I am still nursing my just three-year old son before naptime and at bedtime. He nurses for only a couple of minutes per side and we conclude the ritual with some cow's milk from a sippy cup and many kisses and hugs. But he often asks to nurse at other times, specifically in the morning upon waking and after his nap. Two days ago, he said somewhat mournfully, "You can't nurse in the morning in bed," a nursing that I eliminated more than four months ago.
After pressure from my husband, I began refusing the morning nursing and the post-nap nursing, but I now feel that this has been a mistake, as my son has become quite irritable and cranky over the last few months. Developmentally, he's on pace though not terribly social with other children and shy of adults, something my husband feels is "not normal" and seems to want to attribute partially to continued nursing, as he believes it's making our son "dependent" and "scared of the world." Our son is in a parent-tot playgroup and is scheduled to begin nursery school three mornings a week independent of me in January.
I feel beleagured by my husband's comments and I feel that our son wouldn't be asking to nurse if he didn't need it at some level, maybe to help face the challenges of development. We have a 10-year old son who nursed until he was just shy of three and whom I weaned relatively easily after feeling exhausted and doing care-taking of a dying relative. He nursed only once a day by the end.
I would like to move fully into the "don't offer, don't refuse" philosophy, but feel that I need to communicate to my husband why I feel this is the right thing for our son. I don't anticipate warm and fuzzy responses however. Thoughts and guidance would be appreciated.