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Thread: Is she weaning or is it a nursing strike

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Default Is she weaning or is it a nursing strike

    I know 18 months is young to truly self wean BUT i think it sadly might be happening. Despite it being sudden (which I know usually indicates a nursing strike) I am starting to think that it could be self-weaning, despite me desperately not wanting that to be the ace . I am nursing my third child who is 18 months old. I nursed my first for 18 months when he apparently suddenly self weaned when I was 3 months pregnant with Gus and I nursed him for 21 months, when he again weaned by himself when I was 3 months pregnant with Poppy.
    My current "nursling", Poppy (#3) was nursing 4 times per day pre-Christmas but dropped to 3 times when she dropped her morning nap in December (as shed nursed before her nap)' then in December she stopped wanting her first thing in the morning feed, despite me offering, so we were down to 2 feeds (before lunchtime nap and bedtime). About 2-3 weeks ago, she started biting me but still feeding ok, after initial attempts at biting. Obviously when she bit, i did flinch but I did not shout or get angry at her but she was obviously surprised at me jumping ! Then at Friday bedtime she bit and bit me and refused to nurse. After numerous attempts, she ended up going to sleep with no feed and slept through the night no problem. I went into her room to try and dream feed her later, but again no luck. Tried to feed her on Saturday first thing -and went into her room to try and feed her while she was drowsy and again at naptime and bedtime and she just kept biting me hard would not take milk, same on Sunday all day, then same Mondzy before her lunchtime feed, bite, bite, bite, then amazingly, on Monday night, after multiple attempts, she took a full feed both sides. Then, didn't feed on Tuesday or today. She is going down for naps and at bedtime without even crying. She may ask for "na" ( her word for milk) but but it's only a vague request.
    I am actually a La Leche leader - and have talked to co-leaders, who initially thought it was a strike. Admittedly, she does have a big lump on her gum where a molar is coming through. I am starting to think that she is self weaning, just because she just doesn't seem to be bothered about not having the milk.
    Honestly, I'm devastated . Poppy is my last child and I honestly thought we'd be nursing for 2-3 years. I will never nurse another child again . I can't take the biting anymore, it's BAD and shes started to bite and then pull away which is agony. I am pumping twice per day to try and keep things going - I should do it more but with 2 other kids under 5 it's not that easy! We are going to Thailand in March and I was bankingon her nursing to get us through the 2 day travelling time!
    Does anyone have any comments, past experience with biting and why whether it could still just be a nursing strike?
    When your child is biting ver hard whenever you latch them on, it becomes a battle of common sense! Who wants to be bitten over and over again
    If she has self weaned, then so be it - I guess I should count my blessings that it came to a natural end, rather than me forcing it upon her - which ultimately is what I want.
    If you have any questions, happy to answer.
    I'm desperate
    Last edited by @llli*tobgus2008; February 9th, 2012 at 07:21 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,360

    Default Re: Is she weaning or is it a nursing st

    Mama, that sounds so upsetting. I think that given the teething, this could well be a nursing strike. If it goes on long enough, it's pretty common for a nursing strike to turn into weaning. They're gradations on the same scale, YKWIM?

    Have you tried co-sleeping or nursing in a warm bath? Maybe in those relaxed environments Poppy would be more likely to nurse instead of fool around and chomp you. This link has some more tricks: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...to-breast.html. Another thing that might help is to make nursing into a game- I've been doing this thing with my toddler where I get her to open her mouth and then I squirt milk into it. (Just like grandpa used to do with the farm cats when he was milking the cow! ). Maybe if you tried that, and she got the milk taste on her tongue she'd remember that nursing is worth the effort.

    I wish you luck, mama. I know it's so hard when nursing comes to an end before one member of the pair is ready. And I also can't imagine the trip to Thailand without nursing as a crutch. I skipped my own brother's wedding in Chiang Mai because I couldn't imagine traveling for that long with just one toddler. (He had a second wedding in the US, so I wasn't quite as lame as I sound...)
    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
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    Nov 2008
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    Default Re: Is she weaning or is it a nursing st

    Thanks for your feedback. I have tried the game thing - a co-leader suggested that but haven't had luck with it as of yet. I have tried squirting milk into her moth but she makes a funny face, like she doesn't even like it! I could try the bath thing but since we haven't bathed together before, she will probably be a bit puzzled and want to play as her bath time is playtime! I don't mean to shoot down your up ideas though. The thought that Poppy and I may never nurse again (and that I may never ever nurse a baby again) fills me with great sadness. I know people say that a baby does not truly self-wean before 2.5 yes old - but I can't help thinking that there can be exceptions to that rule. I dont want to be selfish and do this for my one benefit if she is really done with it, but on the other hand, I feel I need to give my best shot in case it is just a strike. Now, after days of not nursing, and her biting all the time, it seems that she is mot even missing it (goes down for naps and bedtime without it with no tears) - she's got out of the habit of not nursing

  4. #4
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Is she weaning or is it a nursing st

    I personally know 2 babies who self-weaned at less than a year, and their mamas tried EVERYTHING to get them to come back to the breast. IMO, it's a myth that babies never self-wean before any given age, whether that age is 12 months or 24 months or whatever. I think we do a disservice to a lot of mamas when we say "never" because we could just as easily say "almost never".

