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If your toddler is naughty or having a strop and asks to breastfeed, do you refuse?

(43 Posts)
RoRoMommy Thu 20-Aug-09 07:54:47

My DS is 29 months and a really avid breastfeeder. when he's upset, he asks for "tito", and I give it to him unless there are other, more obvious ways of comforting him (he bumps his head, I kiss it, for example), or it is impossible or inconvenient at the time.

But I do not refuse or withhold breastfeeding if he's having a strop and requests it, as I find it calms him quite effectively. My husband thinks this is coddling, and that tito should be refused if he is being naughty. I don't want to use breastfeeding as behaviour currency. Am I being unreasonable? What do others do?

sophieandbelly Thu 20-Aug-09 08:06:23

i dont breast feed my daughter so my opinion my mean nothing to u, but if my daughter (22 mnths) was misbehaving and then asked for a bottle as a way to calm her down then no i wouldnt give it to her, a bottle for us is a before bed time thing.
as if i gave it to her she would ask all the time, dont want her to full for a proper dinner etc.
is there nothing else that comforts ds? snuggley blanket/soother?

tattycoram Thu 20-Aug-09 08:12:58

I would breastfeed. One of the big advantages of ebf is that you have a fantastic means of soothing an upset toddler. He's not in control of his emotions yet and if it calms him down then I would do it.

WoTmania Thu 20-Aug-09 08:16:04

DS2 is 27 months and still BF. If he is heading for a tantrum I often offer and it stops it in its tracks. He doesn't tantrum anything like s much as DS1 did at this age (he stopped at 13 months)
I think it provides security and comfort when they are dealing with very intense emotions. They tantrum because they can't express these emotions.

gypsymoon Thu 20-Aug-09 08:18:37

I think it depends on what he's being 'naughty' he tired, frustrated, confused? All difficult emotions for a little one to handle. I think it's up to mama (and daddy) to be there in these moments to comfort and reassure...

I still breastfeed my DD2 who is 2...she's hugely attached to 'bobo' and yes, sometimes I refuse but it's usually when I'm tired or busy doing something and she's just bored...

I agree with you. Breastfeeding is definitely the quickest and most effective way to calm an irritated little one. Hw lucky your little one is to know that mama will always be there and love him even when he's not being an angel.

I'm sure he doesn't quite understand why he's feeling the way he is in these moments. These emotins can be too big and too scary. Perhaps whiles he's having tito have a little chat...obviously he's too little to interact in a conversation about his behaviour, but it can't hurt to talk to him about what he was doing and how it affects you/daddy/siblings etc.

He's a very lucky little boy. What a lovely mama.....

Grendle Thu 20-Aug-09 09:00:18

Have you seen "Mothering your nursing toddler" by Bumgarner? It's an interesting read.

Breastmilk provides comfort, sugar, fluid and is lovely for calming a tired child. If you suspect any of these needs might be causing the deterioration towards meltdown then a breastfeed seems to me to be a good option for heading it off at the pass. I might be tempted to offer before it gets into a big strop though. I have on occasion used a breastfeed to calm down a child who has wound themselves up through tantrum into a state where they are a dribbling wreck and can no longer calm themselves. At that point, no matter what technique you use, I think they need help to regulate their own emotions, and a breastfeed is one way of achieving this.

I'm much better than I used to be about maintaining empathy when my toddler gets stroppy, as if I try to see the world from her point of view, often I can understand her frustration. With dc1 it was much harder to do that. Of course, that doesn't mean she gets whatever she wants, and sometimes that means handling the fallout.

You know your child best, so I'd go with yor instinct smile.

Babieseverywhere Thu 20-Aug-09 09:10:44

You are not being unreasonable, we do the same here.

I find my 3 year old DD will request milk when she is getting tired, upset, angry, ill. As I trust that she knows at some level that is what she needs.

I suspect this is why we rarely have tandrums and the ones we have are low level and short lived...of course now I have posted this everything will change wink

Babieseverywhere Thu 20-Aug-09 09:16:56

Also I use the nursing time (if she has been upset, angry or frustrated) to talk thing s through with her. She listens better with her mouth full.

So I can explain why she can't eat icecream all day or eat the sausage she found on the floor or whatever.

pigletmania Thu 20-Aug-09 09:53:27

I am comming at this from a totally differnt point of view as i ff and hope that i can word it sensitively as i can. I have a 2.5 year old, at that age yes different emotions can be overwhelming and they can be scary but they also are learning boundaries what they can or cant get away with, so you bf them if they are being naughty you are IMO rewarding their behaviour, not teaching them that shouting or tantruming is not right and will not get them what they want all the time (bf). IMO there will come a time when they are older and tantruming or shouting and you will not have bf to fall back on.

