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Thread: Need help and advice please!

  1. #1

    Default Need help and advice please!

    My daughter is now 6 months old and I'm breastfeeding her and also tandem nursing my 3 year old son. I recently separated with their father because of his infidelity in our relationship and I could no longer take being cheated on however, he still wants to be with the children and I'd love for him to be able to take them overnight. My son has gone a few days on multiple occasions without breastfeeding and has been fine, so I'm not worried about him, but my daughter has refused bottles since she was about 6 weeks old. I try giving her formula 2-3 times a day but she never drinks more than half an ounce. She's a smaller baby, only 12-13 pounds at 6 months and my doctor wants me to supplement with formula. She's been getting solid foods since she was 4 months and loves to eat them! I'm scared to leave her overnight as she still wakes up 2-3 times to nurse. I co-sleep with both my children as their father was never around and it helped me to feel safer knowing they were both right next to me. My big concern is that my mother wants to take me on a trip to Florida (I live in Colorado) for a week in September with my aunties and cousins for a girls week. I so desperately need this vacation, but I'm terrified of how my daughter will react to me being gone or that I will somehow cause irreversible issues in her life if I just up and leave her so I need to get us both prepared for the time apart and I don't know what to do. I didn't leave my son for more than a few hours until he was 2 so the thought of leaving her at 8 months scares me. They'll be with my ex-inlaws and their father so I absolutely know they'll be safe and well cared for, but I'm still super nervous. Whether I take the trip or not, my choice to leave their father means that I have to get her to drink milk from someone other than myself, as I will have to leave her to work and to spend time with her father. I'm sorry for rambling but I've never posted one of these before but I'm at such a loss and haven't found another thread with someone going through a similar situation. Thank you in advance for any support or encouragement you offer!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Need help and advice please!

    Hi and welcome, I am sorry you are having such a hard time.

    You and your kids are going through a heartbreaking change in your lives. Your children have just lost their father as a day to day presence in their lives. I am not faulting you at all, I just think that ideally this is not the time for planning long separations from you when the kids are adjusting to this loss.

    If the court is ordering overnights that is one thing. If your son is eager to be at his dads overnight, fine. Otherwise your ex can have plenty of time with the kids without having them sleep in his house rather than yours. Also, your ex could also give you time to yourself by taking the kids without having them overnight. Couldn't he? Sleeping overnight somewhere aside one's own house can be a scary experience for a young child whether they are nursing or not or bedsharing or not. Your children not wanting to separate from you, especially overnight, is entirely normal and healthy and not caused by your parenting choices.

    Maybe it would help to understand why split custody has become typical for even babies and very young children when such arrangements are so often so upsetting to them. The reason having regular overnight visitation at each parent's house became a typical thing is due mostly to the fact the courts allow a person who has the kids a certain amount overnight specifically, to pay less (or get more) child support. The visit does not "count", monetarily, unless it is overnight! It is not about what is best for the kids, it is all about the money!

    As far as getting your child to drink from a bottle, why is that your responsibility? If she goes to day care they will figure that out. If she goes to her dads, he can figure that out. A baby this age could also be fed milk with a sippy cup or an open cup just fine. She also eats solids. I suggest, stop obsessing about whether she takes a bottle or not. If you are leaving her in the hands of patient, competent people they will figure it out. Think of it this way- Are they worrying about how breastfeeding is going for you? Are they even thinking about how bottle feeding might be harming your ability to breastfeed? I doubt it. Yet breastfeeding moms are supposed to figure out bottle feeding for everyone else. I just do not get it.

    FYI slow gain can be caused by too early (previous to 6 months) or too "much" solids. Since your baby is eating solids already and now 6 months old, of course keep up the solids, but if you have a weight gain concern I suggest concentrate on those foods that are as high in fat and calories as breastmilk rather then pureed fruits and veges which fill a baby up without baby getting enough calories and fats. Here is a list that compares fat and calories in common foods: http://kellymom.com/nutrition/starti...yfoodcalories/

    Now, this trip in a month. Why can't your mom take you and baby on the vacation? The thought of a week away from your baby is terrifying you, and why wouldn't it. Your instincts are in the right place in my opinion. She will be 7 or 8 months old and at a delicate time for attachment. Maybe your relatives could welcome her along or postpone the trip until she is older. Or you and your mom could take a different vacation where a baby would be welcome.

