Establishing nursing limits with a 2 year old?
My son just turned 2 last week. I need some help figuring out how to set some reasonable nursing limits with him. For the past few months, it has seemed he wants to nurse pretty much ALL THE TIME when I am home. Actually, I'm not sure that his behavior is much different than it ever was--he has always been a frequent nurser--but it's been bothering me more lately. Seriously, I hear "nu-nu Mama?" every few minutes, sometimes every few seconds if I say "no". I am getting tired of saying "no" so much, yet I do have things I need and want to do other than sitting on the couch nursing him. I feel that at age 2, he should not need to nurse every few minutes any more.
To be fair, I think he is working on his 2 year molars, and he just had an ear infection last week (better now) plus my in-laws were in town so his routine and security has been disrupted, and maybe that's why he's been especially demanding lately. I don't know. But it's really irritating me and then I feel guilty for feeling that way about my baby (who isn't really such a baby anymore).
The biggest problem times are 1)when I'm trying to get ready and out the door for work in the morning and 2)in the evening when I'm trying to make dinner and when we're eating dinner. Aside from those times, I am still willing to nurse pretty much whenever he wants (as long as we're at home). However, I need to be able to get out the door in the morning more efficiently...I've been getting to work later than I should and even though I have a flexible schedule it's stressing me out. My mom watches him while I work, so she usually comes over during the morning while I'm trying to get ready. She tends to delay me too with questions and chit-chat and she's not very good at distracting him when he wants his "nu-nu" and allows him to pester me when I'm in the bathroom, which is about the only alone time I ever get. My MIL is much better about distracting him while I'm getting ready and he happily moves on to something else rather than focusing on nu-nu when she's the one watching him but my mom doesn't seem to know how to do it.
Then in the evenings, we nurse when I first get home but then I need to make dinner and we'd like him to actually eat dinner rather than nurse non-stop. He keeps asking me throughout the time I'm preparing dinner, every 10 seconds, "nu-nu Mama?" and I'll say yes, later, after I'm done cooking or yes, later, after dinner. But he keeps asking over and over again and I'm tired of repeating myself.
As you can probably tell I'm quite frustrated and I feel bad about feeling this way towards my toddler. What I would like is to limit nu-nu in the mornings when I'm getting ready and in the evenings when I'm making dinner, and continue to nurse on demand at other times. Is this reasonable? Is there anything I can do (other than repetition and being consistent) to stop the constant chorus of "nu-nu Mama?" every 10 seconds? Do you think it indicates something about my son's emotional state that he wants it so much? Maybe he's feeling insecure or something? Is this normal?
Thanks in advance for any help, or even just commiseration!
Re: Establishing nursing limits with a 2 year old?
I think what you're seeing is a normal little boy who is attached to, and adores, his Mummy. That's wonderful!
As to curbing the incessant requests, I know how that feels. DS2 will literally pop on and off the boob every 5 minutes whenever my MIL is in the room...she has bad juju for him! (He's not the only one.)
The best advice I can give is to offer lots of direct, interactive contact with your son before you need to go to work or prepare dinner. You might need to wake up 20 or 30 minutes earlier and just snuggle the heck of of your little cutie or glom onto him for half an hour after you get home. Then, when you need to stop nursing for a time to get something done, his attention needs will be met and you can do so in good conscience. :) If your son is anything like mine, his upset/needy moments are the ones where a little love goes a long way to making him feel comforted.
Dinner prep was always hard with DS until I started involving him in the process. Now he can wash vegetables, tear lettuce and spin it in the salad spinner, set the table (sort of), and put foods in bowls. Making dinner will take longer this way, but you'll both have a ton of fun. Try to do as much prep work for your dinners as possible ahead of time--do your mise en place on the weekend and then just fire the food as needed.
And, last but not least, ROCK ON MAMA! 2 years and going strong is, IMO, an awesome accomplishment!!!