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Pediatrics/Excessivlely depenent nursing baby


My daughter-in-law has gotten herself into a bind. Her 7 mo. old baby will only sleep while at the breast, and is unable to be separate from her mother for more than a few minutes at a time before she is hysterical. She plays on the floor, but needs her mom right with her almost every moment. She has ignored my advice when the baby was younger, and kept believing it would be easier to change habits when the child was older. Now she is getting desperate, and I am trying to help, but I have never heard of so deep a dependency! Their pattern is for mom to sit all night in a recliner with the baby at her breast. Following advice, she is trying to leave the baby playing more, and putting her down in the night. This is not enough. The hysteria that the child goes into in just a 5-10 minute separation is difficult. There is no distracting her with toys, and she will not be comforted by anyone else. What can be done?

Hi, jennifer,

It is hard to think how changing habits when they are older habits would be easier than changing them in the beginning, but who knows?

Hysteria never hurt a baby in any permanent manner.  This is going to be either a cold turkey change or a gradual one.  Mother needs to be convinced that the longer this goes on, the harder it will be to break.  The cry it out strategy is usually the fastest and will not hurt anyone permanently physically or mentally.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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