    Here is a little story from my life about stress and anxiety and what actually helps and what does not. When I was 6 months old, my mom's doctor ordered her to take a week vacation because "her attachment to me was making her too nervous." Yes, that was the diagnosis as insane as that seems. She now had 4 kids under 9 to care for, had no family near her to help, her mom had just been put in a nursing home a hundred miles away with dementia and no longer recognized her, and her marriage to my dad was failing- but of course the stupid doctor thought the cure was to separate her from her baby for a week. Well she was worried and miserable the whole time and came back more stressed than ever. When she got back she hired a mother's helper a couple mornings a week and changed doctors and asked her siblings to help more in visiting her mom. There was not anything she could do about the rest but these simple common sense steps was enough to help and she was soon feeling much better.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; July 30th, 2017 at 12:30 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need help and advice please!

    Thank you @llli*maddieb you definitely sense my feelings around everything! It should be noted that the kids father has worked out of state since my first pregnancy, only being around for 1-2 weeks every 6-8 weeks so he's not really been a full-time presence in their lives so on a positive note, they're not feeling much change currently except that we are living at grandma's. 3 months ago, I chose to sell the home I've been living in for 9 years (before I even met him) because he didn't feel comfortable coming there as it wasn't "his home" so I made the difficult decision to sell and move to his North Dakota job to give my children the nuclear family experience. Unfortunately, he came home after they were in bed and left before they woke up almost every day of the week and drank so much in the weekends (because he worked so hard during the week) that he'd sleep until 1,2, 3 pm on the weekends so I finally gave up trying to make things work when I found out he cheated on me an 8th time in our 6 year relationship. I know that having to comparent (and not raising my children in a nuclear family) is not ideal and I feel that I did everything I possible could to prevent that from happening but decided that happy separated parents is much better for hem than unhappy parents who live together... I just wanted to give you some background as to why the split up happened. I do feel a lot of pressure to wean my daughter from family and the doctors. I experienced the same with my son and am now critized for nursing him still at 3. I'm so conflicted by what to do and feel like I have been, and will continue to be, the only one responsible for everything related to their upbringing but I'm so emotionally drained right now, I'm having a hard time just staying positive for my childre . My parents think my ex is trying to get the kids overnight to try and win me back but he really has no interest in taking the baby, she's a lot of work and he's literally never been alone with her.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Need help and advice please!

    Ok claski, I understand, I truly am not judging you for choosing to separate from your husband. Your story is actually filled with more recent upheaval for the kids (and you) than I initially thought, so again it just seems like this is the time to figure out where you go from here...but first you need time to grieve and just take a breath! Unfortunately I am not sure how much of a breath you can take, because the situation you describe is very alarming...

    I am sorry to be blunt, but from what you are saying your husband drinks to the point he is not able to function. A parent in charge of a 3 year old cannot drink to excess and sleep until past noon, and such a situation could be particularly lethal to a helpless infant. That is not a safe situation for either of the children to be in. Period. If your ex has no interest in taking the baby, great, because responsibly you could not let him. As far as the 3 year old, that is also not a situation that sounds healthy, even if there is a grandparent to help because how do you really know they would always be there? I would strongly suggest getting an attorney now and getting in front of this before you find yourself ordered by the court to leave your children for the weekend in such a situation. If you cannot afford an attorney then maybe this is something your mom could help you with rather than taking you on a trip across the country.

    I understand (even if I do not agree with) pressure to wean a three year old, because people do not understand that this is normal and healthy. But why in the world would anyone think it a good idea to wean a 6 month old baby? All recommendations are to nurse for at least a year, so your doctor saying this is very wrong indeed. I am not understanding that at all. Do you have any LLL groups near you for support? The last thing you need right now is a ton of judgment from your family for doing something (breastfeeding and co-sleeping) that is only 100% GOOD for your children.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Default Re: Need help and advice please!

    Hi Claski,
    Just some feedback for what it's worth. In my psych class on Trauma in Children, we learned of a study that showed that a separation between an infant and his/her mother for a week or more resulted in more aggressive behavior at age 3. I was separated from my son as an infant for over a week due to being hospitalized and I can testify that the study has been accurate in my own case.

    Also, weaning a 3 yr old at such a vulnerable time seems like it would only add to the stress of the situation. Again, for what it's worth, I would happily continue to nurse both kiddos for a long time until they no longer needed it, especially considering the circumstances.

    I'm sorry you're having to go through this. As a single divorced parent of 4, I would suggest really cultivating your self-care skills/hobbies, even if it's just for 5 minutes. That and a spiritual connection has been so helpful to me. I wish you and your children the best and I will include you in my prayer as I absolutely believe in the power of prayer.

    Maddieb gives great advice about getting a lawyer!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Need help and advice please!

