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Thread: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

  1. #1
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    Default Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    There are changes going on in our lives right now. My almost-two year old is potty learning and he has become very defiant towards us and sometimes mean. He hits us and talks back - typical two year old behavior, but I'm just at my wits end with him. I'm already tearing up even thinking that I may have come to this decision to wean him.

    He still nurses quite a bit. During the week he nurses in the morning, after work, before bed and throughout the night when he wakes. On weekends when I am home with him he will nurse 5-7 times a day.

    He says "nurse please?" or "nursies -- please?" when he wants to nurse and in addition he signs "please" and cries when I tell him no. I can tell I am hurting his heart and I really don't want to hurt him. His latch sucks lately and I don't want to nurse him.

    I feel guilty. I wanted him to be in charge and decide when he was done. I feel like he still benefits nutritionally from breast milk (and very much so emotionally)....he is not on the growth charts at all for height or weight for his age (19lbs/30.5") - and I'm not sure if cutting out breast milk will have a negative effect on his already slow growth.

    My cycle is all messed up. It never was before becoming pregnant with him, I am just beginning to learn how to chart my cycle so I can figure out what's going on, but I am sure it has tons to do with the fact that we are still breastfeeding.

    I just don't know what to do. I am so sad and stressed and I feel like weaning will be so so hard and that he's not ready. I just want to love it and have it be easy. I don't even know that weaning is the answer.

    I told him that he couldn't nurse this morning before work and I feel so so much guilt. I'm just very sad and need some help please. My husband has supported my decision to possibly wean but asked me "well how long are you supposed to nurse for?" --- well I dunno! What do you guys think?
    Last edited by @llli*kevins-mom; February 21st, 2014 at 01:04 PM.
    Nursling: Kevin (March 2012)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    Aww, mama, you sound so stressed and sad! I'm sorry you're going through this rough patch. Like you said, this is totally typical 2 year-old behavior, but that doesn't mean it's fun to deal with.

    Are you thinking that weaning would improve your toddler's behavior? Because if you are... It probably won't. It's just going to be another thing to battle over. If you feel at all on the fence about nursing, I would really encourage you to continue because a) 2 years is very young for self-weaning, b) nursing is a source of security and connection and is probably a really valuable mothering tool right now, and c) your baby will diminish his reliance on nursing if you just give him time.

    What I would encourage you to do is to set limits on nursing. Continue to encourage him to use his manners- that "nurse please" thing is actually wonderful training for him. The more he gets the picture that nice manners are the way to get what he wants, the better. It will extend to other areas in his life.

    Also, it's okay to place time limits on nursing, in order to make it more tolerable for you. For example, you can night-wean. Make a rule that nursing only happens when the sun is up. You can make daytime sessions short- I used to allow my kids to nurse until I counted to 10 or until I finished singing "Twinkle twinkle". You can tell him to stop nursing if it's hurting you.

    When you're setting limits, you can expect some pushback. He may cry like his little heart is breaking, or throw a massive temper tantrum. But that doesn't mean you need to give in and nurse. As long as you are compassionately handling the problem, explaining and comforting as best you can, you're still giving your toddler what he needs. He might not be getting his favorite form of comfort, but he's still being parented in a loving way.

    Finally, there's no good answer to the "how long are you supposed to nurse?" question. For some moms, a few days or weeks of nursing is all they can handle. Some moms are comfortable nursing for years and years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a 1 year minimum, with breastfeeding continuing as long thereafter as "mutually desired" by mother and child. The World Health Organization recommends a 2 year minimum, and as long thereafter as mutually desirable. Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler suggests that a truly natural age of weaning would fall somewhere between 2 and 7 years, based on the weaning ages of other primates.
    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
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    Default Re: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    I know it won't improve his behavior. His nursing is just obnoxious most of the time - he wants to latch and unlatch a trillion times and get down and play and then come back. His nursing manners suck and he wants my hands to be in a certain place and he wants to touch my face and my lips or put his fingers in my mouth.

    Perhaps nursing manners are what we need to work on rather than just saying no completely. He really is the sweetest little boy with the biggest heart, but has been experimenting with pushing his limits lately. When we were potty training we wanted everything to be positive and (bad parenting right here) he had no time-outs or negative reinforcement during this time. It backfired and now we are dealing with the consequences.

