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Thread: Clingy 18 month old wants to nurse 24-7

  1. #1
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    Nov 2010
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    Default Clingy 18 month old wants to nurse 24-7

    My 18 month old daughter has always been very independent, but has become very cling lately. She also has been wanting to nurse all morning long for the past several days, and I can't do anything to distract her from it, and when I try to she has a total melt down. I'm really ready to cut down on nursing her - she nurses as much as a newborn and I'm soooo worn out.

    She just got over an nasty cold/teething, but she's not sick anymore and her teeth are all in, so it's not that. Since she got over her cold/teeth I've been trying to night wean her by offering her water and cuddles (we co-sleep) and she hasn't been too happy about this at night, but she gets through until we nurse in the morning. I remember reading in Dr. Sears' book that you look at their daytime behavior to gauge how the night weaning is going. Could this be the problem? I don't have the energy to do it any other way - I'm sorry to admit this, but the feeling of nursing is starting to irritate me. I've also been sick the past couple of days - could this have an effect?

    So I guess I'm looking for ideas on how to help cut back on the number of feedings. Because she has a sensitivity to dairy I'd like to nurse her at least 4 times a day still - just not the 8-12 I feel like I'm doing lately. I've tried giving her alternative milks in a cup - doesn't want it. She's also not a great eater so giving her a snack in place of the milk hasn't worked much either...

    Any ideas are much appreciated...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Clingy 18 month old wants to nurse 24-7

    Mine is 17 months and very independent, but will do the same thing when he's about to start saying a new set of words or bump up the complexity of some of his sentences. He nurses a lot when he's teething too, and there can be a couple last pulses after teeth have broken through. I just nurse through it and he eventually eases up on his own.

    I haven't night weaned so I can't speak to that, but it certainly could be why she's nursing more during the day.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Clingy 18 month old wants to nurse 24-7

    I'd guess the increased daytime nursing is a side-effect of the night-weaning. Babies sense when mom is trying to push them away, and they often respond by stepping up their clinginess. I would finish the night-weaning process and then reevaluate your feelings about cutting the daytime feedings. Your LO may get less clingy once she adjusts to the new normal.

    One thing that might really help you cut the number of feedings right now would be to stay out of the house and away from your customary nursing locations. Distraction is your friend! And often babies cue on a certain site- a chair, a couch, a bed- and when they see you sitting there they think "Nurse!" When I am trying to avoid nursing my 2 year-old, I always avoid my favorite chair because the moment she sees me in it she comes running over.
    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!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Clingy 18 month old wants to nurse 24-7

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    One thing that might really help you cut the number of feedings right now would be to stay out of the house and away from your customary nursing locations. Distraction is your friend!
    Ah yes! Sage advice as always! Days that we spend out at the museum or park or at the cousins' house, mine rarely nurses at all because he is too busy playing.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Clingy 18 month old wants to nurse 24-7

    I know my LO nurses more when a growth spurt is hitting...it usually lasts about 4-7 days... never longer. Of course, teething brings it on too. As phi said, other changes can bring on a little clingyness. At least that is my experience. I still night nurse so I can't attest to anything else.
    FT working momma to a 9/11/10 busy boy and 11/13/12 happy little man.
    Also wife to hubs since 8/23/08, bonus momma to H (girl) -99 and G (boy)-03

  6. #6

    Default Re: Clingy 18 month old wants to nurse 24-7

    I totally understand. Feels like my lo @21 mos has days like that. And over all I feel like she is nursing so much right now! But all my babies nursed on demand and comfort nursed as none of them took a paci. So, onward we go. But I hope this is just a growth spurt, and the nonstop nursing will lessen. My lo is not a big eater either, and our 2 week attempt at night nursing was foiled by a 2 day fever! So, I'm back to square 1. But, I def think she nursed much more during the day when we had an entire night without nursing. So that just might work itself out as your lo gets adjusted to the "new normal" as stated above. Its almost as if they feel like they have to fight to hang on to their precious milk, a good indicator they are no where near ready to wean totally.
    JEN
    Happy Wife of 20 years to J~
    Mommy to DD E~ 9/22/04 BF 21 months
    Mommy to DD H~ 7/2/07 BF 27 months CD'd from 10 mos on!
    Mommy to DD A~ 7-14-10 All cloth, and Potty Trained at 2 1/2. Still Nursing!
    I grow an organic garden, homeschool, and really feel blessed to be a SAHM!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Clingy 18 month old wants to nurse 24-7

    You have all been so helpful!!! I think it's a bit of what everyone is saying. She's definitely been trying real hard to string words together, I had a friend who I see weekly comment that she thought she'd grown (forgot about growth spurts...), and I definitely think missing out on feedings at night (and mommy time) could have an effect as well. Oh, and while her eye teeth have cut the gum, they aren't totally up yet. She also did much better this morning at playgroup - she did ask, but was easily distracted to something else and didn't ask again.

    Somehow I keep forgetting that these phases pass, and I definitely am not ready to give it up all together. And I think, you're right she's not ready either and it's enough to start with the night weaning...

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Clingy 18 month old wants to nurse 24-7

    The 18 months time is supposedly a peak time for what you have described. They have a great need for sucking at this time, as a leader once mentioned at a meeting once.
    We successfully night weaned recently and it did increase feedings during the day... I am not particularly fond of nursing during pregnancy, but I figure if he gave it up at night I should be more patient with the day time nursing....
    mother of beautiful ds born sept 09

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