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Thread: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" concept

  1. #1

    Angry Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" concept

    I started writing a very long post, but I figured that I could just answer any questions that people have as needed.

    Anyway, I'm having a really difficult time explaining the "nursing on demand" concept to my parents. When 11 week old DS shows obvious hunger signals, they waste no time to shove a finger in his mouth (we don't use pacifiers and I have repeatedly, explicitly asked them not to do this), comment on his "strong sucking reflex", or say things like, "it's not time to eat again yet" or "you can't possibly be hungry again already" or "you need to let mama refill". They are both so supportive of me breastfeeding, but they really don't understand, IMO, how it works (even though my mother exclusively breastfed me and my two siblings). It is becoming really frustrating to me.

    Their attempts at pacifying him and denying him immediate access to food have resulted in a few things so far, including (just after his birth) causing him to lose over 10% of his body weight in 48 hours (they were promising to wake me up to feed him, but they weren't) and (much later down the road) majorly complicating a severe acid reflux problem (due to DS's inability to eat enough because of the extreme pain), which resulted in poor weight gain. I think that they feel he should be going more like 3-4 hours between feedings when he typically goes 1-2 hours during the day (he sleeps long stretches at night, though, and we're extremely fortunate).

    I don't know how to be any more clear. My parents are both educated and have experience with breastfeeding. I've tried talking to them, sending them articles, giving explicit instructions, but nothing seems to work. Please help me. How can I be more clear?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" conce

    I've been through this too, and it is SO FRUSTRATING! Since you've already told them, explained, given them articles, etc. it really seems as though there's only one choice. To limit their direct contact / control of your child. If they can't bring themselves to do as you ask, then they don't get to be put in a place where they can delay your access.

    The easiest way to do that without causing too much of an argument is to babywear when they are around. If he's strapped to you, you will no doubt see his signals. If they ask why simply say that due to his slow weight gain, you need to respond immediately to his hunger queues. This is the easiest and most effective way for you to do that.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
    and

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" conce

    I found one easy way (albeit a little manipulative/passive aggressive) was to say that I was uncomfortable and needed to nurse. It was the only way I could get people to hand my baby back to me sometimes! But making it about me took the debate of whether or not baby needed to eat right off the table. It won't work for the times that you're asleep, but if you're right there and finding it to be a debate, saying "I think we BOTH need to nurse" is sometimes direct enough for people. And it's frequently true, too!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" conce

    I've been having problems with my in-laws. Nothing to that extent but it's enough that I feel uncomfortable when my MIL or SIL are around for long periods. They both make the 'oh he can't be hungry again' comments and warn me he shouldn't be "snacking". If he gets fussy before they think he should be hungry they try bouncing, swaddling, pacifier (thankfully he hates the thing). Last week my DH finally had to tell them I want to try to feed him when he's fussy before they assume he's tired and cranky.

    If it were my parents I would have a talk with them. Maybe it's going to take you repeating things over and over. I like the wearing him idea that way he's close to you. Let gma hold him after he eats and is in a milk coma.
    Becky

    Mommy to Owen b. 4/20/12

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" conce

    Why are they up even in a postion to be where they could do this? This is your baby. Take him back. Done.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" conce

    i totally understand this!!! my grandparents simply do not get why im still bf my 11
    month old dd. they always want to feed her table food every time we go over there. i really hate they are so judgmental (dd is my 3rd baby!) but i just say when they
    try to feed her but i know she needs to nurse, well i need to feed her right now. and i always try and nurse her first before table food. they think she should have been
    weaned @ 6 mo. and i am so very proud of her to have ebf for all this time with two
    crazy older siblings in my house! but stand your ground, he is your baby and you know when he is hungry whether is has been 3 hours or 10 minutes. just take control and
    do what he needs you to. i know it is hard to stand up to someone who should
    understand, but especially if he has had slow weight gain you need to bf as often as he wants to.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" conce

    OMGoodness - my parents did this also, it drove me crazy!!!

    My mum was here for 1 month, everyone had told me to nurse on demand - she didn't and neither did my sister (actually my Mum only breastfed my brother) but my sister put her children on a schedule as soon as they were born and my mum was telling me to do the same thing.
    We had soooo many fights over this - I kept telling her to trust me and let me do what i felt was right, my goodness my daughter was only 1 week old, and if she wanted the boob she'd get it - regardless of whether she was actively sucking or just wanted comfort .... nursing on demand I believe is the best thing for your baby - it allows them to feel safe, get as much food as they know they need and allows the bond between the two of you to become stronger.

