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Thread: Nursing for tantrums vs tantrums for nursing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    168

    Default Nursing for tantrums vs tantrums for nursing

    Hi everyone,
    My 14 mo recently started using the ASL sign to tell me when she wants to nurse. I have always nursed her whenever she seemed to want to nurse, unless it was really impossible (e.g., in car seat). But suddenly I feel like she is asking all the time (not sure if she is really asking more, or if it just feels like it because now we have a sign for it). Sometimes we are in a really inconvenient place, like we're about to go through airport security and I need my hands free to deal with stuff. If I say something like "we'll have milk in 5 minutes after we go through security" she can get really mad and cry and arch her back.

    I had always found that nursing is a great remedy for fussiness, tiredness, and I have read that it's great for preventing/soothing tantrums in toddlers.

    On the other hand, I do not want to teach my baby that throwing a fit is going to get her what she wants. I mean, I don't want her to scream on purpose so that I'll nurse her. Today we were in a line-up and I had my arms quite full of stuff and a big coat on, and when she asked to nurse I said "we'll nurse in a few minutes"...but then she started crying and I wanted her to be quiet so I just nursed her in the line and all the way through the checkout. Am I setting myself up for more screaming by doing this?

    I'd really appreciate hearing how others have dealt with transitioning from nursing-on-demand to nursing a toddler.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,236

    Default Re: Nursing for tantrums vs tantrums for nursing

    I think you're overthinking this.

    Toddler nursing is different from nursing a baby- there's more give and take to the relationship. With a baby it's just you giving, giving, giving, whenever the baby needs it. With a toddler, it's still mostly giving, but more and more frequently you'll have moments when you can take back some time for yourself in order to get through airport security or a checkout line or whatever. But this is an evolving relationship, and sometimes it's going to be right for you to give in and nurse even though you're not ready, while other times the right thing will be to stand firm and make your child wait until you are ready.

    Don't think that giving in and nursing your screaming child is setting up a future where she will scream every time she doesn't get her way. There's no way out of SOME screaming- toddlers are like that! And nursing... I think it's different from giving a child a cookie or a toy or an object because they're screaming. It's more like giving a hug or a cuddle. If your child was crying for a hug, you'd give it to her, right?
    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
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: Nursing for tantrums vs tantrums for nursing

    I think it's situational. Judge for yourself whether your lo really needs it or whether she's just demanding it for the sake of demanding. Now is the time to start setting limits on your nursing relationship. Don't expect them to be firm yet, because she's still too young to really understand, but you can definitely start on it. Be consistent with your words and she'll start to pick up on that. I found that avoiding saying no really helped minimize the fits when I refused. "Yes you can nurse when we get to the car...yes you can nurse when I finish making dinner." When you can, have an alternative snack or drink available- because sometimes they really are hungry or thirsty. Those are all things that helped me when I was setting limits.

    FWIW, every time my daughter learned a new sign she used it like crazy. It could be her increase in demand is part of practicing her new skill.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    168

    Default Re: Nursing for tantrums vs tantrums for nursing

    Thanks for the advice. Still.here, yes I would give her a hug if she asked, but probably not if she was strapped in her carseat and was asking for a hug because she was bored (and she does ask to nurse for that reason).

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*still.here View Post
    FWIW, every time my daughter learned a new sign she used it like crazy. It could be her increase in demand is part of practicing her new skill.
    I think this is also our case. She is signing "milk" even in her sleep.

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    North Carolina
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    Default Re: Nursing for tantrums vs tantrums for nursing

    I went through a similar situation when my daughter was about that age. She wanted to nurse at the grocery store, or other inconvenient place, and would start to pull my shirt down and stuff. I think it's a phase. But as your child starts to understand more, waiting to nurse will be not a problem. I agree with the above post, that "giving in" isn't like spoiling with candy or a toy, it's like giving a hug. You're not setting anything up, in my opinion, because eventually you can just delay and your child will be able to wait until you get through security or get to the car or something, and then gradually, won't need to do that, either.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Nursing for tantrums vs tantrums for nursing

    I think 14months is the perfect place to begin settting limits and teaching your child about nursing manners. The thing about toddler nursing is that it's way more about it being a relationship than about you needing to nurse on demand. Because a 14month old has begun to wean and is eating solids. At 14months I was really working to curb "boredom nursing." And it meant getting out of the house A LOT. But I wouldn't nurse my 14month old because he was throwing a fit. The exact opposite was true. BUT if he face planted on the slide than yeah I'd nurse him.

    Way too lazy for formula

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