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Thread: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

  1. #1
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    Jan 2006
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    Default I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    Hello, everybody,
    I have just joined this forum, because I would like some advice on this situation:

    My daughter is two years old. She has been fully breastfed until eleven months old, then mixed fed due to me returning to work. Since I was by then pregnant again, I gradually reduced her breastfeeding to once a day. She was happy with that and would actually have often gone without, had I not offered. We were keen for her to continue breastfeeding, because we expected this to help her adjusting to the situation with the new baby.

    When the baby arrived, my daughter continued with her daily breastfeed in the mornings. However, after a while she began to ask for breastfeeds during the day, which she had never done before. This may be due to feelings of insecurity or to the abundance of milk or a combination of both. Initially, I did not mind, because I had half expected it anyway. However, it has now got to the stage of her wanting to breastfeed six or seven times a day. This is something that I cannot physically cope with, in addition to the baby, who feeds at least every two hours, often more. Therefore, I am trying to restrict her feeds to twice a day, but she is not happy with that. I also feel increasingly uncomfortable when my daughter is breastfeeding, and often catch myself wishing she was finished.

    Obviously, this is no time to wean her of the breast, since she wants it so much right now, but I am conscious that my feelings of resentment might eventually be transmitted to her. I would very much like her to breastfeed only once a day, in the morning, and certainly not away from home and in company. While on the one hand I say to myself that there are many things that I do not allow her to do whenever she wishes, I do on the other hand feel rather guilty about refusing her a breastfeed. I am rather unhappy with the current situation and would like to know what other people have done in similar circumstances.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    I am on the other end and would LOVE for my 19 month old to start nursing with my new baby, but...

    When she asks for her nummies try offering to play with her a favorite game, blocks, etc. (this is what I do with my 19 month old daughter when I know she needs some one on one) Or you could offer her a usually limited food in exchange, my daughter would have yogurt all day if I allowed her. Sit and read her a book while you cuddle. Turn off all outside influences TV, phone, etc. Make her #1 for a while. Wear the new baby in a sling or other carrier if need be. Remember she is watching this new baby get some of the attention that used to be hers and she needs to know that she is just as important. Let her help with the diaper changes by pulling the fasteners into place, or holding the wipes for you, getting the diaper, tossing the used diaper. When bathing give her a very small cup to pour over the babies tummy... You get the idea. With all this she may feel like a big girl and you can begin telling her "Oh look time for the babies nummies". She may eventually decide that it is for babies and she is no longer a baby since she is doing all the big girl stuff. These are all things I do to help my children feel important when we have a new arrival. I know it is a lot and she may not like some of them, but she will slowly loose interest. You may also try telling her that nummies is just for bed time and see how that works. I know this is a lot, but I have 4 children and I cannot think of 1 thing that works for them all the same.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    Thanks for your advice. I'm doing a lot of what you suggest with regard to helping her adjust to the baby, also I have explained to her why Gregor has to nurse so much more, since he cannot eat anything else, while she can eat x, y, z. Tried the book/cuddle thing, but she can be very determined. I think I'll try offering her mandarins instead. However, I don't really want to wean her, just because I don't like it anymore. Could this be a phase that passes?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    A Phase... Absolutely it may be that it is making her feel important to know she can. Mine will not nurse, but I have to get a breast out for her. Sometimes it is just to see me do it, other times she wants me to keep it out for a while . The older the new baby gets the less she has wanted this.

    typing amd nursing

  5. #5
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    Default Re: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    I just wish that I could feel better about it. I find it really quite physically unpleasant, and that is so sad.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    Hi, Virtuella,

