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Thread: Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Unhappy Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

    I have bf'd dd for a year - and I am glad I did - but now she is so set in her ways she won't do anything but cry for a sitter - go to bed at night without nursing - and pretty much stay even with hubs for more than 2 hours.

    Did bf'ing her so long cause this? I like being needed and all - but I don't like the fact that she is so distressed if I have to go - and i find myself not doing things I need to (I.e. dr appt, eye exam) because i don't want to leave her with a sitter because she'll get so upset.

    *sigh*

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

    Take heart -- this stage won't last forever. And no, breastfeeding did not cause this behavior -- being securely attached to momma is the cause of this behavior, and that is a good thing for a 12mo baby to be, whether she is breastfed or not.

    Separation anxiety (which is why your baby cries when you go away) is very age-appropriate and normal for older babies. She will eventually learn that she can be okay without you for a little while. This will get easier as she gets developmentally old enough to have friends/activities separate from you. Believe it or not, eventually this securely-attached baby who cries when you leave the room will be a securely-attached 6yo who kisses you goodbye in the morning, passes through the kitchen at lunchtime and won't stop long enough for you a cuddle, and then needs maybe 10 minutes of your undivided attention in the evening so she can tell you all about her day.

    Hang in there -- I know it's hard, but your sensitivity to her need for your presence will pay off in the long run. As for appointments -- some mothers find that it works well to as a friend (or pay a sitter) to come along to the appointment and just play with the baby in the waiting room, to minimize the separation sadness.

    --Rebecca

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    8,018

    Default Re: Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

    IME, separation anxiety is not directly related to BFing. My DS, who was weaned at 6 months, had just as much if not more separation anxiety at that age than my DD (still BFed) has now. I think it's very normal for BF and non-BF children.

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Default Re: Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

    From what I've read about separation anxiety, and what has seemed to be true for my son, is that it gets progressively worse until it peaks around 18 months or so. Then it starts to gradually get better. While some are more anxious about separation than others, it is a very normal part of toddlerhood. What worked for us at that age if I needed to be away over nap time, was my DH or MIL (one of them was usually watching him), would drive around with him in the car to get him to go to sleep. My DS has been one of the most clingy toddlers I've ever known. Now at 2 1/2, though, even he can go for most of day without me and be just fine as long as he is with someone he knows well. I understand how confining it feels, but it will get better.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

    I cant imagine bf caused this. It seems more likely to me that it's a stage your lo is going through. I think some children are more clingy that others. My ds doesn't go down easily at night without nursing either, but then we've only ever tried it twice. I just avoid leaving him at bedtime for fear of messing up his nighttime sleep too. I sometimes run errands after he's in bed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    31

    Default Re: Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

    I agree with pp. My dd also would not be left with anyone - even dh but she has now gone through that and is very independant and strong willed. I feel extended bf has nothing to do with it. it is the way of attatched parents/children who need the comfort then thrive on their own because they know you will always be there. My dd also still feeds to go to sleep, so when I am out, we work naps around her being up with dh and ready for sleep when I get back.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    24

    Default Re: Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

    I don't think you should worry about this at all, just like the pp said Breastfeeding does create a special bond, but babies breastfed or not have this anxiety.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    138

    Default Re: Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

    I agree with pp's that breastfeeding did not cause this - my dd stopped nursing at 9 mos. and we still had the separation anxiety issue when she started daycare at 11 mos. I am curious, however, how you feel about not being able to leave. If you are feeling boxed in and held down by this, then perhaps you want to make some adjustments. If you are okay with it, then there is no problem.
    I will tell you that my dd had a hard first week and daycare, and now she is happy as can be there and at home. It just took her a bit to adjust. So, I bet if you start leaving lo with a sitter more often (preferably the same one), then your lo will get used to it and come to trust that more people than mommy can meet needs. Some mommies like being the only one, though, and some LOs are more stubborn about it being only mommy than others. My dd was on the stubborn side, but within a week she was pretty well adjusted to her teachers.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Have I Made a Huge Mistake?

    I'll say it too. Its normal. And if breastfeeding is to blame, then maybe it should also be the standard. I've always called my kid "velcro" and mama's girl, and get quite weary of it and my husband gets left out and... and... you know it all. But after 18 mos, she could go down for naps for sitters without shedding a tear. She still demanded "nursies" for nap from mommy if I was around. Now she is 2.5 and if dad's going somewhere and she has the chance to join him, she says goodbye to me with no problem. And yes she's still nursing. If I'm not around, she could care less about breastfeeding though. I went away for a whole weekend just after she turned two and she and daddy had a great time.

    From 8 mos to today, she has hated seeing me walk away (though it's far from a traumatic experience now). So whenever possible, I have the sitter take her away from me. At a year, THEY want to be the one to leave, not you.

    I do child care in my home and here's what's worked for me...
    If they are screaming and you aren't there, I'd recomend to the sitter to carry the child facing away from them or take a stroller ride or something along those lines. The trick is to be there, soothing the child, but at the same time giving him or her space. Stranger (and I think it extends beyond strangers) anxiety goes hand in hand with separation anxiety when they are that little. I once left dd in the church nursery and she was just fine until a care provider fixed her sock and then she flipped out. The sight of an other adult sometimes gets them looking for mom. Baby bjorn carriers are nice for this. Baby gets enough entertainment seeing things from up high and watching the world (gets mind off mommy), plus they are close to a warm loving body... but no one is in his/her face.

    There are definitely challenges to nursing past a year and getting such a huge attachment to mom, but they get smaller and smaller... you haven't created a monster that will get bigger with time, if that's what you're worried about. And this is coming from a mom who's SO ready to wean.

    For perspective, I care for kids with attachment objects. These stuffed animals are just as important as my dd's "nursies," if not more. The kids can't fall asleep without them, even with a babysitter. But you know what? I've never lost my breast at the store or left it at the sitters. And she's never spilled juice or fingerpaint on them. And my dd can go without them when I'm away. So I see her as a bit less needy than those other kids, even if the other kids' needs can be less of a burden on the mother. Know what I mean? Every child needs something to cling too. Be glad it's you.

    Julie

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