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Grandparenting

exhausted DD and clingy babies

(50 Posts)
farmgran Thu 19-May-16 00:32:32

I'm hoping you lovely gransnet ladies might be able to help me with ideas about how I can help my exhausted DD with her eighteen month old twins, boy and girl and four year old daughter. They are still being breastfed on demand and are being managed with something called attachment parenting. When they are being looked after by me or the other nana they are wonderful but as soon as their mum shows up they both start screaming and climbing all over her. Round about 4pm is the worst time of course. I'm going to try cooking up a weeks worth of meat and veg lunches for them just to make life easier for DD. She does feed them well on organic food but I wonder if filling them up at lunchtime might help. Her husband is not all that helpful as he's a hypochondriac and tends to go and lie down. I live about 20 min away by car so can't be there as often as I'd like and I don't want to be seen as interfering but it breaks my heart to see DD so tired.

FarNorth Thu 19-May-16 01:48:54

It's no wonder your DD is exhausted, farmgran and she may not even realise how worn down she is.
Your idea of making meals for them could help. Could you and the other Nana look after the little ones overnight now and again? Even if they usually sleep well, your DD would be able to relax so much better if she knew they were being well looked after elsewhere.
It seems to me that 18 months is old enough for their demands, for breast feeding or anything else, to start being regulated. Is your DD open to thinking about that? Possibly she is too exhausted to even think about change.

Her DH sounds really annoying! I guess there's not much you can do about that.

Sorry I'm no real help, but wishing you well. flowers

Judthepud2 Thu 19-May-16 01:49:12

Same is happening with my DD1. Her youngest, aged 9 months still wakes at night every few hours and gets a breastfeed each time, even though she is on solids. Middle child aged 3 is also still waking often at night too. She is shattered but not prepared to be a little bit firm in case it distresses the children, but she is getting no sleep and is staggering about like a zombie. I did suggest that if she managed to get some sleep the children would benefit but this 'attachment parenting' seems to be the thing now. Her husband tries to help when he can but he is self employed and works long hours.

I think you are doing the best thing by making meals for her to use. Any practical help is, I am sure, much appreciated. I can't do much as DD lives in Surrey and I live in N.Ireland but she is coming over to stay with me for a few days next week with the baby to get some respite from the daily grind.

Luckygirl Thu 19-May-16 08:34:25

Blooming "attachment parenting"! - there is a quite extraordinary thread on Mumsnet where a young woman expecting her first baby is grinding on about how she is going to do this and how she is determined to ignore any wider family as it is "just about the three of us"! - for goodness sake! The other Mums on there are trying to say she might be glad of help but she just blabs on about how she knows what she wants to do and will brook no help. Let's hope babe does not turn out to be a screamer!

This "babywearing" (having the baby in a sling all the time) sounds very wearing! - and what it must do the mothers' backs doesn't bear thinking about. All you have to do is love them, and respond to their cues.

I think the idea of making some meals is a brilliant one.

annsixty Thu 19-May-16 08:47:00

Are we surprised that there are so many children up to and including teenagers having mental health problems? I certainly am not. When they go to school and out into the wider world and realise that , in fact , that they are not the centre of the universe they don't know how to deal with it.

merlotgran Thu 19-May-16 09:10:32

How things have changed. In the seventies we prided ourselves on how quickly we could get our little ones to 'go down' at an appointed time, sleep through the night, out of terry nappies as early as possible and using a feeder cup instead of a bottle.

I was a laid-back, hippy earth mother and so were most of my friends but none of us had clingy children. They grew up to be independant, friendly and self-reliant.

I agree with luckygirl about attachment parenting. It puts far too much unecesssary strain on the mother.

Katek Thu 19-May-16 09:16:07

There has been some interesting research done in SA regarding the disproportionate number of black children killed in traffic accidents. It would appear that the distance/speed perception of children who have been carried on their mother's back is compromised. During their formative years they only see laterally as forward vision is obscured by mum's head. Once these children are older they then misjudge the position/speed of oncoming traffic. Being worn by mum all the time isn't necessarily a good idea for all sorts of reasons.

vampirequeen Thu 19-May-16 09:21:11

What is attachment parenting?

