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Thread: Pressure to wean from hubby

  1. #1
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    Aug 2012
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    Default Pressure to wean from hubby

    I'm wondering if anyone has any tips or particular resources to suggest in this case. My husband was very supportive of breastfeeding inititally and really helped me succeed with our first child, but with our second now at 15 months old, he is pressuring me to wean her. I think it has mostly to do with sleep - we all sleep together on a king plus queen together in one room, and she has been super fussy at night lately. She has always woken every 2 hours or so to nurse, but it didn't bug the others when she was quiet about it! She has been super gassy at night and maybe teething again too, so not much sleep is being gotten and I have had to actually ask my hubby to take her at night for a couple hours a couple times in the past month or so, just so I could get a little stretch of sleep. He complains that if he loses sleep because of my decision to continue breastfeeding her, I am doing him harm, and that he shouldn't have to do that because it's my decision and he would prefer that I would wean her, or at least night-wean her. I have to remember to remind him that night-weaning our elder did NOT make her sleep through the night (she often still doesn't at age 4).

    Anyway, I basically wonder if there's a good SHORT (haha) article I could ask him to read that will explain that breastfeeding is important for as long as they do it, not just when they're newborn (he pressured me to wean our older daughter at age 2, which I did, but I plan to not succumb to any such pressure this time around). Or am I being unreasonable? Perhaps I do need to consider night-weaning her or at least changing our sleeping arrangements (I've told him we can move the girls on the queen to the other bedroom, but I let him know that likely it will essentially be that I sleep there and he sleeps alone!). For night-weaning, I waited until our first was 21 months old and it still felt like she wasn't ready. I've considered doing Jay Gordon's method and continuing to co-sleep all together, but I won't be trying that for at least another month as I have a workshop in mid-November that means I'll be gone 11 hours for 4 days in a row, so if she can't nurse in the daytime, I don't want her to be already night-weaned or to confuse her by going "back and forth."

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!

    Forgot to add: last night when I asked him to take her for a bit so I could get a 2-hour stretch of sleep, he said he'd do half an hour, but if I promised to wean her he might do longer. I said no, I wasn't going to promise to wean her. I was quite hurt by that. Obviously we have bigger problems than pressure to wean, but I'm trying to work on all of it and just thought this would be a good place to ask about the nursing aspect!

    Another edit (sorry): Just had a very quick talk with him about it, though he was running off to work, and discovered that his reasoning is that if I night-wean her, even if I ask him for more night-time help after that, at least it will be as easy for him as it is for me to put her to sleep, because she won't expect to nurse. Any thoughts on that? Perhaps he's right? What I immediately wanted to say is that it won't make it easier for him, just harder for me, but on the other hand perhaps he's right in that if she's not expecting it, she won't cry for it (maybe?).
    Last edited by @llli*satin.mama; October 16th, 2013 at 10:11 AM. Reason: forgot something

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pressure to wean from hubby

    I am going to go find and older thread where we discussed this at length. So back in a minute with a link. But also perhaps you and the baby could just go sleep in a separate sleep space from him? Lots of us have done that. I think his sleep space DOES deserve to honored. In the same way that your nursing relationship needs to be respected by people not involved in it. But perhaps at this point the way to do that is not trying to be in the same space. Because as the nursing mother you are making a CHOICE that you feel like you can afford to make in terms of your own sleep. I don't think it's fair or reasonable for you to make that choice for the other parent. Who isn't continuing to nurse. I know having separate sleep space made lots of battles non existent in my house. And when it was time to night wean, my DH simply started taking my son to be with HIM. So it was a tool in my night weaning bag as well.

    Way too lazy for formula

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pressure to wean from hubby


    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pressure to wean from hubby

    Thanks djs.mom! I would also love any experiences/ideas about how the separate sleep space could work with an older child involved as well - my hubby isn't big on bedtime, so I generally do it myself, which is why it's been easier for me to just go to bed with the girls together. He goes to bed really late and sometimes the 4-year-old also wakes and needs comfort before he goes to bed. So in a sense I'm just hoping that I won't have to be *the* night-time parent for both of them, since it's logistically awkward, but it looks like maybe I will. Perhaps it will work fine if I put them to bed together in one room and then go to bed myself in the other, and take the monitor with me? Or I could just give in and say I'm the night-time parent and I could sleep with them and he could have kind of his own room? I'd love to hear specifics of what has worked for others Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pressure to wean from hubby

    With 2 kids, you switch from a zone defense to man on man. That means that each parent gets a kid to take care of. I'd suggest that your husband and older child move out for a while, to their own sleep space. That way dad doesn't have to get up with the baby, and you don't have to get up with the 4 year-old.

    But I also think that you should feel free to try all sorts of different sleep arrangements. Kids in one bed, together, you on some other sleep surface. 4 year old sleeping by herself, you and baby together, dad all by his lonesome. You and both kids together part of the night, then you and the baby alone for a different part of the night. Flexibility and creativity are your friends, when it comes to sleep!
    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!"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pressure to wean from hubby

    I only have one child. We move around a lot. Some places we have slept all in same bed. other places me & baby in one bed, DH other bed in same room. other places DH in own room, me and baby together. DH seems happiest when he has his own room and doesn't get woken up. .

