Re: A Very Reluctant 4 yr old
O my heart goes out to you. I nurse a 4 1/2 year old but he generally just nurses once to go to sleep only some nights when he is upset or has bad dreams he still nurses more. And I have no baby to look after and nurse in addition.
I am at the end of my patience with my 4 yr 2 mo old and his extreme attachment to breastfeeding.(...) He knows I will give in to him so he just waits. I am completely afraid that weaning him cold turkey will cause such emotional and psychical turmoil for him that I won't be able to do it! This is not how I wanted our breastfeeding relationship to end! Smack some sense in to me that weaning is not going to destory him or me and we'll get through it!
What I think is you need to do this slowly. I know this is hard but from what you write about him he does not seem to be a child able to cope with sudden changes. Room change and no night nursing I think is too much at the same time. I would say go for night weaning first and then end co sleeping but not both at the same time. If he is in some developmentally different this is important. The book mommal describes sounds great. I reduced the nursing by limiting where we nurse (first at home only and then only in cetain places at home). My son also does not like change (i have wondered at times if he is somewhere on the spectrum) and is very sure he will nurse until age 6. So we made a pact to only nurse at certain times and places. This took a while, despite him being very verbal and communicative so I think if he is challenged in communication this may be hard.
Also, from own experience I would seriously leave out all the "big boy" talk. I noticed in my son, the "big boy " pep talks make him behave more babyish, they do not at all help him, but rather have the opposite effect: suddenly he wants to nurse mornings again, wants baby food and generally acts the baby even more.
I think small and slow changes are much more appropriate.
my husband also is a boundaries enthusiast and blames every issue we have on my lack of settign boundaries. I have come to the conclusion this is rubbish. The boundaries we speak about should not be boundaries set for the child but MY personal boundaries made clear to the child. What I mean is talking about your own limits instead.
Yeah my DH has been getting on me about boundaries for a LONG time. It really is quite pathetic on my part. He has a lot of Asperger like characteristics and I used breastfeeding as a parenting tool far too much. I stopped nursing in public a long time ago so we set the boundaries for outside of the house, I just had trouble when we were just sitting at home everyday not to mention he woke up to nurse multiple times during the night for years, so I was always so drained of energy and motivation. This whole experience has really developed me as a person, and I will definitely do better with my 2nd.
Actually I think you did fine with using bf as a tool - there are not that many other tools which work so well. Talking about boundaries is great in theory but you need to find some workable solutions.
We tried to nightwean a few weeks ago with giving him his own room and having DH sleep with him, but neither one of them were getting much sleep, so we didn't know what to do but to let him back in our room (on his twin bed next to ours). I definitely want it to be a process, but he has trouble understanding things, and communicating his feelings, when I say 'you are a big boy now and don't need 'nuns' all the time anymore' he doesn't acknowledge that he understands what I'm even saying. He just keeps saying 'I love nuns'. So maybe I just need to figure out how to get through to him in a way he understands.
Dont get me wrong this is not meeant as criticism at all simply it strikes me that you tell him he does not need it and he responds (but) i love it - he may simply not want to acknowledge he does not "need" nuns because to his mind he DOES need it.
'you are a big boy now and don't need 'nuns' all the time anymore' he doesn't acknowledge that he understands what I'm even saying. He just keeps saying 'I love nuns'.
Maybe try saying things like: I know you love nuns. I am tired at night, nuns are tired at night and need to sleep. so lets have nuns when you go to sleep and then again when the sun is up (or whatever time). But I would definitely stay away from the "big boy" stuff and also not tell him he does not need them. Because obviously to his mind he does need them.
Also, I think doing both at the same time - changing the location he sleeps and night weaning is too much, especially if you think he is in any way on the spectrum. Work on night weaning first i suppose, to avoid having to get up.
I think perhaps if you can figure out why he wakes so often at night, and what he uses bf for at night perhaps this may help. Does he wake up from vivid dreams perhaps?