My eldest daughter was a non-sleeper. Every Friday I went to visit my aunt first thing in the morning. She would look after my daughter and I would go to bed. It was only a few hours uninterrupted sleep but it was wonderful.

Nelliemoser Thu 19-May-16 09:47:00

My DD is the same, "attachment parenting." The one yr old has been in a sling most of his life. He doesn't go to sleep without being held. DGS1 grew out of it and now sleeps quite well. Mine were put down and slept well.

DGS 2 is better now and to be fair was begining to settle and sleep better he has had several weeks of being poorly with colds and horrible bugs and is out of what was a reasonable routine.

Nonnie1 Thu 19-May-16 10:14:33

Good Lord!

Where is the joy ?

I loved having my babies. I had three in four years and it was hard work, but they were all content and they slept at night and I was an attentive mother, but not at the cost of my mentality.

You can call parenting anything you like but if it is miserable for all concerned it can't be any good for the family as a whole?

adaunas Thu 19-May-16 10:19:23

OMG yes. GD would only go to sleep while being nursed (except when being looked after by us) and had to suck an adult finger not a dummy in order to drop off. Even the knowledge that she didn't get that attention from us didn't change their views.

Blinko Thu 19-May-16 10:34:44

Doesn't it make you wonder how on earth generations of the human race have managed in the past? I took a look at Mumsnet once. That was enough! Smug knowalls doesn't half cover it. Or maybe it was just the thread I picked up on....

oznan Thu 19-May-16 10:37:54

Your idea of making meals is great farmgran,it will be a big help.It sounds like the children's dad should be more involved and supportive but that is not something that you can change.Perhaps,when you are all together,you could suggest that he reads them a story or takes them to the park for a while to give mum a break?He might find that he enjoys a bit more time with his children.However,I can see that you might find this a bit too much like interfering.
Otherwise,would it be possible for you to have the 4 year old to stay overnight now and then?If your DD only had the twins to concentrate on for a while it might make things a bit easier.

ElaineI Thu 19-May-16 10:38:27

I don't think that is unusual at all. In my experience small children always are like this when mummy comes home. Well done to her for breast feeding this long. My grandson also fed till he was about 2 - mostly the bedtime or when he was unwell fed then became disinterested in it.
I think preparing meals is a great idea and very practical so good for you x

Nandalot Thu 19-May-16 10:38:47

Hi Farmgran,
Haven't got much help for you but just to let you know share your predicament. DD has five year old boy/ girl twins. She is on her own and they have been brought up on accidental attachment parenting. They breastfed too for a long time. The worst part now is the sleeping situation. They have at last moved into separate rooms but DD has to sit on landing until they are asleep. Little boy finds it hard to sleep so this is usually until about 10 pm. In the night they crawl into her bed.
The landing is actually an improvement on being in the room! All this partly arose because little girl was a breath holder from four weeks. When upset would cry until she couldn't get her breath and then passing out. Eventually these ended in a couple of fits. Consequently, DD tried to avoid this at all costs. They are now two throughly spoilt grandchildren and mum is thoroughly exhausted. She works full time too. We live close so help with school run and pick up, make tea for children and DD.
P.S. I love them to bits!

Nain9bach Thu 19-May-16 10:55:15

Hi Farmgran. The attention from Mum has in my opinion now grown into a habit. As you say they behave wonderfully when Mum is not in sight. Of course with collusion with Mum - why not have the children then arrange that they are fed immediately prior to Mum's return. It is clear that they are content one year olds; if they were not then you nor the other grandmother would be able to cope with the stereo crying. Hope that helps.

EmilyHarburn Thu 19-May-16 11:43:16

Your daughter should read the criticism that is on the internet.

www.mommyish.com/2013/09/12/attachment-parenting-broke-my-kid/

www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/08/the-perils-of-attachment-parenting/375198/

www.skepticalob.com/2014/11/attachment-parenting-is-contradicted-by-everything-we-know-about-attachment.html

It sounds dreadful. Quite unnecessary. Just ordinary good enough mother love required with clear age appropriate, behavioural boundaries.

farmgran Thu 19-May-16 12:11:23

Thankyou for your helpful messages. I do worry a bit about how they are going to be long term, maybe it will come right with time. I could hear them roaring their heads off when I spoke to DD on phone earlier. The other nana and I have the wee four year old to stay quite often, its good fun and its good for her to have a bit of peace as I think the chaos gets her down a bit.

