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ProudGingerMama 11-07-2012 12:05 PM

Pretoddlers and visitstion
 
I'm not really sure where to post this but I think this will be the right place.

I have two girls. My ODD is going to be 4 soon and my YDD is 15 months. My ex and I have joint custody. ODD spends one week with her dad and one week with me. We exchange on Sundays. My YDD spends a few hours with her dad and sister during his weeks in the evenings and is with them for 8 hours on the weekends. She is still breast feeding (not exclusively but at least twice a day) and is very attached to myself and my girlfriend (my girlfriend has been in the picture since I was 7 months pregnant) I know that eventually my YDD will be on the same schedule as her sister but I definitely don't think she is ready for it yet and won't be for awhile. Her father is pushing very hard for YDD to start the schedule that ODD is on and I just honestly think he's trying to move too fast. I don't feel comfortable, or confident, that this is the best thing for her. My ex is living in a one bedroom apartment with only a toddler bed and his bed. My ODD is still sleeping in his bed with him. We are currently in counseling to help us better co-parent. The counselor believes that it's a good idea to start the process and wean my daughter off of the nursing because it is just making her regress and keeping her in a state of babyhood. I think that if she is nursing for comfort then she should be allowed to as this is very stressful on her and I can't get anyone to recognize how hard the back and forth is on her. I know she is excited to see her father when he gets her but she is always more excited to get home again and them she ends up being overly needy and doesn't sleep very well during his weeks.

I'm not sure if I'm really asking a question or anything. I guess I am looking for support or suggestions that anyone may have to make this easier on her (and me). Thanks for reading my long rant/post. Mahalo!

Pampered Mama 11-07-2012 12:27 PM

Re: Pretoddlers and visitstion
 
That is so tough- for your and especially for her- I'm sorry they are giving you a hard time about nursing. She is still a baby, IMO. She may not *NEED* bf for nutrition at this point, but bf is sooo much more than nutrition. It is her rock, her something she can turn to in her times of stress. It is a good thing- and you are doing a wonderful thing sticking up for her rights. Kudos to you! It is now recommended to continue breastfeeding until 2 years of age- so if the experts agree it is good- that should be good enough for the therapist- who first and foremost should have the best interest of the child come first- and in this instance, IMO, that includes encouraging you to continue BF per WHO guidelines!

ETA: My DS nursed until 3.5 years, until HE was ready to stop- it was a gently tapered weaning over many months- I hadn't even realized it was happening until I looked back and realized he had not nursed in several days!

I have to say, even though he is 4 now, he still so young. I think kids these days are expected to grow up way too fast and be on someone elses timeline!

ProudGingerMama 11-07-2012 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pampered Mama
That is so tough- for your and especially for her- I'm sorry they are giving you a hard time about nursing. She is still a baby, IMO. She may not *NEED* bf for nutrition at this point, but bf is sooo much more than nutrition. It is her rock, her something she can turn to in her times of stress. It is a good thing- and you are doing a wonderful thing sticking up for her rights. Kudos to you! It is now recommended to continue breastfeeding until 2 years of age- so if the experts agree it is good- that should be good enough for the therapist- who first and foremost should have the best interest of the child come first- and in this instance, IMO, that includes encouraging you to continue BF per WHO guidelines!

ETA: My DS nursed until 3.5 years, until HE was ready to stop- it was a gently tapered weaning over many months- I hadn't even realized it was happening until I looked back and realized he had not nursed in several days!

I have to say, even though he is 4 now, he still so young. I think kids these days are expected to grow up way too fast and be on someone elses timeline!

I totally agree that bf is way more than for just nutrition I just wish other people would get that. Of course, her father says if I want to keep bf I can pump and he'll make sure to give it to her...ughh not the point! I thought the therapist would agree with me about the bf so I feel a little let down by that. I am definitely going to try and make the transition as long a process as possible to help YDD transition better. It's definitely not going to happen in a year.

That's awesome that you were able to have a breast feeding relationship that long with your son! I hope to go for as long as YDD wants to. And I definitely agree that everyone expects kids to grow up entirely too fast. I think that the schedule is a bit much even for my 4 year old.

soonerfan 11-19-2012 06:12 AM

In this case, I agree with your counselor. It isn't ideal, but neither is a split family (speaking from a lot of experience with a step family both as a child and a parent).

Ime, the best thing for your ydd is to spend a lot more time with her dad and sister. If she adjusts now, before she can really remember, to a life of one week with each parent, then she won't have a difficult transition later. Her dad is every bit as much her parent as you are, and dads are equally important. Unless one parent is unfit, I totally advocate for equal time, no matter the age.

ProudGingerMama 11-19-2012 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by soonerfan
In this case, I agree with your counselor. It isn't ideal, but neither is a split family (speaking from a lot of experience with a step family both as a child and a parent).

Ime, the best thing for your ydd is to spend a lot more time with her dad and sister. If she adjusts now, before she can really remember, to a life of one week with each parent, then she won't have a difficult transition later. Her dad is every bit as much her parent as you are, and dads are equally important. Unless one parent is unfit, I totally advocate for equal time, no matter the age.