    Weaning probably isn't the answer - I know it's not in his interest to wean. He loves to nurse. I just need to relax, it's rare that I can look at him when he is nursing and see him for the little baby that he is. It makes me very sad because he is growing up. There are all these "big boy" things happening and it just seems like weaning should also come with the territory. I have no desire to nurse until he is 4 or 5 or 7
    Nursling: Kevin (March 2012)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*kevins-mom View Post
    When we were potty training we wanted everything to be positive and (bad parenting right here) he had no time-outs or negative reinforcement during this time. It backfired and now we are dealing with the consequences.
    Positive potty training is much, much better than negative or shame based! My daughter will be 4 this summer, and we started "potty training" at 2. Big mistake. She wasn't ready, yes, she is extremely smart and when I talk to her the vocabulary is so advanced that it feels like I'm talking to an adult. But she wasn't ready, and it took like a year and a half to potty train. Anyway, I feel for you! Such a hard time when they are that age. I know it may seem like he's doing things on purpose but he probably isn't, again, even at 3 years old I rarely feel my daughter is capable of purposely doing "bad" things. Yes, once in a while, but she still can't really see the big picture of her actions.
    and Mama to two little girls

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    I agree!! It's also very difficult not to get frustrated, and then I get even more upset with myself for feeling that frustration! He's just a little kid. Boundaries are good. We started time-outs with him when he hits or bites (which luckily he has only bit once if I don't count biting while breastfeeding), but we stopped them when we started potty training - but I think we should have continued because he thinks he is in charge now.
    Nursling: Kevin (March 2012)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    My personal experience, I found that my frustration (and it is usually very great) with my kids at this age has more to do with my own unrealistic expectations of toddler behavior.
    A child who is barely 2 years old is not grown-up. They are still babies in many many ways. Yes they are beginning to gain independence and they are having all sorts of milestones. But weaning potty training those sorts of things often come much later.
    I understand the concern about giving into your child. But a two-year-old has no concept of being boss of anyone. To a two-year-old of course they are the center of the universe of course they have no way to conceptualize anything else.
    But that does not mean that they think of the themselves as your boss. A two-year-old knows on an instinctual level that if mother or whatever adult figure they rely on were gone, they would die. Quickly. So they are well aware that they are not the boss at all. Their entire world, and their existence is controlled by and relies on the adults around them. Their need for you is just as strong as it is always been. And meeting these needs builds the trust that will last a lifetime.
    I think encouraging nursing manners is a good idea. I also think that if the mother is truly unhappy nursing her child, it is not harmful to wean that child as long as it is as it is done gradually and with love. But I also think there is no need to be super firm about it weaning or manners or any of it at this age. If your child is doing things that bothers you, perhaps in some cases you can take a different view of those things. A child exploring their mothers face is a very basic and normal part of being a young child. If it hurts you then you can help them learn to be more gentle. But as an example, it does not need to be an unhappy experience to have a little fingers exploring our mouth and nose and eyes. Also It is perfectly typical for a child to wish to nurse for very brief periods of time to run off and run back at this age. This is not improper behavior it is normal behavior, healthy behavior. That does not mean you always need to let your child do this, it just means that there's nothing wrong with letting your child do it. There I s also nothing wrong if you are busy and don't have time to do that, with delaying or redirecting the child.
    Parents are often told not to let our kids 'get away' with things or not to 'give in' or not to let them run the household etc. etc. But letting a child be who they are at the age-appropriate time is not doing those things. It is merely respecting the child as a fellow human being who is that a very different stage of development.
    If you like to read I have three books suggestions that you may find helpful. One is mothering your nursing toddler. The other is your one year old (or your two-year-old) you could read it either at this point-by Ames and Ilg. The last and this is my favorite of all is 'kiss me' by Carlos Gonzalez, a pediatrician.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    Just want to say thank you.

    We are no longer talking of weaning him, which was my decision. It makes me so sad to think of taking his nursies away from him. We are still having a difficult time with him wanting more freedom, especially in the middle of the nights, when he wants to play or eat in the middle of the night and will not just nurse back to sleep like he used to.

