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Thread: Weaning a very stubburn 3-year old???

  1. #1
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    Default Weaning a very stubburn 3-year old???

    Hi all,
    I am still BF my 3 year-old daughter. I BF my son until he was 3.5 years old and I initially thought I would do the same with my daughter. The problem, however, is that my son was very easy-going. He would say "OK mommy" if I was sick, if I said my boobs were hurting or any other reason that I didn't want to BF at a particular moment. My daughter is exactly the opposite. She is still nursing all night long and she kicks and screams if I dare to say no to her day or night. I am definitely done, I can't take it anymore but I don't know how to wean her. With my son, I gradually did the weaning, I wouldn't offer and I wouldn't refuse, sometimes I would say wait a little bit etc... and he pretty much self-weaned. This one will nurse forever if I let her. She is kind of an addict, she giggles when she sees the boob!! What do I do"? Should I go with the dramatic tactics (someone suggested putting some tomato paste on my nipple to make it look like blood)? I really don't want to hurt her feelings but this has to stop!!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Weaning a very stubburn 3-year old???

    La Leche League advises against using aversion tactics- like making the breast scary or making it taste bad by putting something yucky on it- for weaning. Instead of making weaning traumatic, I'd try to start the process by enforcing some nicer nursing manners. If she kicks or screams when you say "no", then you gently explain that temper tantrums are not going to work, because they don't make you want to nurse. And stick by that. You can offer alternative forms of comfort (hugs, back rubs, distractions), but don't feel like you have to give in and nurse. Let's say your daughter kicked and screamed when you wouldn't give her a cookie. Would you feel like you didn't dare to say no?
    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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    Default Re: Weaning a very stubburn 3-year old???

    I have nursed and weaned 2 very different children-in my case, it was the oldest who was the most attached to our nursing relationship.

    It sounds as if your daughter is not ready to wean. Some children are not yet ready at this age. Would you be ok with nursing for a little longer if it were not so constant? Because I agree with mommal- At this age you can start enforcing manners and specific nursing times. Yes it won’t be as easy to do so as it was with your son, but that is about a difference in temperament, not about what is normal, as nursing well past three and a half is entirely normal.

    What about a limit of nursing times- only at nighttime, morning, and naptime, as one example? (When I did this type of limit I still nursed my son in “emergencies” like owies of the heart or body, but that was my secret.) If possible, choose the times that still “work” for you and that that seem the most important for your child. There need not be any explanation, beyond 'now we nurse at these times" period. Explain the new schedule in terms she can understand (We Nurse at naptime, night night, and wake up-After Mr. Sun comes up," that kind of thing) you will probably have to gently repeat the schedule very, very often.

    For the nighttime issues (that sounds exhausting) is co-sleeping something you wish to continue? If not, what about moving her to her own bed or room for at least part of the night? If you are having difficulty moving her to her own room I have some ideas that worked for me. Is there someone else who can help you get her settled when she wakes at night?

    Kids this age are normally highly egocentric. The world revolves around them. So it is normal for them not to respond entirely sympathetically to 'mommy is tired, mommy is sick, that hurts mommy,' etc.

    On the other hand, this egocentrism can make them internalize the message 'if mommy is sick or hurt I made that happen.' A guilty message. So aversion weaning or abrupt weaning can be very painful to a child.

    I would suggest you try to see this issue as about your daughter’s having a very different personality than your son, and not 'addiction' to nursing. Although different than her brother’s, your child’s nursing behavior is not really all that unusual, I assure you. If she is strong willed, this will be the first of many challenging situations when limits must be set!

    This article has some more ideas- http://www.llli.org/faq/weantoddler.html
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; August 11th, 2013 at 01:20 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Weaning a very stubburn 3-year old???

    here is nice (kind of longish) article on nursing and weaning the older nursling http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/no...umgarner2.html

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Weaning a very stubburn 3-year old???

    Thank you for all the suggestions. The thing that disturbs me most is the night-nursing. I really haven't slept for almost 7 years (my son and daughter- both night-nursers) combined. Setting limits also doesn't work at night because she screams so much disturbing everyone, the neighbors can't sleep, their babies wake up and it becomes a mess so I give in every time. We are already cosleeping since she was born. She kicked (literally!) her father out of the bed so it's me and her. We tried putting her to sleep at her own bed, by her father but it takes 2-3 hours of crying every single night, she keeps crying and asking "will mommy take me to her bed, will she give me the boob?" I have some limits during the day (like we only nurse at home...) and they work but nights are nightmares. I don't know, I'm really tired and I don't think I can continue nursing until she is 4-5 when natural weaning occurs. We have to stop in the next couple of months but I don't know how. I will continue limiting during the day and hope that she will forget to nurse at night at some point

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Weaning a very stubburn 3-year old???