My dd still has a bottle at nap or bed time but if she tamtrums or shouts for milk i will not just give it to her like that, I try to distract her(reading, walk, play etc) When dd was a little baby i made the mistake of when she cried she got a bottle straight away without waiting, now she does not like waiting for things and does go into meltdown when told that she has to wait. We went on the bouncy slide, there were children queing she wanted to barge past them when i told her to wait, she had a meltdown and threw herself on the floor.

FaintlyMacabre Thu 20-Aug-09 09:57:06

I've answered in AIBU. YANBU. Thought you needed more support in there rather than here!

WoTmania Thu 20-Aug-09 09:58:40

pigletmania - I would take issue with the 'rewarding their behaviour'. I'm sure that the OP explains that that behaviour isn't appropriate but sometimes they are so wound up they can't deal woth it and can't hear reason.
IME nursing DS2calms him down. Then, when he is in a fit state to listen and understand we talk to him.

pigletmania Thu 20-Aug-09 10:34:57

Surely they have a tanturm because they know that they will be bf if they shout loud enough they can see you are wound up and feed off those emotions, just my opinion really.

FaintlyMacabre Thu 20-Aug-09 10:42:53

But my toddler doesn't have a tantrum to be breastfed. He has a tantrum about something else, usually provoked or exacerbated by hunger/tiredness, and breastfeeding calms him down.

gypsymoon Thu 20-Aug-09 10:42:56

pigletmania I think you may be assuming that children have more ability to manipulate, control and calculate then they are capable of?

I seriously doubt a 29 month old in the throes of a an intense emotional episode has the foresight to be so calculated. I like to think at that age they're a little more innocent than that, and need mummy and daddy to use whatever gentle methods are at their disposal to calm and reassure them.

WoTmania Thu 20-Aug-09 10:48:03

No the tantrums tend to be when he's tired/hungry/thirsty/needs a cuddly and then something happens to trigger the tantrum.
I think that he finds it so overwhelming that he needs reassurance that we are still there. In the same way that I wouldn't refuse DS1 a hug I woldn't refuse DS2 to nurse because that culd feel like a rejection.
I really don't think he tantrums to get milk. Why would he? He only has to ask.

mawbroon Thu 20-Aug-09 10:50:17

I found nursing to be invaluable when ds got upset (still do, but he is really learning to deal with things now). It is very frightening for a child to be so out of control and nursing is something that they know and trust,so it helps bring them some calm.

We also chat about the behaviour leading up to the episode whilst feeding and it usually leads to ds saying sorry, or promising not to do <insert whatever it was> again.

It is like a reset button which restores his default settings, and off we go, all sorted.

He is needing it less and less now in these situations, because he is learning to handle them in his own way.

This is one of the (many) situations where nursing is NOT about the food, and I don't think bottle comparisons are relevant tbh.

FaintlyMacabre Thu 20-Aug-09 10:50:48

Exactly. I don't use breastfeeding as a reward, or withholding it as a punishment. It is outside those things.

tattycoram Thu 20-Aug-09 10:54:40

I like what mawbroon said about the reset button. That's exactly right

Trikken Thu 20-Aug-09 10:54:53

gaa why are there three of exactly the same posts??

Verity79 Thu 20-Aug-09 10:56:59

If DD1 has done something really naughty like hit DD2 and then she asked for Bah she would get a resounding 'no' and be sent to the naughty step!

If she was creating/having a melt down over something innocous like which book she wanted then asked for bah, I would ask her if she needed it to calm down and to ask nicely (i.e. 'please can I have bah' not 'I want bah')

If you offer/agree to nurse after a melt down then you are not rewarding bad behaviour you are allowing the child to regroup and calm down hence avoiding a bigger tantrum. Also it allows the child to be aware that mummy still loves them even if they are being intensely unreasonable!

gypsymoon Thu 20-Aug-09 11:02:57

Trikken possibly because these MNers need advice and help? If you don't like it, don't read it.

Trikken Thu 20-Aug-09 11:05:34

wont they get the same help from one post tho? people arnt going to not post cos there is only one of them. plus it makes it confusing.

WoTmania Thu 20-Aug-09 11:08:26

trikken I assume you mean the simliar responses from other people nursing toddlers? I can't see any repeats of the same post.
Maybe that happens because those posters have all had similar experiences and were answering the same question/post?

gypsymoon Thu 20-Aug-09 11:11:04

Did you actually read the posts on AIBU????? Rude, offensive and unhelpful. Completely different from this thread.

The OP has every right to post as many times as she likes and wherever she likes if she needs help

RoRoMommy Thu 20-Aug-09 11:13:45

Thank you to everyone for very helpful responses and advice. I feel much better, and will come back to this when I have a moment of downtime today to respond individually. Thanks especially to FaintlyMacabre for the support. I'll never post on AIBU about something serious again!

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