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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted quite a while ago on this board but didn't get any responses, so thought I'd try again.<br><br>
I strongly believe in child-led weaning. But I am having a *really* hard time (and have been for well over a year now) reconciling my belief with my emotional response to nursing ds. He is almost 3 and seems to nurse now more than ever. Every time he approaches me to nurse, I feel my blood pressure skyrocket. I feel angry every moment he is nursing. I've found that I'm even having a hard time responding to him gently when he wants to nurse and beginning to sometimes put off being physical with him (hugging, and such) because it almost always ends with him wanting to nurse. Part of the reason, I know, is that his nursing etiquette is *terrible*. I've worked with him extensively and consistently on this for well over a year-and-a-half, but he is not at all receptive. His mere style of nursing (pulling his head back and pushing against me with his hands) irritates the heck out of me, is painful, and has stretched my nipples out beyond any hope of normalcy, and it drives me completely nuts when his little hand strays over to my other breast and starts twiddling (which I immediately correct over and over umpteen thousand times during our nursing sessions only to have him do it again the next time. I think it's unconscious habit for him). I have some serious issues with being touched too much, anyway (think it may be some sort of sensory issue), and although I tend to be a very even-tempered person, this makes me feel such rage!<br><br>
There is no distracting him from nursing. Well, not entirely true. The only thing that works to distract him is the television, and I really don't want to fall into that trap. In general, though, if I try to put him off, it's a half-hour crying tantrum. (And it's not that he doesn't understand compromise or boundaries - he's intense, but is generally pretty reasonable in other areas - nursing is just that important to him).<br><br>
I am under a huge amount of pressure with being in law school in the evenings, working part time in the home (about 10 hours per week - most of which I do either in between classes or after he goes to sleep). This, of course, is also a stressor for ds. He is not in childcare - is with his dad when I'm not home - but it's still quite difficult for him. Then there is the added bonus of separating from my husband - which is not really a stressor for ds at this point as we are still all living together and my husband and I are getting along famously since we decided to dispense with the pressure of trying to be the happy married couple. He will be moving out soon, though, and though our schedules will stay very much the same (husband will still take care of ds in the evenings and will still see him on week-ends), I know it will be very difficult for ds.<br><br>
So, my rational mind is telling me that this is *not* the time to encourage weaning - that it would be way too much for ds. But, on the other hand, I think it might be harming our relationship to continue - and I definitely feel as though my nursing in anger is sending the wrong message about what nursing should be. And it definitely is not good for my mental well-being at this point.<br><br>
I'm just honestly at a loss and could use any input that anyone could offer. I don't feel that there's anyway to reconcile my needs with ds'.<br><br>
Thanks for reading...
 

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((hug)) I understand where you are coming from. I came to the extended breastfeeding forum just now because I was thinking of posting a thread similar to this. My dd is only 17 months, but I'm having some of the same issues, since I am also 13 weeks pregnant. I feel like she wants to nurse for attention, mainly, because if I try to do something that doesn't involve dd, even for just a few minutes to move my bowels, she suddenly has an intense need to nurse and throws a fit if I say no. I don't know if she sense the changes in my body and needs extra reassurance and comfort now, or what, but I often feel myself getting angry about it. I think it is partly due to hormones in my case, but it's still hard to deal with. Sometimes I feel like I'm on the verge of snapping and I have to distract myself with a book or something while I'm nursing or I start feeling really irrate. If you can keep yourself otherwise occupied during a nursing session with a book or computer or something like that, maybe it can help soothe the anger. Sorry, that's about the only advice I have at the moment, because it's really hard to control emotions, regardless of what your brain is telling you. Just know you are not alone, and that this won't last forever, either. HTH.
 

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I would think that the breastfeeding realtionship should be a mutual one, that if one of the parties is unhappy with the realtionship then it is time to change the relationship. It sounds like you've done everything (for a year!) to try to make the relationship a better one, and you've made sure it is more than just a passing problem. It also sounds like the realtionship is causing mroe stress for both of you than it is alliviating.<br><br>
So maybe set specific times when you nurse - as much as wanted at two set time depending on the child's needs (is he a grumpy waker - than maybe in the moring and after you get back at night etc). No nursing oterhwise. It might be easier to set that limit than try to fight his nursing style.<br><br>
Or it could be time to wean.<br><br><br>
In either case, get help from the other mamas about what language to use when you explain to him. You want to make sure he understands.<br><br>
In terms of the impending separation, you want to make sure your relationship with your son is a strong and stressfree as possible before it comes. That may be more important than continuing breastfeeding.<br><br>
Of course, my parenting perspective may be a a little different than yours. I'm not sure child centered parenting that excludes the parents feelings is the best way. I want my children to have a real and respected voice in the family, a voice perhaps weighted as much as the parents, but not a voice more weighted than the parents. In future relationsips (as an adult) your son's wants and needs won't outweight those of his friends or co-workers or future family. So I'm not sure that his desire to nurse should outweight your extreme and lasting aversion to nursing.<br><br>
Good luck. You sound like a wonderfully aware and caring mom who has A LOT going on (my brother said he saw three marriages break up his first year of law school because the work is so intense!)
 

