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Thread: Mummy Milk ADDICT, REALLY!

  1. #1

    Default Mummy Milk ADDICT, REALLY!

    Hello everyone, I'm new here & I really need some help.
    I am a mum of two beautiful breastfed babies, my first I breastfed until about 4 months through my second pregnancy (until she was almost 2) It was never anything but wonderful.

    Now the story of breastfeeding my son..
    Our son came home from the hospital with me after 5 days & woke up the next day with a fever of 40 degrees & ended up in the children's hospital for the second week of his life with a meningitis infection he had picked up in the hospital. There is the viral form & the bacterial form, one of which is the really nasty one which can cause brain damage etc.. & the other one is less extreme but still horrible & had our little one in intensive care very sick with a constantly high temperature they couldn't get down for the first 3-4 days. In this time they ran all their tests, including a lumbar puncture. Our son was given Morphine during this procedure, which I hated but couldn't change. He was also on a course of antibiotics & pain killers. I continued to breastfeed him whenever he would take it, going to him during the night - in short I tried my best to lessen the trauma of this time as much as possible for him & was with him most of the day also so he didn't feel too separated from me, he was, as I said only a week old.

    Anyway he recovered fine from that horrible early ordeal, but I think he may have been a little affected by it psychologically. My son is now 18 months old now, when he came back from the hospital he flat out refused to sleep in his basinet by the side of our bed. I tried very hard to get him to sleep next to me in his own bed as I was concerned about how some people believe co-sleeping to be dangerous for such a small baby. I cuddled him up & kept gently laying him back in his bed only for him to start screaming hysterically every time. After weeks of this I eventually had to allow him to sleep with me as he wasn't having a bar of it any other way. Now at 18 months he still cuddles up between my husband Because he would never sleep in his own basinet or later in his cot, he also napped in our bed, the only place he was used to sleeping & where it felt & smelt familiar. We honestly tried very hard to get him to 'learn how to go to sleep on his own', we never left him to scream, but we tried to give him the opportunity to fall asleep on his own. He never wanted a dummy, which made things a bit difficult. He never attached to any other type of 'soothing' item.. he doesn't care much for teddies etc. I had to let him fall asleep breastfeeding & then put him into our bed asleep.

    Around about 6 months he started showing the usual interest in solid food & we introduced them slowly in the recommended fashion, at about 12 months he was really keen on trying lots of different things, he loved his veggies & meat, pasta, rice, fruit.. he was really enthusiastic about food. Then, I'm not really sure when it started happening but he lost interest & started 'weaning back onto milk', even though I was still breastfeeding on demand & not 'trying' to wean him off it, he suddenly only wanted to breastfeed again & he really seems to prefer it over his solids. I put really tasty, healthy meals in front of him, things he loved before he hit this phase & he just shakes his head 'no' & pushes the plate away. I have never scolded him about it or reinforced his behavior by reacting at all. I just say 'ok, maybe you will be hungry later.' We eat our meal but before I finish.. 'K' tries to attack me for breast milk & I really mean 'attack' he is very forceful about it & grabs at me while I am trying to eat, pulling at me & screaming. I don't want to put him in another room every night so I can finish my dinner in peace but I also can't handle him always refusing to eat & then demanding that I give him milk exactly when he wants it. If we leave him in the highchair he screams & makes things very unpleasant for us all. During the day I seriously cannot have any contact with him without him reaching for my breasts, I realise there is a danger of his behavior getting worse if I reject him all the time, so I let him breastfeed some of the time & the other times I hold him & gently ask him if he would like some milk or a bit of juice with water in his sippy cup. Sometimes he takes this & sometimes he throws it away & starts after me again. As soon as I sit down for a minute anywhere he is scrabbling to get on my knee & suck. He is not thirsty, he truly is obsessive about breastfeeding & it is starting to be a real problem.

    My husband & I are very involved with our children & believe in the attachment approach. We spend time with our children, I do craft with them, play shops with them, build block castles with them, paint, play Play Doh.. we read to them.. they are not starving for affection or attention.

    I would not describe our son as an 'easy' child, beautiful, lovable, vibrant & happy, but very difficult in some ways.

