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Thread: Help please. In desperate need of help

  1. #1

    Default Help please. In desperate need of help

    Hi all, I am a SAHM to an almost 23 month old. I have always nursed on demand and still nurse him to sleep for every nap and at bedtime. He still wakes frequently to nurse at night. I don't think I'm producing much milk, it is primarily for comfort.
    My problem is that my lo uses nursing to control. He asks for 'boov' up to 100 times a day (no exaggeration). Often he will nurse for a nanosecond then go play. As soon as I get up from the couch he asks for boov again. It's all about control. He wants me to sit on the couch and not go do anything. He has my full attention for most of the day. I'm not able to wash dishes or even eat for that matter. Anytime my attention is not directed at him he asks for boov. He also does this when we are out anywhere. Grocery store, or anywhere that he doesn't want to be. I am at my wits end. Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Help please. In desperate need of help

    Hi maximomma! Welcome to the forum.

    First off I believe you that your child is asking to nurse 100 times a day. But I think it is unlikely he "using nursing to control." or at least, not in the sense that he is manipulating or having some nefarious plan to control you. This is just not how young children think. At this age, wants are really still needs. I am not saying your child needs to nurse 100 times a day or that you should nurse your 2 year old everytime he asks. I am just saying, kids ask for things all the time that they really can not and actually should not have. Candy. Soda. Construction machines. Know what I mean? At least nursing is not unhealthy or too big to fit in your house. If nursing is really about trying to get your attention, then maybe that is something to think about. Maybe try giving attention before he asks. If you are exhausted with his need for attention, are there other people in your lives who can give him attention?

    So your child asks to nurse when you are washing dishes or in the check out line. You say no, or not now, or whatever you say when you are not wanting to nurse. What happens then? Don't be afraid to allow your child to throw a tantrum. Tantrums are normal. Let it happen. If you are firm with your limits, he will eventually get the message, but it will take time, especially with a strong willed child. BTW, firm does not mean you must never ever decide to nurse after saying no. You can be consistent without being inflexible.

    No one can or should focus 100% on their child all day. But there is nothing abnormal about a 2 year old expecting that. For a child this age, mom truly is their entire world and they expect the feeling to be mutual.

    So, a couple suggestions. When you are able to give your child your full attention, I suggest try really focusing. No looking at your phone or the TV, pay attention to your child exclusively for the time you are engaged with him, as much as you can. These may be brief periods and that is fine.

    Then when you go to do something else, either give him something else to do or have him help. Sometimes the other thing is he sits on the floor and watch you do whatever you are doing. That is how I took showers when my oldest was this age.
    Does he not eat when you do? If not, can you eat while he sits with you and you talk to him? Maybe give him playdoh, or some kind of food or utensil to play with.

    How busy and varied is your life? Do you and your son have playdates or playgroups or classes to attend? Go to parks or for walks etc? He may be needing more stimulation/activity.

    This is a really hard age! It gets better.
    Last edited by @llli*lllkaren; March 7th, 2017 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Change to OP's username

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help please. In desperate need of help

    First off, thank you for your reply.

    To answer your questions:

    When I tell him, " We will 'boov' after X" his response varies from wailing "BOOOOOOOOOOV" and clutching on to me to collapsing onto the floor. I did start just letting the meltdowns happen and he will sometimes allow me to eat.

    I do attempt for us to eat together but anytime I sit down to eat, he wants boov. He's not really interested in eating most of the time (which is another thread altogether)

    I try to get him out and active doing something everyday. We have MyGym once a week, the remaining days are park, or farmer's market, or a kids museum, etc. I do think you're onto something in that it may be out of boredom when we are at home. But lately it has gotten to the point where he doesn't even want to go to the park (or wherever), he'll say "Home. Boov." He has figured out that I don't nurse him when we are out and about unless he really really needs it.

  4. #4
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Help please. In desperate need of help

    If he's so desperate for "boov" that he's resisting trips to the park or other opportunities for genuine fun, then maybe what you're seeing is some true anxiety over the thought that he might be losing access to boov. The old La Leche League maxim for situations like this is "Meet the need and the need will go away". So one avenue to try would be to give in to him completely for a while, and see if that decreases the anxiety around nursing.

    That being said, I know toddlers are self-centered little people, and it's totally reasonable to say that your child uses a demand for boov as a way to control what you do. He's definitely in the stage at which tantrums are normal, and sometimes just allowing them to happen is the way to phase them out. When a kid finds out that drama doesn't generate the desired result, the tantrums should end. My brother used to throw unbelievable tantrums at that age- he would writhe on the floor screaming and even lace his body through the legs of the chair so that he seemed even more tortured. My parents just calmly ignored it and eventually the tantrums stopped. My strong-willed firstborn was a mild tantrum-thrower and the way I dealt with it was to hug her (when possible) and calmly explain that no, she couldn't do/have the thing she was tantrum ing about, but she could have a nice alternative if she calmed down... That approach also worked.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help please. In desperate need of help

    I have tried the "give him boov whenever he asks" approach to see if that would help reduce, and it doesn't seem that it did. Granted, I was too tired to continue with that method for more than a couple of days.

