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Thread: BF and high oral stimulation needs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    TX
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    Default BF and high oral stimulation needs

    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?
    Teal

    25 May 96 and 14 January 08 and 27 February 2012

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Landof2toddlers, Oregon
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    Default Re: BF and high oral stimulation needs

    Well, D has been weaned since before he was a year and he still (as you know) always has something in his mouth. He is constantly chewing, biting and mouthing things. He will use sippy cups but if I take his bottle away he quickly stops getting enough liquids. He will cry and scream if he doesn't get his "big milk" in a bottle. He is definitely on the SPD side and it showed pretty highly when he was tested.

    If you look at sensory diets (which are what the experts give us for our over or under sensitive little guys) they are all about meeting their needs in a societally acceptable way. For example, D cannot bite me but he can bite his chewie or a teether or a straw etc etc as much as he needs to. I am no expert, but I am with you on this one.
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Montreal
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    Default Re: BF and high oral stimulation needs

    Well I can't give you any links or research but on a personal experience note I was breastfed only until 3 months and switched to formula. I sucked my thumb til I was 13, I can remember sucking any drinks down until somewhere around that time too (I drank out of a cup but I couldn't swallow normally, the liquid stayed in my mouth and I sucked it down as though it was coming out of a bottle). I STILL bite my nails. I have to put elastics around my pens and pencils so that I notice when I pop them in my mouth...

    I don't know at what age my mom took bottles away, but I don't think I had one for super long. My guess would be that weaning would not help.
    Amanda
    Formerly: baby-blue-eyes

    Canadian Mum to Naomi Born 03/17/08 and has a dairy allergy we are hoping she will outgrow. Nursed for 1 year
    And Gavin Born 01/13/10. 22 months, still nursing and already determined to find every possible way of giving me a heart attack with his dare devilishness

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    TX
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    Default Re: BF and high oral stimulation needs

    Thanks for the input! Up until now, I've pretty much been treating these two things as the separate issues that they are. It is only just recently that they have begun intersecting. I'm really not sure what my decision will be about weaning, but it would be nice to have something technical that I could lay out in front of Randy to maybe allay his concerns that continuing to nurse Wyatt as long as I have (forget about into the future) has caused him some harm, specifically in the form of being over sensitive and/or giving him this oral fixation. I see references to extended nursing causing oral fixation out on the internet, but they are unsupported, and seem mostly to be simple repetitions of Freud's theory. So, I know that's out there for Randy to see. But if I, who am looking for it, am not finding counter information, I am certain that Randy, who is not looking for it, won't find it either.

    I suppose, Sarale, that if (or more likely WHEN) I do decide to wean him, I should just assume that for a while he can wear a chewie on a string around his neck? His attachment, at this point, does seem to be to nursing itself, with the chewing/licking/sucking coming in to take its place when his nursing no longer takes the heat off his need to mouth things. I don't know if I'm even making sense...
    Teal

    25 May 96 and 14 January 08 and 27 February 2012

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