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Thread: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    32

    Default Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    I'm so frustrated right now. I'm trying to wean my 17 mo dd. It started out well - the bedtime nursing went easily. But the other two - naptime and early morning - have been really difficult. She absolutely will not take a nap without nursing, which means that she's not napping at all. Right now she's in her crib crying because she's tired and doesn't want to go to sleep without nursing. I can't handle this, it's driving me bananas! If I give in, she'll just learn that throwing a fit gets her what she wants and then I'll be in even bigger trouble. Plus, I am really ready to be done with nursing - 17 months has been absolutely wonderful, but for goodness sakes, it's long enough.

    We are down to just one nursing - in the early morning hours, around 5-6 AM. God only knows how I will drop that one - she throws a tantrum if I try to delay her by even 10 or 15 minutes (I have a rule that I don't nurse before 5 AM; some mornings I am watching the clock).

    My pedi suggested I wean her at a year. She said that waiting makes it harder because toddlers are so headstrong when it comes to these kinds of things. I am beginning to wonder if I made a mistake in waiting a few more months.

    Someone please help me get through this situation. Just please don't suggest I continue nursing until she gives it up, I really do want to wean her. And I am really worn out today - last night was a tough one and now she won't take a nap.

    I feel like such a failure. I can't even get my daughter to take a nap!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    339

    Default Re: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    Hello! I'm sorry you're having such a hard time! I have NO experience with this, but would your LO verbally understand if you talked to her? Could you try a new bedtime routine and invite a new stuffed toy to come? Have a welcome party for the animal, and explain that he'll be there for LO at night?
    HTH!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    8,591

    Default Re: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    Congratulations on nursing your lo for this long! I do not belive you have made a mistake, but then I have absolutely no experience with nursing and then weaning a toddler, so I probably shouldn't be giving advice. I did, however, just read the No Cry Sleep Solution and thought this might be helpful. It doesn't relate to nursing, but to getting toddlers to sleep better and the author recommends decreasing the length of nursing sessions rather than cutting them out. Maybe this is something you could work towards?

    I am sorry you are going through this!

    Erin
    Wife to a grizzly
    Mama to my little deer (12/05) my loving bear cub (9/07--), and our little tiger (3/22/10)
    Born by one c-section and 2 amazing VBACs


    Miles in 2012: 350.5/900 (Actual Miles Ran: 189)
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    January Miles: 37.5/75
    February Miles: 59/75
    March Miles: 42.5/60
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    227.5 miles on my new shoes
    338 miles on my old shoes

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2,178

    Default Re: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    I definitely don't think you mad a mistake by nursing your LO this long. Your LO got alot of valuable nutrients and antibodies every time she breastfed...it helped her be a healthier little girl overall, and breastfeeding has many other benefits emotionally as well.

    I breastfed my oldest son until a few days before he turned 2. We nighttime weaned at about 14 mos. and just let him self wean after that. We took everything very slowly and he did it on his own...because the world around him was much more interesting than sitting still and nursing. He did completely stop taking naps when he weaned though...and he had been decreasing his naps since about 18 mos. anyway. That was really stressful for me, but it all worked out fine, and I didn't lose my sanity.

    Not everyone chooses to let their LO self-wean. I admit, by the time he was 18 mos. or so, I desperately wanted my body back. It had become very stressful, and more than once I didn't look forward to nursing. However, self-weaning was the best thing for our particular child. He needed it emotionally, and it really helped him learn how to calm down and sleep when he had a nap or at bedtime. I knew he wouldn't nurse forever, and for us, I realized that it was alot more peaceful at bedtime or naptime if I let him nurse and wind down first. Eventually he just outgrew the need for it.

    That being said, I want you to know that you don't need to do things the way I did, I just share my experiences so that you know you aren't alone in how you feel.

    I don't know how long you've been weaning your daughter, but from the sound of your post, it seems like maybe your daughter isn't ready to give up her last nursing session yet. It may just take some time and a little patience. I know how badly you want to stop nursing right now, but for your peace of mind at the moment, it may be easier to let her nurse before her naps for a little while yet. You mentioned that you've already cut out the bedtime nursing session....maybe you could try using the same techniques that you use to get her to sleep at night during the day for her nap. The routine will probably cue her that it is time for sleep. As far as the early morning nursing session goes, the only suggestion I have is to use distraction with that one...a new toy or fun activity...or a special pre-breakfast snack...but, that means that you may have to get up for the day at 5 or 6 am instead of sleeping a little later. I noticed when my son started weaning, that he needed plenty of time to adjust in between dropping nursing sessions...it could be that your little girl just needs to go a little more slowly.

    Remember, she won't nurse in college, and you will get your body back.

    We're here to help, so don't hesitate to talk to us if you need to.

