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Thread: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

  1. #1

    Default Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    Before I start off here I want to just say that I am terrified of being judged as what I am going to talk about is a really sensitive and emotional subject for me & tbh I feel really tearful :-( I gave birth to my daughter (first & only child) in 2008 and for various reasons, partly health related but I guess also due to lack of support & well-meaning advice from healthcare professionals I didn't breastfeed her beyond the age of 5 months. She did not appear to be putting on enough weight and I was advised by my Dr., after seeing two BF counsellors, that I was "in the 1% of women who do not produce enough milk" (?!?) & that I should supplement with formula. I knew instinctively that she was wrong but I was scared, switched to formula and she would not take the breast after that; she then moved to solids shortly after.

    When she was 12 months old, I was ill for a very, very long time & was in & out of hospital for many months, with several long-stays. Fast forward to now - she is 3 & half and has recently started getting really attached to my boobs - she want to see them, touch them, cuddle them, and asks me often about whether & how she breastfed when she was a baby. We have a few friends who are breastfeeding at the moment so perhaps this has something to do with it. Today she said to me "I want to pretend to drink like a baby" but at the same time she was embarrassed at the same time and I was confused and did not know what to do, so I just cuddled her with her head on my chest.

    It's really hard to say clearly exactly what I mean but I feel she had something taken away from her at an early age which she needed and that I failed her. And now I feel like she is asking me for a bond which she wants emotionally but that I don't know if it is possible or the right thing to do. After she left for nursery today I found myself looking up "re-lactation for children" on the internet and then wondered whether I am crazy for feeling like this ( although there seem to be some cases out there) . I am even scared that if she tells nursery that she loves mummy's boobs and wanted to drink like a baby that they would feel I was crazy or even worse sick in some kind of way. I come from a culture where extended breast-feeding is common but live in one where breast-feeding at all is seen as strange in some/many quarters. And I have never heard personally of a situation where an older child (age 3+) feels like she does.

    OK - crying now so have to stop writing. Sorry for long post.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,865

    Default Re: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    Welcome to the forum, mama!

    Don't worry, no-one here is likely to think you're weird. Lots of us have breastfed our toddlers and preschoolers and we know it's very common for them to have deep attachment to the breast even after they are weaned. And it's very normal for a mom to feel very emotional about nursing, especially when something she loved doing was taken away from her before she was ready.

    What would you like to do, mama? Nurse your preschooler directly or pump and offer her milk in a cup? Maybe both? It's all possible and we'll do our best to help you succeed.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    Hi there Thank you so much for your response. I wouldn't mind doing either, but I am not at all sure whether it is possible to re-nurse a child who has been off the breast for a long period like her. When I wrote my post above, I was in the realm of, "this isn't even possible" but as I said I have downloaded some stuff which I will read through, and your words are reassuring. I have a feeling she wants to nurse directly, but she has no memory of doing it as a baby and I am not sure if it is....what am I trying to say?...possible? Appropriate? Do I broach the subject with her (she has talked about "mummy bub" as she calls it, but today was the first time she has asked to "drink and pretend I am a baby like _____'s new baby". To further complicate matters, I am taking various combinations of medicines, and although they are mainly painkillers (I had a complicated car crash requiring multiple primary & secondary surgeries over a long period of time) I would even be willing to go without these as I feel I am kind of over-medicated by all these doctors etc. & my injuries have improved a lot. Also, I have no idea which medications (if any) can be taken alongside BF. The person to ask would be my doctor, but he would take the view of "Why do you want to go down this road", and be quite unsupportive as the view from around here is that this is something for either babies or at most toddlers who have ALWAYS nursed, rather than someone in my situation. Like I said though, the emotional pain I feel at not being able to do for her what she seems to want/need is worse than any physical pain from my injuries and I would forgo any medication to strengthen our bond, especially as she was away from me for so long while I was in hospital.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Default Re: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    Go to infantrisk.com to see if your medicines are comparable with breastfeeding. I think there is a number you can call too.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    Also, we are co-sleeping & trying in various ways to help her feel close and cherished. I sometimes wish she wasn't at nursery (3.5 days p/w) but my injuries mean that she gets a lot of activities etc. there which I wouldn't be able to do physically.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    Thank you - will check that site now. I never imagined anyone would even understand where I am right now, let alone be able to help so much. I really appreciate it. Wish I'd come here in 2008.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    Well, whatever you decide to do, I'm sure you can find something that works for both you and your daughter. If you wanted to nurse her it might take a little learning for her to get the hang of latching on...My almost 3 yr old nurses but doesn't get more than a few drops of milk at this point but she really calms down and loves nursing just the same. She also is a big snuggle bug, too, and loves to cuddle and sit on my lap. I guess all I'm trying to say is that if you do want to nurse her and it works out, don't feel like you have to make a lot of milk, because in my experience preschoolers may nurse for more emotional reasons than physical ones.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    I have checked the site regarding the medications (both the one recommended & various others) & there are no conclusive answers/evidence even for each drug individually, let alone for the combination I have been prescribed. So for me that constitutes an unacceptable risk to her health. But as I said, I would happily come off these if it meant doing something for her. So if I were to try to reduce them and wean off them, where would I go from there to breastfeeding her...I mean, am I doing the right thing? (I hate myself for asking stupid, value-laden questions like that, but I really am in turmoil and I just don't know what to do) I mean, is it possible? How long should it be for? Is this really something she would benefit from or is she already beyond that stage because of her age? This never even came up until a month ago with her, although I have thought often how sad the way the whole situation was with stopping so early and then the accident, especially when I talk to people who (unlike me) were able to see through the bullsh*t & do what they knew was right for their kids, despite what they were told. God, crying again; feel like such an idiot.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    I am going to give you my honest opinion, and please know that it comes from a place of support

    it IS possible to relactate at this point. I'm not going to lie though - it wont be all rainbows and unicorns. You will have to nurse/pump and probably take supplements. It will be a lot of work - but it IS possible. As for your daughter learning to latch again, that may be tougher than actually getting your body to produce milk again. There is the possibility that she will not be able to learn to latch properly, and that may be frustrating for you both. Pumping and offering milk in a cup may be something you want to talk to her about.

    I think *I* would be inclined to wait and see if she asks again. Mama guilt is HORRIBLE but you have nothing to feel guilty about. You made the best choices you could at that time and with the information you had. Please don't feel that you did a disservice to your daughter - you did not. You were scared and you listened to your doctors. Your daughter is healthy and she DOES have a very special bond with you. Let go of that guilt mama
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  10. #10

    Default Re: Re-lactation for a pre-schooler

    Thank you all three of you, Mommal, Juno, Krystine :-) Krystine, what you said also makes me wonder then if the medications I take would even be a risk for her if she was "comfort nursing" (I mean bear in mind I am not producing anything anyway). I mean, could she comfort-nurse while I come off my medications? Is that even something that is OK to do, let my 3.5 year old child comfort herself on the breast...I mean I am fairly sure that is something that people around here would think is strange BUT if I have people like you who don't find it strange or "wrong", I am fairly sure I can stand up to those who do more easily. For all the hang-ups that exist around here over the whole thing, my daughter doesn't have those hang-ups/views and she is the most important person in this.

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