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I have a nephew who's 16 months old, only a few months older than my DS. They live in a different country and have ways of dealing with him which are different from mine. Still, I can't help being concerned and I would really appreciate people's opinions on this one. My nephew was bf until last week. My sister-in-law was convinced that bf was the reason for his poor sleep (has always been a poor sleeper apparently, waking up through the night to feed) and so decided to stop bf rather suddenly and abruptly. She took pills to stop her milk and moved out of the house for 5 days, leaving her DS with her parents . Well, her milk hasn't gone at all and now that she's back home her DS is absolutely going out of his mind, so much so that he cries inconsolably at night and makes himself sick. I'm told he also scratches his face and slaps himself. Last night apparently he cried so much that he had seizures . My sister-in-law is letting him cry it out . My brother is up with him at night for some of the time and does manage to calm him down eventually. I'm told that he's always been left to cry loads at night but the hysteria and self harming are only recent and they think it's because he misses his bm. I am incredibly worried about my DN. Can you tell me if what they're doing (letting him get so upset) is dangerous for this little boy? TIA
Didn't want to read and run. What an awful situation.
Are you able to talk to your DB about it? Perhaps there is more to it? Is he their first? I would have thought that simply the obvious level of distress should be sufficient to make them think again about their method. I presume that SIL's parents are supporting her in this which means you'll have an uphill battle.
I'd guess that you need to talk to DB about it and find out whether he is comfortable with it (I guess not if he's been up at night) and what he thinks the best approach is to change things.
That's horrible - and yes, it is harmful. The stress and anxiety this little boy is going through is exactlythesame, physiologically and emotionally, that an adult crying this much, would experience. Babies and toddlers self-harm because of distress - just as this little boy seems to be doing. This can have long-lasting emotional, mental and behavioural effects. No human being should be allowed to become so unhappy - it's cruel and damaging.
Your SIL does not need to go back to bf if she does not want to. But this little boy needs comfort and contact to get through the night, and not to be left to cry it out without comfort from her. She left him for 5 days, and stopped breastfeeding at the same time - his world was broken and she does not try to 'mend' it by comforting him at night. He misses his mother - it's more that than the breastmilk per se.
Perhaps there is something in her life, or her emotional state, that's preventing her from fixing things and maybe she needs help.
If you are close to your brother, you have to explain your feelings to him about this, I think.
Thank you both for your replies. Tiktok, I was hoping that you would reply and give me your opinion (which I value so much). It is what I feared unfortunately, i.e. that the extreme crying can have long term consequences. Yes he is their first. She never wanted to have him but my brother, and her parents, forced her somewhat. She has a lot of support from her parents who are living in because she's so stressed. She also has a lot of paid help (nursery, housekeeper, etc) as money is not a problem for them. I just cannot believe that she would let her DS get so distressed. My DB is not ok with this, obviously , because otherwise he would not be getting up and trying to soothe him. On the other hand, I think my DB, like a lot men, is very weak when it comes to this sort of issues and I guess he trusts his wife to do the right thing. I have written an email to my sister in law telling her that I think there is nothing "wrong" with her DS (she says that there is) only that he's making the wrong associations with sleep and clearly the crying it out tactic is not working and only making things worse because her DS is in fear of facing another night like the one before. I suggested they hire a night nanny and look at different strategies. I suggested that someone else sleeps with him for the time being at least. I don't know what else to do