I would agree with my counselor as well, if the situation was different. Their dad isn't willing to even listen to me. Even after taking him with me to a dr appointment for my youngest and hearing what the doctor says he won't listen. I grew up with my parents divorced as well. I was 7 and my dad got full custody of us. I know what it's like to grow up with your parents fighting and warring over you. And I know what it's like to have one of them trying to use you against the other. I would love for my daughters to both have a wonderful relationship with their dad and I think it is very important as well, unless their health (mental, emotional and physical) is jeopardized. Unfortunately, their father is very good at manipulating and lying. Unless you are around him 100% of the time you don't see it. If he had cultivated his relationship with YDD as he has with ODD it wouldn't be an issue either. He has basically ignored our youngest for the first year of her life. I have provided everything for her since the day she was born.

I do appreciate hearing others opinions and do agree that if the situation is right then it is best for children to spend equal time with both parents. The situation isn't always right.

Ginger mama of 2 gorgeous ginger babies (DD-4 and DD-15 months) Sent from my iPhone (which definitely thinks its smarter than me) using DS Forum

Suzi 11-19-2012 07:32 PM

Re: Pretoddlers and visitstion
 
My ex and I split when the boys were 1 and 2. I breastfed my youngest until he was 2 even though he spent nights with his dad. Divorce sucks so my biggest concern changed from staying close to my kids to making sure that they could continue to depend on their dad and I working together. Of course I still stay as consistent and loving as I can to get that strong bond with them.

If your ex is a bad person then I would dedicate the next 6 months to get evidence to have his time with your dds decreased. If he's not terrible enough to do that then I would figure out a way to smooth out custody.

While I think bfing is completely wonderful and nothing quite compares to it you are still getting in the way of her dad getting close to his daughter. Although she can't bf with him they coudl find other close bondds.

Also, it is pretty normal for dads to basically neglect the new baby. Their instincts suck and they are more comfortable with the first borns.

All that said keep listening to your heart!!! I know I sounded harsh but that is what I had to tell myself. I'm still not 100% sure I made the right decision. The boys are 6 and 7 now and their dad and I continue to parent together (along with their step-mom) quite successfully. I know I've done some things right and some things wrong and I'm sure I will continue that pattern for the rest of their lives :)

soonerfan 11-20-2012 06:30 AM

Many dads don't bond right away with a newbie, especially if mom is bfing and there is N older child. However, it sounds like you see yourself as the primary comfort for the baby, which helps push dad away.

I agree with the pp that if dad is able to take care of the older daughter, then he should also get to take care of the baby, which he WANTS to do. Frankly, I'd be really angry in his shoes.

SageR 11-20-2012 01:12 PM

Re: Pretoddlers and visitstion
 
Well I think you are right on this one mama :hugs: I think the bottom line here is nursing or no 15 months is still a baby, and it goes against everything we know about attachment to suggest that what a baby needs is to give up time with her primary caregiver so the secondary caregiver in the situation feels like things are fair. (Is there any way you can find a counselor who is better informed about child development?) I also f firmly believe that it is the quality of time spent with parents that is significant and not just the quantity.

My dh and his ex had split before dss was even born and things were pretty rough between them for the first year. Dh wanted a lot more time with dss than she was willing to give. In hindsight, being an attached mama myself now, I can see she was right. We gradually increased our time with him but even still we didn't have him overnight until he was 4. We would add more time a little here and there, backing off if dss seemed stressed out. Now we have him half the time and it is just as normal as can be. He is very well adjusted and well attached to his mama and sf and me and dh.

So from my perspective as part of a part time custodial situation I think a gradual increase in time is totally reasonable. I would be willing to wean after 2 and in the meantime I would agree to adding morning hours to the schedule since ime mornings are the easiest times for people to have changes in their routine.

Dmpmercury 11-28-2012 10:58 PM

Re: Pretoddlers and visitstion
 
I think a gradual increase with a 15 month old is totally reasonable and the best thing for a toddler of that age who is still nursing. I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving a 15 month old for a wee at time if they were still nursing and for my kids. He has your older child for a week and eventually you can work up to that gradually with your younger one as she gets older. I don't think it will stunt the process to take it gradually with a child that age. She will still adjust and bond with her dad. She is still a baby at 15 months. Things are not set in stone.

Sarah-B 11-28-2012 11:28 PM

I would start weaning at 2 and maybe you and him could switch things up to make you more comfortable.
Like instead of 7 days on 7 days off and switching on Sunday's. What if you have every Monday Tuesday
He has every Wednesday Thursday and then You alternate Friday saturday Sunday

That way the longest stretch you go with out seeing them is 5 days (when it is his weekend)

7 days is a long time for even a 4 yr olds

My DSD is 13 and we have her Friday morning (she has no school on Fridays) until Sunday night every week. So we only go about 4 days with out seeing her.


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