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Competing demands of children, BF and adult relationships...

(6 Posts)
BR44 Mon 03-Mar-14 08:41:32

I wasn't sure if this should go in the Feeding topic instead, but the issue is really to do with my ideas about parenting I think, so here goes.

I have two DSs. DS1 is just coming up to 3 and a half. I BF him until he was 2. His sleep was erratic, at times truly dreadful. I stopped bf him when 3m pg with DS2. Stopping was easy, DS1 was absolutely fine with it and apart from his chronic early waking his sleep has been good ever since. DP and I never had a night away from him and it never bothered us.

DS2 is 10mo. Also BF. Recently his sleep has been deteriorating. Last night was fairly average and went like this - asleep at 7, awake and BF at 8.30, awake and brought into bed with me and BF at 10, fed a couple more times in the night, wide awake at 5.30.

The early starts are not fun at all but they have just become the norm and I can live with them. What concerns me is how utterly inconsolable he is without me and without BF. This is no surprise as DS1 was exactly the same but with him I just went with it, kept feeding, went back and forth about 20 times with night weaning and just learned to get on with it until pregnancy forced me to address the issue.

But for some reason it's just dawned on me this morning that it's been over 3.5 years since DP and I had a night on our own. Not just that but we've only managed two nights out on our own since DS2 was born and one of those ended at 8.30 because he woke up and was absolutely hysterical when my mum tried to comfort him. Before someone says it, I KNOW this is the story for many many parents. I am not complaining. I signed up for the reality of 2 children. I spend all my time with them which is my choice and I really wouldn't change that. Our families are not local so although they are very supportive on a day to day basis it's just us, all the time. But I've reached that point where I have to admit that other things are suffering. DP and I have no relationship to speak of other than as co-parents. He works hard, I work hard, we're knackered. All normal. But I think it's time for other facets of life to get a look in. For the first time in 3 and a half years of being a parent, I feel trapped. I also want to be able to spend more 1-on-1 time with DS1 as he responds so well to it and his behaviour is dramatically better when he gets time with me on his own, but because DS2 gets so distressed when I'm not around I worry about being away too long.

My rational side is telling me to do this - 1. Cut back on night feeds. Try and keep DS2 in his cot and just deal with the upset and screaming.
2. Stop BF around a year, when confident that he has mastered the sippy cup (he really hasn't yet and has never taken a bottle). 3. Bite the bullet and leave them both with loving, capable grandparents for a night and actually try and reconnect with DP. 4. Hopefully by stopping feeding DS2 will be happier to be left with DP or other family, giving me a bit more time to devote to DS1 on his own.

The other side of me feels a massive amount of guilt at the thought of stopping at just a year when DS1 had 2 years of BF. I'm also worried about DS2 getting ill and not being able to feed him as this was such a massive comfort when DS1 was unwell. But the situation isn't the same now. I'm trying to see the bigger picture and recognise that DS1 and me and DP need vital maintenance work and that feeding DS2 beyond a year might be the thing that needs to be sacrificed for the greater good.

Sorry - this is long and rambling and doesn't even ask a specific question. Just needed to get it off my chest. Can anyone relate?

poocatcherchampion Mon 03-Mar-14 14:38:01

I'll try to come back to this when a bit more coherent but I'll start by saying you dont have to bf both the same length of time.

dd1 is nearly 2 and dd2 6 months. I am not sure I'll feed dd2 after age 1. I'm tired of people gnawing on my nipples. grin still feeding both currently.

you need to make time with your dh. we went on our first post dd2 date last week - it was fab. dd2 was watching telly with pil when we got in. not crying thankfully. no harm done. we then had the best weekend in ages.

all for now, except thanks and brew and wine with dh

MummyLuce Mon 03-Mar-14 21:33:10

I can see why you feel guilty but seriously, no need to. It really doesn't matter if you don't bf dc2 until he's 2! it sounds like all you've been doing is being pregnant and breastfeeding profusely for years! I did breastfeed my dd1 until she was maybe 14 months (stopped when preg with dc2, due in a few weeks) and Ill probs do a similar time with dc2, maybe longer, but there's no way at 10 months old ill be feeding the amount you are!! I don't get how he can be that hungry/thirsty! Sure, in the beginning as a newborn they are at you like a limpet but by 10 months?? I'm not surprised you're a bit fed up. Breastfeeding once dd got to maybe 8 or 9 months had no impact on our relationship at all. i fed her at bedtime, then the evening was ours. We watched films, went out, etc etc. i could leave her for a whole day if I needed to as I just fed her morning and evening and the rest if the time she had a beaker of water/juice/formula. Obviously she missed me, but she wasn't desperate for breastfeeding so my DP could comfort her. Maybe you could just do 2 feeds a day and continue to feed for as long as you want?

blueseashore Mon 03-Mar-14 21:58:14

I don't have any answers but I think I know how you feel. With DC1 I fed every two hours in the day for months and months, fed every night waking, basically had her attached to me until I went back to work when she was 14 months. Now I also have DC2, who is just as boob obsessed but I just can't devote myself as entirely to him as I did to his sister without my relationships with DC1 and my DH seriously suffering. And to be honest, my own sanity too! I feel ridiculously guilty about it all and massively conflicted. I keep telling myself though that actually in the long run a happier mummy and a happier marriage/ family life is also for DC2's benefit.

Am hugely sleep deprived so apologies if the above doesn't make any sense!

FondantFancies Mon 03-Mar-14 22:19:40

Do no. 3! A night away with your DH and you'll feel much better, and can then start tackling the other things. I found a lot changed between 10 months and, say 14. Your little one is at the height of separation anxiety and that's probably why it's taking its toll.

Transfer the baby's cot into another room, if possible on his own. I bet he will start sleeping better.

We had exactly the same situ (but with only one child). Eventually we just drew a line under her sleeping in our bed and cot was moved into a different room. I did then have to knacker myself going repeatedly to baby's room to resettle, but then at least I could come back and curl up with DH. Don't underestimate what a massive relief it is not to have a baby in the room.

MadameJ Tue 04-Mar-14 09:39:01

OP, just wanted to say you are not alone and I completely understand what you are saying. I bf my first dd until she was 2 and despite the fact that obviously she could use a cup and was eating well, she was very attached to me and boob and when tired, poorly etc nothing else would do. Dd1 self weaned when I was pregnant and I now have dd2 who is also bf, she is now nearly 9 months and feeds very regularly day and night. Me and dh decided a few months ago that one thing that helps is having both dd's in their own rooms, even though this is more tiring at least we get a little time to ourselves. We have our first night out planned for April and this will be our first for 17 months, we have agreed that we need this and for one night I don't mind if routine etc goes out the window. I'm leaving the girls with my sister who they adore and who I know will do anything necessary to ensure they are happy and safe.

I'm not sure how long I will feed dd2 for but hopefully whenever we choose to stop I can be happy with my decision. X

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