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Question about nursing after lactation ends

Started by DecentDad, Jan 07, 2004, 09:33:39 AM

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Hi Dr. D,

Socrateaser suggested I get your perspective on this, so I'm reposting on your board....

I'm in the middle of a 730 eval (including psych tests), which started nearly 3 months ago. I have no clue what the evaluator is thinking, as he gives no feedback or validation. He was well-recommended by three attorneys and an author of an alienation book.

To date, I've done everything he's asked, including giving him a ton of evidence that I've been gathering for nearly 3 years (daughter is almost 4, and we split when she was a year old).  Evidence shows biomom's volatility, on-going lies (i.e., even contradicting her earlier lies with newer ones), inability to keep long-term relationships, inability to hold a job, ignorance of health parenting approaches, etc.

Mother meets the criteria for borderline and histrionic personality disorders. I've mentioned to him that I think she's got mental health problems, but I've never actually expressed a diagnosis about her (i.e., when he asked what's wrong, I just said that I've been around enough people to recognize when something is very abnormal with an individual's hard-wiring and perspective of reality).  

I've observed that she seems to have a very enmeshed, unhealthy relationship with daughter, which I have spoken about with him using plenty of examples.

Today, he mentioned to me that (affirming what I've told him that daughter is fixated on the topic of nursing) my ex told him that daughter was weaned at three because mom stopped lactating, but daughter continues to suckle (i.e., 9 months later).  He told me that mom tells daughter during nursing, "There's no milk, so I'll make you something to eat."

He said this with no emotion, so I felt very hesitant to really express that I saw this as very troubling.... especially that mom thinks it has anything to do with nutrition when a near-4-year-old is still on the breast.

Not wanting to overreact (in his eyes) I said, "If she's still suckling, then I guess she's not weaned." He just shrugged.

I'm introducing what I think are totally unhealthy issues involving my daughter, and he's been nonchalant in listening to all of it and asking questions.

1. Am I off my rocker in thinking there's something wrong with a co-sleeping single mother who allows her nearly 4 year old child to suckle a non-lactating breast?!

2. Is it typical that evaluators (this guy is a clinical psychologist with 20 years experience) show no reaction to any information? I'm second guessing my own perspective on things, as he's not saying anything like, "Hallelujah, you're the stable, healthier parent who has legitimate concerns about this child."

Thanks for your thoughts... it's my first custody eval, and it's just a very weird process to have no feedback or reaction for nearly three months now.



Actually my 2 middle ones.  

Okay, listen.  Maybe it's just me, but the minute I figured my kids could tolerate regular grocery store milk, I weaned them.  I did not have a very pleasant time nursing, as my babies cut their teeth rather early :-(

I don't know about custody evaluations, but I can tell you that BM is a few sandwiches short of a good picnic.  What she is doing is not normal behavior...AT ALL!  You are not over reacting, nor are you off your rocker.  

The custody evaluator obviously has some issues of his own, because the BM's behavior is not normal, but downright creepy!!!  I would get another evaluator, if possible.  Like I said, I don't know how evaluations work.  Maybe someone can help you out on that end, but it is not normal for a 4 yr old child to nurse off her mother...whether or not there is any milk.

Good luck!


I'm not going to even touch the whole "nursing" thing.  It makes my stomach turn.

With the evaluator.

My DH and I have been there.  When discussing things with him, he seemed very non-opinionated.  They need to, because what might floor them on behavior with your ex, may seem "normal" to you.  Everyone's normal is different.

Hang in there.  DH was CERTAIN that evaluator was going to choose BM to have Sole Custody.

DH was wrong, evaluator chose him.  Keep your cool.  Stick with this evaluator.  As you said, he comes highly recommended.



I myself was unable to breatfeed. So I cannot help you there.

As for my SD
We went through an evaluator (or Social worker) to us it seemed she was very much for the bm even with the bm's past history, mental health ect.
She actually was the social workers choice untill the bm did something even she could not ignore.
I think all of them want the mother. Something very extreme has to happen before the father is looked at.


Hey there...

My daughter is 2.5 and weaned at about 2yo. She still occassionally will try and nurse, although she finds it hilarious that the milk is "all gone", and promptly runs off to get her sippy cup for some juice. I can't imagine her being almost 4 and still trying (or wanting) to nurse....in fact I'd wager that mom would have to basically make the child try and nurse to keep it going that long, especially without milk being available. As for the co-sleeping, it's a parenting style and not necessarily bad, depending on how it's done. If it's mandated that the kids MUST sleep with the parent, that's unhealthy. At my house, my 2yo is still in my room (she has a crib) just because of lack of space. Because of this, on most mornings she heads to my bed at about 3-4 am to snuggle and goes right back to sleep. If she's having a really rough time sleeping in her bed, I'll let her sleep in mine for the night, but we are also going through some emotional crap right now that is hard on her (her dad left), so it's a little different situation.  Before her dad left she was sleeping almost every night in her crib because she enjoyed "being Big", even though she was always welcome to sleep with us. Kids seek out their own independence, if we let them! :)

Don't know if that helps, but I'd say go with your gut on this one. If it doesn't feel right it probably isn't.


Dr. D

Dear DD,

Sounds like you are the stable, healthier parent who has legitimate concerns about his child (My words).  ALthough, I personally would tend to wonder what needs your ex is trying to meet by the continued suckling....there are certainly, people that approve.  I do NOT.

It is not all that uncommon for a psychologist to show no emotions.  He may be waiting for you to express yours more openly.  I certainly see no harm and would encourage you to express these concerns with him.

I know it is difficult for all parties to go through the legalities of divorce and child care issues.  All the sudden people who don't know you have extreme power over your lives.  Express your concerns and express your desire to be an equal part in helping your child grow and develop.  Point out that while there is no milk, it is o.k. for your child to learn other ways of being nurtured.  Sounds like the ex is fullfilling her own needs rather than addressing the childs.

You may want to seek out a therapist (not one already involved to help you deal with this stuff (rather than one assigned to evaluate perse).
Keep me posted.


Child does very well in my care, apparently not so well in her mom's care.  The child I hear about with her mom is a completely different one in my home.

Yeah, I needed to go for the psychotherapy early in this mess and have been going 2 to 4 times a month to help keep me centered.

As everything else is up for probing and invading during this process, my therapist's office has been my only sanctuary.  :)


Dr. D

Sounds like you need to keep doing what you are doing.  Keep up the work on yourself and with your child.  I will keep you in my thoughts.
Dr. D