    Thank you ladies both so much! It is definitely helpful to hear from unbiased people outside of the situation. I've been struggling with all the changes myself and often, when we're in the middle of it, it's so difficult to see what's really going on. I really have no interest in weaning either of them right now as I believe the nutrition and comfort is something they both need. My main pediatrician encourages me and thinks it's wonderful, but the doctor I've seen the last couple times wants me to "fatten" my baby up. Both my kids are in the 10th or so percentile so I just feel constantly hammered by people telling me how small they are and it's so frustrating because they're healthy and happy so why should their weight matter? My parents have been pushing me to make it legal and go to court but I've been afraid to get the courts involved in my life, I've made it 32 years without that! But my main focus in life has been, and will continue to be, on the best interests for my children. I feel like I'm supposed to be strong, move on right away and take care of everything, but I'm not here yet. This trip thing is annual so I can always go next year, I have a few other family members choosing not to go because of recent childbirth so I think they'll all understand. Unfortunately, it's supposed to be a "child-free' time so I couldn't really take her, but I would worry like crazy and definitely don't want to cause any future problems for my kids based on actions or events that are in my control. As for they're father, I'd like to trust he can not drink when he has them, but I worry about that. He took our son for 2 nights a week ago and I worried constantly. I'm having a difficult time setting boundaries with him. He's using "talking to the kids" as an excuse to text and call me all day long (which oddly is a lot more often than he ever did while we were together...) and if I don't respond, he accuses me of keeping the kids from him. Maybe court is the best option at this point.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Need help and advice please!

    I understand not wanting to get the court (state, government) involved in your life. But if you and your husband were legally married, that already got the state involved in your relationship and you will need to eventually legally sever the relationship or you leave yourself open to all kinds of financial complications potentially. Even if you were never legally married, if you have kids together he has rights to them that the state will see as equal to yours. It sounds like there may be multiple states involved (?) and that may complicate things further.

    Consulting with an attorney is not the same as going to the courts to start the process for divorce. It is an entirely private event for you to gather information and get legal advice. An attorney is hired by you and is (or should) act entirely in your interest only and advise you on your options, including what options you might have that do not involve the courts if there are any. Anything you tell an attorney with very little exception would be completely confidential, and that includes anything you say to a lawyer you are just consulting with and have not yet hired.

    My best suggestion is to talk to at least 3 attorneys before hiring one. Try to get recommendations from other people, but if needed you can look up attorneys on your states bar site. You should always do this anyway, as then you can see if the lawyer was ever disciplined by the bar. Some layers offer low cost consults and that is fine, others may charge their hourly rate for consults and that is also appropriate as long as they tell you how much in advance.

    Typically to hire an attorney after a consult, you must provide them with a retainer (basically, you pay in advance for a certain amount of hours of their services) and you should be clear on exactly what that will and will not cover. Usually retainers are NOT the entire cost, it depends on how long the process takes and what complications arise, also court fees etc. would normally be extra.

    Avoid the temptation to hire the cheapest attorney, cheap attorneys are usually cheap for a reason. This does not mean the most expensive is the right choice either. You want the best one for you, and that would mean they are well organized with a competent support staff, experienced but not jaded, and that they listen to you and your concerns and you trust them. They may need to give you some hard facts as they offer you your options, however they should not ever pressure you to do something you do not want to do unless of course you would be breaking the law in not following their advice.

    He's using "talking to the kids" as an excuse to text and call me all day long (which oddly is a lot more often than he ever did while we were together...) and if I don't respond, he accuses me of keeping the kids from him.
    I do not want to make you paranoid, but this could be your ex's attempt at gathering evidence to use against you. Remember the courts see fathers as having the same rights to their kids as mothers, (although some make exceptions in the case of babies). Be careful in all correspondence and even in what you say to your husband on the phone or in person as he might be keeping a log as well for evidence. You can do the same- keep a log, write down your concerns with examples, and the more specific you can be (time, day, how many drinks, etc) the better. You may never use this in court of course, but having things clear in your mind will help you when you talk to your attorney about your options. If your husband's attempts to reach you feel like harassment, that is also something to ask the attorney about.

    Breastfeeding: usually there is nothing wrong with babies being on the lower end of normal growth curve, it sounds like your usual pediatrician is happy so I think you can ignore this other one. If you want more backup that healthy children come in all sizes I suggest the book My Child Won't Eat. Of course even if a child really was not gaining well, the best thing that child could possibly eat is breastmilk.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; August 1st, 2017 at 12:46 PM.

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