    I asked our child's doctor about his reluctance to eat 'proper' food & only ever wanting to breastfeed all the time, she said that as long as I allow him to breastfeed of course babies like that & being close to their mother etc.. She said that our son is at an age where he knows what he wants but can also be told 'no'. I agree with this in theory & have been trying to be more assertive with him about his obsessive breastfeeding. My husband has had 10 days holidays over Christmas, he has been trying to take 'K' away from me a bit & distract him when he starts demanding milk all the time. This works but only after he has screamed & I mean really screeched & howled & had a complete flip out for half an hour straight & worked himself up where he does this hysterical sobbing & uneven breathing.. I hate it but he does his nut so quickly as soon as I refuse him the breast. I can't have him latched onto me all day, it's just not an option. With his somewhat forceful, stubborn personality I am at my wits end on how to handle this. I am awake with him all night at the moment, it's just getting worse, he wants to suck all night & as soon as I remove him from the breast to roll over & sleep, he wakes up & starts screaming. When I'm lying on my back he crawls onto my tummy & lies on top of me getting as close to me as possible & snuggles up into my neck with his body wrapped around me. Sometimes after a while of fighting me for the 500th time to suck he will go to sleep in this position, but again as soon as I try to slip him off me he wakes up screaming again. I don't know why he seems to need to be constantly SO attached to me & I don't know how I can 'back it up a little' so we can live normal functional lives. I've tried in desperation tempting him with chocolate milk in his sippy cup, also consistently tried to get him interested in a dummy (the lesser evil of me being the dummy..) I've bought him a little cuddly friend who's tummy lights up & plays soft music, he loves it & carries it around often but it hasn't lessened his 'boobie infatuation'.

    I am dealing with a very strong-minded child, he is bright & assertive, but very sensitive, he seems to feel rejected at the slightest attempt from me to reduce his breastfeeding & reacts very strongly. One time a few weeks ago I said 'no' to him in the middle of the night as he had breastfed so much already & I couldn't stand it anymore, I got him some rice milk & just said 'here you go have some of this & lets ly down & go to sleep..' he went from 0 to 100 in a few seconds, going hysterical, he then started coughing really badly because of the sudden screaming. I was holding him & trying to help him with the coughing & he actually ended up throwing up the milk he had drunken as a result of the screaming/coughing fit. After he got over the episode he crawled to the end of the bed & curled up by himself, when I went to comfort him he pushed me away. You may understand my reluctance to press him too hard on the subject, it can be really intense. The alternative however is also really intense, I can't live like this. Has anyone been through anything similiar or know what it is?, what it means?, how to deal with it?

    I have to find some way to do what's right for both of us, at the moment our best interests are seriously conflicting. I am also worried about his diet, obviously he does eat some solids but lately his stool has looked more like newborn poo, he needs to eat more solids.

    Please help me, I am literally going mad, I can't sleep..

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this & I would be so grateful for any wisdom anyone can offer me on this subject.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mummy Milk ADDICT, REALLY!

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mummy Milk ADDICT, REALLY!

    mumof2, I'm reaching out to give you a virtual hug because I can see this is so difficult for you. First your son contracted the meningitis and that was a harrowing experience, and now you probably feel like his needs are taking all of you and leaving little left for yourself.

    As a Leader, I can tell you that it sounds like you may have what Dr. Sears in his books calls a "high-need" child. It doesn't necessarily mean anything wrong or abnormal, just that some children have more intense needs and really know how to make them known.

    As a mother, I especially sympathize because your son sounds SO much like my oldest daughter! She was definitely a high-need baby and let us know if things weren't just right. I carried her all the time as sitting her down anywhere ever produced major fussing, she only napped once in her first year of life that I can remember where someone wasn't holding her the entire nap, it felt like she was attached to a breast all night (rolling away from her so I could sleep in a different position didn't work until she was closer to age 3), if she was near my breasts she had to be nursing ... So much sounds similar. Today she is a happy, healthy 6-year-old. She is still a high-need child in that she thrives on human contact (likes to sit next to us, prefers to play in the same room as us rather than in the basement, etc.) and makes her needs known, but it all seems so much more positive now. Instead of viewing her as we sometimes did as a baby, we view her as strong-willed and assertive, and those are very positive traits in an adult. Attending a workshop by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka at a LLLI Conference was really helpful. You might be interested in her book Raising Your Spirited Child if that seems to fit your son. Working on ways to direct that energy have been helpful to us.

    On another topic, you mentioned that he seems to be "weaning back to milk" and you're not sure when that started. If it has been somewhat recent, a couple possibilities are that sometimes little ones nurse a lot more when they are either feeling ill or experiencing a growth spurt. I remember lots of times telling my husband that for some reason my oldest seemed to be "nursing like a newborn again" even as a toddler, then the next thing I knew she would either come down with a cold or grow an inch! This also happened when there was a change in routine, such as vacations, having guests over or holidays.

    Something to keep in mind, though, is that I have heard some mothers say their children avoid foods when it turns out they were allergic to them. Does this seem like something that could be the case for your son? It might be worth checking into. I wonder about other issues that could cause a child to prefer breastfeeding over foods other than allergies, growth spurts and illness. I wonder if you or other posters can think of anything. Sore throat? Trouble swallowing? Sick tummy? (Of course I am no doctor.)

    You are very wise to have thought about offering him positive distractions. Many mothers do start to distract their children as they get older. A sip of water (my daughter thought an ice cube in hers was a real treat), reading a book or playing a favorite game work for some children, some of the time. As you have experienced, when they don't accept the distraction and really do need to breastfeed instead, they will sure let you know!

