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Thread: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

  1. #1
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    Default 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    Hi ladies,

    As you can see from previous threads, I've had a hard time nursing my daughter but have persevered and was happily nursing her 4-5 times a day until about a week ago. One day she when I offered her usual afternoon snack of "nummies" she didn't trot happily to the bed as usual. I forced the issue and she just blew raspberries on my breast and climbed down. Next feed, same thing. Then she comfort nursed to sleep later that night.

    A week has elapsed and her behavior is the same. She nurses first thing in the morning, overnight if she wakes up (sometimes not), and comfort nurses to sleep for her nap and bedtime but I can no longer get her interested in daytime, wakeful feeds. She lies there with the nipple in her mouth, just holding it.

    My hormones are so out of whack I find myself crying when she "rejects" me and I have to leave the room. It's so sad and confusing because I have read so many times that they don't self-wean at this age so I assume I've done something wrong.

    She was not bottle fed or given a pacifier and I have been home with her from day one, nursing on demand and offering, offering, offering.

    I also don't give her other milks or dairy so now I am worried about her nutrition on top of it.

    Does anyone have any words of wisdom? I'm really struggling over here and it's affecting my relationship with my daughter. She has always been somewhat ambivalent about nursing and she doesn't talk yet so I am having a lot of trouble figuring out what she's doing and what she needs from me.

    Thanks in advance. As always.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    So it sounds like she's still nursing at least 3 to 4 times/24 hours? Is that right? From a nutritional standpoint, nursing somewhere between 3 and 5 times/24 hours is enough to meet a toddler's "dairy" needs. If you she drops down to less than that, you could consider offering other dairy, whether animal milk, yogurt or cheese (if there is no dairy intolerance, if there is you have to get more creative).

    Remember that weaning is a gradual process that begins the first time baby has something other than your milk - with the first bite of solids. And it continues very gradually as baby starts taking in more food from sources other than you and less milk - baby does not go from one day to the next getting all her nutrition from you, and then all of a sudden eating all table food, right? So gradually cutting back on how much she nurses as she continues on in toddlerhood is normal and to be expected. Of course babies vary how much they will nurse as toddlers - some more than others. But I think if you want to continue to nurture the breastfeeding relationship and let her wean at her own pace, you keep doing what you are doing - offer frequently and don't refuse. (Of course, if at some point your toddler is nursing more than you want to be, it's okay to set limits on toddlers, too. But that doesn't seem to be the case right now).

    The other thing to keep in mind is that toddlers go through phases - sometimes wanting to nurse a lot, sometimes wanting to nurse less. During the day she is busy and excited about exploring the world around her, and less interested in nursing. But clearly she still wants the comfort and closeness of nursing when she is winding down.

    It sounds like you are doing great, mama. It's wonderful that you are breastfeeding your baby into toddlerhood and just because she is nursing a little less now, does not mean she is about to stop nursing altogether.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    I would give it some time. She may come back to nursing more often, or she may not. Many toddlers go through a distractable period around 12-15 months when they just aren't that interested in daytime nursing. Many moms use this as an opportunity to wean (not suggesting that you should do that, just saying that many people do). If you continue to offer, it's likely that she'll eventually pick up some daytime sessions again. It could even be that she's getting molars and that's making nursing uncomfortable and that's why she's doing it less right now.

    It has to be confusing for her that you cry when she doesn't want to nurse and leave the room. She may see that as rejecting her, and it may increase her anxiety level in general or make her avoid nursing all together. I would try really hard, if I were you, not to show her that I was upset at being refused. I understand that you FEEL rejected; I have felt the same way (if not to the same extent) when my DS wasn't interested in a nursing session for whatever reason, particularly if it was one of the ones we always have, like first thing in the morning or right before bed. However, your child is NOT rejecting you. She simply wants to interact with you in a different way at that particular time. Try playing with her, reading to her, or finding other things to do. Nursing is a huge part of how we interact with our babies but as they grow into toddlers, the relationship diversifies and we need to learn additional ways to interact with them. I bet she'd be pleased as punch to color or read a book with you.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    I would say she latches 3-4 times in 24 hours but I would't always call it nursing. I no longer feel a strong let down (which I know is normal) but sometimes before sleep it really doesn't seem like she's transferring any milk at all. So although she's not "rejecting" the idea entirely, it seems like it would not be enough to count as her dairy for the day.

    Does that make sense? It's so hard to know when diaper output etc. now is driven mostly by water and solid food.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    Do you have any reason to suspect dairy intolerance in her? Otherwise you could add in some animal's milk, cheese, or yogurt if you are worried - though I don't think you necessarily need to. It could also be that this is a temporary phase.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    Yes, she has been off of all dairy (other than breastmilk) for 4 months due to GI upset. So she doesn't get a lot of calcium/vit D from other sources.