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oh dragonfly, i sure know where you're coming from. ((hugs))<br>
a couple of thoughts but no time to elaborate, with kids clamoring.<br>
it sounds like you have the same kind of child that i do, highly sensitive (and persistant with their protests!), and nursing is the way they deal with any stressors in their environment or their developmental path. it's so hard, i have personal space/boundary issues too that i have to be very conscious of (in terms of remembering to touch and hug my children a lot) and it takes every ounce of self-control sometimes for me to continue with my 21 m.o. son. (dd weaned at 27 mos when i was pg and i was *really* crabby about nursing her by that time, so i was glad and shocked and sad when she weaned, but mostly relieved.)<br>
one thing that might help, is to give yourself a little time and space to sit down and really imagine what it would be like if your son stopped nursing right now. try to elicit the feelings you'll have if that happened. you may find yourself loosening up some of the resistance that you hold around nursing, or you may realize this is really what you need to do.<br>
also, it helps me to remember that the intensity of his need to wean is not constant (although it can *seem* like that, going on for months, before finally abating). is your son coming up on a major developmental breakthrough? is he reaching a half-year birthday? those can make kids feel much less emotionally stable.<br>
good luck with it. i can't imagine adding law school to the pressures of parenting. you're holding up amazingly well, in my estimation...
 

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mamawannabe brings up a good point. There are two people in the breastfeeding relationship, and if you are not happy with it, it may be time for a change (restrictions on nursing, gradual weaning, etc.). Then again, too many changes may just add to the stress. It's so hard to know what to do...<br><br>
One other suggestion I thought of... I know this may sound silly, but if I'm especially irritated with dd's request to nurse, I'll pick her up and put her in the nursing position, take out my breast and then tease her with it a little: like aiming it towards her eye or nose. She gets a kick out of this and giggles so sweetly that it sort of melts the ice I feel sometimes and lets me relax and have a more positive attitude before the nursing session begins. HTH.
 

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hi, back to add just one other thought i couldn't get out earlier b/c the kids were clamoring...<br>
one thing that i found very difficult with the temperments that my children have (spirited, high needs, intense, whatever you want to call it), i really felt trapped by their strong emotional reactions to being denied nursing.<br>
i never wanted them to ever have to cry it out and i knew how intense my children were and that *my* weaning *them* would mean an enormous amount of emotional trauma for us both. just knowing i was unwilling to cause and deal with that amount of trauma made me feel so trapped, against a wall, blackmailed, almost. that strengthened my resistance to nursing enormously. for some reason, with my 2nd, i smwhow (sorruy, naking now) came to really believe that i *could* walk away from this nursing relationship, if i had too, and it would be okay (terribly hard for us for a week or two, but not the end of the world for my son, not something that would ruin his psyche) and i somehow let go of alot of the pressure i was putting myself under not to ever make my child cry it out. that made it so much easier for me to continue with him, it eased a great deal of my sense of resistance, and i was able to remember what i enjoy about nursing him...<br>
fwiw,<br>
warmly,<br>
susan<br>
ps. i love mum2sarah's suggestion about putting a little play into the start of nursing. play can be marvelously re-setting and restorative for parent as well as child! excellent idea (of course, hard to remember when i'm grousing to myself and frustrated but i'll try to remember it next time that happens...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for the hugs and support and suggestions.. they help immensely <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.<br><br>
Sueami - You hit the nail on the head with ds' personality. I'm trying to convince myself that not nursing ds on demand - or even weaning - will not permanently scar ds. I'm just not able to get there yet.... maybe if everything else were perfect (or even great) it would be easier. I'm going to work on it, though.<br><br>
Regardless, it helps to know that other mamas have been there. I like the idea of play - we do that sometimes. We make a joke out of my talking to him, asking him questions, while he nurses (other than "yes" or "no" questions) and he starts cracking up because he can't answer.... I'll work on that more. And over the past few days, I'm just finding that I have to say 'no'. Occasionally he's receptive, most often he's very upset. When he calms down, I talk to him about my feelings, let him know how much I love him and how much I want to be able to do everything for him, but that I have to respect my own needs, as well. A bit complicated for an almost three-year-old, but he's doing okay with that so far.<br><br>
So, thanks again. I'm going to keep on working it out.....<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 
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