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Thread: Problems with family

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    3

    Question Problems with family

    I'm super stressed about problems with my boyfriend (baby's dad) and family regarding extended breastfeeding. I have a 13 month old who is a very demanding nurser. I am a college student so I do leave him for a few hours each day, and all of the sitters I have including his dad tell me (and him) that he should stop nursing. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Problems with family

    They actually tell your 13mo son he should stop nursing?? Oh geez.

    I guess your child is going to learn early that adults aren't always right and may sometimes be really dumb. Fortunately toddlers aren't known for their pliable wills. If he needs to nurse and you are willing to nurse him, he's not going to wean because a sitter tells him to!

    My usual advice is to tell the critics, in one way or another, to butt out -- except when it's your SO/baby's father, then you need to have some frank and open conversations to help him understand the whole extended nursing thing. IMHO, he is the only person outside the breastfeeding relationship who has any need to know anything about the breastfeeding relationship.

    With the other sitters ... you need some good one-liner comebacks that will, over time, get the message across: MYOB. There's a thread somewhere on this board with a great list of handy responses to criticism. If I can find it, I'll post the link.

    For your boyfriend, I'd try to start with the question -- why does he feel this way? His advice is wrong, but his feelings need to be recognized and honored with a considered response, not just "Well you're dumb to feel that way." My own husband was never much of a BFing supporter, and our extended breastfeeding just baffled and even repelled him at first. I think it all just came as a huge shock to him -- and he also saw the BFing as interfering with my career and thus depriving us of needed income. Over time, with patient persistence on my part (and often just a calm brick-wall demeanor -- "I love you and we both love our son, and nursing is something our son needs"), my husband grew to accept our continued nursing and learned to at least keep his mouth shut and stay out of our way.

    Good luck to you! I truly admire your commitment to breastfeeding your toddler even as you manage the responsibilities of school! Let us know how you're doing.

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,551

    Default Re: Problems with family

    Hi Cadensmom,
    It must be hard to have to rely on family/sitters for help, yet feel so unsupported. Family members are usually well-meaning. Many times they think weaning will make things easier for you, or solve sleep issues, or whatever. If they haven't been exposed to toddler/extended nursing before, they might just not understand the benefits. And that the benefits are worth it! If he is a "demanding nurser" it might be very stressful for him to wean right now.
    Do you have time in your schedule to check out a local LLL meeting? It may help to find other nearby mothers of nursing toddlers. (I realize that at 13 months he may or may not be actually "toddling" yet!)

    Here are some resources that might help.

    How do I respond to and avoid criticism about breastfeeding?
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/criticism.html
    Making It Work - Respecting Opinions
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBMarApr04p62.html
    Responding to Criticism
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/NB/NBJulAug99p116.html
    At the end of this article are some nifty examples of different ways of handling the situation.

    Example - A grandmother is concerned about a baby sleeping in the parents' bed. She might say, "Carmen, I just can't believe that you and Kelly don't put Chloe in that beautiful crib."

    Ignore - Avoid eye contact, turn away, walk away, change the subject. “That reminds me that I still have a load of laundry to get in. Would you watch Chloe for a moment?”

    Inform - Refer to an authority, such as a medical professional, a book or article. “Although sleeping with a baby seems like a bad idea to you, I have several books that recommend it.” Or, “Would you like to read what Dr. Sears says about how sharing sleep may help prevent SIDS in NIGHTTIME PARENTING?”

    Humor - Make fun of yourself or the situation, not the other person. “You know, you might be right. If I have to go away to college with her and sleep in a dorm, that'll get old fast!”

    Acknowledge - Acknowledge the other's viewpoint without agreeing or ask a question to shift the focus to the other person. “I know you think having Chloe in our bed is a mistake. It's working for us so let's just agree to disagree, and not talk about it anymore.” Or, “What was it like for you when your children were babies? How did they sleep?”

    Empathize - Open the door to further conversation, demonstrate your understanding of the other's feeling and meaning. “You're worried about Chloe sleeping in our bed because you think it's dangerous. You don’t want her to be hurt.” Or, “You're concerned about our relationship because it seems to you that with Chloe in our bed we'll never have any private time.”

    HTH,
    Mary

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: Problems with family

    The Medical Journal Watch report a couple months ago also said that a 30 year study recently concluded that sucking/nursing to sleep does significantly reduce the risk of SIDS -- my boyfriend is an OBGYN & I listen to his update tapes sometimes....

