I am the father of four beautiful children, the oldest will be 14 next month and the youngest turned 2 in January. For the first three children, my wife breastfed anywhere from 2 months to six months, now, with our youngest son, Dylan, my wife isn't even attempting to break him from the breast.
I finally went out a few months ago and bought bunkbeds for the boys room so Dylan has his own bed and room to sleep in. Before that, he slept with my wife and I. For the first few months, I was okay with it. At around 13 months, my wife would make a pallet for him at her side of the bed, but within an hour or two of bedtime, he was right in between us. I thought the bunkbeds would help.
Now, my wife goes to put him in bed, breastfeeding, and 6 out of 7 nights ends up falling asleep with him and I get to sleep alone. Our sex life is **** at this point.
I have begged, pleaded, gotten angry and just about everything else to let her know how this is affecting me, but to no avail.
Dylan has never been on a bottle, though he does take a sippy cup most of the day, but when he gets tired and/or cranky, out comes the breast.
I love my son, and believe that it is ridiculous to resent him for this, but I really want my wife back. I literally miss her as do our other children.
I watch Supernanny to find helpful suggestions on issues with all of my children, (let's face it, they didn't come with a manual and Supernanny is really good at what she does.), and a couple of episodes have dealt with breastfeeding mothers that are shown how to stop. I have Tivo'd the episodes for my wife and have explained how the techniques were used and worked, but she continues on without even trying. My wife and son are pretty much joined at the hip leaving our other children and myself to create our own "family" without her.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
I'd make a counseling appointment. Then, after the appointment is set, tell her it is a very serious issue for you, and ask her to go to counseling with you. It's one thing to vaguely talk about "counseling" in a someday way, but it is another to realize your spouse is so serious about the issue that he has actually booked an appointment. She probably knows she is excluding everyone else to some extent, but probably is doing it because this is her last baby and she wants to draw out the special pleasure babies bring as long as she can. This would be especially true if she wants another one and you have said no to the idea. What you need is to bring her back to the reality of connectedness to the whole-family community of you and the other kids. She can probably find ways to stay close to the baby until he is undoubtedly not a baby any more, without losing the rest of you. A good counselor would help a lot with that part of it. Be sympathetic, too ... she may be mourning the loss of the last baby as he grows. I was sad when I heard a lullaby recently that we always played for our newborn -- he's not a newborn any more. And despite how exciting every stage is, it would certainly be possible to be wistful about the ones that have gone by.
I too have watched those episodes on "Supernanny". I wish your wife could see that she'll continue to have that special bond w/her two year old after she weans him. It sounds like he's nearly there if he's only breastfeeding at night. Or is it anytime in the day? Couldn't tell from your post. I'm not commenting whether it's right or wrong to continue to nurse at two - it's clearly a choice.
I think you pressuring your wife to stop is the wrong way to go. Counseling could help - if your wife won't go, then you should think about going yourself. With the right therapist, it could help you deal w/your resentment/anger issues. Once you start, it's very likely that your wife will join you and you can address this issue together. Good luck!
That's a tough one. Is this your last child? Maybe she's scared to put her mommy bfing skills away forever? Maybe it's something you should put down on paper in somewhat of a love note to her explaining how you feel? Good luck.
Lastnight, after I posted my message, my two year old pushed out the screen of the second story windowseat and plummeted 12 feet to the ground. The rule in this house is that window IS NOT to be opened at all, but my 8 year old had opened it and left it opened.
The ambulance came and he was medi-flighted to UC Davis Medical Center. We just got back home and, miraculously, nothing was seriously wrong with him. (Praise God!)
Lastnight really put things in perspective for me and he can breastfeed for as long as he likes. I'm just so grateful that he is okay!
i am happy to hear that he's ok. that must have been terrifying. i know it seems as though you've had a change in perspective, and i don't doubt that you have. however, i suspect this change may not be permanent. please keep the words and advice of these ladies in the back of your mind, because i suspect that your underlying anger and resentment may resurface. in addition, your other children do still need a caring and attentive mother. i wish you the best.
We have locks and alarms on our upstairs windows...May be a good idea for you to look into that.
I'm glad he's okay....but I think you need to look at this situation again....
Your feelings about your 'missing' wife will resurface at some point
I have to comment on the window opening thing. It always amazes me how some parents allow their children, even at 8 years old to open and close windows. I told my Fiance' that his kids, who are 5 and 7 should NOT be opening and closing ANY windows, NOT in the car and NOT in the house. He didn't listen to me and his 5 year old pushed the window glass straight out of the window and it shattered all over the patio right next to me, him AND the BABY!! I was livid. Instead of pusing on the wood, she pushed on the glass. She is VERY lucky she did not fall out of the window with the glass, and we are all lucky that I moved the baby a few minutes before. And to answer any questions about dicipline or spanking NO she did NOT get either, he just "talked" to her about what she did wrong... do you think she has stopped opening and closing windows NO she has not! Even in the car going down the highway at 70 - 75 miles an hour they open and close their window, up and down, up and down, up and down.. I cannot tell you how many things have flown out our windows. I lock the car door windows, and windows around the house all the time.