    Something is going on. She's not really latching at all now - not just daytime feeds but all attempts. Instead she very gently holds the nipple in the front of her mouth and almost nibbles it. It's sooooooo uncomfortable for me, like toe-curling uncomfortable. I wonder if something is bothering her in her mouth.

    Unlike previous nursing strikes I am not pumping. Logistically it's not possible.

    So I guess I need to accept that this situation may prompt total weaning?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    Hmm, anything else going on? Has she been sick at all - any reason to suspect an ear infection or something like that that makes nursing uncomfortable? Teething situation?

    With regards to calcium/vit D, there are of course other ways to get those nutrients outside of dairy. Here are lists from kelly mom:
    http://kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/calcium/#list
    http://kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/vitamin-d/

    Or if there is a nutritionist in the clinic you take your baby to, she may be able to help out with good non-dairy foods for calcium and vit D - also vit D from sun exposure (the kelly mom link has info about that as well).

    It does sound like it's more of a strike than weaning, but a strike can lead to weaning over time, particularly if you don't maintain your supply. Would you be okay with this strike leading to weaning if it goes on for a while?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    No, she hasn't been sick. And she just had her 15 month check-up and the doctor said she was in great shape.

    I inspected her mouth and saw a tiny (very tiny) chip on the bottom of her front tooth. Perhaps that's why it's been so painful for ME but it's hard to know if it's giving her any discomfort. Maybe if she feels the scratching or roughness as she latches? I called my dentist and he said that for something so small they wouldn't do anything about it anyway. They would have to sedate her to sand it down.

    Would it be okay with me if this prompted total weaning? I don't know. I didn't have a "goal" in mind for nursing, only that I wanted it to end on her developmental timetable, and not be a struggle. I have really appreciated the quiet time that nursing gives us (when she's not wiggly or distracted!) and I use nursing to get her to sleep for all naps and to calm her down when she wakes up in the middle of the night.

    So I don't even know what it would look like to mother her after total weaning. At this age when sleeping and eating are still so rocky, nursing has been my best tool.

    And it's all happening much faster than I would have liked, that is for sure.

    I gave her 4 oz. oat milk yesterday in a sippy cup and she drank it in two seconds and asked for more.

    I guess I am just not really sure what to do. I am concerned about the effects of rapid weaning on my body (plugged ducts, hormonal shifts) and her development (what if it's a strike and she wants to come back in 2 weeks and nothing is there???).

    Thanks to anyone who can offer advice. I don't know where else to go for help with this.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    To me it sounds like the best thing to do right now would be to keep your options open. You mentioned that pumping is not possible. But I don't think you would even need to pump that much - perhaps one or two or three times a day - to maintain milk supply and prevent the effects of an abrupt decrease in nursing in terms of the plugged ducts and hormonal shifts that you mention. Is that at all within the realm of possibility? And it wouldn't need to be indefinitely - but perhaps for a week or two or three, or however long you want to keep it going to see what direction your LO is headed in. (You could also gradually dial back the pumping over that time to try to create a more gradual weaning experience.) But that way if she does get over the strike in a week or two, you wouldn't have shut the door on nursing by losing your supply in the meantime.

    Since you've been through strikes before, I assume you are familiar with back-to-breast techniques, but I'll go ahead and link the kelly mom link on weathering a strike:
    http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

    I went through a very similar experience with my second baby - completely understand all the hormonal craziness and sadness. It's hard. But one way or another it will get better; maybe she will come back to nursing; or maybe she won't and you will figure out a new post-nursing relationship with your LO - although the relationship may change a little, it is no less wonderful.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 15 month old self-weaning daytime feeds?

    Hi again,

    Sorry I did not reply. Things have been really tough around here. I am on a hormonal roller coaster.

    bfwmomof3 - I just cannot pump anymore. My daughter sleeps very little, I am a single mom and I work from home and pumping was killing me. Especially now that she's old enough to pull out all the cords and she's so curious about what I'm doing, it's just not possible.

    After 10 or so days of things not getting better (she latches about 3 times a day but sometimes doesn't suck and there's no feeling of letdown) I am trying to accept what is going on, but I'm really struggling.

    I assume she's not getting any milk and only sucks sometimes for comfort. How long do I let her do this? I feel a little confused about what breastfeeding means when the "feeding" part isn't happening.

    I'm also not sure when and how to start giving her other milks. It has to be a dairy alternative. Do you give the same amount as cow's milk? And when is the best time so she doesn't replace solid foods with liquids that may not be as nutritious?

    I am so sad and confused about what's going on. I never thought it would be so devastating.

    Thank you for your help.

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