    It is possible he feels anxiety because I bought the "Nursies When the Sun Shines" and "Sally Weans from Night Nursing" books a few months ago and still read them to him. I think he understands the concept, he just clearly disagrees with it lol.

    I'm really torn. I don't want to nightwean him because he loves boov so much but I'm so exhausted all of the time. I haven't had more than a three hour stretch of sleep in the last two years. MAYBE a four hour stretch a few times. Many nights he will wake for boov, roll over then wake again after 20 minutes and again and again for a couple of hours.

    I do think my lack of sleep affects my ability to be present with him during the day. I noticed that when I get a "decent" night's sleep (i.e., he only woke up 2 or 3 times) I have more patience and engage with him more.

    It is hard not to think I got myself into this predicament by nursing him whenever he wants (for the most part).

    I know I'm all over the place with my post. I'm just tired.
    Last edited by @llli*angelreeve; March 7th, 2017 at 01:13 PM. Reason: Edited to add

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    28

    Default Re: Help please. In desperate need of help

    Oh, mama! I so resonate with your extreme fatigue. I. GET. IT. Chronic sleep deprivation is no joke. I think your insight regarding when you get more sleep, you have more patience and can engage with your LO more is key here. It's so important to remember that there are 2 of you in this relationship, and by age 2, nursing is not the same kind of thing it was when he was a newborn. In my opinion (I am not an expert or a LLL leader, but I am a mama), it's time for some compromise.

    In my 18 months of experience breastfeeding my little person, I have learned and believe that there are so many "right" ways to do things, but that what is often most important is that you are consistent. Whether you decide to night wean, continue to nurse through the night but only 3x/day, nurse on demand, or whatever you do, I'd encourage you to be consistent and talk your toddler through it. Children are incredibly resilient and can adjust (of course there are exceptions, I'm speaking in generalities). You need to do what you need to do to be the best, most patient, most present mama you can be.

    Maybe a good question to ask is, if you could envision a reasonable compromise, where LO gets some of what he wants, and mama gets some of what she needs, what would that look like? Then commit to that. I wonder if it's a chicken and egg type thing. If he nurses 100x a day for a nanosecond, then cutting it down to wake, lunch, nap, and bedtime (for example) might mean longer sessions. Any change is hard and you will probably get some serious resistance. You can offer snuggles, talking, whatever you do, but I'd encourage you to be consistent. Sometimes the "broken record" approach is what I need to do with my toddler, for example, when it's time for a diaper change. The diaper change DOES NEED to happen, so yep, we need to go upstairs. Yep, we need to go upstairs now. Yep, we need to stop playing and go upstairs now. I'm a firm believer that children crave the stability of us being confident and consistent in our choices and expectations. It helps them feel secure about their world. Not rigid, mean, or inflexible, but compassionate consistency.

    Remember, your needs are valid! <3

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help please. In desperate need of help

    You didn't get yourself into this predicament by nursing all the time. I know that know-it-all advice-givers are always more than happy to tell you that something your child does is your fault, but babies aren't demanding because we are responsive parents. They are demanding because they are babies!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help please. In desperate need of help

    By 23 months I am a firm believer in nursing being a dance. And that by that age there is enough language in place to expect manners. And if my child would not adhere to my needs I would not give in to his wants. I think by that age I may have even had further boundaries in place. Like up and down for nap and bedtime only and only out in public if there was an accident. Like a nose dive of a swing. Otherwise we wait. Meltdown in the house were NEVER met with more noonie. I needed to do laundry and other stuff. My child WOULD try to get me sit down on the couch. Or ask to take a nap when he wasn't sleepy when he wanted more nursing. But that's because he DID understand the rules. I agree that it's not real manipulation as much as separation anxiety over realization that you are in fact 2 separate people and that you CAN and DO go away sometimes. But so what? Separation anxiety can't run your life. And in my world the ability to negotiate rules and boundaries was what allowed us to continue nursing for 4.5 years. The idea that we were always in the process of gradual weaning. Which went from On Demand, to Don't offer Don't refuse, to actual rules and boundaries. Your child is almost two. You have 2 year molars breaking that are going to create a genuine need at night and during the day due to pain. Needing to see you on the couch during the day is NOT the same kind of need IMO and I think that working on boundaries even it means meltdowns initially is probably really healthy idea so that you feel less trapped, less resentment and your child understands that nursing at this stage in his life is privilege based on his relationship with you. If one person in a relationship isn't getting their needs met, relationships dont' usually continue. So having boundaries you enforce will prbably be beneificial to both of you in the long run. Good luck.

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9

    Default Re: Help please. In desperate need of help

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to respond. The encouragement from people who have been there definitely helps. We are both sick right now, but I think when he is healthy again I will try to nightwean him with the thought that getting some sleep may help me give him the boov he seeks during the day. I have tossed the idea around to nightwean him for the past year, I think maybe the time has come. I will post with updates. Thanks all.

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