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Thread: I want to stop breastfeeding my toddler!

  1. #1

    Default I want to stop breastfeeding my toddler!

    Hello,

    I have been on-demand breastfeeding my 2 1/2 year old with hopes of self-weaning. I have been doing the don't offer/don't refuse thing for a few months and we were still nursing at naps and bedtime, plus at least once during the night and a few times during the day. I was enjoying that, and still hoping she would self-wean.

    Unfortunately two weeks ago I had a beautiful, stillborn daughter and my milk came in for the baby my body thought I had. Well my two year old is in heaven because all of a sudden I am making tons of milk again. Now she wants to nurse day and night, all day, all night and not just for little snacks. I feel like I am nursing a 6 onth old. I am getting so frustrated and tired (physically and emotionally) and breastfeeding is turning into everything I didn't want it to be. I am crabby with my daughter when she wants to nurse, I am refusing her and she keeps asking me why I don't want her to have "boo boosh." I really wanted her to self-wean, but I AM DONE!! Now I have so much guilt because I want her to wean, and I am starting to resent the breastfeeding instead of loving it like I used to. I don't want her to think I all of a sudden don't want her to nurse/cuddle but whenever I try to snuggle with her, she wants to nurse, so I find myself avoiding having her on my lap, reading her books, whatever the nursing triggers might be. I am not sure if I am looking for weaning advice, encouragement to continue nursing or just plain old sympathy but I really would like to hear from other nursing moms. Anybody else have a similar situation.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,142

    Default Re: I want to stop breastfeeding my todd

    Mama, I am so sorry for your loss. What a difficult time this must be for you. And to have a demanding toddler constantly after your boo boosh can't make it any easier. I don't think that there are many moms of 2.5 year olds who would be thrilled to have their toddlers suddenly started nursing like newborns, so you are certainly not alone in that. Is distraction an option for you? When I wanted to wean my then 2 year-old from some feedings, going to stay with her very entertaining grandma and grandpa helped a lot, as did just plain old getting out of the house. When a toddler is at the park, or in the store, or just away from her usual nursing triggers, she is going to forget to nurse. Staying away from your usual nursing spots helps, too, so if there is a specific couch/chair/bed where you often nurse, just avoid it.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Ontario, Canada
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    2,476

    Default Re: I want to stop breastfeeding my todd

    I'm so very sorry for your loss.

    Is your DH around to help? Weaning with my DD1 mostly happened because my work schedule was so demanding. I simply wasn't home. So he had to do bed time on his own. They figured out their own routine and became comfortable with it. New routines help to avoid the old triggers.

    I also think at 2.5 it's reasonable for you to implement restrictions. "Not right now, we'll nurse after lunch." that sort of thing. So you're not refusing, but you are redirecting.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
    and

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    77

    Default Re: I want to stop breastfeeding my todd

    I'm really sorry for your loss.
    Mommy to
    Ava 9.24.08 self weaned at 2.5
    August 8.19.11 still nursing, trying to wean gently
    Abram 9.12.13

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: I want to stop breastfeeding my todd

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*amysmom View Post
    So you're not refusing, but you are redirecting.


    So very sorry for your loss.

    I would also suggest redirecting...except that if you have a strong-willed child (I have two) that never works. For that, you are going to have to be gentle but firm. "Boo boosh are tired. They need to rest." "Boo boosh are going to bed."

    I'd also suggest that you figure out if there are any nursing sessions she must have -- like throws a total fit about not doing (AM and bedtime are often two that children will hold onto the most) -- and see if you can drop the ones that bug you the most and just do the ones she needs the most. That may salvage the whole situation for both of you.

    You're right...a toddler that age doesn't really need to nurse that often; she may be picking up on your sadness a bit, but most of them, IME, are just all about them at that age, and she is loving all the milk. Don't blame her, but you do need to feel good about things too.