    Shell

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,018

    Default Re: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    I have never weaned a toddler (still BFing my 14 month old), but I did wean my DS at 6 months and believe me, it was hell! He refused the bottle and protested horribly for 2-3 days. It was awful and I wish I had never done it. I just share that so you know it was no easier with an infant, AND we had trouble getting him down for nap and bedtime all through his second year (and beyond) even though he wasn't nursing.
    Sorry, this isn't terribly helpful but I just wanted to point out that weaning earlier probably was not the answer.

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    You are not a failure for having raised a toddler who is confident enough to express herself and try and change situations that she does not like! Tantrums are a challenge to all parents and are not caused by breastfeeding. Have strength and stick to your limits. Your child will eventually accept the new rules, and may even start napping again. Your consistency and perseverance will be reassuring to your child in the long run, even if they dislike the situation now.

    When my daughter (25 months) goes through a bout of tantrums (anytime there is a big change in her life she goes back to constant nursing and then I have to get tough about limits and she responds with tantrums), I try and talk to her about how she is feeling (frustration, what she wishes she could have, etc.) and I try and give her skills to cope with the frustration--expressing herself appropriately (things for her to say to express her anger), breathing calming, distractions to think about (happy times past and future) etc.. I also try and talk to her when she is calm about the changes, i.e. "if you wake up in the middle of the night and need help getting back to sleep, mommy can hold your hand and rub your back, but we aren't going to nurse anymore." I have found my daughter will intellectually understand a new rule and talk to me about it, but then when the rule is applied, she still throws fits and tests the limit of my ressolve. But after a few 'tests', she just accepts the new situation and copes. Of couse, there are times during her tantrums when I just have to leave the room until I have calmed down (a chance to practice the techniques I want my daughter to learn!).

    Please persevere! You will get through this. You have not created the problem of tantrums by extended breastfeeding and despite your child's protests, she will cope with the changes she is facing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    I feel your pain, when my DD was over a year she started pulling up my shirt for her "milk" and so I wanted to wean. Now almost 11 years later I can hardly remember why we or "I" quit! I'm nursing my DS now 6 mo and my DD asks me alot when she stopped and why, shes 12 yo now, and I can hardly remember why except that everyone in my life was saying enough is enough, she was almost 2 when she weaned, its a blur now to me. So hang in there the last nursing will go in a flash and all you willl be left is the memory. Even though you are ready it will be short lived in your LO eyes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    Hi there,
    I have a different take on the situation although I do agree that you have to do what is best for you, especially if you're ready. However, I think that your toddler is growing and will be grown so soon that I often wonder why we parents rush things. I have an 11 yr old and a soon to be 10 yr old and now a 21 mth old and I now see how my rushing the older two into independance hasn't helped them any. Although I didn't bf the older two I remember just getting so frustrated with them because they wouldn't lay down by themselves and I did all of the different methods like the cry it out method and so forth that now they are older and even though they are wonderful caring children they are insecure in some areas. I'm not saying I'm completely to blame but I feel that if I would have used attachment parenting like I am with this new one that they would be better able to cope with things. I'm definately not saying to let them get away with things when they are little but gentle patient guidance is a great option. I think that maybe if you just slow down a little and follow your little ones cues then it will get done at the rt time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    How about trying to cut out the early morning session first and nap session later? My DD nursed for 23 months and one morning she just didn't ask to nurse so we went with it. My husband got up with her and distracted her........easier to do with a fresh day after a good night's sleep. She asked a few times but it was pretty painless. Believe me, if she had seriously protested I would have caved. You've done a better than great job nursing for 17 months!!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    1,048

    Default Re: Wish I had weaned much earlier!

    Yes, the morning one will be easier... if you can wake yourself up enough that early. I can often avoid nursing in the morning if I get up before her and get breakfast started. MOST mornings, I PREFER to lay there an nurse instead. My dd is still nursing at 2 and a half. She nurses at night, but I don't let her nurse to sleep. USUALLY if I don't nurse her down for nap, she either doesn't nap or it's a very late nap, but if I'm babysitting and it's quiet time, she'll usually lay in her bed quietly at nap time because that's the rule for all the kids. Sometimes she falls asleep, other times she just fiddles around, picks her nose, looks at a book, chews her nails... That's as much as I can ask for. Perhaps if you can find a quiet activity for your lo to do in bed, she'll get used to being in there at nap time and you can move away from the screaming thing and eventually to falling asleep? I expect weaning will go smoothly for us after dd stops napping. She's already at the point where if she does miss a nap, she's not a wreck because of it - just falls asleep earlier at bedtime and wakes more at night. I was planning to wean her about 6 months ago, but nursing her has been so much easier than weaning. I guess I'm too lazy to fight something if its not hurting anyone. And as everyone keeps reminding me; she won't be able to nurse if she goes to college out of town, so its not like she'll be doing it forever anyway. FWIW, it gets easier and easier, I think. I can go away for a whole weekend and she's fine without me, and she never asks to nurse at inapropriate times. If someone else puts her down for a nap, she doesn't "need" to nurse.

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