My daughter will be 17 months old on October 18th.
I breastfed her exclusively (for milk) until she was 13 months old. It was then that I started reducing our sessions really slowly, removing one session every two weeks or so. She started drinking milk from a straw cup with no problems to subsitute the reduction in breast milk.
She never complained about the change or made any indications that she wanted to breastfeed in any way. If she would have, I would have breastfed her happily.
We continued breast feeding once a day (at night before bedtime) for quite a long time with no problems. I was really happy with that relationship and had no intentions of stopping regardless of all pressure to drop these feeds.
Then at the end of August (when she was 15 months old), when I was on vacation in Germany, she all of a sudden started screaming at me at night when I offered her the breast. She would scream and resist and if she did latch on she would immediately bite me (something she had never done before). When I put her in her crib, she would go to sleep as if nothing...
I was really depressed that she no longer wanted to breastfeed. So I kept trying. She rejected me flat out 3 nights in a row. Then she latched on again without trouble one day.. (I was so happy) but then she started struggling again until now. I have only gotten her to latch on a couple of times in all this time and have been doing my best to pump when I can and hand express whatever drops I can get out of each breast to not completely lose my supply.
I have to also add that she usually sleeps through the night but we started exeriencing night wake ups and she was hysterical. It was then that one night I decided to give her a bottle (she had never been a regular bottle drinker and I did not even know if she would take it). She grabbed on, sucked it down and went to sleep.
Now she expects a bottle every night and if I offer her my breast she usually just starts crying and pushing away from me. Sometimes she latches on for about 30 seconds.. that is it.
She drinks milk really well in pretty much any shape or form. She doesnt care if it is cold, warm, formula or cow´s milk. She eats really well and is not a picky eater.
Here is the thing... I DON'T WANT TO STOP BREASTFEEDING!!! I am depressed about it, I have been trying to pump (hiding from my husband who thinks I am being ridiculous especially since my daughter obviously is no longer interested).. I am convinced that if I could just get my supply back up she would want me again... or maybe not...? Has she really weaned herself or is this because my supply dropped so much? I read that babies don't usually wean themselves until they are about 2 years old. Did I do something wrong?
I feel comfort knowing that this has been a natural and slow process and that she obviously has not suffered but the one suffering now is me. Am I being ridiculous? Should I just stop trying to pump and follow my daughter's clues?
If she were truly weaned then why is she so happy to take a bottle before bed? (the only bottle she ever gets, as I mentioned, she had pretty much never had a bottle until 15 months old).
I cannot find any forums from moms of toddlers who want to keep breastfeeding. I only find threads about those who want to stop...
Any advice/suggestions/comments are welcome, especially if they make me feel better..