Why does your wife feel it is necessary to continue breastfeeding your two year old? Has she told you a reason? Trust me, your feeling of anger/resentment will return. You guys still need to work this out. I said the same thing about my fiance' co-sleeping with his 5 and 7 year old. I found the 5 year old sleepwalking in the house one night and I brought her to bed with her Daddy, and I felt bad because I told him to put her back in her bed just a short hour before she began sleepwalking. I thought about how selfish I was for wanting that alone time with him, for wanting to be close and share grown up time together. That anger returns when it's time for bed and you have a 7 and 5 year old spreadout across your small queen sized bed, or when you have legs constantly flying across your neck, back, and stomach, it was especially frustrating when I was 9 months pregnant and constantly being pushed around in bed. I really believe that everyone needs their own space. I hope it works out for you with the bunkbeds.. you should start now putting him in it alone, or with his older brother in the room. Good luck with that.
I really do appreciate the feedback that I am gettiing from all of you. It is actually fairly therapeutic as this is my first time doing this.
I do agree that the problem needs to be hit "head-on". I, too, have explained to my wife my need for "us time", (believe me, with four kids, "us time" is rare.)
I have stapled a specific school bedtime and summer bedtime for the kids to allow my wife and I this time, the real issue here is that she doesn't feel that my 2 year old should have a set bedtime and allows him to suckle on her for as long as he wants.
I have to agree with BabyHardigan's analysis that children should sleep in their own beds at my sons age. All of my other children were in their own beds by 8:30 pm at the latest by 4-6 months and went to sleep with no fuss AND even slept through the night. To this day, a strict 9:00 pm bedtime is set for all of my children on schoolnights and 11:00-12:00 on non-schoolnights, (depending on how late we start a movie).
Unfortunately, I have been very sick for most of my 2 year olds life and my wife has had to raise him without my help quite a bit. She's a great mother, but I agree that it may have something to do with this being our last child.
As for the window incident, my 8 year old was never allowed to open the window and now sees what he did wrong. I have built a window box that completely prevents the window from being opened.
I just re-read your message and appreciate the feedback immensely!!
Quick humorous story:
My wife and I agreed after the birth of our third child, our first son, that we were done having children. A week after the birth of our 3rd child, I had a vasectomy performed. Unfortunately, and to our surprise, my wife ended up pregnant 5 months later. Unfortunately, again, we lost that pregnancy. She went on birth control and it worked great for the next 5 1/2 years.
At this point, we agreed that she would get a tubaligation. With the appt. set, we knew we were done having children. A week or so before the appt., she stopped her birth control, under the assumption she wouldn't get pregnant.
As she was lying on the gurney getting ready to be wheeled back for her surgery, the Dr. came into the room and said that he couldn't perform the tubal. My wife was pregnant with our now 2 year old son, Dylan.
We are a Christian family and believe that God intervened and saw fit for us to have this child. As stressful as it was at the time, he has turned out to be such a blessing, as have all of our children
Wow! It is very rare for a pregnancy to occur after a vasectomy, let alone having TWO occur. He truly is a miracle!
I still believe he needs to be in his own room, not on a pallet in the floor of your room, but in his own room. My SIL has allowed her 6 year old son to sleep on the floor of her room all these years, and now he will NOT sleep anywhere else unless he is bribed. It really isn't fair for the other children either. With my fiance's daughters we have to hear "can we start out in your bed", EVERY night that they are here. I have a feeling they will be in our bed until well in their TEEN years and I'm not kidding. Our situation is a little different we are a blended family. But it is my honest opinion that blended families SHOULD NOT share a bed with their children. I just can't seem to get my fiance' to see my point of view on this.
I think it's great that you are seeking help with opinions on these matters. I'm glad you found this great group of women.
I understand your frustration. Although we are not a blended family, I have never been much of a believer in the children sleeping with us. I read somewhere that a parent's bedroom is their sanctuary and that's what I've always tried to enforce.
To my wifes credit, she has put forth the effort to get Dylan to sleep in his own bed. The pallet has been gone for a few months now and Dylan is, for the most part, in his own bed for between 4-8 hours per night.
We also have our ***'t Pastor and his wife coming every Tuesday evening and spending an hour with us, (individually at times, as a couple at times and as a family at times), to counsel us on various issues and it has been helpful in many areas.
It just seems to come back to the original issue--breastfeeding. We have been discussing this issue for 6 months now. Dylan turned 2 in January and that was when my wife said she would stop.
Until it happens, I continue praying for patience and guidance and asking my wife to please not forget to come to bed.