    I hate to say this but he's your son - don't let your parents give him the paci at all, in fact don't even let them offer any advice .... I know it's hard as parents think they are doing the best, but screw them, (sorry language) walk around topless, offer your beautiful baby the breast whenever he needs it - this is how you're doing it and they need to take a back set and let you get on with it.

    My Mum was a tough one, she would do the same - tell me to sleep and then I'd wake to hear her screaming and my mum would say 'well she can't possibly be hungry!'

    Now I"m getting angry thinking about it - don't let them make you feel incompetent please ... that's what my mother did - your baby needs you and parents just need to take a back step sometimes and let their daughter/son learn how to take care of their child and just encourage and support you - different generation I guess ..... don't let it get to you like my Mum did - I love her so much and found a new love for her after becoming a mother but boy did she drive me nuts!!!!!
    Last edited by @llli*tanpixie; May 25th, 2012 at 08:42 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" conce

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*aprilsmagic View Post
    Why are they up even in a postion to be where they could do this? This is your baby. Take him back. Done.
    Exactly!!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" conce

    Thank you so much for all of your replies! I wanted to respond first by saying that it was difficult for me to make this post in the first place because I grew up with one living grandparent and DS has 6 (DH parents are divorced and remarried) grandparents and 2 great-grandmothers. I appreciate that my parents are trying to help, but I feel that they are misguided/misinformed at times when it comes to breastfeeding. We are very fortunate to have so many sets of grandparents who want to be involved.

    Also, the reason that my parents visit so often is because I’m trying to catch up with incomplete course work from the last term of my second bachelor’s degree so that I can begin my master’s degree this fall. I ended up having to stop attending class during the spring semester much earlier than I’d anticipated because I went into pre-term labor at 33 weeks (which was stopped and left me on bedrest for the duration of my pregnancy) and then again at 36 (when DS was born via emergency c-section). While it’s great that I’m home this summer (and I would love to hold DS non-stop), it is impossible to get caught up with my work if he’s on me constantly--and he needs to be held by someone because he is pretty high need and will cry (scream) if he’s been put down for longer than a minute or two. So I’ve instructed my mom and dad to hand him back to me when he gets hungry so that I can feed him and then hand him off again so I can finish my work.

    My frustration with this form of soothing began after an extremely difficult (and, ultimately, failed) labor, where my parents wanted to let me sleep, so they let him suck on their fingers for hours (unbeknownst to me) instead of waking me up every two hours or more often to feed him. Needless to say, my milk was way delayed coming in and he lost a lot of his body weight, had to be supplemented with formula for a week, and went on an all out nursing strike (which I’m convinced is because he had some latch confusion with the finger sucking).

    Fast-forward to three weeks ago and he is past all of his issues, gaining weight beautifully (stopped supplementing before his was 1.5 weeks old), but suddenly cannot stop eating and seems completely frantic in between meals coupled with inconsolable crying. DH and I could not figure out what was wrong with DS because it clearly wasn’t growth spurt behavior, but I was still letting him nurse whenever he wanted, even though I was totally exhausted. So my mom came by to help watch him two weekends ago and decided that he was just “wanting to suck” and as a new mom who was totally exhausted from nearly two weeks of waking every 30 minutes or so at night to console my son, against my better judgment (and being firm on the issue for over two months), I gave in and let her try to pacify him. Of course, it didn’t help. We called his pediatrician the following Monday and she confirmed our suspicions of severe reflux. He was barely gaining enough weight as is from nibbling off and on all week, but the fact that his feedings were delayed with finger pacifying for three days certainly complicated matters. I still feel absolutely horrible about this.

    I realize it was my fault for giving in, but after exhausting everything I knew that could possibly comfort him, I really began doubting myself and was willing to try anything (even something I was/am adamantly against). I will not make the same mistake again.

    I love the idea of babywearing him. We use a ring sling right now and I will have to use it more often when my parents are visiting. I will also continue reminding them that I do not want them pacifying him and asking that the hand him back over to me at the first sign of hunger cues (not to wait until he is crying). Hopefully it will sink in at some point. I guess I will have to be more assertive.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Grandparents do not understand "nursing on demand" conce

    I'm glad that I'm not the only person who has gone through this.

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