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Thread: Violent nursing

  1. #1
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    Default Violent nursing

    I'm at a tough spot in my nursing relationship with D. It has been escalating for some time. He just turned 2 and is a violent nurser. He has never had a great latch but now it is downright painful. Every nursing session lasts a minimum of 45 minutes. I try to end before he is ready and he throws a fit, hitting me, pinching me, thrashing around. While he is nursing he is kicking me, putting his fingers in my mouth or his whole hand over it and clamping on my nipple. I know that I barely have any milk left, which also makes it worse because the dry, pacifier like sucking leaves my breasts in pain for hours after. Not to mention how agitated he gets about it.

    But....I don't have the heart to wean him because I just went back to work in June and he's suddenly in full time daycare. He only nurses twice a day during the week - and all night about 75% of the time - and maybe 4 times on the weekend. But I still feel like I spend 3-4 hours a day nursing. I have horrible feelings while he's nursing most of the time and sometimes just want to throw him off my body. He acts like he owns my body, tearing at my shirt or grabbing onto my breasts roughly if I'm not sitting and ready when he wants to nurse. He doesn't even want MK touching me, that immediately gets him on me and hitting her while trying to rake at my body.

    He's a passionate kid, so I have had no luck with gently talking to him or trying to set boundaries. I don't want to wean, I just want it to be a nice peaceful activity that we share. Has anyone else been through this? Can it get better without weaning? He has some sensory issues, doesn't have a lot of language yet and very quickly goes into fight or flight.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Violent nursing

    Have you tired teaching him baby sign language? Perhaps he is frustrated because he can't communicate well? Breastfeeding should be continued if desired by both mother and child in my opinion. If it is causing you these negative feelings maybe you should reconsider weaning him. I hope you can find a way to continue bf without the violence. Sorry I am not much help to you. Best of luck.
    09-28-2011 VB (41 Weeks 1 Day) Breastfeeding 12 months & counting.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Violent nursing

    Thanks for responding. He does know some signs and many words. But very basic communication. I think weaning him would be extremely traumatic right now. He doesn't give up easily and isn't redirected at all.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Violent nursing

    How about covering the things he likes to grab and tweak, and being really firm about not allowing those hurting hands access to your body? I think the nursing behaviors you are seeing are the sorts of things you wouldn't put up with in any other context. Like if he walked up to MK and started wailing on her, you'd put an immediate stop to it, right?

    I guess my thought is to treat this like biting. Bad behavior at the breast = mom getting up and walking away.
    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!"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Violent nursing

    Me too Kim. Even without language Two IS old enough to understand boundaries. And honestly if it's THIS traumatic for you to do, then you should be ready to do the battle to make it better. By saying NO. And standing up and walking away if he hurts you. Using words about NICE TOUCHING OR NO NURSING. You don't have to gently talk to him to set boundaries. They can be hard line if that is what you think he will understand best. Make it very black and white. And also include a time out if he is going to have a fit. He is two. You have power in this relationship. Remind him of that. It's a relationship. If he can't treat you the way that you need to be treated he isn't going to get what he wants. Show him that.

    Way too lazy for formula

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Violent nursing

    If you weren't feeling guilty about being at work, would you be handling it any differently?
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Violent nursing

    I think it would be worse if I wasn't working because he would be asking all day long. He grabs at my face and when I cover it he flips out. Trouble is, the worst is at night and I just can't handle an hour of tears in the middle of the night. I am getting more forceful though. Especially in the morning. Putting him out of the bed. I hate feeling this way about nursing.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Violent nursing

    I swear Kim you HAVE to be more assertive. You have to not just cover your face but Grab his hands when he grabs at it and say NO! Period. You are stronger than a two year old. He will learn that even if he has a fit, you are bigger and stronger than him and that he can NOT just physically grab you. Which is a GOOD Lesson to learn. The sooner the better.

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Violent nursing

    I'd start working on it during the day and in the evening or morning rather than the middle of the night. Since he has sensory issues, can you redirect his grabbing with an interesting squishy toy? Would he benefit from being squeezed tightly or other sensory activities before or after nursing? I've gotten a ton of great ideas for handling Joe from our friends with sensory kids here on the forum. Joe was very violent and hard to nurse at around 18 mos but he did respond to disclipline, saying no, and walking away. It was rough for a while but it did get better. One thing I've realized is that my slightly sensory seeking kid is rough with me partly bc he actually craves rough intense contact. If you can address that in other ways than nursing, it seems to help.
    Last edited by @llli*joe.s.mom; October 4th, 2012 at 11:50 PM.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Violent nursing

    I answered this post but guess it never registered.

    For those of you not on Facebook (Shelly) D head butted me right in the bridge of my nose. I was sure it was broken. It still hurts 14 hours later. He's just so rough. And we were only playing around, happy and giggle in bed. But he was standing and came down right on my nose. It's that kind of energy and personality that he has and it presents itself in his nursing as well. I feel like trying to get him to be a gentle nurser is like trying to get him to change his personality.

    Oh and he really only nurses at night so I don't have much opportunity to work on it during the day. But I do when I can. That's why I still have a crib. So I have a place to put him and contain him.
    If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. - Katharine Hepburn

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