I wanted to comment briefly on your pastor coming every Tuesday. I question his ability to counsel his congregation. Obviously you're still having anger/resentment issues and that happens whether you're a Christian or not so it makes sense that you need to consider getting another therapist/counselor who is more objective than your pastor.
I don't know anything about your pastor - I'm basing my post on my experiences: I've been on staff at many churches as well as have sought counsel from my minister and I've yet to meet a pastor despite having extra training that does as good as a job as a MSW/therapist/counselor - I've experienced these as well. Good luck and I'm glad that your son's okay.
your wife is lucky to have a guy like you who is actually reaching out for help when you feel something is wrong with your marriage. I would just put my foot down. Tell her you feel neglected why is this child treated differently from the rest, that you are a man and you need to make love to her and you feel rejected..etc...tell her either she needs to change this moment or if she can't you both see a counselor and if she doens't than either suffer the way you are or make some other desicions. I hate it when parents but their kids ahead of their marriage relationship, as if it gets pushed under a rug once you have a baby! tell her she is a mother, but also a wife while you are busy with your other three neglected kids, she is not being a good mother to them or wife to you.
i wouldn't exactly take the approach described by jellypanda. as a mother and a wife, if my husband put his foot down and told me he needed to make love to me, it would only put me off more. jelly is right- it often happens that parents put their kids before their relationship. but until you are a mother, you cannot possibly understand what it is like and why it happens. attacking her qualifications as a wife and mother would most likely only end up with her distancing herself further from him, and clinging more to her relationship with her son. This isn't the kind of issue she can just magically turn off one day. the toddler needs to be weaned, but so does the mother- both physically and mentally. the word "wean" is so appropriate because it implies a slow, gradual process.
you are moving in the right direction by speaking to someone, both alone and together. no relationship is perfect, and it's great to see that you are working to resolve some of the other issues between you to. hopefully it will help maintain your relationship until this last issue is resolved. Having everything come to a head all at once may not be the best approach because of all of the emotions attached to something as sensitive and personal as breastfeeding.
by the way, breastfeeding this long is the norm in many other countries, and is becoming more common in the US as well. Not to say that the situation in your home is ideal or good. She does need to find a healthy balance if she chooses to continue with him. I just don't want you to think that she's the abnormal for the fact that she wants to continue at all.
This transition will be very hard for your son as well. In the meantime, you may want to work with him to slowly help him find other healthy ways to self-soothe. This is a skill that he should have developed by now, and I am a bit concerned that if he continues to receive the breast everytime he's upset, he will not have the coping skills necessary for life. Is there a special teddy, blanket, etc... you can encourage the use of? A special song that soothes him? Also, perhaps you can help wean him emotionally from mommy. It would probably benefit all of the family if he learned to rely a little on you as well. Do the 2 of you have any special time together? Do you ever get to go to the park or movies with just him?
Once again, thank you for your support and suggestions. They have been insightful and helpful.
Last night, at bedtime, we had an argument. My wife had put Dylan down for his nap at about 5:00pm or 5:30 pm and he took a GOOD, LONG nap. Come bedtime, our bedtime that is, he was bouncing off the walls. I was fine, although a bit annoyed by the late nap, with him, but my wife was very angry and gruff with him, not understanding why he wouldn't go to sleep. She kept snapping and accidentally kicked me a couple of times, so I made the choice to sleep on the couch. IT WAS ON...she said that she thought I would be happy that she was being so cross in trying to get him to sleep and couldn't understand why I was going to sleep on the couch, that's the nice version. I snapped back that if she had put him down for a nap at a more appropriate time, he wouldn't be as active as he was and that she really needed to cool it with him. I also told her that she had made an absolutely ridiculous statement in that she thought I would be happy that she was so crosss with him. I said that he didn't need discipline at that point because it wasn't his fault that he had all of that energy so late at night. I did make a complaint about sex as it's been about 2 weeks +, (sorry if that was too much information), and went and slept on the couch, (although I was unable to sleep until about 5:30am).
Admittedly, our issues go deeper than just breastfeeding and we did seek outside help last year for a few months from a therapist. (Nice lady, but liked to rant to much.) I am in process of seeking a private therapist for myself as I do not believe in divorce/seperation as an alternative to dealing with our issues.
I believe that one of our biggest issues is that we haven't "gotten away" together in years. We have a very difficult time trusting other people to look after our kids. My in-laws are active drug addicts, my mother is unavailable except in cases of emergency, my father died from complications due to lung cancer in 1999, ( He was a wonderful Grandpa) and the list goes on.
In answer to "TiredbutHappy"s question about my relationship with Dylan, it was difficult for the first 8-10 months as my medical condition had me down a lot. Since then, we have become buddies. He goes places with me, him and I and my 8 year old have our "guys time" twice a week and I take my daughters on a date once a week, (they think they're to cool for Dad, but I know they enjoy our time.)
Anyhow, sorry to rant, but you guys seem to really help.
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