    I can absolutely identify with your post on not enjoying the tandem nursing. The first few months I nursed my sons I found very difficult. My oldest was 27 months when my second son was born. The older son began nursing many times a day more than before the baby was born. The most difficult for me was nursing them at the same time. I felt almost suffocated! Someone may ask why I continued to nurse both boys. To an outsider, they might have thought I was needlessly "torturing" myself, making myself a martyr in the name of "natural" parenting. But I knew in my heart that my older son needed me even more than before the birth and that nursing was meeting his needs. Sometimes doing what's natural doesn't come naturally! It reminds me of the early days of nursing a newborn...so many adjustments! Everyone must find what works for them best, and I did that by trying to substitute nursings with books, games, tv shows, time with daddy. But the more I pushed my older son away, the worse things got, the more upset he became. I responded by allowing him to nurse as much as I could allow emotionally. (Don't offer, don't refuse) I ate and drank to comfort and got a break whenever I could (a walk by myself was heavenly and quite restorative). As he adjusted to his new sibling and understood in his heart I was still his mommy, he was okay with nursing less frequently. He is three now and a famous "marathon" nurser, meaning he can nurse for 1-2 hours straight! I gently tell him mommy's done and it's time to "let go", we'll nurse later. Sometimes he whimpers, but he is usually on to another task soon after. I've learned that he is a high needs nurser, despite all the "tricks" of trying to persuade him to meet his needs through food, drink, play, etc. Sometimes he'll accept a substitute for momma's milk, and sometimes not. Through our experiences, we've grown in our ability to express personal needs and limits. I've learned to say "mommy is not nursing right now", and know when to stand firm and when to relent and allow him to nurse. And in the early days when I felt very resentful, I would calmy explain that sometimes mommy felt grumpy and it wasn't because of him. I think it's important to put into words how one feels. Some children will understand this more than others, but it felt good to me to accept how I was feeling without feeling guilty about those feelings. It can be quite an adjustment to becoming a nursing trio...I highly recommend Hilary Flowers' Adventures in Tandem Nursing...it helped me learn more of other mother's experiences and what was considered normal. It was a fine resource since where I live, extended, let alone tandem nursing, is quite taboo and I don't find other mother's to talk about common feelings or situations with.

    I wish you the best in finding your way in this period of your life! Follow your heart and you'll discover the balance in respecting each of your needs! As I write this, my 3 year old and my 1 year old have nursed a few times today and I no longer feel so much resentment and "trapped" feelings. I can truly say I now enjoy my sons in our nursing relationship and I feel such a deep feeling of pride in all that we've been through to come to this peaceful place.

    WarmLLLy,
    Eve

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    Thanks for your reply, you seem to deal with things wisely!

    Unfortunately, having a break for a walk on my own or anything of the kind is completely out of the question, since baby's appetite is so unpredictable.

    Breastfeeding the toddler is really just the tip of the iceberg. I'm not at all coping well at the moment due to exhaustion. At two years old, Antonia still does not reliably sleep through the night and when she wakes up, though Daddy deals with it, I always wake up, too. But that's small fry. Baby Gregor rarely sleeps more than an hour at a time, often only half an hour, then needs me to get up and walk about with him, or breastfeed and then get up and walk about. It usually takes longer to get him to lie down again than he will then stay asleep. He is four weeks into Elizabeth-Pantley-style sleep training and we have seen no improvement yet. My husband tries to help out by taking Gregor a couple of hours in the evening, but that means Gregor is sleeping on his chest, which doesn't help the situation long term. He takes only cat naps during the day and is often grumpy, because he is tired, but just won't sleep.

    On top of that, Antonia has now given up napping (until recently, she had a two hour lunchtime nap), so I have a non-stop day. And instead of now sleeping a bit longer in the morning, she wakes up an hour earlier - and is grumpy from lack of sleep. She is also less likely to play on her own for a little while than she used to be, so even just sitting own with a cup of coffee and a book is a luxury I can rarely afford now. I dedicate the precious time of Gregor's tiny naps to Antonia, reading books or cuddling with her.

    Oh, and then of course, the ironing is piling up, every room in the house looks grubby. I used to do housework with Gregor in the sling, but he weighs eight and a half kilos now, and I can only carry him for so long. My back is sore enough as it is from picking him up again at least a dozen times whenever I try to put him to bed.

    My husband does what he can to help, but he is suffering from sleep apnoea, waiting to be fittet with a breathing device, but that won't happen for another two months. So he is exhausted, too, and I don't want to ask too much of him on top of his rather taxing job. My mother-in-law is always happy to help, but she is over seventy, frail, and she has her huge house and garden to look after and her own ancient mother, so I don't really want to ask her. My own family live abroad.

