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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is anyone out there in a similar boat / or had the same feeling...

I'm tandem nursing my 2.75 yr old dd and 17 week old dd. Where I feel I am going wrong is with the older dd. Bascially she wants to nurse over every little upset - this really winds me up and I don't want to do it (so I worry this is bad for both of us), then she starts to go into tantrum mode. More often than not I then nurse her (she often finishes pretty quickly), but feel annoyed and resentful. Its not really very healthy for me to feel so annoyed and puts a blight on our relationship. Sometimes I feel 'used' - although of course its my resonsibility things are the way they are.

If I set limits on her nursing it seems unfair to me - as she clearly still needs to nurse and the baby gets lots of nursing. I'm just not sure what is for the best.

Is it OK to nurse a two year old when they get upset over small things anyway? - I'm confused b/c I know that young children cannot regulate their own emotions and it seems that nursing is the most effective way to do it. When people say a 2 yr old has to go through tantrums whats the difference between saying that and the idea that a baby has to cry, seeing as neither has the developmental capacity to control their own emotions. Aren't you putting them through alot of stress for nothing?

I'm pretty sure that she is over the new sibling shock and is used to our new life.

Am I 'spoiling' my dd?

Thanks in advance,

Sarah
 

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I've never nursed two at once but I have nursed a two (and three....) year old.

It is absolutely normal for a 3 year old or older to find emotional comfort from breastfeeding. I believe that when a child is having a tantrum, it may not always be from emotional causes (such as jealousy of a sibling, which can last into adulthood!! I know jealous middle aged siblings!)

but can also be from physical causes such as teething pain (babies or kids) (breast milk has natural pain relievers in it)
being hungry/low blood sugar (breast milk is a healthy snack)
being tired/cranky (breast milk has those sooooothing natural substances in it that calm down a cranky child and can help them sleep)

You are NOT spoiling anyone.
Your two plus year old is normal.

I haven't tandem nursed, but those who have tell me they sometimes feel resentful of the older one. Hopefully they will chime in with advice.

I do know someone (maybe La Leche League?) came out with a book called Adventures in Tandem Nursing (???)
 

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Sounds like my DD who is 30 months old!

Although I'm not tandem nursing, she often wants to nurse very frequently. Your situation sounds justified though - she is probably just wanting as much attention at the breast as the new baby is getting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks for the reassurance I haven't gone 'wrong'. I suppose if I can get more confidence in this area perhaps I can stop feeling so annoyed - there is an LLL meeting next week where I live and I'll be there anyway.

I've got to think about the reasons I feel resentful in more depth - perhaps its that I'm scared I'm doing something wrong with my dd. I suppose I don't know whether to just keep nursing her - in the hope if my feelings about it improve perhaps she will demand it less (? or not?). If she will grow out of it then when? I've got a feeling it will be a long haul. CLW is a wonderful idea, but I don't know if I can do it.

thanks
Sarah
 

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I can sooo relate to sometimes feeling resentful or annoyed with breastfeeding a toddler. I am soon to be (or am I already?) tandem nursing my 27 mo old when his baby brother arrives, and ever since getting pregnant, nursing has been alternately painful and creepy-feeling. We have hardly had any nursing lately that feels truly comfortable for me.

It sounds to me like it will help you to make a firm decision for yourself either way - meaning, to decide you will nurse her whenever she wants vs. deciding you will put down some limits and what those limits will be. It's likely the saying no and then feeling like you are "caving" that makes you feel "used." I made the decision that DS can nurse up to 4 times per day, which was basically following his lead about how often he nurses anyway: once when he wakes, once when I get home from work (about 2pm), once after a nap if he took one (if he doesn't, this nursing is often dropped), and once before bed. On days when he is clearly struggling with something, like teething or being sick, or if he gets hurt or is just having a super cranky day, I drop these limits and let him nurse more. It helps me to know there will be times of the day most days I can count on not nursing, and I tend to not resent any of the four nursies we have per day since they are our mutually agreed upon nursies. When he asks for nursies on usual days outside of these four times, I tell him 'not now' or 'nursies all gone', and he usually gives a very small fuss but then moves on. I like this because he is learning about appropriate limits and that he can handle them. That way too I'll know he really needs them if he gets truly upset, and of course then I give them to him.

I do believe kids need to be able to have their feelings, and sometimes that means tantruming from beginning to end without being "saved" from their feelings by distracting in some way. But, this is not the same thing as providing comfort during those feelings, which is not at all distraction. Giving them comfort during tantrums - as opposed to ignoring them or making them leave the room - teaches them to get comfort when they are upset by seeking out another human so that when they do get to our age, they do that for themselves (as opposed to all the other less useful and sometimes harmful ways people comfort themselves when they're upset once they are grown.) This is also not the same thing as giving in to them...unless, of course, the tantrum is about not getting nursed, like in your situation! This tells me even more that it will make sense for you to make a firm decision either way, and if you decide to not let her nurse at times you don't want, you can comfort her in other ways, like with hugs and reassurance.

Whew - that was a longer post than I intended.
 

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As a tandem nursing mother I think that there is a wide degree of normal. When my second one arrived my first wanted to nurse like a newborn. You have to bear in mind however that here is this new baby and he is nursing all the time and suddenly older brother has this great new milk supply to enjoy and he wants to be close to mom too. I found that letting my oldest nurse whenever he needed made both of us happier and ultimately kept baby happy too and I didn't have to argue with the older one. Try to remind yourself that a two year old is not able to control emotions well and that he still needs you and your milk to keep him happy and nourished. Learn to nurse the two of them at the same time and that can help, not to mention you get that great rush of oxytocin to really relax you. That should help with you not getting angry and resentful at him. There's a lot of mind over matter involved with it and I think it is part of our natural instinct to protect our young (even from our other young) and we sometimes get afraid that there won't be enough for the baby. Rest assured though that you CAN accomodate both children at the breast until it is time to wean! Mothers of multiples do it all the time! Mothers of nursing toddlers find tantrums much easier to deal with by letting them nurse. It is okay to set limits on nursing if you need to. Just try to decide with each situation if that is appropriate. The only way you can "spoil" your child is by NOT giving them what they need. Chances are that this is a need, not a habit.
 

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My son is also 2.75 and my 2nd is due next month. My son still nurses a LOT- at least hourly, unless we're doing something really engrossing like a playdate (unless he gets hurt or is tired). I resent it some but I know he still needs it. If I REALLY don't want to then I don't, and sometimes I offer other things before letting him nurse to make sure he's not just hungry, thirsty, or bored.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all your replies. I've decided to try the route of nursing older dd when she wants for confort (mostly) - without worrying that this is spoiling her. I'm hoping this may give her some reassurance I'm still there for her. In the long run it may take away any bad feelings that have developed around nursing. I'll see how I feel with that. I've decided its not the same as 'giving in' - if she has a tantrum about something, nursing her is a form of confort not giving in to the original demand of the tantrum. If I can lay this ghost to rest perhaps I'll feel better about it.

I can always try limiting if this doesn't work.

I'm still slightly confused about it all.

Sarah
 
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