    Besides that, it's between YOU & baby -- do they need you to tell them how to wipe their butts? No? Then they don't need to tell you what to do with your breasts & baby
    ~ Tiffany

    Child Passenger Safety Technician
    Home/unschooling mama to my Kindergartner!
    Leila Maribelle self-weaned at 4 years old....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    273

    Default Re: Problems with family

    I think it's wonderful that you are still nursing your 13 month old DS! I've been blessed with not having any comments, so far, about still nursing our 19 month old DS. I also nurse our 7 month old DD & we are going to allow our children to "child-led" wean themselves. Both of our children are "demanding" nursers. Sometimes during the day, our DS nurses more than our DD! Each child's needs are different & therefore no "certain" age is "too old" to still nurse. This September we will be celebrating our children's 1st & 2nd birthdays together & I'm nervous that when family/friends see me nursing our kids "still" that the poblems will start then. But I know that I'm doing what is best for our babies & I hope you know that you are too!!!! Best of wishes!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Problems with family

    I respond to criticism from family (fortunately NOT my wonderful husband who thinks bfing is the greatest thing since sliced bread!) with informing, as in Mary P's post. Like "there are lots of new studies on the benefits of extended breastfeeding and child-led weaning".

    I think however you decide to resolve it, you should put a stop to these adults telling your child to wean. You don't want your baby to feel any stress being "in the middle" of a disagreement. If they have something to say about it, they can say it to you, not your child.

    It's not easy to be unsupported, I'm sure. Hang in there. You know what is best for you and baby better than anyone else. Best of luck to you!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    113

    Default Re: Problems with family

    I would suggest setting boundaries and letting these people know that you are simply not interested in hearing advice about breastfeeding nor will you accept them telling your child it is not okay. Set them now, because it won't stop with breastfeeding, you have so many more things that well meaning people will try to "help" you with. Bottom line is your are the mommy and the one who needs to make the decisions on these things!

    I like these comebacks, too.

    To moms who make the decision to breastfeed for longer than seems acceptable in our society or believe in child-led weaning, there are two age-old questions that can be asked so often that it can make a mom feel like she is on trial, even if the person is asking innocently enough. How can moms best answer the question and still be polite and keep a sense of humor? It is a difficult task to find the right words for every situation. It really depends on the person asking, the circumstances, and the relationship between this person and the mother. Here are just a few inventive remarks to help moms answer with confidence.

    Responses to "Are you still nursing?"

    "No, I'm not, my mother lives too far away. Jacob is, though."

    "Of course! Nothing but the best for your grandson!" (or nephew or whatever)

    "Yes, isn't it amazing? I am so glad he's not in a hurry to grow up"

    "Yes, it's really been a life-saver, it is the only liquid he'll drink when he's not feeling well"

    "Absolutely, isn't love a wonderful thing?"

    "Yes!" (then hold up your hand expecting the other person to high-five you)

    "Right now? No, he's over there playing. I need him to do it"

    "I was never a nurse. I don't like needles! I'm an Accountant, remember?"

    "Yes, his doctor is so thrilled. So many moms give up due to pressures of friends and family" (hint hint)

    "Yes, and he's a real pro at it. I am so proud of him"

    "Everyone asks that, it must be because he's so incredibly healthy" (not really answering, but it gets the point across that you aren't planning on answering)

    "I get that question all the time. It is so great that people are looking out for him!" (again, not answering)
    "Yes, he deserves the very best. He's such a good baby."

    (for someone who continuously asks) "It is funny how people ask that, but then they don't really want to know"

    (for someone who continuously asks) "Of course, I am glad you keep asking. It shows you want the best for him"

    (and another for someone who is hounding you to no end) "do you really want to know this time? You didn't seem satisfied with my answer last time."

    Responses to "When are you planning on weaning?"

    "I'm not. He'll wean me."

    "Before he graduates"

    "He hasn't told me yet."

    "I haven't asked him yet. He doesn't really make plans for the future at this point. He just does things day to day"

    "I don't know, I guess when my milk dries up" (confuse a person who has no clue about breastfeeding)

    "I hope not for a while. We're both enjoying our time together"

    "I don't know, when the puppies weaned, they were taken away from their mother. It doesn't seem like such a great thing to me"

    (sometimes they ask, "when will you start giving him cow's milk?") "Not sure, maybe if he starts thinking he is a calf"

    "What, and get my PMS back? are you crazy?"

    "I don't know. He seems to still enjoy it and I enjoy those extra 500 calories I burn"

    "It is so hard to plan anything with a baby. We're just doing things day to day."

    " We're in no rush, he has time to make up his own mind"

    "Thanks for asking. Everyone seems to need an answer for that except for me and my child."

    (and another for someone who is hounding you to no end) "It depends, when are you planning on asking me again?"
    Lori )O(
    Extended nursing, home birthing, unschooling, Nursing Necklace making, WAHM to Konur 3-11-01 and Mali 6-16-04
    Leave Nursing Necklaces Feedback Here

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