Advised to stop bfing baby because of toddler's challenging behaviour

(56 Posts)
BabyLove2014 Thu 06-Feb-14 22:51:58

I am devastated. My 2.5 year old bit another boy on the hand at his playgroup today. He was there with my mother and has been told they would rather he didn't return.
Both my mother and mother in law have put it partly down to him not getting enough attention from me.
I agree this may be partly true as I posted not so long back about how I could manage bf my baby with a toddler to entertain.
Thing is: I either give up bfing to see if that helps DS1's challenging behaviour and feel guilty about how this affects my 5 week old baby or I continue bfing and worry about how it is damaging my other son. He has shown nothing but affection towards his little brother so I am not even sure this is the root of the problem. He has been physical in the past when frustrated but never before on this level.
Not only do I not know where to go from here with the bfing but also with DS1 biting - how do I stop this becoming a habit?

Congratulations on your baby and I'm sorry you have this to deal with too.
How many times has he actually bitten? IME many children seem to go through this phase, with no lasting effects grin
Your baby will still need a hell of a lot of attention whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Can you snuggle up together when you're feeding and watch cartoons or read a book?
It's a phase. It will pass - both in fact, your toddler's challenging behaviour and your baby needing to feed all the time.

gamerchick Thu 06-Feb-14 22:58:04

I think I would probably speak to the nursery in person tbh. I wouldn't trust the word of anybody who would blame common toddler behaviour on breastfeeding.

Well you can give up breast feeding, but tediously you can't give feeding! So you then have a 6wo who can't be comforted on the boob, and you can't read Thomas The Tank Engine stories while making up a bottle, but you can feed ds2 without interrupting what ds1 is doing (at least sort of)?

lilyaldrin Thu 06-Feb-14 23:07:33

2 year olds bite sometimes. Now you know he might bite, whoever's looking after him has to keep a close eye on him. Sounds like a massive over reaction on the part of the playgroup though.

PourquoiPas Thu 06-Feb-14 23:07:46

Congratulations on your new baby!

It is a hard time for your toddler, he is having to learn how to be a big brother and his new place in the world. However, giving up bf is not the solution, what are you going to do, never feed the baby breast or bottle or solids again in case he misbehaves?!

Toddlers behave badly whether they have a new baby sibling or not. Any playgroup where they tell a carer to not bring a child back after one bite is not a playgroup I would want to go to anyway. Almost every child I know has gone through a hitting/biting/pushing stage at some point so what are you going to do, have no children at the playgroup? Actually that sounds quite good grin

There are some things you can do to give your toddler more attention, a treasure box with some super exciting toys, books and games only allowed when the baby is feeding is really good (my DC1 used to encourage me to feed DC2 so he could play with the contents of his box!), a good wrap sling so you can tote the baby around while doing toddler activities and some one on one time even 10 min will make a big difference.

Good luck!

BrianTheMole Thu 06-Feb-14 23:09:35

Goodness, he's only young. They often do go through a biting phase. My ds didn't go to nursery so I have no idea if he would have bitten other children or not. But he certainly sharpened his teeth on me and his sister. I kept firmly saying no, telling him off and moving him away. He stopped eventually. I wouldn't give up bf. Doesn't sound like its the root of the problem to me anyway.

InPursuitOfOblivion Thu 06-Feb-14 23:11:27

Don't give up BF - you'll probably regret it later. I don't mean to sound nosey but where is your DS father? He can also give your DC one-to-one time. You don't have to do everything yourself.
Most toddlers go through a biting stage, I sincerely doubt it has anything to do with how you feed a sibling.

Elderberri Thu 06-Feb-14 23:16:58

Sorry, this is the biggest pile of cods wallop advice I have ever heard.

To deny you baby breast milk because someone thinks your toddler needs more of your time.

Making up and heating up bottles and cooling them down is going to give him a whole lot more time isn't it.

This is classic mother/mil hate of breast feeding.

All the toddlers of the world pause right before biting another child and think...ooh I my new sibling is formula fed so I won't bite.

Your toddler has had the benefits of breast feeding, now your new baby needs them. Set this pattern and your in for a long haul of toddler coming first all the time.

Sorry but kids have to learn to suck it up, and share parents time, make time for him in other ways.

Get someone behind you to really support you in you breast feeding.

X

Sid77 Thu 06-Feb-14 23:17:50

The hv told me that it takes around 3 months for a toddler to accept that a newborn is here to stay and therefore become more accepting. 5 weeks is a very short time. I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and do the things suggested he to help him in the mean time.