    Just now, I have been up for the last two hours trying to get Gregor to lie down again and have eventually given up. He is now sleeping on my chest, but I must be grateful that he at least lets me sit down. I have had about two hours sleep tonight and am unlikely to get more. If I put him down, he is bound to wake up again before I get comfy. He usually sleeps a bit better towards the morning, but then Antonia will waken up, ans there's no use trying to fob her off with Daddy, because she wants to breastfeed...

    Sorry to whine, I am really feeling sorry for myself at the moment. I do so enjoy my children in general, but right now I am just too tired.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    Oh, Virtuella!

    It sounds like you are feeling totally overwhelmed right now, dealing with a baby who doesn't sleep long, a needy toddler, and just getting through the day (with housework on top of it!).

    Here's a hug for you!!!! Do continue staying connected to whomever you receive support from and know that this time of life will pass! I really hope a sleep solution opens up soon for you; it sounds like you have tried a few things already and are doing the best you can. Your children are lucky to have you for their mother! It can be very difficult dealing with anything on such little sleep. Perhaps there is a Nighttime Parenting forum here that may have some ideas you haven't tried yet.

    It sounds like sleep and self-care are your top concerns, but that there is a lack of help for you---husband and family, mainly. Perhaps another mother in your area/friend/neighbor could visit and watch your older child during the day for a bit while you and baby lie down and nurse (at least some rest, even if sleep is elusive). Lack of support can be a challenge and is one that many mothers face.

    Hang in there!

    WarmLLLy,
    Eve

  9. #9
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    Oh, (((HUGS))) to you Virtuella! It sounds as if you are completely overwhelmed right now. There really isn't anything easy about being a parent of a newborn AND a toddler! But do trust that if your baby needs to sleep on your chest right now (read: as close as he can possibly get to another human being) that it's okay to do that -- you certainly aren't spoiling him. My personal motto is that I'll do what it takes to get everyone in the family the most sleep! If it means nursing my baby down or co-sleeping or whathaveyou, then I'm all for it (as long as it's AP-related!).

    I don't recall seeing how hold your little one is and that may make a difference in how you parent. But I wanted you to know that there's nothing wrong with baby sleeping on your chest. In regardst o your 2 year old, I also know that the more one resists nursing, the more the nursling HAS TO HAVE IT. NOW! LOL Above all, just remember -- this too shall pass. Do what you need to do to get yourself and your babies through this. I promise you, one day it will all seem like the distant past

  10. #10
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: I'm resenting to breastfeed my toddler

    Thanks, everyone.

    Carol, I know I cannot spoil Gregor (he's 5 months, btw), but it's a question of where he thinks his sleeping place is. I subscribe to most AP ideas, but I believe my children will come to no harm sleeping in a cot beside our bed, and that is where I need to have him sleep for my sanity's sake and so I can have some time during the day with my hands free for Antonia.

    Well, I have taken your advice to heart and try to accomodate Antonia's nursing requests as much as possible, but it still makes my skin crawl a lot of the time. Isn't that awful to feel like this about my own sweet child? I wonder if it is some instinctive reaction of my body in order to protect baby's nursing needs? I am sure it has nothing to do with our relationship in general, because we are fine otherwise. Well, apart from the fact that I am nagging a lot, but that's due to sleep deprivation.

    I also wonder if she needs to nurse for reassurance not so much because of the baby (she quite likes the baby), but because of something else: Sorry, if this sounds like bragging, but she is extremely bright. She will only be two in February, but she speaks two languages fairly fluently in fully fomed and mostly grammatically correct sentences. She says rather abstract things like: "Rabbits live in the woods. Some animals live in the water, for example ducks and fish." This is just her little reflection as she is looking at a book, and it is not something I told her. There are other indications, too, and we wonder if her intellectual development is racing ahead at such a pace that she cannot cope with emotionally. All these ideas going round on her little head, I think it is just too much for her. Do you think she needs nursing just to be allowed to be a baby sometimes?

    Sorry, if I keep going on and on, I feel really awful these days, and just writing about it all helps, Thanks.

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