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pressure to wean from hubby

    The pattern we evolved into, once we had more than one, was that I was responsible for the little one's awakenings, since I have the power of the breast! And DH is in charge of the older children's night awakenings. Basically the "man to man" (or woman to baby, man to older child) defense that mommal suggests. DH usually sleeps in another room. So, older children (mostly my middle child, at this point) know to go there. One idea is to say to DH, weaning is off the table, but let's work together to find a sleep solution we can all live with. If you don't mind nursing at night, then you continue nursing LO back down; and if at some point, you don't want to nighttime nurse anymore, then you night wean at that point (and that may be a time where you and DH start splitting nighttime parenting of your younger child).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pressure to wean from hubby

    I live in a three bedroom house. There is a Bed in each room. When DJ was a baby, up until he was 3.9 me & him always slept in my room. My DH couldn't help me with night wakings and there was no need for his sleep to really ever be interrupted. The only time there was any change to this pattern, was 6months, 12months and 24months when the teething go so bad that he would take the baby to bed so I could get a couple uninterrupted hours. Like 2. Other than that until we night weaned he slept with me in my room. At the point we night weaned he moved into my DH's room. After he completely weaned he invited me back to bed so we spent some time altogether in family bed. But my DH really hates that and I kinda do too. Like I like cuddling and stuff...but My DH's bed is to firm for me. And before we had a kid I had my own room. Because he SNORES. And my DH says his CA king is not big enough for 3 people. He says that he can sleep with me or DJ but not both of us. Because if WE both go to sleep before him we both snore and he can't sleep. And he actually has spent many a night on the couch rather in his own bed because of that and I don't want that for him. So now DJ either sleeps with him and I sleep in my own room or DJ sleeps with me. The only place that kid never sleeps is his own bed. But we are working on that. I got a glow pillow. After the party this weekend we will start working on that. At least starting the night in his own bed. And ending up where ever he wants. (Which I hope eventually will be his own bed.)

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pressure to wean from hubby

    Did you wind up reminding your husband about the non-relationship between night weaning and night wakings for your oldest? Did that help anything? I really do feel like this isn't a breastfeeding problem so much as it is a sleep problem, you know? Weaned or not, if baby is teething or has an upset stomach or whatever, she's going to be waking up. The night weaning, right now anyway, would just take away the one thing you've got to easily soothe her back down.

    CAN he go to bed any earlier to get some more sleep himself, so that he might be able to help you out? I mean, I guess I just feel like this is a lot on your plate--you have to do bedtime for both kids, and manage the night wakings, and he wants to take the nursing out of your tool bag for getting baby soothed to sleep? I agree with everyone that experimenting with different sleeping arrangements now sounds like a good idea, but I do still just feel like it is fair to expect that he can help you manage this rough patch right now, too!
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Pressure to wean from hubby

    OK, just to look at it from a different perspective- Would your husband back off suggesting weaning if you just stopped asking for help from him with baby at night? Because if we knew more about your daytime schedule/responsibilities etc, I think we could help you brainstorm the other ways a tired mom can work on getting more sleep.

    While I get it you feel overwhelmed some nights (and certainly I have asked my husband to take my baby when I am tired and done at night ) what I do not do is say "take crying/fussing and very heavy 15 month old baby for two hours." If your child will not settle some other way than nursing, that seems a bit of a hard thing to lay on dad in the middle of the night.

    HOWEVER, since your husband has "pressured" you to wean not just this child but also your older child earlier than you or your child preferred, my guess is there is more to your husband’s objections than the sleeping arrangements. I think that when it comes to important, difficult parenting decisions where parents are not in agreement, what is required is calm, non-rushed conversation(s) where you both respectfully listen to the other's concerns and calmly explain your point of view.

    And yes, I get it that such a thing is very hard to arrange when you have two young kids. But trying to address such an important issue, something that affects your health, your child’s health, and the harmony of your marriage, when you are rushed and/or exhausted is not going to lead to a productive conversation and instead leads to what is happening now- ‘offers’ of unattractive 'deals' and threats.

    As far as what articles might be persuasive, I can suggest several articles and a book about the normalcy and benefits of toddler nursing. But if they will be at all persuasive depends entirely on what the real root of your husband’s concerns are. Nursing past age 1 and sleep is not an area that is very well studied. There is absolutely no evidence that nursing past age one is in any way harmful and plenty that it is beneficial, which is why major child’s health organizations suggest children be nursed until at least two and for as long afterwards as “mother and baby desire.” Or similar language. This would not be the recommendation if breastfeeding was known to be harmfully interruptive to a mother’s or a child’s sleep.

    But as far as whether or not “baby will settle better for dad if weaned” or “baby will wake less at night if weaned or night weaned' goes, I doubt there is conclusive scientific evidence either way because it simply has not been studied for this age group, at least, not that I am aware. Mother’s sleep has been studied in baby’s under one and it was found breastfeeding mothers reported more over all sleep. http://www.naturalchild.org/research...ng_sleep_2.pdf

    certainly you will find lots of anecdotal evidence from different sources and the mothers here, and I think that much of it will suggest that, unusual circumstances aside, children start sleeping all night when they are developmentally ready, and not before. But is that going to be persuasive?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; October 17th, 2013 at 12:16 PM.

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