BabyLove2014 Thu 06-Feb-14 23:41:55

Thanks everyone. Am sad to say I was unable to bf DS1 as he was 5 weeks premature. They bottle fed him immediately in SCBU and when I tried to express, nothing happened.
This is partly why bfing this time round has felt like a massive achievement that I don't want to give up lightly.
He pulled someone's hair last week at playgroup and when my mum took him home immediately after, he bit her on the hand. Maybe this is why they won't allow him back - because they witnessed this behaviour last week too.
Because he isn't showing any negative behaviour towards the baby, I am questioning whether it is linked to his arrival.
I feel pity for DS2 as he I'd such a loving child and I think it is frustration more than anything. It breaks my heart to think that people misunderstand his actions and think he is aggressive.
You always look to yourself in these situations and think of where you could have gone wrong.
DH is self employed so works outside of 9-5 Mon to Fri hours. We can't discuss anything in front of DS1 and sometimes it does feel like I have to deal with things on my own.
I know I need to work harder to make days in the house more fun when I'm feeding and will definitely put some of your suggestions into practice.
Feel quite low today and am thinking this is not going to go away overnight : (

TheGreatHunt Thu 06-Feb-14 23:47:04

I would make sure that when feeding baby, you have your toddler sat next to you with a snack or special toy. I didn't bother with playgroups when my youngest was that little as too stressful for feeds. The library or friends' houses were easier!

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Thu 06-Feb-14 23:56:28

One of the lovely things about breastfeeding is that it only needs one hand - so you have the other hand available for cuddling an older child.

I used to bf dc2 on the sofa, so that dc1 could cuddle up with me while I read him a story. He would hold the book on a cushion on his lap. When dc1 was napping I made sure to spend time with dc2. And I made sure to map them together in the afternoons to get a rest myself.

It's not about bf v ff. He will be just as unsettled however you feed. And you will be far more hassled having to juggle bottles (which takes two hands), not to mention feeling resentful and guilty.

OhPuddleducks Fri 07-Feb-14 03:49:10

Oh poor you. I have a 2.3 yo and a three month old and it's been up and down with the toddler. She was the most gentle little girl before her brother was born but has been acting up in waves since he arrived and I'm sure it's because she now has to share us with him compounding the ups and downs of being two.

I don't have any answers (spending a lot of time watching her like a hawk and running to intervene with my boob flapping about if anything happens) but wanted you to know that you aren't alone. I'm eying to spend one on one time with her when the baby sleeps, and remind her that she's my baby too with lots of cuddles. We've got a "good girl chart" on the go too. No idea if any of it is working/helping, but I felt better knowing I had a bit of a plan in place. Once you've decided how to respond you might feel better. Doesn't sound to me that ff is the answer here though.

jellyandcake Fri 07-Feb-14 05:33:12

Five weeks is so early and you're bfing all the time at this stage. In just three weeks or so the feeding will settle and become more manageable - this is a short term problem that will get better. Your toddler may be having difficulty adjusting to a new sibling, that's only to be expected, but the problem is not that you are bfing the new baby - it's just that the new baby exists! Whatever the feeding method, you are still going to be giving your baby attention and your toddler will take time to get used to it. There is no point giving up bf because of a normal developmental stage that your toddler is going through and like others have said bfing frees you up for cuddles and playing.

My second baby is due when my toddler is 3.5 and I plan to get a good sling to keep my hands free for toddler and definitely do the feeding basket idea of special toys and snacks toddler can have whilst I am feeding. I think they sound like great ideas.

It's a shame your mother and MIL are unsupportive and misguided on this issue but hopefully they won't push the issue. Good luck and I'm sure this phase will pass soon flowers

BabyLove2014 Fri 07-Feb-14 07:16:47

Have had nightmares all night about this. Am experiencing this ridiculous anxiety that this is the start of bullying behaviour that will manifest itself in different ways into adulthood.
I think the underlying worry is that my LO has been physical in some way towards us before . We had a bit of hair pulling and nipping got a while when he turned two and was expressing frustration at us setting boundaries and stopping him from doing things he recognises as fun - getting out of his car seat, running everywhere (with sometimes dangerous consequences.)
It does make me feel so much better to know that I'm not the only one going through this - although I wouldn't wish these feelings of heartbreak and despair on anyone.
I have bought the avent hand pump and aim to express as much as possible over the next week. This means that I can aim to leave DS2 with DH or my mother while I spend an hour or two with DS1 doing something that will burn off some of his insatiable energy (which I love about him!)
One change I have noticed is that he has gone from being a child who was always happy - smiling and laughing to whinging quite a bit but I think part of this is seeing me respond to the baby crying.
After the incident at playgroup, I am definitely putting some more plans in place to safeguard against this happening again.
The most heartbreaking bit is explaining that he can't go back to playgroup and see his friends. Part of me is upset with the playgroup organisers too.
And of course everything is magnified because of sleep deprivation.

jellyandcake Fri 07-Feb-14 07:23:46

All toddlers express frustration physically at some point. They don't know how else to do it. In no way does this mean he is a bully in the making. He is experiencing a lot of up he has at the moment - it will all settle down.