    Now that he is doing much better with the potty training, his behavior has gotten much better. It's still not easy - as we all know - being a mom is HARD!!! But I'm doing my best and feeling much better, so thank you all!
    Nursling: Kevin (March 2012)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    Kevin's mom. I am glad to hear you aren't going to wean him if you think it's not ready, but I was coming to say that two is DEFINITELY old enough to work on nursing limits and manners. He is old enough to get that at this point it's a relationship between the two of you and he has to ask nice and be willing to negotiate so that you are a willing participant.

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    First of all, hugs, Mama I've been where you are. Resentment towards their own child is not a feeling any good mother wants, but sometimes it happens. For me, it took me a long time to realize that the resentment wasn't really the kid's fault, but sprouted up because of my own feelings of inadequacy and feeling like I was letting him down. In other words, it was myself I was resenting, but I caught myself projecting that resentment onto my son, and that had to stop. I'll confess I didn't handle things as well as I should have with DS2, a fact for which we are still suffering rammifications today. But it did help me to be a better mom to DS3, who has been an even more difficult toddler than his older brother(!).

    Setting limits at this age is not only advisable, but imperative. Your toddler NEEDS you to set limits for him; he is not yet capable of doing it himself. With DS3, when he asks to nurse at a time when I can't completely drop what I'm doing for an indeterminate amount of time, I tell him "we'll nurse to the count of ten," and then I will count-- fast or slow, depending on how much time I have-- and then unlatch him when I get to ten. He doesn't always like this rule and he lets me know it, but he accepts it because I've been consistent about it. He has also been night weaned for several months now (even though he still wakes a couple times a night and we help him settle back down in other ways), because I've been consistent about refusing to nurse after that last session before bed, until the sun is up in the morning. He doesn't NEED to nurse every time he thinks he does; what he is really needing is simply comfort and security, and I believe I can still give that to him (indeed, I am more WILLING to give that to him) without giving in to every request to nurse. Of course, you will make your own choices about what demands you are willing to accommodate and where you will set your own limits.

    And potty training....that's a whole other bear altogether....I actually learned my lesson with potty training with DS1, when I tried too hard to force it on him and he pushed back-- hard. Even positive rewards and praise weren't enough until HE could discover the intrinsic rewards for himself (though he was still happy to accept the external rewards as well). So with DS2, I didn't even try to potty train him until he started asking about it, and let him take the lead. He was 3.5 years when we finally put him in underwear and he hardly had an accident, because HE had made his own decision to stay dry during the day and use the potty. Interestingly enough, he had already been night dry for almost a year.
    ~Sylvia~

    Wife to Nick, m. May 2005

    Mommy to Gabriel (b. January 2007, 8lbs. 15oz.), nursed 18 months.

    Isaac (b. August 2009, 9lbs. 1oz- naturally), nursed 22 months, through PPD/PPA and emergency gallbladder surgery.

    and Corban (b. March 2012, 11lbs. 6Oz.- naturally in the water), my NICU baby, still nursing strong at age 2!


    Daughter of God

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Too much going on! I feel resentment towards my son

    I wanted to post an update since it's been four months since I made this post. Wow, it's good to be able to look back on how I was feeling then. My son has cut down his nursing significantly. We night-weaned him last month (my decision) and I am so happy I didn't give up back in February.

    His behavior has improved tremendously. His latch is no longer a problem, but he is down to nursing only 1-2 times a day. He occasionally gets heartbroken in the middle of the night when he asks to nurse and I tell him we only nurse when the sun is out, but he is beginning to ask less and less.

    Potty training is still a "bear". We have ups and downs still (four months later), which sounds like it comes with potty training at such a young age. Live and learn, I guess. I haven't decided if I prefer it to diapers. I am VERY happy to have gotten rid of the smelly wet bag and the extra laundry that came with cloth diapering.....but the four trips to the restroom every time we go out to eat is not so appealing either.

    I am just SO THANKFUL for this forum and the encouragement and for this forum!
    Nursling: Kevin (March 2012)

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