed so much, there was literally not time for cuddling wihout nursing -- if she was on my lap, she would almost always nurse. so maybe it is true, she does not separate the two.
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#4 of 5 Old 04-19-2006, 06:52 AM
 
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Hugs to you!

My DD weaned when she was just past 3.5 yrs old (40 months). In the last few months before she weaned (slow, CLW; she just forgot how to latch and stopped asking), she would do something like what you describe, insist that she was a baby, not a big girl, and that she needed to nurse. I learned quickly that suggesting she was a big girl and not a baby got an angry reaction from her. A friend suggested that maybe she was feeling some kind of pressure in being called a "big girl," that she'd be expected to do or not do certain things (like go potty; she didn't PT til 3.5 yrs either).

We stopped using the term "big girl," and at the same time started using more cuddle time. When she asked to nurse for comfort, often I'd allow her to latch, and after a few seconds (when it was clear she wasn't really getting milk), ask her, "Does that help? Is that enough? Do you feel better?" not in a nagging way, just soft concern. almost every time, she agreed, and unlatched on her own, running off to play again. That happened several times over a few months, and then she stopped, eventually weaning. In retrospect, I think maybe she just needed the reassurance that she was still my "baby"

Anyway, those are just my rambling thoughts . . . hang in there

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DD 9 love.gif DS 7 yrs   
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#5 of 5 Old 04-19-2006, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ChinaDoll
A friend suggested that maybe she was feeling some kind of pressure in being called a "big girl," that she'd be expected to do or not do certain things (like go potty; she didn't PT til 3.5 yrs either).

, often I'd allow her to latch, and after a few seconds (when it was clear she wasn't really getting milk), ask her, "
thanks!

knowing dd, i never used the term 'big girl' or any implications of it. it is only in the last months that she started to use it herself, telling me that she is 5, so maybe she is conflicted about growing up. this did occur to me.

the problem is, she IS getting milk. her latch is just uncomfortable to me. she can get lots of milk

i like your idea of asking 'is it better', rather than my 'time to stop now' , even if i say it very gently.

anna
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