The playgroup sounds weird and I would want to hear an explanation from them - your ds can't be the only child they have ever had who has bitten or hit another. If it was unchecked and ongoing I can see the reason for a ban, but from what you describe it sounds like an overreaction - is there any possibility your mum was exaggerating?

jellyandcake Fri 07-Feb-14 07:24:38

Upheaval not up he has!

Awkwardsis Fri 07-Feb-14 07:27:26

Oh you have my every sympathy thanks my ds 1 was a biter and it made me feel a total social pariah. I'd struggled with him since birth as I had ipu diagnosed PND and anxiety, and when he started biting it made me mortified and I felt trapped really. The last time I took him to soft play was because a mother marched up to me and made me cry telling me off for not watching him properly as he'd bitten her child. My first dc had never had any such issues and it made me so so sad and desperate. I felt blamed. But he got better, and your ds will too. Now if I see anyone with a biter I offer up a tonne of sympathy. Of course it's not nice if your child is bitten. But twits a stage so so many dc go through but the nursery here is being hugely unreasonable. I think you should speak to them yourself. And next time to with him too. Let them see you have a new baby, and if you don't at least get some offers for someone else to hold the baby so you can have a break, or for someone else to watch ds for you while you feed the little one, its not a place you want to be anyway. But please don't cut yourself off. I pretty much stayed in with my ds after that, and it made my underlying depression so much worse. It makes me incredibly sad to think of those years. Juggling feeding a newborn when you have an older one is bloody difficult. I have 3 dc, all breastfed, and it was a real struggle each time to not feel I wa setting them down by being pinned to the sofa. They lived. Please don't let this one incident get you down. I'm really really cross on your behalf that a playground should show such poor judgement.

TheGreatHunt Fri 07-Feb-14 07:31:51

The thing to remember is that he himself is only little. He's 2.5! So simple distractions and positive reinforcement will still be better. My oldest seemed so grown up when dd was born (2.2 gap) but now dd herself is 2.2, I can't believe how much I expected of ds at that age!!

TamerB Fri 07-Feb-14 07:34:25

I don't think that you want to connect the two things. He has reached the 'terrible twos' and he is testing boundaries. I think you would still have had this without a baby. I wouldn't stop breastfeeding. The next step would be that you have to ignore the baby because he doesn't like it. It isn't fair on the baby and amounts to the fact that the one who demands the attention gets it. The breastfeeding will get easier.
I would make sure that you give him lots of positive attention when good.
Perhaps your mother, as grandmother, doesn't like being tough on him. It sounds as if the playgroup has no faith that he will be stopped from doing it again. You need to explain consequences to him, and follow them through.

Forago Fri 07-Feb-14 07:37:48

That's a massive over reaction to a one off incident from a litte boy with a new baby in the family.

I have 3 dc who have all been to the same nursery. 2 were bitten and one was a biter! like 6 or 7 separate incidents! They take it seriously in both cases but know it is pretty normal and manage it, not ask them to leave! My biter is the little one who is still there and they love him! It was only a short phase and other children were doing it too so they were all copying.

Massive, massive over reaction. Hugs x

pluCaChange Fri 07-Feb-14 07:51:31

Toddlers find life hard enough, without a new sibling. In my experience, sometimes they love the baby but hate every other bastard in the world, especially their parents! My DS was nearly 4 when DD was born, and adored her from the start, BUT could be a monster to me. He was also an absolute PITA immediately after she was born... until all our outside "help" went away and we were back to normal as a family of 4.

The playgroup and his granny (both of them?) may seem like they are rejecting him, but this is a chance fir you to bond with your troubled, frustrated toddler (even if it "loosens" other relations temporarily in the process -those relations can mend). At nearly 6, my DS still responds better to, "Why are you so cross?" than, "Stop stropping and behave!"

Bearwantsmore Fri 07-Feb-14 07:57:28

I agree with what others have said. Please please do keep going with the BF as it will get so much easier! For me, at about 3 months... memory a bit hazy... the number of feeds was not that different to my friends who were FF and it was sooo much easier - no screaming baby or bored toddler while you faff around preparing bottles.

I also recommend a good sling as if you can get the knack you can even feed in it ( I had a Kari-me then later an Ergo). I fed DC too while walking to Playgroup, walking round the zoo... But I accept this isn't for everyone!

If it was me I would spend as much time with DS1 as possible - so Jayne next time, go to the toddler group with your mum and she can look after the baby while you focus on DS1. Then you can swap when you need to feed.

Is there a park near you with a "fenced in" area so you can sit and feed while DS runs wild? If you have a friend (or DM/MIL) you can go with then they can help keep an extra eye on DS? I must admit I avoided playgrounds like the plague but a large area where you can take a few toys (ball, toy buggy, etc) worked well. As long as no escape route ;-)

Congratulations! It will get easier, I promise !

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