    You'll probably continue to think about him seeming to refuse solids now, but know that mother's milk does continue to nourish a child in a nutrient-dense fashion even if the child is older. Stool that's softer more like a breastfed newborn isn't necessarily a problem in and of itself.

    In the meantime, I encourage you to try to remember that while these months of his life are very challenging, they will pass. Sending you lots of hugs!
    Sue
    LLL Leader

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mummy Milk ADDICT, REALLY!

    Given the effect this is having on all of you is there a possibility you could go to counseling as a family (your older child is probably also feeling a little stressed out). You could all learn some techniques for coping (distractions, me time, etc, etc). If you are thinking about this you may want to do some research on the therapist and make sure you don't go to someone who has some different core beliefs than you do.

    FWIW Sue is right, everything that is causing you issues now will just make your child an amazing adult. He knows what he wants and will work hard to get it. He forms strong attachments to people. Very bright kids are much more likely to be high needs. etc etc. (My mom said she repeated that kind of stuff as a mantra when I was a baby - I was not easy!)

    to you. You are doing an amazing job in very difficult circumstances.
    Last edited by @llli*durhamgrrl; January 4th, 2009 at 04:14 PM.
    proud but exhausted working mammy to two high needs babies

    • my surprise baby: the one and only D-Man born 3 weeks late (5/5/08) at 9 lbs 14 oz and 21.5 inches, and
    • the shock H-Girl born about a week late (10/7/09) at 8lbs 15oz and 20.75 inches.


    If I am here I am covered in baby (probably two) and fighting for control of the keyboard.

    Family beds are awesome

    Wondering if you have PPD? Take the screening and see your doctor. You deserve to feel better.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mummy Milk ADDICT, REALLY!

    My older son was a milk addict (I even had a shirt made that says that!) He started on solids very well and then reverted to only milk. W hile he was not as grabby as your LO is, he refused all other solids (except junk like cracker or dry cereal).

    Unfortunately, I have to say that he is still the same way toward food. He does not eat well at all despite our best efforts to offer him healthy meals.

    One thing that did help us to wean from the breast was to involve him in daytime activities away from me. For us it was daycare, but perhaps for you it could be time with a friend or relative or something. It also helped to make sur ehe owuld be hungry when he was away. Then I would say "you don't drink mama milk at school, do you?" and try to reason with him that way.

    It is a hard place to be and I don't know exactly what the answer is because we haven't figured it out either. Luckily he finally weaned when I was pregnant with my second, but he still has not taken to real food very well.

    I hope you are able to find a solution that works for your family.
    Mari
    Mohamed 6-9-06
    Jad 11-27-08

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mummy Milk ADDICT, REALLY!

    Hi. I want you to know I do have what people would call an "easy baby" AND a GREAT EATER. But you know what? He just turned three and he still insists on nursing and acts like I have broken his hear into a million pieces when I try to say no. I have felt the way you have felt ALOT over the last year. That he only likes me for my boobs. It's frustrating but you know I can talk to my child, I can reason with him and the way he acts like he is gonna DIE if I try to cut the boobs off, just lets me know that it's still a real need in his life.
    If you want advice on food, I can certainly go into that in a different post. But I wanted to let you know even easy or good babies can be breast addicts and when any man big or small that we love seems to love us only for or breasts it hurts our feelings.
    I have actually recently resorted to working out hoping that the the change in lactic acid levels will change the taste and he will lose interest....the only other way I see a real change in his interest level has been getting him out of the house. In general we are down to 2- 5 x in a 24hour period. But I'd like to cut out all sessions that aren't connected to sleep and waking up. Good luck to you!

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mummy Milk ADDICT, REALLY!

    I can relate to so much of your post! Let me say though, my youngest will be turning 4 in one month, we weaned a month ago (let me tell you how shocked I was that she was up for it!), she's been eating fairly well for sometime (although sometimes it's ONLY hamburgers or ONLY hotdogs for a couple of days or even ONLY broccoli).

    I was going to suggest as a pp did that you get your child tested for food allergies. My lo turned out to be gluten intolerant and had no other symptoms than slow weight gain! I think that also made her reluctant to try solids, perhaps they were making her feel not so hot, but she couldn't tell us.

    Part of why you are having such I hard time I beleive is because of your lack of good sleep! Being an all night diner doesn't help with moods at all! Will your son sleep with your husband? For part of the night maybe?

    I had to set limits while eating dinner. It was rough! But I stuck too it...no 'den' until AFTER I finish eating...that helped me a bit. I let her sit on my lap, but she couldn't have 'den'. If she tried to rip my shirt of and take it herself I put her on the floor. I'm not a 'cry it out' beleiver either! But I reassured myself by saying I WAS there. I WAS comforting her, I just couldn't nurse and eat at the same time anymore!

    I also thought the pp suggestion of having someone else take your child at times could be a big help. If mamma's milk isn't nearby many kids give other things a go.

    Hang in there mamma!

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