    One thing that occurs to me is that when milk sits in the breast for a long time, it tends to get really salty. There's a whole physiological explanation for this that I can't remember offhand. Anyway, sometimes babies don't like the salty taste and start rejecting the breast for that reason. Maybe try pumping a little while before attempting to get baby to latch or before squirting milk in her mouth? That may restore the sweet taste.

    I wish I had more tricks for you, mama. I know I'd be very stressed and sad in your shoes. Even just thinking about my toddler weaning makes me sad, because I think she's likely to be my last baby. I know that once a nursing mom, always a nursing mom, and that transitioning to other types of mothering is going to be an exciting journey- but there's something special about nursing a little one.
    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!"

  5. #5
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    Nov 2008
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    Default Re: Is she weaning or is it a nursing st

    Unfortunately, she's not even wanting to taste my milk anymore. I don't think it has a salty taste as I'm expressing twice per day for 15 minutes a time (when she doesn't feed, which is all the time now sadly). She's not even latching on to bit anymore, she just doesn't even latch at all now. She even pulled my top down tonight to cover the up. I'm thinking this is really it for us. That said, I will set a three week period when I will try and express as I doubt that she would resume nursing after that even if is a strike. The most I have heard of a baby resuming nursing is 3 weeks. Then I will know I've given it a good go. Funnily enough, we were at a playdate today and she kept tugging at my clothes saying "na na" and putting her hand down my top, so I took her somewhere to nurse, but no sooner had I got her on my lap, she wanted to jump down. Strange and it's emotional turmoil for me as she seems like she wants it, gets excited when I mention it and points to my boobies etc and then doesn't want to nurse. I would be surprised if she ever nurses again. When I pump I am only getting an ounce total - although it may be I increasing a little.
    Anyone else have any insight, or anyone experienced a similar situation?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    59

    Default Re: Is she weaning or is it a nursing st

    I don't mean to voice the unthinkable but are you sure you aren't pregnant?
    Proud mom of two boys!

    DS1- born 1/10/03
    and
    DS2- born 3/8/11


  7. #7
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    Nov 2008
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    Default Re: Is she weaning or is it a nursing st

    Not a chance I'm afraid . Of that I am positive.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: Is she weaning or is it a nursing st

    My daughter went on a nursing strike at 16 1/2 months. It lasted a week without any nursing at all. I tried the warm baths which tempted her to latch on and I walked around the house without a top on. Finally on the 1 week mark from her last night feeding (I was very upset), she just walked up to me (my top was off) and she latched on. It wasn't the most comfortable latch but I dealt with it. Then it was a normal feeding schedule again and she is now almost 18 months old. With the other kiddos I am not sure if topless will work for you. I will admit...I felt horrible "hanging out" while my LO just ignored them. It is definitely very difficult emotionally to deal with this situation...I cried the majority of that week. Hang in there...don't give up yet! Sending Hugs...
    Jaime
    First time mommy to Lucy Madison, born 8/25/2010.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2008
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    Default Re: Is she weaning or is it a nursing st

    Well, about 4 months have passed since my original post and sadly, that was the end of our nursing . She's been fine but she still asks for it a few time per week. Much as I would LOVE to resume again, I would have thought its an impossible thing to accomplish. I would have thought that she's forgotten how to nurse now. I'm so incredibly sad about her having weaned - I have major episodes of crying about it a couple of times per week and the rest of the time I'm just holding it together trying not to think about it. I feel guilty for not trying for longer after she started refusing to nurse. Not long after we'd finished nursing, I noticed her molars had come in - am thinking that it was probably teething that caused her to bite me when she fed. "yes" I wish I'd persevered more, but the biting was hurting so much, that any sane person wouldn't have been able to keep going with that. It was like sticking your head in a fire repeatedly.
    I just feel such sadness, I miss nursing so so much. With having 2 other children, it was "our time" - one of the only times it was just me and her.I have been nursing or pregnant for 7 years straight andim finding it hard - perhaps its the hormones too. Poppy is my last child and I know I won't ever be nursing again. I'm having problems dealing with it. I can't really talk to anyone about it (except maybe other co-leaders).
    I am hoping this feeling will go away. I have been so much more emotional than normal since she weaned - crying VERY easily - the smallest things set me off. I didn't even consider that it was related to the weaning until I have across someone talking about depression after weaning on the internet. I've also had an increase in headaches and migraines - my doctor has put me on a beta blocker for them as my migraine mess were not working.
    I'm guessing that there would be no way of resuming nursing again after a four month gap?! I realize I'd have to stop ny mess.
    My husband is sympathetic but doesn't really understand.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: Is she weaning or is it a nursing strike

    I know I upset my mom by weaning at 13 mos, but I guess I was done. And I know she was sad since I had to be her last child due to medical reasons, but we have a great relationship and I have many warm memories of sitting in her lap and snuggling and reading and everything. I know that isn't really a perfect answer and I'm sorry that's how it ended but I do encourage you to remember all the other ways you have to bond with Poppy and your older children as well.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

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