I have suggested to DD that a gate between the lounge and kitchen would allow her to get things done without the babes attaching themselves to her skirt but she won't have it and says she can't have them crying on the other side of the gate. I imagine that after a while they'd give up and go and play but it would be a bit traumatic I guess.

Tigerlily13 Thu 19-May-16 12:48:47

Actually research shows 'attachment parenting' creates children that are secure and independent. Of course the babies are clingy to her when they see her, babies and young children release their emotions to who they are close and secure to, like you might vent and let your emotions out to your partner. And 4pm is the witching hour for most children IME.
Bear in mind this isn't a new trend, attachment parenting is how human kind has survived. Do you really think cave babies were left to their own devices to sleep alone? Of course not, they were kept close and safe by their parents. Prams didn't even exist until recent history!

Synonymous Thu 19-May-16 12:48:48

Farmgran it is no wonder you are concerned for your DD, why ever would you do that sort of thing to yourself and why would you potentially store up trouble for the future. The sooner that fashion/fad passes the better. Children need to understand that they are part of a family and not the centre of it and if they are not being brought up to understand that there could well be trouble ahead. sad

I think your idea of getting meals organised for your DD is a good one as would be any other jobs in the house that you or the other nana are able to do without overburdening yourselves. So good that you are able to have your 4 year old GD to stay.
Sad that SIL is not much help. If your DD took some time out and left him in charge it might cause them to totally rethink their policies - but it is best you keep out of that!

Luckygirl Thu 19-May-16 13:12:08

Common sense dictates that babies need a close relationship with their mother and that their needs should be met - for food, comfort, close personal contact. I am not sure though that the OTT approach of "attachment parenting" is the way to achieve this, as the mother becomes so tired that she has nothing left to give.

To be fair to the Mums on the "other side" they were all saying hold on a tick, AP is all very well, but you will need others to help you through - the OP was wanting to exclude everyone. As the Mums pointed out, some of them started with this idea and after a few weeks of sleepless nights were happy to grab all the help on offer! They were very kindly in their comments that were trying to guide the OP in the direction of some balance.

ClaraB Thu 19-May-16 15:38:58

Your daughter sounds exhausted, poor thing. She is lucky that you are able to help out. Both our grand daughters were held and rocked to sleep before being put in their cots, something we had never seen before. It was very difficult when they came to stay and the youngest took two hours to go down one night. When I mentioned this to my daughter she said - are you telling me that you put us into our cots awake? I was amazed that she'd even asked this question. Needless to say they did eventually grow out of it but it seemed an awful lot of molly coddling to me.

Judthepud2 Thu 19-May-16 16:32:23

I believe 'cave babies' were brought up in extended family groups where there was plenty of help around for the mums. So attachment parenting was supplemented by communal cooking, care for older children and shared baby care.

In Nigeria, I was always amused by the sight of older girls carrying their little siblings around strapped to their backs while breastfeeding mum carried the smallest.

Young mums now seem to be expected to do everything, including in many cases outside work all on little sleep.

fiorentina51 Thu 19-May-16 16:33:03

Just chipping in my opinion, for what it's worth. Most parents try to do their best for their babies and attachment parenting appears to be the latest good idea. When I had my kids it was placing baby to sleep on its tummy which horrified my mother but 'research' showed it was safer. About 10 years later it was disproved and we were all advised to put baby on its back or side. Another example is swaddling a baby. In favour one minute and out of favour the next.
The argument that attachment parenting is best for baby because research shows it produces children who are secure and independent needs to be viewed with caution. There are millions of independent, contented, secure and happy individuals roaming this planet who have been parented in a huge variety of ways. Did their parents get it wrong? Just saying.

Angela1961 Thu 19-May-16 16:36:24

My daughter has just stopped breastfeeding her sec