    I am not suggesting your nurse your child any particular length of time. I am suggesting you can set limits about nursing at night while still nursing and deal with the objections, or you can totally wean abruptly and deal with the objections. It sounds as if no matter what, your child is going to object to losing nursing. Loudly. Of course you could choose to continue to not set limits at night, and let things continue as they are for now. This is a valid choice, there is nothing wrong with this option, because your child will eventually wean. But, it is a problem because you are so exhausted-that is not good!

    You are giving in in part due to your concerns about the neighbors, correct? If they are actually complaining, that is a problem, but I am not sure there is anything they can really do. It’s not like you are blaring music in the middle of the night. Kids are loud. Sometimes they are loud at bad times. If they are close enough to hear your daughter, then you are close enough to be awoken or disturbed by their kids. That’s part of being neighbors.

    I believe that if you explain the new policy to your daughter ahead of time, reinforce it every day, and are firm every night, there is a good chance the tantrums and screaming will blow over in a fairly short time. It sounds as if she is ok with other limits. Night weaning is just another limit-but at night they are harder to be firm about because we are so tired and, in your case, have the neighbors issue.

    Maybe you can tell your neighbors you are working on a establishing a firm bedtime routine and there might be some screaming (I would not suggest bringing nursing into it.)

    Then tell your child that she may nurse AT BEDTIME. And that is it until morning. Then let her nurse at bedtime, as part of a bedtime routine that includes other restful things.

    If she comes into your room after bedtime, you have a few options. You can allow her to snuggle but remind her that the breasts (whatever your word for nursing is) are asleep. Lie on your stomach. Have your husband offer your daughter a drink, a snack, escort her back to bed, etc.

    Here are some ideas that in general promote sleep:
    Do everything you can to encourage a nap during the day, not to close to bedtime.
    Establish a regular bedtime routine that includes only quiet activities (reading, telling a story. massage, singing a song.)
    No screen media for at least an hour or two before bedtime.
    No roughhousing or other excitement right before bed.
    Some kids get restful after a bath. But for some kids a bath before bed is too stimulating.
    Fan running or white noise machine in the sleep area.
    Make sleep area as dark as possible. Use dark curtains. Nightlights can actually be something that keeps kids up so use only very dim ones if any.

    Do your kids share a room? If not, how would you feel about your kids sharing a room? Sleeping in the same room as a sibling can help a child who is ready to graduate from her parent’s bed but not ready to sleep alone.

    A book that may help is The No-Cry sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers by Elizabeth Pantley.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Weaning a very stubburn 3-year old???

    with LLLMeg.

    In my experience, the key to both weaning and continuing to nurse without resentment while engaging in weaning is to get rid of the nursing sessions that bother you the most first. If night nursing bothers you, work on getting rid of those sessions before trying to wean from the daytime ones.

    Some things that helped me night-wean my kids:
    - Communication. Before bedtime, you talk up what is going to happen at night. "The sun is going down. We are all going to sleep. Mommy is going to sleep. You are going to sleep. (Insert nursing word here) is going to sleep. Everyone will sleep all night long. In the morning, everyone will wake up and we will nurse again when the sun is up." After a successful night, you reinforce the lesson: "Good morning! You slept all night long! Mommy slept, (nursing word) slept. Now that the sun is up, let's nurse."
    - Keep a sippy cup with water in it available for night wakings. Sometimes a toddler wakes at night because she is genuinely thirsty.
    - Don't let consideration for other people's sleep get in the way of you night-weaning your kid. You deserve to sleep, too!!!
    - Be consistent. If you decide to night-wean, stand firm and DO IT. When kids feel like you will give in if they fight hard enough, they will continue to fight.
    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!"

  8. #8

    Default Re: Weaning a very stubburn 3-year old???

    Hi, I'm wondering how it went for you, as I'm in a similar situation with my 3-yo. She acts the same way as your LO at night, and I'm also concerned about the neighbors.

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