I've searched the forums and online, and am not finding the information I need, so I'm hoping that someone here will have some references for me. My children come from sensory integration stock. My dad is oversensitive, I am, my mother is. My daughter has been diagnosed and received therapy, which helped, and my son has been showing signs of being oversensitive as well, though it does not seem to be impacting his life the way it did my daughter. We have not had him tested, and at this point do not feel that we need to. However.
At each stage of his weaning, he has added in oral stim activities to make up for the missing nursing sessions. When he was nursing on demand, he nursed every hour or so, and never voluntarily popped off the breast. At this point, he nurses only once per day (whether or not I wean him completely is up in the air right now). He also almost always has his fingers in his mouth. He bites his fingernails (we keep his toenails painted to keep him from biting them - it works most of the time). He chews his toys. He chews his toybox. He wants to hold superballs in his mouth. Etc.
So, his dad and I have opposing viewpoints on oral fixation. I come from the camp that believes that an unmet need becomes a fixation until it is met and moved past. Randy believes that Wyatt has this fixation because I have nursed him so long. So, you can see that the question of whether or not to wean him is so up in the air. Randy believes that weaning him would fix it. I worry that he is not ready (he is not). Randy, bless him, has up til now, let me know that he has wanted Wyatt weaned at his first birthday, but has then backed out saying that it is my realm to make decisions for it. He is now starting to make more noise about it, but, I believe, will not make too big a stink about it. However, I am starting to question it. We had previously agreed that Wyatt would be weaned by his fourth birthday, in January. Which he still might. But I'm not so comfortable forcing it if he's not ready, mostly because in February, there will be a new baby nursing right in front of him.
Oh, gosh, sooo rambling. I'm sorry.
Anyway. So, Wyatt is just a very sensitive boy. He seems to have more need for oral stimulation than ordinary (which I think is part of a sensory integration disorder platform). He is very sensitive to the emotions of the people around him. He is very sensitive to unexpected or loud noises (those of you who are friends with me on facebook will recall the photos of him vacuuming and using the mixer with headphones on). He really just seems to need more... nurturing? buffering? I don't know what. But is there any research that any of you know about that might help us look at how to respond to that? My instinct is to meet what seem to be his needs. Randy's is to stop babying him. (And I feel it is important here to say that there is a disconnect between Randy's words and his actions. He complains about me nursing Wyatt, comforting him when he cries, etc. But he is the first to jump in there and soothe Wyatt's (or anyone's) discomfort. He was aggressively distanced as a child. And I think he *thinks* that is the right way to do it, even though his heart compels him to *act* differently)
So, I guess I am looking at two questions. Can extended nursing *cause* an oral fixation (refs, please, if you have them!)? And, for these uber sensitive kids, do we meet their needs or try to change their needs?