    The snuggling is hard...they want to nurse, you want to just snuggle. And that's when I'd probably pull one of the things about my breasts being tired or empty or something like that.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  6. #6
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    May 2006
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    21,142

    Default Re: I want to stop breastfeeding my todd

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*aprilsmagic View Post
    The snuggling is hard...they want to nurse, you want to just snuggle. And that's when I'd probably pull one of the things about my breasts being tired or empty or something like that.
    Or... Just a thought- my kid loves bandaids. You know, those ones with cartoon characters on them. Maybe a potential redirection technique would be to say "the boo boosh are ouchy right now, can you get them a bandaid?" That way maybe the toddler gets so excited about running off to get the box of bandaids and choose a special one that she forgets that she came over to nurse...
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: I want to stop breastfeeding my todd

    I've actually heard of moms putting bandaids ON their nipples (the super big ones) and telling the persistent toddler they hurt. An older toddler gets it and is usually very sympathetic. I'm not sure how I would feel about that, but sometimes ...you do what you have to do.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    2,627

    Default Re: I want to stop breastfeeding my todd

    I'm very sorry for your loss. I agree with telling her boo boosh is asleep or after bathtime we can nurse, or whatever is comfortable to you. Sometimes if I don't want to nurse and I suggest something my 26 mo old really enjoys (like reading a book or coloring) that is enough to get her interested. I think she just knows that nursing is something that gets her really close mommy time and it's a way of spending time with me.

    Can daddy take her at night so you can get some sleep and not have to nurse her a lot?
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    USA
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    36

    Default Re: I want to stop breastfeeding my todd

    Mama, I am so very sorry for your loss. I have had to deal with the loss of a child, and I have had to deal with a demanding toddler who wanted more nursing than I could give--but not both at once! I can only imagine what you are going through right now.

    In my experience, the "distraction by distance" works well at this age. I second (or third, or whatever) all the suggestions to give LO more time with Daddy and other relatives, and I hope you're in a situation where you can do that.

    One other suggestion that I've read of is to give a nursing session a time limit that the child can understand. They don't really "get it" when you talk in minutes, of course; but you can say, "You can have 'boo boosh' while we sing the ABC song [once, twice, whatever's appropriate]. Then we have to stop, because boo boosh are tired." And stick to it.

    PP also hinted at another good tactic: creative procrastination. I'm pulling this on my 18mo right now, for all sorts of things besides nursing. She will ask to do whatever-she-wants-at-the-moment, and I will be in the middle of something that I can't drop (like cooking). So I will tell her that I can't right now, but will do it after such and such happens. "Mommy can't [read, snack, etc] right now. We need to Cook, then Wash Hands, and then we can Snack. Can you play with XXX while I Cook?" When I finish what I was working on, I talk her through the steps again: "We're done Cooking! First we Cooked, now we need to Wash Hands, and then we can have a Snack!" I figure I'm 1) teaching her limits, and 2) working on her sense of continuity and time flow.

    Finally, something one of my La Leche leaders told me at our last meeting: toddlers can smell ambivalence and they will take advantage of it! If you are of two minds about weaning, part of you not wanting to, they will sense it and keep pushing. You have to want the weaning before you can enforce it. In my mind, another way to look at it is that you're not just weaning your toddler, you're weaning yourself, too. And mentally, the "wean yourself" part may need to come first. So you set weaning goals that you know you can keep, and then keep working forward from there. (Weaning really is a process, not an event.)

    Mama, you've been dealt an ugly hand that no one should have to play. It may be that all you can do is bluff your way through it, making things up as you go along. You've made a great start by reaching out and asking for help. (That's more than I would have been able to do.) You are doing a great job; keep it up!
    Mama Jen

    Mom to:
    Happy Toddler, 19 months, still bfeeding
    Late Son, passed at age 8, bfed 5 months
    Daughter the Elder, age 19 yrs, bfed for 22 months

  10. #10

    Default Re: I want to stop breastfeeding my todd

    Thanks to all you lovely ladies for your support. I feel better just reading your responses. T

    I am going to try the distraction thing and stick to it a little better. I have been up and down and letting her get her way when she cries a bit more than usual, so I just have to toughen up and stick to it when I set my limits. The band-aid suggestion is great, as I am currently wearing three band aids and my daughter is wearing three too, even though we have no ouchies. Maybe that will help her understand they need a rest! I have also tried the song singing for a time limit, but she pulls off and says "new song now." Hmm....

    What about drinking sage tea to try to decrease the amount of milk I am making? Maybe if I make less, she will want less? What do you think?

    To all the mothers who share my loss, I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I have learned from this experience that the human heart has the capacity to grieve to depths I could not have imagined, and yet some how it can love to even greater depths.

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